Tuesday, July 27, 2021

WHAT A LAUNCH! WHAT A FIRST MONTH!

     Well, PRESIDENT HAMILTON is now out there for the world to read!  It's been a crazy, up and down first month (more up than down), but I'm happy to report that my alternative history epic has had the strongest launch of any of my books, and the momentum really doesn't seem to be slowing down much.  I thought I'd spend a little time this morning just sharing some of the feedback I have already gotten, and some of the cool things that have happened since the last time I sat down and wrote to you all.

     First of all, Amazon pulled a fast one on me and released the book two days ahead of its scheduled date - which meant that PRESIDENT HAMILTON was literally "born on the Fourth of July!"  It turned out that Christopher and Jesse, the owner/operators of Electio Publishing, had been butting heads with Amazon - they wanted me to get my copies of the book on or before the official release date, but Amazon would not ship them till the book was released.  So they agreed to release the book on Sunday instead of Tuesday, and I got my copies in the mail that Thursday.

     The first physical copy of PRESIDENT HAMILTON that I saw, however, was not even mine!  Several people ordered it on Sunday and had their copies in hand by Tuesday, including one of my favorite former students Riley Williams.  She messaged me Tuesday morning, saying she had gotten hers and wanted me to sign it, so we met that afternoon at Starbucks and I finally got to hold my "brain baby" in my hands - even if I couldn't keep that copy!  But I gladly signed it for her, and two days later my copies arrived - all 150 copies, some 13 boxes full of books. (Interestingly enough, Amazon shipped me one single copy that arrived a day before the pile of boxes, which made me wonder why on earth one out of 150 would have been packed and shipped separately.)   I did have my wife get some video of me opening the boxes and reading the blurb from the back of the book and some of the advance reviews, I was REALLY happy that day!  If you are so inclined, you can watch that video HERE on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDGNPatj7iw

     Several people had already requested signed copies by mail, so once those boxes arrived I packed up nine copies that were already paid for and shipped them out first thing the next morning.  Over the next two weeks I would sell forty copies of PRESIDENT HAMILTON, either to fans on Facebook who wanted a signed first edition, or to friends and family in the community.  Reviews started dropping right away, too - from sources as varied as one of my 14-year-old history students named Avery, to Hamilton scholars Marianne Als and Nancy Spannaus to Mary-Anne Hamilton, the widow of Alexander's great-great-grandson!  As of this morning, I am now up to nine Amazon reviews and two additional Amazon ratings, with an overall rating of 4.9 stars.  The reception this book has received has warmed my heart and given me a sense of vindication that I really have accomplished my original goals in writing this book, which were to tell a good story first, and do full justice to the memory of a great man, second.

     The slate of public events lagged behind the book release by a couple of weeks by design.  With every single one of my books (and, I imagine, with every book they publish), Jesse and Christopher have warned me not to schedule any events until 2-3 weeks after the release date, since there might be a delay in shipping my copies.  It would, after all, be embarrassing to schedule a book signing and wind up having no books to sell!  But I did hold my first event on Wednesday, the 21st of July - a speaking engagement at a Lions Club meeting in McKinney, TX.  I got up and did a 35 minute lecture entitled: "Alexander Hamilton - Who He Was, Why He Was Important, and Why He Still Matters Today."  There were 17 people in attendance at the meeting, and when it was over I wound up selling nine copies of my book.  After packing up, I drove over to Recycled Books in Denton, TX.  This is one of my favorite bookstores, but they aren't doing live signing events yet after the COVID pandemic last year.  However, the manager of the store said he would be willing to purchase a few signed copies to sell, so I made the trip and left three copies and a poster for them to put in the store window.

     Saturday, June 24 was the big day, though - my first formal book signing, at Half Price Books in Rockwall, TX.  The store manager, Jordan, has always been very helpful and supportive, and my friend Eliza Matic showed up with her husband, Tommy, in costume as Alexander and Eliza Hamilton!  We had a lovely time visiting and swapping Hamilton stories in between customers, and at the end of the day, I had sold 30 more copies of PRESIDENT HAMILTON!  So as of this morning, 23 days after the book was released on Amazon, as near as I can estimate, my alternative history novel has sold between 80 and 90 copies on Amazon (maybe more, those algorithms are hard to track), and I have personally sold some 82 copies.  For a new book by a relatively unknown author, those are excellent numbers!  I am confident that, as more people read and review the book and word continues to spread, that they will go nowhere but up.   My videographer, Austin Thomas, also came to Rockwall and shot lots of video.  He's still in the process of editing it, but when the episode is done, it'll be posted on my YouTube channel, Indiana Smith.  I'd invite all of you to like, share, and subscribe - it's a fun channel where I talk about my books and also take you along on many adventures in my ongoing quest for artifacts and fossils.

     I still haven't heard back from Lin-Manuel Miranda, but I did ship him two signed copies of PRESIDENT HAMILTON last Friday, and hopefully they have found their way into his hands by now. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for some sort of public endorsement from him.  I also have a very full schedule of signing events coming up - I'll be showing up at bookstores all over north Texas in the next few months. You can see my upcoming schedule of events at my personal website, here:

https://lewisbensmith.com/meet-lewis/

    (Looks like I need to update that calendar, BTW!)

    This weekend I'll be at the Half Price Books store at Firewheel Mall in Garland, TX - they've already got my posters in the window and I am hoping for a great turnout!  For all of you who don't live in North Texas but are intrigued by the idea of Alexander Hamilton becoming President, please feel free to order the book on Amazon today.  And please, when you're done, leave me a review and let me know what you thought!  Thanks for taking the time to read this update.   Till next time!

(Oh, and here's the Amazon link below)

https://www.amazon.com/President-Hamilton-Novel-Alternative-History/dp/1632137100/ref=sr_1_23?dchild=1&qid=1624931942&refinements=p_27%3ALewis+Ben+Smith&s=books&sr=1-23&text=Lewis+Ben+Smith

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