This is the story of a book that launched itself.
As any author knows, a Book Launch is a tricky proposition. Such an event can take long planning, lots of logistics, and not a small sum of money. And there is never any guarantee that it will be successful, or if anybody will show interest, or end up with a copy of the book you so carefully and dedicatedly wrote. It is all very unpredictable.
I have been involved in a number of book launches over the years, but strangely my recent book launched itself
The book is called:
‘The Adventures Of An Acupuncturer – 35 Years Behind The Needle.
A Clinical Autobiography of Qigong Acupuncture’
This is the story of what happened on Friday 17th July.
First, Some Background
About 9-10 years ago, when working at my practice at The Body-Energy Center on 29th Street in Boulder, Colorado, I decided I should write a book of my clinical experience, having seen a quote about a senior Japanese practitioner, Yoshio Manaka. This sentence said “At the culmination of their professional careers, Oriental physicians often write books setting forth the mature versions of their clinical vision, their creations and accomplishments.”
This never went away in my mind. It felt like a personal directive to me to do my own. There were many reasons to do it. I even sketched a quick chapter outline, in pen on a sheet of paper. But it was shelved because of various events – my divorce and the end of that life, establishing a new practice, creating The Global Qi Project, publishing other books, and the total upheaval of my move back to Liverpool in May 2013.
When I got back to England one of the first things I did was start working on it – within the first week. I needed it as a bridge between my worlds, to carry me across.
This became my primary creative focus. And it grew, and got more complex, and became the major preoccupation in any available time, when not engaged in working at Great Georges Community Cultural Centre / The Black-E, having previously worked there when I was 22-25 years old.
As well as writing the book for myself I had decided to send it out to the Acupuncture Association of Colorado (AAC) and the National Qigong Association USA (NQA) as I was Founding President of both of these organizations, and known by them. To my mind this constituted ‘giving it away’, which was the internal agreement I had made. My personal renegotiated Bodhisattva Vow.
Given all and everything involved in creating a new life it was not until the Autumn of 2014 – 1.25 years later after setting up my new practice and opening The Personal Energy Centre – that it finally got into its first complete draft. This first version was ready in November, but in terms of best timing I sent copies out to family and friends in place of a Christmas/New Year card.
But it was not professionally launch-ready, so it never went out to AAC or NQA at that time.
Then I got involved in the opening of my new practice – an Open House – which took most of my attention in January and February, followed by the beginning of Qigong classes.
I then came across some problems, a series of them:
- The 70 images were not embedded or organized in the proper way and had to be put right individually, in order for the document to open correctly.
- It had to be formatted for US paper size, as it had been written in British A4 paper format. This had to be done page by page by page, which took many hours.
- A couple of new chapters needed to be written to make it comprehensive.
- I realised that the best thing to do to make the book available was to put it on my own website, so people could just go there and download it. Which meant not only upgrading the site, but also learning WordPress – the Content Management System used to write text – something I had managed to avoid doing for the past year since my Web Masteress, Karelle Scharff, of www.bestwwwsolutions.com had converted it from the old CMS of Joomla in April 2014. This became it own obsession for 6-8 weeks, beginning with repeated crashes and lock-outs as I tried to figure out how WordPress worked. All in collaboration with Karelle on a professional basis.
- Then it dawned on me that the best thing would be to convert the old Global Qi Project site into my new Personal Energy Centre site. A Massive undertaking. This required writing all kinds of things – and to invent the new pages and programs for Treatment, Classes and Tao Studies, with illustrations… Essentially to create a new website. Another range of hills to climb.
- The upgrade also involved registering the domain names of www.personalenergycentre.com – which astonishingly were available – both as Centre and Center. Nobody in the wholewidewonderful had registered them. I now own both.
And finally, after gobs of effort and attention – and all of my available time – it was ready to go.
I contacted AAC and NQA in April
For AAC it was prior to their 32nd Annual Conference, and I thought they could announce it there. That didn’t quite happen as I had hoped, but we went back and forth about it in May and June with their representatives Kimberley Benjamin and Robin Schiesser. I was asked to write a brief ‘Press Release’ that they could put on their website. So I did and they said they would put it in their Summer Newsletter.
With NQA, they told me they liked it, but unfortunately could not promote it on their website by itself, because then everyone would want to do the same for their books. Fair enough. Instead they offered me a session of Qi Talks – their monthly one-hour phone-in chat show – in October… which then became November !!! I was contacted by Vicki Dello Joio, who was very helpful and encouraging about it. And we discussed the NQA 20th Anniversary Conference that was happening in July, in New Jersey.
Following a pre-conference Qi Talks with some of the NQA prominent members, that I phoned into to say Hello, Vicki suggested that I might do an audio or a video message that could be played as part of the opening of the conference – wishing everyone well, as the Originator and Founding President. I did not think this was reliable or assured enough, because too many techno variables that could go wrong.
So I told Vicki it would be best if I just wrote a paragraph or two that she could read out as part of the opening event, along with any others she received. That would be fool-proof. But she came back with the proposal that I call her on her phone, which she could hold up to the microphone, and thereby say something to everyone there. Sounded like fun, and a good idea. Just thought it would be one of a number of things going on. Not so…
And my old friend and co-founder Roger Jahnke was doing the opening Keynote Address at the conference, and had offered to announce and promote the book during his talk. In essence launching it for me.
Back at the AAC, during the week I had been checking and rechecking their website because they said the newsletter was to be announced that week. I obviously wanted to see how it came out. This became almost obsessive, also bearing in mind the 7 hour time difference. Checking it last thing at night and first thing in the morning – Monday No, Tuesday No, Wednesday No, Thursday No, Friday morning No.
After working at The Black-E all day, on Friday evening I went to my office. Opened my e-mail… and Kebammo !!! There it was, in the AAC newsletter. The Press Release I had written looked just great. My picture was there. The link to the site. And finally, the book downloaded, at a simple click.
It All Worked
It all worked – after 6 months of planning, and 2 years of writing, and 35 years of practicing. There it was. Unbelievable, but true.
And then I read the very beginning of the newsletter – the Opening Statement by the new president – Kimberely Benjamin. In the first paragraph she begins by stating how pleased she was about becoming President, and her mission and intentions, then continued…
“I am excited to have this opportunity to serve all of you in the coming year. We have a great team this year – some new people along with some veterans volunteering their time to work for you. Please welcome them and keep in mind that someday you may want to take a turn at serving your profession. (Don’t miss the free e-book download at the end of this newsletter from James MacRitchie, a founding member of the AAC who wants to pass on some of what he’s learned in more than 35 years of practice.)”
This was followed by some other statements and information.
Astonishing. Couldn’t buy such promotion. I was floored by it. How fabulous and wonderful and cool. Difficult to believe. Overwhelmed by it. Just kept reading and re-reading it all in disbelief – but it was real, and there it was.
To read this newsletter click the link, or copy and paste it.
Then I had to do the call to NQA. Made some notes, because I knew it had to be sharp and snappy.
At 11.30pm UK time / 6.30pm US, I phoned as agreed and Vicki told me to call back in 20 mins, which I did. She explained that Michael McComisky was about to start the whole conference, as the Master of Ceremonies, and to hold on the line. I was not sure what that meant. I heard him go to the microphone and welcome everybody, then say he had a surprise guest on the line who was going to say something.
Then Vicki said ‘OK Jim, you’re on’… and held her phone up to the microphone.
It hit me that they were getting me to open the 20th Anniversary Conference. After all I had produced and opened the 10th Anniversary Conference in Boulder in 2005 ! And the first one in 1996 !!!
In my best Transatlantic broadcaster tone I said:
“Helloooo America !!!
Helloooo NQA !!!
Can you hear me ?”
There was a roar of “YESSSSS” from a couple of hundred people.
Big Chi from Liverpool, England
“This is Jim MacRitchie wishing you Big Chi from Liverpool, England – The Wild West of Europe.
Some of you may have heard of Liverpool because some music groups came from this city [and sang] “He Loves You – Yeah, Yeah Yeah…”
I’m sorry I can’t be there but just wanted to wish you All The Very Best and Congratulations on an unbelievable 20th Anniversary Conference.
It seems like only a couple of decades ago since Roger Jahnke, Damaris (my former wife and partner was there, so I paused for a moment and said ‘Hi Damaris !’), Mark Johnson and others created this organization in 1996, in Boulder, Colorado.
And the Chi keeps spreading and expanding – thanks to all of you.
Some of the best events and moments of my life were at NQA Conferences, so enjoy every moment in the extraordinary Chi Field of NQA. And stay in The Tao.
Bye for Now!”
And a vast crowd of people yelled Byeee! Byeee!… with Cheers.
And I signed off.
It was extraordinary. Spectacular. What a Buzz. A One-Off. Once in a Lifetime. Wowza. Kerbam… It stunned me.
And then this was followed by Roger doing his opening Keynote Address, in which he promoted the book for me, putting the title and web link on the screen.
How cool was that ?
And NQA happened on the very same evening as the AAC announcement of my book
How can it possibly be that AAC and NQA both promote my book – on the very same day. When I first contacted them what they were each going to do was months apart – April for AAC and November for NQA. But it ends up happening on the same night in July ! For no reason what-so-ever !!! How can this be ??? They don’t even really know about each other, except through me.
So what on earth does that all amount to and mean ???
After all, when it’s too coincidental to be a coincidence, it’s not !
A friend said that it happened on the same day because I had joined the two words together in creating the name and the title ‘Qigong Acupuncture’ – and this was the Universe affirming that was right and correct. That was the reasons that AAC and NQA, two organizations that have nothing to do with each other, both came together on the very same day.
Makes perfect sense to me, from the perspective of Chaos Theory, the notion of Strange Attractors, and reality essentially being Holographic Fractals – which helps explain what otherwise could be called ‘Magic’.
Or, as somebody said, it’s a Chi Thing, a manifestation of The Tao !
AAC and NQA are affirming the work and the concept and the intention. It was because I put the two words and names together – and now they will cross-feed and reinforce each other. And my book seeds both of them.
Acupuncturists may start studying Qigong more.
Qigongsters may learn some of Acupuncture.
Anyway, I finally did it. I finally got the book out there – after months and years and decades of effort and focus.
Well it turns out that in the week following, according to the tracking of Google Analytics and WordPress a total of 92 people downloaded the book. In terms of book launches this is a very acceptable number. If you sold this number of books at a Book Launch in a bookstore you could be named author of the month… or year. Of course, it helps that the book is free, but the point is to get the information out, and that’s what does it.
And it is continuing to be downloaded daily.
Also, because there is no copyright, and it is ‘copyleft’, then anybody can send it to anybody else, and there is no way to track that, or to know how many people actually end up with it.
But in terms of book launches it could be said that the book launched itself !!!
Or maybe it was an ‘accidental book launch’. That depends on whether you believe in coincidence…
So what happens next ???
Perhaps this is what I came to do, and that’s it?
Perhaps I now need to just look after myself, as I get old and fade away !
Or perhaps there is something else in store… yet another ride on the merry-go-round ???
Guess I will find out…