Monday, May 12, 2008

Round Table Round Up

I posted an entry a couple of week ago regarding my first presentation - to the Northern Illinois Civil War Round Table - associated with my forthcoming book, Lincoln's Labels: America's Best Known Brands and the Civil War.

The presentation was a great success, despite my own efforts to sabotage it (see more on this below!). We had a turnout of 40-50 members and other guests. My hosts were just terrific. The NICWRT is a great group...I felt really comfortable talking to them as I had spoken to them a few years ago and recognized several familiar faces.

How did I sabotage myself (almost)...well, for one - I left my lecture notes at the hotel (where I had been doing some last minute tweaking) a good 20-25 minutes away from the speaking venue. Next - we couldn't get my laptop to communicate with the LCD projector.

By the good graces of the staff at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, we got another copy of my notes printed out and with the help of their IT department, we got the PowerPoint presentation working.

The big lesson here - and put to great use by my hosts at the NICWRT - is: GET TO YOUR VENUE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE so that if there are pitfalls, you have time to correct them.

The talk went great...I got some wonderful questions at the end. Any seasoned speaker will tell you that there is nothing worse than getting zero questions! I'll be able to incorporate some of the questions and answers into future versions of my talk. I already have an engagement scheduled with the Baylor University/Waco, TX Civil War Round Table in October 2008, and am working on other opportunities as well.

I really appreciate the hard work that Dan Hoisington - my publisher at Ediborough Press - did in getting me some advance copies of the book even though the hardcover won't be officially available until August. I sold and signed about 12 of the double-top-secret-special-softcover editions that Dan secured and donated one to the NICWRT for the book raffle they have at the beginning of every meeting.

Twelve copies may not sound like a lot - but it does mean that about 1 of every 3 or 4 people bought one (if you consider that there were some couples there), and from my correspondence with other Civil War authors, that seems to be about average for book sales at a CWRT event.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening, and I do hope I'll have the privilege of speaking there again.

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