Two weeks ago, one of my photos from my book signing at Barnes and Noble in Houston made it to the first page of Reddit, a “media aggregation” or website where people submit topics of interest which get rated by registered users through votes. The ones with the most positive votes land on the first page, of course.
My Barnes and Noble photo garnered almost 5,000 Up Votes - Likes in our usual internet language – and nearly 300 comments from a discussion group in that subreddit page. They discussed the photo wondering what my novel was about, their assumptions about me as an author, and how in the world a newbie like me ended up in an author’s event at a Barnes and Noble bookstore. I can’t say I was thrilled about the comments as not everything posted was nice or even close to the truth – it’s a viral discussion from random posters after all - but it was still 95% cool.
One thing off my bucket list for sure.
I mean, how many ordinary people in this world get talked about in a popular website for a day without looking scandalous in a photo? It was a bookstore event for crying out loud.
By the way, I didn't do it. My little brother posted the photo earning my website more than a thousand hits in less than 24 hours.
I’m an indie author without a publicist and evidently, I do my own marketing for FOBOLOUS. But it's an amazing feeling when anyone other than myself gets out of their way to promote my novel, helping my novel get discovered and enjoyed by readers from all over the world.
The Reddit exposure was quite epic in my book and I would like to thank my brother and everyone else who has supported me since I came up with the crazy idea of writing a novel with a silly title all the way to where I'm at now with FOBOLOUS.
I'm pretty sure this part of my blog or a close replica of it will get posted on my second novel in the Acknowledgment section but what the heck, why not preempt it?
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude and sincerest appreciation to my family, friends, colleagues, and random strangers – who had selflessly given their time, skills, talent, and resources - crazy or not - to support my journey as an indie novelist.
I'm not great with alphabetizing so I hope this works.
Maida Ruaza Malby, my editor who gave her time and invaluable talent in proofreading and editing my novel from the serial commas which we both hate down to the soundness of my characters – James was initially too perfect and Janelle daydreamed too much - the plots and subplots, and settings that would jump to life if I'd only described them in detail. Makes sense, right? By the way, Maida is a novelist herself so watch out for her upcoming romantic series. It's guaranteed to rock your world. Don't believe me? Ask my smart phone. I read the draft.
Che Mendoza, my front cover art director and event specialist. She saved my cover from looking “self- published” by directly communicating with my cover creator. It was fun being part of the email communication bouncing back and forth from different parts of the world on different time zones. I had no idea what they were talking about - What's a swatch, anyway, and what did it have to do with a book cover? Didn't it use to tell time? Duh - but I was happy with the fabulous outcome. My book cover turned out dreamy and girly as I’ve always envisioned. Che also directed and coordinated my Manila book launch and provided the cute FOBOLOUS shirts.
Peach and Martin Almario who took the wistful back cover photo of my novel one beautiful Sunday morning in California. They woke up early to catch the light complete with the bridge and the red beret that I requested. In case you're wondering, the pretty girl wearing the red beret in the photo is Peach.
Pinky Alinas and Jacqui Pastoral-Conclara for editing sections of the first three chapters of the book. They live in different continents but their minds were one and the same. I can't believe I have so many writer friends.
My beta team who gave me the stress, the challenge, and the fun in between much needed to get my book cover done right. They were nice but brutal which was awesome.
Helen Kalany who initially designed the shell of my website. It’s a classy design with the lovely FOBOLOUS font which we used for the front cover of the book. She also hosted the Manila launch which was the ultimate event-saving act.
Jeff Mendoza who created the awesome wall video at the Manila book launch at A Space Manila and the guy behind the Reddit post gone nearly viral.
Marjorie Mendoza for scoring the Manila launch Starbucks giveaways and Margo Mendoza for manning the reception area.
The lovely ladies who read chapters of my novel at a moment’s notice during my book launch in Manila – Maita Brillantes-Consulta, Gie Lansang-Recina, Doris Dumlao-Abadilla, Jay Anne Encarnado, and Claire Del Rosario-Bernabe - my epic boss at my first job in a TV network, my brilliant colleague in advertising, and my sorority sisters, respectively.
Elaine Cedillo, my event planner in Manila, for fabulously coordinating the book launch at A Space Manila; Recee Endaya for recommending Elaine to me; the lovely lady bloggers who attended my book launch in Manila and wrote about it on their blogs; as well as the video guys who did an amazing job recording the Manila book event and creating the awesome FOBOLOUS videos.
Marylou Celespara-Lot and Nadya Ponce-Buenavista for helping me with my book signings at Barnes and Noble in Sugar Land and the forgettable one somewhere in Houston.
My beloved family including my parents, siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and aunts.
My friends from GMA-7, ABS-CBN, Zenith Optimedia, Basic Advertising, Ammirati Puris Lintas, UP Diliman and UPLB, and Canossa Academy.
My sisses and bros from UP Pi Sigma Delta and UP Pi Sigma.
Everyone who attended my book launch in Manila and my book signing at Barnes and Noble in Houston.
Those who bought my novel FOBOLOUS and those who took the time to read it and give feedback/reviews or call me on the phone to discuss it with me like James and Janelle and Wooly and Tito Boy and Tita Girlie and Daniella and the rest of my novel's characters were real. I'm kind of doubting now if they're not.
The people who supported FOBOLOUS in any way whether they’re from the Philippines, Houston, London, Germany, Canada, North America, or any part of the world.
Atty. Resty and Virgie Mendoza, Atty. Glynnis Matriz-Acosta, Atty. Liza Jane Estano, Atty. Arlene Mendoza-Wilkerson, Laarni Aranas, Tim Catacutan-Bathan, Arlene Trono-Zabala, Wacky Villanueva, Marlon and Karen Ramos, Oliver Salazar, Jenny Rex, Lott Cuadra, Aileen Flores, Tin Tin Borillo, Emmanuel Ordinanza, Irene Sanchez, Locel Anne Tumlos, Geena Casipe-Laserna, Allen and Mike Harder, Marychiles Moncerate, Pinky Alinas and her lovely daughter, Menchie Albano, Edmund Raga, Bryan Kalany, Benrie Cadiz, Juliet and Lhei Amarante, Jason Mendoza, Ross Mendoza, Joy Mendoza, Dandy Ramos, Odette Manuela-Napao, Edna and Angel Celespara, Ariel Lot, Marivic Bautista, Alice Mate, Jennifer Yang, Tess Jimenez-Cunanan, Manley Caranto, Jeff and Kathleen Ulanday, Jeanne Vengco-Oubre, Mindy Le, Chris and Melody Chua, Cyrille Chua, Lilibeth Rogando-Giles, Rami Buenavista, Cleigh and Jay Dela Cruz, Ely Corpuz, Aileen Arias-Sotto, Ethel Emmons, Pinky Porritt, Chris Navarette, Jean Eclarin, Melissa Lewandowski, Stacy Foster, Jaci Dawn Johnson, Dulse Salinas, Renee Gauthier, Haley Johnson, Marina Coryat, Shital Gosar, Betty Montelongo, LC Gonzalez, Paola Ramirez, Rose Flores, Dee Williams, Veronica and Victoria Cena, Tuesday Coronel, Jennifer De Jesus Escano, Beth Fine (author of The Picaresque of Imagine Purple), Ben Ng, Karin Jamieson, Joanne Callejo, Sheryl Mejia, Phong Bui, Theresa Le, Angie Manaig, Nilda Paredes, Thi Lam, Rowena Smith, Chie Antonio, Dr. Ning and Jong dela Pena, Maya Nubla, Anna Karenina Lim, Jay Delos Reyes, Ianne Rico, Mary Jane Pasquale, Julie Alfaro Santiago, Beck Zapanta, Nhiles Basa Ventura, Carole Donato Bautista, Beng Mallari, Eric Cabahug, Robyn Pepito Petalver, Jun Lao, Aileen Arias-Sotto, Bianca Rodriguez, Rosana Alzona, and Mhedy Perez.
Houston, San Antonio, New York, Makati, James Iha, M.Y.M.P., Jose Mari Chan, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Eraserheads, Jimmy Bondoc, Third Eye Blind, and all the places, things, songs, and artists that inspired me to write my novel.
Dennis, Emma, Ethan, and Mochi who will always come first and my writing, second.
The Janelles of this world.
The James Rens of this world.
The dreamers of this world.
The FOBOLOUS of this world.
Those who told me their stories and those who inspired me to write theirs.
You who still believe in the magic of true love and the power of novels.
From the tip of my pen to the last letter in the Epilogue of my very first novel, I would like to thank you for being with me in this journey.
Did somebody say sequel?
Or am I hearing things again?
This music video has nothing to do with the blog but the song reminds me of home and I'm thankful for that, too.