Prior to the #WhosAfraid book launch, I’d been to album launches, exhibition launches and gallery events, but I had never been to a book launch before (this is not the confession).
Here it is though: I crashed her book launch.
Sorry, Maria. I know it’s probably not good form.
But…let me explain.
I was in Kinokuniya buying CC a birthday present & I saw this amazing party happening which I assumed (from the stands of copies of Who’s Afraid) was a book launch. The book looked like exactly my kind of book, so I picked up a copy & I saw that Maria Lewis was the author.
The name rung a bell, so (of course), I checked Twitter & found that, while we did not follow one another, I knew her avi & I was certain we’d interacted at some stage. She was also following/followed by a few of my author tweeps.
I thought “Wow – this is so awesome! I wish I had seen this advertised before, I may have been able to find a way to get invited!”
While I was standing & looking around the crowd to see if I could see someone I knew, one of the bar staff said “Hey, do you have a wine?”
I looked down at the lovely rope separating me from the party and said “No, sorry, I don’t have an invite.”
“Don’t worry,” they told me. “Come in anyway!”
OK then. So I stepped to the other side of the rope, I was handed a wine and I started chatting to some people. I figured if I couldn’t find anyone I knew, I’d perhaps make some new friends in the publishing industry.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t work so well.
The folks I was chatting to initially were nice, but seemed a bit blasé about this event I was SO EXCITED to be somewhat illegitimately in. They did comment on how many people were in the event to which I mentioned (without revealing I was one of them) that the bar staff were letting anyone in.
“OH! WELL!” decried one. “So much for the invites!”
The others all sighed and agreed what a waste of time organising was if it was just going to be an open house.
My stomach suddenly felt pretty much the same way it used to when I was a kid and I’d pinched a biscuit only to have my Mum walk in the room at that moment.
I stopped talking and quietly slunk away.
Not long later I started feeling VERY HOT. Like sweat pouring from me in my actually rather breezy, floral summer dress. The aircon was clearly not coping with the number of people and I was DYING.
Perhaps my fear at impending discovery as an interloper wasn’t helping either.
Then I spotted this gorgeous woman in blue, black and purple with blue hair and a huge wolf necklace and I immediately recognised her from some of the pics I’d seen of Maria on Twitter. I stood staring for a moment as she breezed and chatted as only a master networker can do.
“Have we met before?” I heard her ask.
I was a little shocked because it SEEMED like she was…no, she was definitely talking to me.
“Hi. Um…not in real life, but I do tweet an awful lot and I think…”
“Yes!” she said. “There are loads of people I know from Twitter here!”
We chatted for a short while and I congratulated her on an AMAZING launch (look if you weren’t there – you’re among the few who weren’t! It was HUGE!!) and told her (very honestly) that I couldn’t wait to read Who’s Afraid.
Sidenote: Who’s Afraid is an EXCELLENT read and both Co-Consul and I read it really fast (which is normal for CC, but not me – I read at a glacial pace usually) & we both thoroughly enjoyed it.
Maria & I said “see you later” and I stood for a moment a little stunned. Mainly because Maria is just SUCH an amazing personality it’s hard not to be struck by her energy and positivity.
But here I was at this launch to which I’d not been invited and, though I kind of almost knew to author through Twitter and had now officially met her, I was MELTING. It was mid-summer and I had walked a long way to get to Kinokuniya. I really just needed some fresh air and/or an ice bath.
Standing there, sweating and unable to bring myself to attempt networking again, I panicked, paid for my two books and headed home.
On my way down the escalator from Kinokuniya, I opened Twitter up and followed Maria and had a look through her hilarious, inspiring feed (SHE’S FOLLOWED BY JULIA GILLARD!?!).
I do have regrets in my life because I believe that without regrets, we don’t learn. Leaving Maria’s Who’s Afraid book launch early is something I do regret. I should have just sweated it up, smelt JUST DELIGHTFUL and stuck around.
But I didn’t.
From the regret I felt not staying at Maria’s Who’s Afraid book launch I learned that I needed to go to more book launches and, while I have NO contacts in the industry and rarely see promotions for book launches and I still haven’t been to another book launch, I DID see the promotion for Maria’s next book!!
And I have a ticket.
Maria, I really hope I’m still allowed to come after this confession.