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Launching Leona’s Written Camino

Yesterday was AMAZING!! I celebrated the launch of my very first book: ‘On My Way: 800 Kilometres of Destination Self‘. A book about my journey on the Camino de Santiago, an 800 kilometre walk through Nothern Spain. I had turned the whole day into a celebration, starting with cake and coffee in the morning, followed by the big event on Zoom, with my friends from all over the world, and then followed by champagne, cards from my family, before heading out for pizza and finishing the day off with movie. The whole day felt like a huge celebration.

I spend all of last week working up to yesterday. I had worked hard and kept busy, and even made some last minute changes to my book beofre it officialy went live. And while it was stressful, I also felt calm and ready. I had prepared the launch Zoom event with my sister, Rowena, who would be my MC throughout the party, and I just felt ready. I was confindent that everything would go well and would be fantastic. I felt giddy with excitement, eager for Sunday to arrive.

But the lead-up to Sunday was hectic. My last minute changes were quite significant. While the content of the book was all set, there wer two things I really wanted to change. One was a small change: in the excitement of setting everything up, I spelled my own middle name wrong in the ‘about the author’ section of my book. A minor spelling error and easy to change, as KDP lets you make small updates to your manuscript without making it a whole new version. Yet my second change was quite big and would require my book to have to be re-uploaded completely, which also meant re-linking it to my kindle version and getting rid of the initial version. My proof copy had shipped to my family friends’ house, in the Netherlands, as, unfortunately, this wouldn’t ship to St. Barths, and when she send me a super exciting video, the first thing that popped up in my head was that it looked big. Too big. And while it also looked beautiful and I got to see my very own book in print being held by a friend, I didn’t want my initial reaction to be a concern about the size of my book. I wanted the first reactinon about my book to be excitement. I wanted my book to be perfect. To feel that way immediately when I saw it. So the Monday before my book launch, I decided to change the dimensions of my print book to one that would be a size smaller, and for the next four hours I was sucked into my computer, fixing the manuscript to flow, to have the page numbers line up, for the cover to be the right size, and by 17:00 I was done. Now it was just a matter of waiting for my new book version to be uploaded in time so that I could unpublish the previous, too big version, and manage to link the kindle version to the new book.

When everything was ready and all synched up on Friday morning I felt a wave of relief was over me. Everything was ready to go and on Sunday my book would available for purchase for all my friends, families and strangers!

When Sunday morning did arrive, I woke up early. By 06:30 AM I was already sipping my first cup of coffee on the couch, thinking to myself that today would be the day that I would share my first book with the world. I would officially be a published author, having my own, self-published book out there in the world for others to read and enjoy. I felt excited. It seemed so crazy to say that I wrote a book. I really did it!!

The whole day I felt like I was on cloud nine. Around 10:00 I headed to mom’s house, together with Rowena, but first stopping by the bakery to pick up cake! Once at mom’s we enjoyed cake and coffee, once we finished eating I read a little preview of my dedication and foreword from my book, and all the chapter names. After we decided to play our favourite card game: Hartenjagen and I did a test call with my grandma to make sure she would be able to log-in for my Zoom event a little later.

At 14:00 we stopped the game and got ready for my party. I changed and got my laptop all set up, with my balloons my family had gotten me behind me, feeling ready to go and excited for my event. I logged on at 14:15, just to check all the internet and set-up, and slowly then friends and family rolled in from all over the world! I had my Camino friends tune-in from New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Belgium, the US and the UK! My family tuned in from all over the Netherlands, all already there 15 minutes before the event started. And all my friends from all over the globe tuning in from Australia, France, Germany, Norway, from all over the US, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and many more places! I felt so excited and so loved to see so many wonderful happy faces awake in all different time zones to simply be there to support me!

The whole event went fantastic! We enjoyed an interview with the author, for which my sister, Rowena, MC-ed, and while I started off a little too excited and talking too fast, I managed to catch myself and slowdown. The interview was followed by some snapshot from my Camino, to give people more of an idea on what everything looks like along the way. After that we shifted to a Q&A from the audience and although everything had gone much quicker than I expected, this was great because now there was a lot of time for questions from my friends and family. We ended the Zoom launch party with a print book giveaway and giving the link to everyone so that they can purchase a copy and enjoy the story!

After the event I celebrated at home with my family, enjoying champagne and some more cake from that morning, toasting to my wonderful creation that was now live in the world! Each of them wrote me a card, which were all incredibly heartfelt, I teared up reading them. After that I read some more messages from friends who had been at my event, and felt my heart grow, feeling warm and loved.

The rest of the late-afternoon we finished our cardgame, which Christiaan won, and then we decided to get ready and go for pizza, to our favourite pizzaria: L’isoletta. We enjoyed a bottle of Valpodicella, with our regular pizza flavours, and by the end of the evening, before getting the check, we were surprised by a beautiful tiramisu cake that had the title of my book on it, as a gift from the team! I had told one of the wonderful ladies that works there, Viviana, that we would be coming to celenbrate my book that evening and so she had planned the surprised and I was so touched. It was so amazing to see the title of my book on a cake that someone put in extra effort to make for me. We devoured the cake with the four of us, happily eating myself sick to my stomach, and headed home to end the evening with a movie on the couch, unable to move for the next two hours as we were recovering from the pizza, wine, and tiramisu.

The whole day was a grand success and I went to sleep incredibly happy that night. That night I went to bed as an author, with so much support from my friends and family, I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

You can buy my book here on Amazon:
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For EU/FR:
For UK:

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