Word on the Street is Canada's largest public book and magazine festival. It's held in a few Canadian cities and I had the privilege of participating, for the first time as an author, in Toronto's event held on September 23. The whole experience was beyond positive and I'm sure to be buzzing from it for some time.
The Friday before the festival, I was contacted by the WOTS's publicist. Seems I was one of three authors selected to be interviewed by CBC TV (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) for a national live spot interview. Needless to say, I was ecstatic and freaked out at the same time. I hadn't done a TV interview in about 15 years and had never done anything live. So there was a lot of OMGing going on in my head throughout the weekend. Meditation was required!
But there was no need to be nervous. My biggest challenge, as it turned out, was the unseasonable Toronto weather (is there such a thing?). While setting up for the spot, we experienced sun, cloud, drizzle, sun, cloud...But the moment we went live it started to rain. I was off camera feeling me hair go flatter and flatter.
CBC correspondent, Zulekha Nathoo, interviews Luba for a live TV spot on CBC News Now.
CBC's interest was primarily in the concept of going direct to eBook and the reasons for making that choice (doing so is not nearly as common in Canada as it is in the US and abroad).
My three-minute interview with CBC correspondent Zulekha Nathoo flew by, but I managed to mention Theft By Chocolate, squeeze in the 'log line', and talk about the reasons for publishing electronically. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as the interview ended, so did the rain.
Check out the interview on YouTube. You can thank the rain for the background sound (sorry). Due to copyright issues, the original CBC interview is not available (sorry). But you can come and watch it at my house. :)
Next on the agenda was rounding up as many authors as possible to make donations to the eLibrary Project. I left donation forms with various authors and author representatives attending the festival.
And then I took a few quiet moments to prep for my upcoming presentation.
I had been invited by Humber College to speak at the Scribendi.com Word Shop Marquee Tent on the subject of going "Straight to E-Book." I was paired with a Canadian digital publisher who was caught in Toronto traffic. But just as I finished speaking, miraculously, my other panel member turned up. Whew!
The tent was packed to capacity and people were jammed around the perimeter. But during the session it started to pour in buckets, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, and my teeth began to chatter. Hope no one noticed.
But considering I hadn't spoken in public for about 15 years, I think I did reasonably well. I was relieved, however, to sit back for most of the Q&A as the majority of questions, from hopeful authors, were directed to the publisher.
I had a brief chance after the talk to catch up with my mentor, author Kim Moritsugu, and with the Director of the Humber School of Writers. Fun times!
Luba with Humber Creative Writing Program mentor Kim Moritsugu, and Director, Humber School of Writers, Antanas Sileika.
One could not have scripted it better as the rain cleared up just as everyone was departing the tent and I managed to stay dry while trekking to the other side of the festival grounds for my book signing.
One suggestion I would make, however, to any first-time author participating in a book signing of this sort - avoid being sandwiched at the table between media celebrity and award-winning authors.
I mean, seriously, I was wedged among renowned Toront0-based environmental writer Adria Vasil, Charles Taylor Prize winner Andrew Westoll, and CBC media darling Jian Ghomeshi, all of whom had off-the-register lineups.
But I held my smiling face high with pride. Between my supporters and people who had been at my "Straight to E-Book" talk, my sales were most respectable. Even a few of the tent organizers (University of Toronto) remarked how well I had done for a first-time author.
Overall, I can’t say enough positive things about the way I was handled by Humber College, the Word on the Street organizers, CBC, and the University of Toronto.
In conclusion, I want to give a big shout out to everyone who helped make this day such a success: Attica Books, my publishers (angels on Earth); Beth Barany and Carissa Weintraub, my publicists (thanks for all the advice); Kim Moritsugu and Antenas Sileika at the Humber School for Writers (without whom I would not have had an opportunity to participate in the festival); Nicola Dufficy at Word on the Street (who bent over backwards to accommodate me); the CBC (for selecting me for an interview; Aleks Wrobel at the University of Toronto (for coordinating the book signing); and most especially to Jo Anne Tudor, my videographer, book carrier, and great friend, and to Andy Kulchyckyj, my photographer, brother, and biggest supporter.
And thanks to all my other friends who came out to support me, especially on a day with such unsettled and unfriendly weather. For a writer, getting a book published is like making it into the Olympics. So it was such an honor and privilege to share my first "appearance" with you all. Let's do it again next year!