Cville #Pride — My New Happy Place

I didn’t wanna go. I really, really didn’t want to go.

It was Saturday morning. We were expecting yucky weather all day thanks to Hurricane Florence, and I was thinking about how horrible it would be to stand outside in a tent in the rain trying to tell people why they should buy my book — all while attempting to keep said book safe and dry. Let’s face it: no one likes a soggy read.

So I debated skipping the whole thing. I’d already paid for the table, so that was water under the bridge at that point. (Pardon the hurricane-based humor, folks.) I couldn’t imagine that the weather would encourage people to attend, so not only would I be miserable, but how well could I really expect do in sales given the forecast?

But if I *didn’t* go, I was guaranteed not to sell anything.

It took just about everything in me to drag my lazy rear end to the car and make the 20-minute drive to Charlottesville. I kept telling myself, “I’ll just set up the table and stay for a little while. That gives me a chance to see how the turnout is. If it’s a ghost town, I’ll let myself leave early.” It gave me something to hold onto besides an umbrella.

I am so, so glad I went. Not only did it not rain, but it turned out to be my most successful event EVER. Crowds were there in droves despite the forecast. And I SOLD OUT OF BOOKS. I even sold more after I sold out, with people being willing to pay on the spot and let me ship them their book on Monday.

This was the one-year anniversary of launching my book, Who Am I If You’re Not You? Cville Pride was the first event where I sold books and I’ve spent the past 12 months marketing it near and far. A year of ongoing effort, care, thought, and persistence.

On Saturday, it all came home to roost. One attendee bought a copy last year and told me how glad she was to see that I’m still out there spreading the message. Several told me they’d heard about the book through this AMAZING video courtesy of HeartThreads. (If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s five minutes that will reaffirm your belief in love. I promise.) Some had seen the book in Barnes & Noble. Some had heard about it when I spoke on-air with WINA. Knowing that the marketing is working — that people are hearing about this book — made all the work worth it.

At Pride last year, I knew a couple of people but the vast majority were strangers to me. This year I saw so many friends I’ve had the fortune to meet over the past 12 months. And I met all kinds of new friends, people who represent every part of the community. Gay. Straight. Trans. Bi. Nonbinary. Asexual. Teens. Adults. Kids. Grandparents. It was a snapshot of life that day, and every encounter was about love, acceptance, and inclusion.

I couldn’t have been happier — not just because I sold so many books, but because it affirmed exactly why I wanted to write this story in the first place. The book is about love, and so is Cville Pride. Hats off to the organizers. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Charlottesville has more pride than hurricanes. And love? Never doubt it: we’ve got that in spades.

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