Sunday, December 16, 2007

No words?

OK, that's probably a lie. I mean, really, when do I NOT have words? And I have pictures, too, of my first-ever book launch party which was a wildly rousing success thanks entirely to Kathy, Karen M., Mary, all of the Webs staff, and even Steve. And there's more people to thank - Gwen Steege and Erin Holman, my editors at Storey. The entire Storey team for taking a chance on an unknown, first-time author. The folks who knit samples for the book; Kristen, Katy, Tamara, Mary-Alice, Rue and Karen M. (Again. That Karen M, she's just an all around workhorse and general good egg, arriving at Webs at insane hours of the day to receive shipments of plastic feet and fetch and carry food and drink, knitting sample socks, you name it. Sheesh.). The folks who test knit for the book - but I am not entirely sure who they all were so I can't list, lest I leave half out. And Mr. Wonderful who I really did not thank properly in public, but I bet he's fine with that. And Amy, an amazing friend and publicity maven (all hail Amy!), who now can spin (spin, Amy, spin!!), and who has exceptional taste in gifts.

But, as usual, I digress. Too often in my life things are not uncomplicated. They generally end well, but the path to the end point is littered with spent kleenex and empty wine glasses and occasionally a body or two. This launch was no exception. I was greeted on Wednesday at Webs with the following information: a potentially large storm was headed for the Northeast, beginning late Saturday night into Sunday with projected snow totals ranging from 3 inches to 3 feet, threats of high winds, and the potential for significant icing. Sunday, December 16th. Of this year. Sunday of my launch party. Sunday with 160 odd registered attendees all heading for Webs. Sunday I have been waiting for all my life. My arch nemesis, Snow (aka 'White Death'), the one thing that could land me in Arizona or Texas as a permanent resident, was trying to ruin my book launch party.

After much discussion a plan was hatched - a plan I at first considered insane - to move the launch from Sunday to Saturday. I know that when Karen and Mary first mentioned this plan to me my response was somewhat less than stellar. I know my face probably showed what was in my mind; "they have got to be kidding they cannot be serious this is a joke right, this has to be a joke?" Now, on the one hand my feeble and neurotic brain was relieved. I mean, move an event from one pre-holiday weekend day to another with 48 hours notice and you've probably reduced the guest list from 160 to more like 20, right? And being a somewhat neurotic person the idea of confronting 20 folks versus 160, well, that seemed sort of soothing. But what about the other 140? Once a decision was made to change the date of the event officially, Webs customer service staff went doggedly to work alerting people who'd registered via phone and email of the intended change. Really an amazing group of people because the message got through, because there was a whole lot more than 20 people present! Observe - full parking lot, cars as far as the lot extended in all directions they tell me:
Big room full of people:
I would not be exaggerating if I said that we were about five chairs shy of standing room only. At one point Mr. W got up to take a picture of the room and when he stepped back to take his seat, there was a knitter in it.

Me, behind Kathy, who's protecting the audience from Steve's questionable champagne opening skills:

For someone not accustomed to this activity I think he did pretty darn good under pressure.

Me trying to remember to speak s.l.o.w.l.y. while holding the rapt attention of my listeners:

The end of the post-speech signing line:

The front of the signing line:

It's not so much that the hand gets numb, as that it just fails to respond to the letters you are telling it to write. You say "OK, hand, make an h" and your hand says "No. I want to make an a." And then you try to negotiate. I discovered early on that getting annoyed with the hand only caused it to rebel more. "HAH! Tell me to make an h?? WATCH THIS!! ajksnfiuhniubntvi!! How'd you like THAT??"

Super cool people came - Number One:

April-in-December brought her mother and great-grandmother along, but really came only to steal Omie's heart again:

And a motley band of non-knitting teenagers. Well, OK, two can knit. And one's actually 21. And the rest are practically 20. But who's counting:

There was also Miss Tray-Tray who managed to escape the glare of Mr. W's flash, just about all of Tuesday morning drop-in, nearly all of Thursday night drop-in, Harriet, Jean, Ann B, Ann R, a TON of Ravelers and bloggers, Marcy without Liz (very sad), and Rebecca of the International Sock Crisis also without her Liz (also sad), and a host of others who I hope will shout-out in comments if they were there.
And me, sort of watching it all happen like a cross between slow motion and fast forward. I signed 108 books. I got chickens:

I love them all very much, but Ernie and Bert hold a special place in my heart as I envision a hungry Steve roaming the house in search of supper while Kathy perches in a chair insisting that she is making chickens and the whole house can go to hell for all she cares.
I came home with the amazing floral arrangement on the table at the front of the room, and it's bigger than my dining room but unbelievably beautiful thanks to Sharlene who is a genius. Perfect selection - no sneezing on the part of the author (phew!), and so beautiful! I also came home with feelings of warmth and love and everyone's good wishes for the future. And a lot of people asking for the second book, which I will be more than happy to oblige them with.
Heart-full right now, and verging on a bit of weepiness, it is difficult for me to put into words - and this is where maybe there are none - what this experience has meant to me, how incredible the support of my friends has been, how I have learned through this. And there's so many people along the way, so many moments I should now be remembering and writing and saying thank you to...but I am just so full in my heart...

Yeah. I had it right the first time. No words.


søren said...

i didn't know! I was planning on going, and I didn't know it got changed. :( RATS! RATS! RATS! SO I guess I will have an unsigned book waiting for me at WEBS? (I pre-ordered one.) RATS!

søren said...

oh, but I hit post before the most important part - CONGRATS! :)

Kristi said...

Congratulations, Melissa! This is just the beginning...

Sadly I couldn't make the trip out--but judging what I see outside this morning, be glad you changed that date!

Jackie said...

Thanks for the beautiful presentation of your work. I really loved being able to see and touch the socks from your book. I bought sock yarn and the book and my teen daughter wants me to make Belle Epoque for her. A good sign! First though, I am bolding trying to use your two and time technique to make a pair of glovelets for middle daughter for the holiday. Wish me luck! Jackie Yeo

Persnickety Knitter said...

Hey, congrats! I thought the launch went quite well. You were a very entertaining speaker.

When does the book get released to other stores?

PurlingPirate said...

Yay! Yay!! So glad it went well!!! I have your book on my Christmas list!

Girl said...

Congratulations again from me and my motley band!!
It's a good sign when you can make non-knitters such as Jeroth and Katie laugh with knitting jokes. lol!
Right on Mom!

Lisa said...

Congratulations! I wanted to be at the party, but we had conflicting events here. I will find you some Thursday evening with my book.

Kathy said...

I love the names - very appropriate. Steve did wander around hungry as I scrambled to finish the chickens (no pun intended - I swear!).

You did such a great job yesterday! Congratulations. No matter what happens, you shall now always have the privilege to call yourself "author". Pretty darn cool.

For those of you who didn't make it or couldn't make it, no worries - your books shall come signed and with the free, exclusive pattern.

As for other stores receiving the books, I believe it will be around the 1st of January-ish.

tina said...


Warmest congrats to the hottest newest most fabulous author out there! I salute you!!!

Here's to a million more! Okay, maybe not a million but a boogerin' lot!

Carolyn said...

The book is really great. I love the presentation. The photography works very well for visual learner me, your comments are great and helpful, the instructions are so well done, the patterns look inviting. Looks like a hit. Best to you. Carolyn in CT aka woollyblue.

Yarnhog said...

How exciting! I'm glad it went well. Not that I thought it wouldn't, but still--a relief that it did. Congratulations!

mary alice said...

It was a great afternoon! WEBS did a wonderful job and you were so cool and calm- outside at least!! It was fun with that little bag on my wrist. Congrats again!!

cedar said...

congrats on the new book, I went to order it and alas all out at can I order a copy from somewhere? here in Canada perhaps, but anywhere as I would love to do the two socks on magic loop, I love magic loop....

Petra said...

WOO!!! I am so happy for you. It looks like you all had a fun time and I am happy that so many people showed up. Can't wait to see it!