99 Drams of Whiskey: Released and Relieved

Today is a very big day.

99 Drams of Whiskey will be on the shelves today. It will definitely be at Borders, it will likely be at some Barnes & Noble, and it may be available at your local book seller. If it isn’t, feel free to ask them to order it for you. Or, if you’re a fan of having books delivered to you, feel free to order from some of the online services listed in the upper left column.

I don’t know what to feel, to be honest. Part of me is thrilled. It is a big deal for me, as I’ve been waiting for this day for about a decade. Everything I’ve done online has been done in part in order to get a book out there. Well, now there’s a book out there, and all I can think is “Well, now what?”

Which isn’t fair to the whiskey book. After all, this is a pretty unique experience that I’ve just had. In reading the various blogs and forums dedicated to the whiskey world, Krysta (my partner in crime in the book) and I had a trip that is the envy of many. We got to drink in a small creek in the Highlands, we both were able to sample our age in whiskey, we both had white lightening straight from the still, and we both partook of a drink of sixty-three year old whiskey. Then I had the joy and pain of documenting the entire journey for the benefit of those who wished to read of our travels.

During the book publishing process, I was able to read the positive things that other whiskey writers have said of this work. Take Chuck Cowdery, author of Bourbon, Straight, and a supplier of a blurb on 99 Drams wrote recently on a bourbon forum:

… I talk to reporters all the time. It’s very frustrating when you give them the correct information but they still get it wrong in the article. It’s especially frustrating when they cite you as the source, as she did with Mike, since it gives the impression that Mike doesn’t know any better, when I’m sure he gave her the correct information in every instance.

Just somebody who is not very good at her job, I’m afraid.

Sometimes you can tell when it’s going to happen, because they keep asking you variations on the same questions and can’t seem to grasp the answers. Sometimes it’s because they already think they know things and just don’t hear (or care) when you tell them something contrary to what they already believe.

If you want evidence that a relative novice can ask a lot of questions and relay the answers accurately, read 99 Drams of Whiskey, by Kate Hopkins…

Then there was the phone call I had with Jim Murray which lasted almost an hour as we talked about whiskey and writing.

And then next Sunday, the New York Times get’s to put their two cents on the book.

Really. I could not have asked for much more out of this experience.

The Primary objective of the book – to gain more than a rudimentary knowledge of whiskey – was accomplished. The Secondary objective – to write it in such a way that was both entertaining and educational to the reader – has yet to be determined. The third objective – to sell just enough books to guarantee a second book – is out of my hands.

Regardless of what happens, this has been an amazing experience. Everyday that I dealt with this book was a learning experience, and I loved every second of it.

And now, onto book two. Let’s hope I learned the right lessons with book one.