Some things only happen once in your life: a first kiss, the birth of a first child, a first Steven Chow movie. And for some of us, a first book release. For me, it was the release of The Servant of the Manthycore last weekend at OryCon, the Oregon Science Fiction and fantasy Convention in Portland, Or.
We decided early on that we would have a launch party. Because we had a lot of time to plan, and because Portland is driving distance from where we live, we didn't have to rely on the hotel to put it together, which let us have a much nicer party than we would have had otherwise. We hucked down beer, wine, soda, and a cd player, CostCo veggies and odds and ends. When we got to the con my wife and I circulated to the Friday night parties, schmoozing and dropping flyers.
The next day started out with a panel on non-western fantasy, with Nisi Shawl and Steven Barnes. I was moderator, and the subject allowed for plenty of book-plugging. I had copies of the new Flashing Swords magazine as a give-away, which may have contributed to the gradual snowball of fans who came to later panels, because there were a few who had their greedy eye on a copy.
In between panels my sister Karen and my daughter Gennie arrived from eastern Oregon. They had made the trip just for the party, and brought with them t-shirts of the book-cover. By the end of the day if someone there didn't know there was a book named Servant of the Manthycore, then they were on a different plane of existence. (Okay, it was a con--- many people were on a different plane!)
While I finished up with my reading, slyly scheduled just before the party, my wife put the finishing touches on the room. She had charmed a bell clerk into removing the bed, even though it was against the rules, so our party had far more room than the others, which in the end just meant we could cram more people inside. Several writerly friends showed up early on and through the night, including Nisi Shawl, Bruce Taylor, Stoney Compton, Michael Pierce, John Burridge and many others, and I finally got to meet my old sfreader pal Nathan Meyer and his charming wife, as well as Camille from the same board, who brought with her a reporter from the Portland Journal. And late in the evening my son Mike arrived to raise the energy level even higher.
Those who are con-goers here in the northwest know that we have a woman who does a letter-perfect Xena. She actually lives in the same small town that we do, and she was kind enough to hang out at the door to the party beside the five-foot tall banner of the book-cover with the bronze sword from the book and pose for pictures with fans. Part way through the party, one of the vendors brought in a laser star show, and if anything the room became even more packed. By the time I had to leave for the midnight horror readings we had sold over 20 books, just at the party!
Morning came too soon, and a final panel, “Ask Dr. Science” where the audience amused the panelists with questions and we made up answers. My favorite was "Why does the Comma get its own Sutra, and are the other punctuation marks jealous?" We riffed on different Sutras for at least five minutes.
In the end, between the party, hallway and panels, and dealers sales we sold all three dozen books we had, kicked the book out of the nest in a suitable style, and had a great time. Next con for us is RustyCon at SeaTac in January, where my buddy Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (she calls me the little brother she never wished she had) will be Guest of Honor, and RadCon in Pasco, Washington in February. I hope to see some of you there!