Today I took Toronto by storm. My book was just a needle in a haystack, but what an experience The Word on the Street was for me, I can only begin to express…
Although I have been here for almost 4 years, I am still making my way as an author in my new country. To have a copy of your book on a table, among thousands of other books, among hundreds of other authors, when you are a perfect stranger, is a frightening experience. What if nobody notices my book? I don’t have big banners, I didn’t bring any bookmarks or pins or candy or any of the other freebies writers offer with their books. What if nobody will buy my book? Why would they buy my book, they have no idea who I am. But maybe they will like the cover and they will pick it up. And if they open it, I am sure they will like it! Should I bring 10 books? 20 books? How many are too many? It’s fine, I thought, I will start with 5. If I can sell 5 books, I will consider this a success. After all, I didn’t even launch this book! I just got it from the press two days ago. What do I expect!?
The unexpected happened. People did stop at the booth. They did pick up my book. They opened it and they wanted to buy it! People bought my book. Strangers said, “This will be perfect for my kid, he’s in French Immersion.”, “My daughter-in-law teaches French Immersion, she might like this!”, “There aren’t many bilingual books, that’s very clever!”. Only one person said: “That’s a lot of text!”
“Yes, that’s a lot of text but this is a Read Aloud book, take it with you, cozy up with your kid and read it with him, to her, for them!”
Some of the other authors wanted to swap books, and I happily did. I took a few copies and I visited the French booths. They loved my story and invited me to “Le Salon du Livre” in November. I got to speak French and say “Enchantée” quite a few times. I met familiar faces, fellow writers, members of the Immigrant Writers Association, university professors and poets, I made some new friends. I watched Claudiu Murgan reaching out to his potential readers and talking about his book. I’ve learned a lot just by watching him.
This was one amazing day. This day has opened so many doors, so many possible futures. I am grateful and humbled by the whole experience.
My next stop is The Fall Bookfest, in Brampton, next Saturday.
Then, I will be launching my book at the ToRoFest.
Then, I might be at Le Salon du Livre…
If you happen to be at any of these events, please, come to say hi!
PS1: I did sell 5 books! Success!
PS2: None of this would have been possible without the gracious help of Claudiu Murgan and The Immigrant Writers Association.
PS3: Today I took the Go Bus by myself from Union Station. It was my first time. Another frightening experience. I did make it home.