I realize I’m quite a bit behind. But I wanted to post this here because to not do so would be a waste of my friend Kerri’s time, who graciously came to Unbound Book Festival in April, 2018 at my request to photograph the panel I was on, called “Do It Yourself: Self-Publishing 101”. Kerri is awesome and I hate the fact that it’s taken me so long to post these, but here they are.
For as nervous as I was going into it, I actually had a really good time on the panel. The session went by way too quickly. I consider it an honor to have been offered the opportunity to share the stage with accomplished author (and friend) Liz Shulte, publisher and graphic designer Yolanda Ciolli, IngramSpark representative Josh Floyd, and moderator Vivien Jennings, who owns Rainy Day Books, an independent bookseller in Kansas City, Missouri.
The room was packed, and it was not a small room. I should have done this write-up long ago and so details are hazy now, but I do remember enjoying the experience very much and having a lot of lively conversation with those gathered. I hope the people who can left feeling energized and optimistic. Self-publishing is a daunting endeavor but I don’t regret my experience in the slightest.
One other thing that happened at Unbound 2018 worth mentioning: Soon after my panel, I was scheduled for a block of time in the Kimball Ballroom to sign autographs. I didn’t expect a lot of traffic since it was over the noon hour, and besides I was pretty much a nobody at an event alongside lots of best-selling and award-winning authors in attendance. My sister Kris came and hung out with me until my half-hour was up and we went to lunch. I was thrilled to be there, as I was sharing a signing table with—I kid you not—New York Times three-time bestselling author Cathi Hanauer, and managing editor of Missouri Review (and accomplished author in his own right) Michael Nye. I didn’t expect a lot of attention at that table given my company, but I told myself that if so much as one person came to me and asked me to sign a book for them, I’d consider that an absolute win.
And someone did! I didn’t know who she was, but she had picked up a copy of Ghosts at the event and brought it to me to sign. She appeared to be a college student and we didn’t speak long, but I was so happy that someone came to me for an autograph. It really made my day. Whoever you were, thank you.
2018 was the last event that the bookstore was managed by Barnes and Noble. As a self-published author, B&N was unable to allow my books to be sold in the bookstore during the event. So instead, I made a little display that read “FREE!” with the blurb from Ghosts, and set out 10-15 copies of Ghosts that anyone could pick up if they wanted. My panel session was at 10:00 a.m. in the morning… by 11:30, I returned to the bookstore to check on my display. To my shock (and delight) all of the books were already gone. Whoever those readers are, I hope you enjoyed it.
I also want to thank my mom, dad, sisters, brother-in-law and nieces who schlepped all the way in from St. Louis—a two-hour drive each way—to be there for me that day. I’m very lucky to have such a supportive family.