This is a big day for me, and a moment of truth: was I foolish to think that at least 300 people would want signed, numbered, limited edition hardbacks of The Happiest Days of Our Lives? I'm about to find out.
I feel the same way I do before a big poker tournament or extremely important audition: my stomach is queasy with excitement and apprehension, my hands are a little shaky, and though I'm hoping for the best, I have to be prepared -- at least a little bit -- for something less than the best.
Because this is an event for me, (and because I have to watch the server to make sure nothing goes wonky) I'm going to live blog it for a little bit. I'm also going to do this thing Warren Ellis calls an Open Mic, since I'm going to be here anyway: In comments, feel free to ask me anything, and we'll have one of those time-shifted discussions we sometimes have on blogs and message boards.
11:56pm: Whoops. We threw the switch a little early. Someone must have been F5ing, because about a dozen orders went through in the first minute.
12:00pm: Okay, we're on sale for real now! Orders are coming in as fast as I can count them. I see some familiar names in there, and that makes me really happy.
12:06pm: The first count has 65 to the US, 7 to the Canada, 3 to the the UK, 2 to the the Europe (it's the final countdownnn . . .) and one to the Australia.
12:10pm: 80 sold so far. Anne says, "I honestly don't know why you were worried so much." You'd think she'd know me better after 12 years.
12:15pm: I can hear a train whistle from the train yards about 20 miles away. It's one of my favorite sounds, because it conjures up romantic images of a time when people traveled by rail.
12:17pm: I'm looking through the Romper Room magic mirror: I see Angie, I see Starshine, I see Clay, I see Alice, I see Bill, I see Chuck . . .
12:30pm: Secret Agent from SomaFM is the perfect soundtrack for this moment. It's okay to feel happy and relieved and excited now, right? That's not tacky, is it? I feel like we're all sharing in something that's incredibly special to me. Is that corny?
12:33pm: OH HAI APRIL! YOU CAN HAS BOOK!
12:37pm: This is a good time to thank Roughy, who did all the design work on Monolith Press dot Com, makes sure the server doesn't barf all over itself, and keeps me sane in my moments of panic and doubt.
12:42pm: Nothing to add. I just liked that it was "42" on the clock.
12:56pm: This is going better than I ever dreamed.
1:03pm: My count may be off a little bit, but just about half of the hardbacks have sold in the first hour. I'm trading nervousness and apprehension for pure, unadulterated excitement and joy.
1:13pm: We're having an awful lot of fun in the open mic. Well, I am, anyway.
1:19pm: Updated scoreboard, not counting eChecks and the few times PayPal doesn't include an item number in the e-mail header: US - 111, Canada - 11, UK - 5, EU - 9, Australia - 3, Asia - 0.
1:28pm: Nolan just made himself a Dennis The Menace style slingshot, from a "Y"-shaped stick and some surgical tubing. It's pretty awesome.
1:48pm: Looks like orders are slowing down a little bit, so readers who were worried about it selling out real fast should still have a chance to get copies in the next few hours. That's pretty cool.
1:57pm: This is probably as good a time as any to share this review of The Happiest Days of Our Lives from Firefox News:
The nostalgic photos on the cover and the title might lead someone to think he's calling his childhood the happiest days, but if anything, his book serves to show that the happiest days of his life are right now. As I said earlier, he's madly in love with his wife and adores his kids. He's discovered a love of writing and an enjoyment of poker. He's run to raise money for breast cancer, he's put the spirit of Wesley Crusher to rest, and he's found a purpose in life. (Okay, he also listens to "Mr. Roboto" in his car. Nobody's perfect.)
This is a great book for anyone who was a kid in the 80s. Trek fans might get a kick out of the backstage looks at the Next Gen cast. Me, I like it for the reminder that things really have gotten better since I was a kid, and it's just a matter of knowing where to find the sunshine.
2:06pm: Well, it looks like things are winding down for today. I didn't intend for this to be an "event" when I planned it, but it's kind of turned out that way, which is awesome. This has been an incredible rush for me, and I get the sense that it's been an awful lot of fun for everyone who wanted to get a signed hardback.
I think there will be a few people who check in a few hours from now, who will be pleasantly surprised to find that there are still some copies left. It was always my hope that I could balance the business realities of this limited edition with my desire to make as many people as happy as possible; I'm thrilled that everything seems to be working out for all of us.
2:08pm: The Firefox News review was Propelled by Starshine. Go vote, so we can Front Page that sucker!
2:21pm: Hey, you know what would be fun? A celebratory SNG at PokerStars:
Time: 18:35 EST
Bonus: $5 bounty on Wil.
2:31pm: This whole experience has reminded me how important the WWdN community is to me. I don't quite know how to put it into words, so I'm not going to try.
2:49pm: We're closing in on 200. This is probably a good time for me to get really sentimental and mushy, and thank you all for your support. I sincerely hope you enjoy this book, and you should all know that without people like the 300 (heh. I love that) there wouldn't even be a Happiest Days of Our Lives, or anything else in the future, for that matter.
2:56pm: Dr. Pauly, Change100, Penner42 . . . holy shit, this poker tourney is a shark tank!
3:23pm: Book review only needs five more votes to Propel it to the front page.
3:30pm: I walk away for a few minutes to give Ferris a Kong in the backyard, and when I come back, I see that five more people have bought books. Awesome!
4:06pm: Yes! The book review hit the front page at Propeller! Thanks, everyone!
4:36pm: Somehow, I forgot to share this from Starshine, featuring 300 copies of The Happiest Days.
5:07pm: The poker tourney was a lot of fun. 11 players, and I made it to heads up with Dr. Pauly. I would have won, too, if it wasn't for his damn runner/runner flush powers.
5:18pm: So I'm adding things up, and here's how it looks right now: 177 orders from the US. 16 orders from the Canada. 11 orders from the the UK. 13 orders from the the Europe. 5 orders from the Australia/New Zealand. That works out to 217. There are also about twenty or so orders that I can't easily search for in Thunderbird, because they're eChecks, or because PayPal didn't include the item number in the e-mail subject. I think it's safe to assume that I've sold about 240 signed, numbered, limited edition hardback copies of The Happiest Days of Our Lives. If things continue the way they have, the remaining copies will probably sell out with the next 24 hours, if they don't sell out over night.
This is a very big deal, and an important affirmation for me. The paperbacks haven't sold on the same pace as Barefoot or Geek, and I was worried that for reasons I didn't understand, a lot of people like to read my blog, but didn't want to -- or weren't able to -- support my writing efforts by buying my books. Today, however, tells me that a lot of you were waiting for something special, and all of you who are part of the 300, and that subset of you who participated in the open mic are part of something that was and is very special to me.
Maybe it's corny to feel good about this, but I love the sense of community I feel here, and spending some time today with so many of you turned a cool day into an awesome day.
Self-publishing is hard. Making it through the media filter is hard. Just getting the damn hardbacks available for sale has been maddening. But today made it all worthwhile.
I've felt discouraged and frustrated lately, and I've been doubting whether or not I can make a living doing this. Today, you all showed me that, while it's not going to be lavish, and it's certainly not going to be easy, at least it's possible.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years, and to everyone who supported me today. I sincerely believe you're getting something special and wonderful, and it's very close to my heart. It's not a stretch to say that you're all getting a big part of me when you get one of my books, an even bigger part of me than the average audience gets when they watch or listen to me act.
Thank you all, most sincerely, for being a part of this, one of the happiest days of my life.