Last Thursday I went to my first book launch. Publicized by the Blue Metropolis festival, DC Books held the event at the Hotel 10, a modern and seemingly recently built hotel I had never heard of. I was very nervous because I didn't know what to expect or if I should prepare myself in any way. My only remotely similar experience was with James Marster's pannel at Comiccon Montreal; not exactly the same field. I worried that I was underdressed with my jeans but was confident that my new "Read a book" novelty t-shirt would be right at home. Turns out many people were dressed casually and I didn't stand out too much.
I made it a point to be nice and agreeable to everyone I met. I shook hands and smiled, even going as far as fighting my natural shyness to chat up a man who was sitting next to me. Turns out it was the right thing to do; he was acquainted with many people present and introduced me to a few.
The reading itself was a wonderful experience. I believe it's a rare privilege to have prose or poetry read by the author. I strongly believe that they're the only one able to convey with their voices the exact emotions that their written words were meant to be express.
Kenneth Radu, reading from Earthbound
Authors Kenneth Radu, Concetta Principe, L.E. Sterling, Kathryn Mockler and Keith Henderson were there to promote their new books. Radu's prose was mellifluous and enchanted me. I immediately decided that I needed to purchase Earthbound, his short stories collection. I was interested in Sterling's novel before the event and wasn't disappointed. Pluto's Gate I acquired as well. Now I'm not a big fan of poetry but Principe's poems were beautiful and poignant; I really enjoyed her reading. Mockler's were funny, expertly flirting with the absurd. I laughed more than I expected I would.
After the reading I managed to get Radu to myself for at least ten minutes. I complimented him on his reading and asked him to sign my copy. He was delighted and obliged readily. I then asked him about his craft, his methods and his writing history. It was fascinating to hear him talk; he was very kind and patient with me. When I asked where I could follow his work, he suggested I friend him on facebook, which I did. The next day, I was rewarded by a positive reply to my friend request and a kind message in my inbox. Sterling was a bit harder to approach since many of her friends were present to congratulate her. While Radu had been calm and serene - this wasn't his first rodeo, obviously - Sterling was bubbly and effervescent. She looked extremely happy and although she was busy, she took the time to answer my questions and sign my copy of her book. You can learn more about her here: http://le-sterling.com/.
All in all, I spent a marvelous evening and met with a great crowd of kindred spirits. I look forward to their next event. In the meantime, I will read my newly found treasures.