A Crazy Idea
New York book reading of The Girl Who Wanted to Catch a Cloud in a Marmalade Jar went exactly the way I never thought it would go. From the beginning to the end. When I had this idea to do a book reading in NY, I knew I was crazy. But I wanted to create something beyond what I’ve ever had. And I completely fulfilled on that, so I still call this a success.
First of all, I barely even knew anyone in the city. I had exactly two contacts – a friend I made in Abu Dhabi on the Leadership course. Then there was a girl I met at the beach. We talked for a few hours and one other day while I was visiting NY last year, we went for coffee. And that was it. So, from the October last year, I was connecting to people from NY as much as I could.
Connecting to a City Where You Know (Almost) No One
Early this year I spoke to author Lynnda Pollio, a multi award-winning author of Trusting the Currents. She gave me a lot of great advice on self-publishing and connected me to other writers in the US. (I met with her in NY and you can expect a blog post soon.) So I started to contact them and asked them for their contacts – either the focus group or other writers. I asked my two friends to do the same. Meanwhile, I was posting on the WeWork network and a few people showed interest in my book and the book reading.
I engaged with a few of them and we created monthly or weekly calls. They were inviting their friends and soon I got to know about two dozen of people who never knew me before and now they do. Things were looking good about a month before the book reading. I had 10 people confirmed, plus five more “yes’s” that needed to be confirmed. Around the same time, I got to know Adina. She organises art workshops and I thought she’d be a great addition to the New York book reading.
Here Comes the New York Book Reading
The day before the book reading, I printed out 100 flyers and went to the Battery Park in Tribeca. The park was crowded with parents and children of all ages. I spoke to about 80 of the parents and handed out the flyers. Some were not interested, others showed encouragement and gratitude. I had a few more people saying they would come the next day.
On the 1st July 2017, Adina, Andrej and I met at the Battery Park an hour before the “grand” New York book reading. We got ourselves ready and whenever we saw parents with children, we asked them to join us at 3pm. Meanwhile, I got a few text messages from people who apologised they wouldn’t. The trains had some delays, and some other people were writing they would be late. And then just 15 minutes to the book reading, it started pouring rain. The whole park ran to hide and everyone left.
The rain continued for good 20 minutes until everything soaked wet. I knew that those people who promised coming now wouldn’t come. Unfortunately, I didn’t have contacts to all of them, but to those I had, I called them and we went to a Japanese patisserie few streets away. We got some cake and matcha tea and we did a very little book reading right there.
Reading from the book was followed by a discussion on what our dreams are and what three steps we’re taking to accomplish them. We could barely stop talking. Everyone got their dose of inspiration listening to what the other person dreamed of in their life. I heard a lot of travel goals, having financial freedom, building a family and meaningful relationships. Needless to say, I left touched and moved by how generous everyone was to share something so dear to them.
The New York book reading turned in its own way. Maybe it wasn’t what I or others expected. However, the journey was amazing. I met a couple of authors from America who continue to inspire me when I see their posts on Facebook. I stretched myself beyond what I knew. Many times what I did looked impossible, but I did it anyway.
And I still haven’t mentioned this. It’s not confirmed yet, but who knows what the future holds? When we were looking for the right place of the book reading, Adina asked the library in Tribeca to hold the book reading there. They told her they didn’t have my book, so they couldn’t do it, and then asked if it was available on Amazon. Adina said yes, and they said, “Well if it fits we will order it to all New York libraries.”. When I heard that, my heart almost sank.
Watch out, New York. You may see me soon again!