On Friday, 16 November, I held a party to celebrate the release of my first book, Get After It: Seven Inspirational Stories to Find Your Inner Strength When It Matters Most, at the Sitar Arts Center in Washington D.C. While local bookstores weren’t interested in my book or hosting a launch/release party, Sitar welcomed me with open arms, as I have been a volunteer music instructor there for almost four years.
The purpose of the event was to do a few things: spread the word about the book and its messages, highlight the impact Sitar has on the community, and thank everyone who helped make the book possible. Looking back, I think we accomplished those three things.
To start, Maureen Dwyer, the Executive Director of the Sitar Arts Center told the 40-or-so attendees about the impact that the center has in the community through arts and music education programs, after-school programs, summer programs, and its partnerships with other organizations throughout the District. Following Maureen, my first words were to give thanks to those who helped make the book and the event possible, including my wife Abby, my family, the Sitar staff, and my supporters at the event, especially my support team:
- Garrett Schaffel, my brother, helped welcome guests and sell books. Garrett works for the American Postal Workers Union and is a member of the DCDSA.
- Mandy Slutsker also helped me sell books at the event. Mandy works in public health and runs a podcast called Is This Real Life? that draws practical life lessons from reality television shows and has more than 800 weekly listeners.
- Kara McCartney was my photographer. In addition to photography, Kara is a blogger, writer, and digital marketer.
Having so much support, including the guests, was humbling and made me feel very loved. That so many people would take time out of their schedules, especially on a Friday night, was something truly special to me. Although the event started later than I expected, and although we went longer than I expected, I think it was a very successful evening in accomplishing the three goals.
Staff from Sitar told me that people made donations to the center that evening, which showed that we were spreading the word about the center’s impact. I also sold about 50 books, a relatively small but good opportunity to keep spreading the message about the book in the hope it will resonate with others.
To all who read this and all who were there, thank you for your support. It couldn’t and wouldn’t have been the same without you.
If you’d like to watch a video of the event, check it out on YouTube.
Now get after it!