Ever wondered what it feels like to plan a book launch from across the oceans, thousands of miles away with nothing but an email address, a Facebook page, and a spirited gut feel?
Well, I did.
And to say that it was a nerve-wracking experience is not just an understatement, it's delusional.
As an indie author having just gone through the stressful and complex process of self- publishing my first novel "Fobolous", planning a book launch in the Philippines while based in Houston, Texas with less than a month to go was like jumping off a cliff with my eyes closed hoping an off-duty superhero would happen to pass by and save me from my own foolishness.
But thanks to technology, social media and excellent business practices, what I initially thought was a lofty goal was actually achievable and surprisingly simple.
With the help of an event planner based in Manila, Elaine Cedillo, Event Collaborator and Co-Founder of Red Wizards Events, EConnext Ideas and Media, and Hack the Climate, who was referred to me by a longtime friend through Facebook, my first-ever book launch held in the Philippines turned out to be a resounding success.
With just our email accounts and Facebook messenger to communicate, Elaine hooked me up with a professional caterer, videographer, photographer, and a group of media bloggers in no time. And best of all, I was introduced to a co-working space company that provided the venue for my book event with barely a week and a half notice.
It was the first time I'd heard about A Space Manila, a co-working space company that provides co-working offices and function rooms to individuals and businesses who rent the space on an hourly, daily, or monthly basis among other terms. With branches across the country, A Space Manila is headquartered in the ever busy and trendy financial hub in the Philippines - Makati City.
I was told customers rent a space in the expansive building of A Space Manila not only to host team buildings and corporate events but to perform basic office functions offsite to get away from the "ho-humness" of their usual office cubicles while others rent because of the transient or nomadic nature of their businesses. Either way, they get to enjoy the amenities that come with renting a space in A Space including free coffee and popcorn, internet connection, creative interiors, cutting-edge setting, and the coolness associated with being a part of the vogue, trendy and thriving co-working tribe in Manila.
Creative, State-of-the-art, Cool
Two days after I arrived in Manila, while still woozy from jet lag from more than 18 hours of traveling, the "Fobolous" book launch pushed through.
On June 23rd, as I stepped out of the elevator on the fifth floor of the building while guests waited patiently by the lobby, I got to lay my eyes on the venue of my book event for the first time.
It was exactly as I'd expected A Space Manila based on the images on their website. But like usual first impressions, seeing the venue up close and personal was a whole different story.
I was floored, to say the least.
The Gallery, the space designated for "Fobolous", consisted of two adjoining rooms – the roomy waiting area with comfortable couches and bean bags located directly across the hallway by the elevators; and the even roomier function room next to it.
The function room, without the caterer's food and cocktail tables would have been bare except for a huge projector screen on the wall, contemporary paintings, sculptures, and artistic wall décor, a small coffee table and a lone couch sitting side by side in one corner.
The white walls and French doors lent a charming touch to the urban, industrial setting serving as a cool backdrop while the melodic alternative music of the Smashing Pumpkins and Toad the Wet Sprocket played in the background. Thanks to Che Mendoza, (the pretty-in-pink girl in the middle)
my novel's uber creative Art Director for the awesome playlist and Jeff Mendoza (I don't have a picture but he was there I promise) who created the cool video playing on the huge projector on the wall.
Needless to say, The Gallery was the perfect setting for an indie book launch whose main novel characters come from the glam but cutthroat industries of advertising and architecture.
I hate to sound like a romantic novelist but it's almost like finding a precious gem, love even, on the other side of the universe which you never thought existed.
I brought several books during my book launch but before the event was even over, we had already run out of books to sign for those who diligently lined up to buy a copy.
Perhaps that's a good sign.
Maybe one day "Fobolous" will have a sequel and that I'd get to host another book launch in Manila.
And hopefully, like a loyal and fervent lover (I'm doing it again like a romantic loony writer ... feel free to cringe by the way) my novel's avid supporters would still be there as eager, as interested, as bubbly, as charming, as fabulous and as curious as ever.
Check out the pics from the FOBOLOUS Book
Launch held at A Space Manila in Greenbelt,
Makati in the Philippines on June 23, 2016.