Book Launch at the Iconic Academic Book Store, Akateeminen Kirjakauppa
This is kind of a big deal, right?
That’s what I kept asking my family on the day of the Big Rich Money book launch event.
The downside of writing the book in two languages, and my co-writer Candice Kilpatrick Brathwaite living in New York City, was that we never got to host our book launch event together. Candice hosted one for Big Rich Money: How to Turn Your Business Intentions Into a Profitable Company in New York, and I hosted one in Helsinki for the Finnish book Big Rich Money: Miten tehdä yrittäjän unelmista kannattavaa liiketoimintaa (Basam Books).
The book launch event was hosted by the Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, Academic Bookstore. It’s the iconic bookstore of Helsinki, like Strand in New York, but founded already in 1893. (Compared to Strand opening in 1927 and Shakespeare and Company, an iconic English-language bookstore in Paris opened in 1951). It’s safe to say that every notable Finnish author has held an event or two at the Academic Bookstore throughout its history.
It is kind of a big deal, but it was still just Helsinki, not New York, and part of me was feeling
I should be back at my “other home” in New York, and maybe I had failed somehow being here in Helsinki now.
It’s crazy, because these are exactly the thoughts we wanted to help our readers not to feel, and here I was feeling inadequate, instead of fully embracing my own success.
The bookstore is located in the center of Helsinki, in its stellar place on the corner of Etelä Esplanade and Keskuskatu, with Starbucks on the corner, and co-working spaces on the third floor. Just a year before, I had worked in the co-working space on the third floor, where a client from hell was telling me how his dream was to write a bestselling book one day. I felt a fleeting moment of victory, we wrote ours first.
The author stage is small, but it’s right in the center of the store, viewable from the floors above. The building itself is designed by the most famous Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, and it is called the Book House. The stage is set with modern furniture, also designed by Alvar Aalto.
When I arrived at the bookstore, there were only ten or so chairs put out for the audience to sit on and I asked the store manager where are the rest. He kind of shrugged and said:
Well, these book launches don’t get that many people anymore, not like they did before.
To add one more Aalto reference, the store manager told the most popular recent book launch that they had had there was a book about Aino Aalto, Alvar Aalto’s wife, who designed together with him. The book questions maybe Aino had more influence on Alvar’s genius designs than what she has been given credit for.
See? This is why we wrote Big Rich Money for women. Women have throughout history been discredited for the work they have done, and it has even been seen that women should not be pursuing their ambitions or making money. Every step of the way, women have more obstacles in their way when starting or running a business.
I asked the store manager to pull out all of the chairs they had. People would show up for the Big Rich Money book launch.
By the time it was for me to take the stage, all of the chairs were taken, and people were standing in the back and on the second floor looking down the stage.
Big Rich Money books are constructed in three different aspects:
Personal business experience stories, written by Candice and me.
Business and marketing strategy facts, advice and best practices from our 15 years of consulting, written by us.
Personal business experience stories from over 30 women entrepreneurs (and two men).
In the English version, we simply published the stories others wrote, without much editing. But I noticed something – I was expecting a little more from some of the stories. I knew there was much more to the story, or that many of the women had so much more to tell, but it quite didn’t all come through in their stories.
I get it – it is difficult to tell your own story, especially when it is inspiring and it’s about success or accomplishments.
We, women, are told all the time not to brag about ourselves.
That’s why for the Big Rich Money e-course we went even deeper into this and we teach simple formulas and ways to construct your story in a way that you sound as impressive as you in fact are.
But back to the book launch event.
For the Finnish version of Big Rich Money, I interviewed multiple Finnish entrepreneurs, whom I hand-selected. They all have done something exceptional that I really wanted to highlight in the book.
One of my most important messages is: don’t work alone, work together. Even if you are a solo entrepreneur.
That’s why the book launch was also not just about me, I wanted to have a panel discussion and bring two of the entrepreneurs whom I interviewed for the book on the stage with me.
Kati Jaakonen is the Pioneer Woman of Finland – the first and the most well-known food blogger with her site Hellapoliisi. I’ve followed Kati for years from afar and admired how she went from being a single mom and struggling to build an empire that many of my American blogger friends haven’t been able to pull off. She has also written multiple books, and is probably the bestselling Finnish food author.
Tiina Veijonen owns MyBnBLive, an online fitness media, where everyone trains for free. Tiina actually owned a gym, and organized fitness trips to Spain, but then Covid started, and her business was in ruins within hours. She literally watched as her bank account emptied when she had to return money from all sold-out fitness trips scheduled for 2020. She started an online community and wanted to keep her fitness community moving. She reached out to corporate sponsors and she ended up creating the largest free fitness community in Finland, and an extremely lucrative new business model.
Piia Koriseva was interviewing us. Piia is a professional TV and radio host, inspirational speaker, personal trainer, and author.
I don’t enjoy promoting myself, and it was nice to have someone else introduce me on the stage and Piia kept the panel discussing fun and going smoothly. But I had prepared some questions about the book and was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to make some of the most important points about the book in the event. I think the name Big Rich Money has so much shock value that it sucks attention sometimes. Big Rich Money is so much more than just about making money.
While it was super satisfying and ego-boosting to see this big display of Big Rich Money books at the bookstore a week before the book launch event, I asked if for the book launch event, they could add other books as well to the promotional table. In the Big Rich Money book I mention a few other books that are about business and making money written by women, and I wanted that Kati’s latest cookbooks were displayed, and also a book by one of the fitness instructors of MyBnBLive.
I wanted to make it normal that when you have a moment “on the stage”, you are always highlighting others as well.
Book Party at Marski
The evening continued at the Marski by Scandic Hotel’s Bar.
Champagne, discussions, and my favorite was the guest book, where everyone had to write something.
You can look at someone else and their book and think:
Maybe writing a book isn’t that difficult.
I wanted everyone to have the experience of writing something on paper.
Even if you have to write one paragraph on paper, add words for someone else to read later on, and sign it with your name, you are forced to have the moment to think:
An idea: what I am going to write?
Reason: why this is important for me to say?
Clarity: how am I going to say the things I want to communicate?
Maybe some felt it was easy to write a page to my book, and hopefully, it inspired them to think maybe they too could write a book (or more content on social media).
Maybe some found it difficult to find the right words, and it gave meaning to the occasion: writing a full book is a big deal.
By the end of the night, I too believed in myself and had the guts to say aloud
Hell yes, writing not just one book but two books, it IS a big deal.
Thank you to everyone who supported me, attended the book launch, and bought the book!
There is still time to buy the book or take the Big Rich Money e-course!