I am very excited to be launching the second entry in the Elementia Chronicles, The New Order, out of Wakefield Books – my hometown bookstore. It might seem like an obvious choice, since most of my fans in my hometown of South Kingstown have been waiting for over a year for the sequel to Quest for Justice. However, this is only part of the reason. To truly understand why I chose this venue, let me take you back to almost 2 years ago, to January 1, 2014… the day that Quest for Justice hit the market as a self-published book..
Before I started giving presentations in schools and going on tours to conventions, I was just a kid with a Minecraft book, and no idea how to spread the word about it. While my mother and I did the best we could to utilize social media, we knew that it was imperative that we get Quest for Justice into bookstores.
The first time that I shared my book with anybody, I was terrified that they might hate it. Approaching a bookstore to request that they carry my book brought similar apprehension. My mom went into the first store – our hometown store Wakefield Books – not knowing even how to ask. She quickly learned that, at any given bookstore, there is a stack of self published books waiting to get on the bookshelves. My book was just one of these many, many books..
After hearing the story of how I had written Quest for Justice and how popular Minecraft was, Bob, the owner of Wakefield Book and a genuinely nice man who knows the business, agreed to stock my book in his store. Since this first act of kindness from a man who wanted to help a local kid follow his dream of becoming an author, Bob and Wakefield Books have done more for me than I can recount. However, there are three particular things that I would like to accredit to him.
The first is credibility. Stocking Quest for Justice was a favor to us; but rather than just putting my book in the stack, Bob put it on his shelves that same day. Once Quest for Justice hit the shelves of Wakefield Books, we could now tell other bookstores that an independent bookstore had already agreed to stock Quest for Justice. This made getting the books into stores much easier.
The second is advice. We had no idea how to effectively market a book. Always helpful, Bob was our go-to-guy for any questions that we had about bookstores, marketing, and retail. Kind and easy to talk to, Bob made us feel at home in this new environment.
The third is encouragement. Although Bob encouraged us all along the way, one incident in particular impacted my burgeoning career as an author. In late 2014, while I was in school, my mother attended an event in Providence at the Convention Center that she learned about through the Association of Rhode Island Authors. My mother was standing near a table that was filled with RI Authors books. She felt out of place at the event and, not sure why she was there, she turned to leave. As she was walking out, she ran into Bob as he was entering the hall. She told him how she was feeling and Bob told her she was doing great and she should stay. Soon after, my mom made casual conversation with a woman who came by the booth. Unbeknownst to my mom, that woman was Judith Rosen, a reporter from Publishers Weekly. Several weeks later, this article appeared online.
The article caught the attention of Rick Richter. In time, he would become my agent, and ultimately help me sign a three-book publishing deal with HarperCollins. This one article, that originated from Bob’s encouragement, began a chain reaction that led to the series being distributed across the world and me blogging with you now..
Bob, I am truly thankful for all that you have done for me. The success of Book One has been a wild ride, and it’s nice to feel that with Book Two I am coming home again at Wakefield Books to start the next thrilling part of it.