SUNSET ON THE AUTHOR CASTLE
When I moved into the castle, Cassie Park and I took pictures in every room. Last night I turned the page again. Didn’t have quite the same urge to take pictures in every room but I did get my last picture on the stairs and in front of the iconic fireplace. I’ve taken thousands of photos in those two spots and for some reason I just had to get an official final photo.
Yesterday we had the last shoot at the castle, a video for a remarkable young woman being mentored by Emma G who was the court musician for The Author Castle.
It seemed fitting somehow, to use this amazing space until the last minute of our tenancy. Marianne Williamson spent a good chunk of the first half of 2020 at the castle and she said “When you have a big house like this, it becomes a character in your life.” And boy, was that true. I swear that house has a life of its own. Leaving it feels like losing a friend. There is grief, but so much joy for the memories made together.
I’ve seen 1,000 splendid sunsets here. Spend over 100,000 minutes in meditation here. Hosted hundreds of meals and sleepovers. Swum more laps in the pool than I care to count. Held over 100 events. Shot over 1,000 videos. And while this place was vast, we used every room. We consistently had between 1 and 3 staff members to help with managing this house and it was never enough, there was always more to do. I moved into the castle in October of the year I would cross $1M in revenue for the first time. We couldn’t get approved for a mortgage but someone in my mentorship taught me about lease-purchase deals. We negotiated just that paying each month towards the down payment while also paying rent. The castle was my home, my event venue, and my savings and investment plan all in one.It was also a gathering place. There was something magnetic about it.
Stephanie Synclair was my first guest. And Marianne Williamson was the last. In between was a parade of some of the best minds and most exciting entrepreneurs and artists in the world.
The Author Incubator helps people write books. Most of that process is done remotely over zoom and through digital file sharing. But meeting authors in person and welcoming them into my home was the pay off for me. I used to tell my authors I engineered one of my events so that I would start the day with a dose of oxytocin insisting on 7 second heart hugs from all my authors. The virus turned the events part of our business into permanent uncertainty.
Our authors are doing better than ever in an all virtual world. We have had 100% of our authors finish their books since coronavirus hit. Up from about 98% last year. The book are better. The authors are saving time and travel costs. We have learned new ways to connect on Zoom. We are getting best sellers faster. We are reaching more people than ever. It’s such a strange twist but it turns out we don’t need events to get amazing results.
Buying the Castle in 2 – 4 years began to seem less and less likely. Leaving would mean walking away from the money we’ve socked away for the purchase (well over $1M bucks). Classic sunk cost fallacy problem… I was living inside of an economics final exam. Staying would mean continuing to save each month for a house I no longer wanted to buy. Leaving would mean walking away from a huge investment. What do you do?
You leave of course. Despite the sadness and the heartbreak. You leave.
Yesterday, I said goodbye to a magical home, and amazing event venue, and the shittiest investment strategy I’ve had to date.
I know it was the right decision and I am so ready to move on to what’s next. We moved into an incredible home west of Georgetown that used to be the residence of the ambassador of Azerbaijan. Bidets and multi-headed showers everywhere in this place. These were the cleanest people in DC. I am grateful for this surprise fresh start.
Here’s to everyone who ever visited The Author Castle. While the home itself is beautiful, it was the love, excitement and energy inside those walls that made it remarkable. And whether you worked there, attended an event there, or just hung out as a friend there, you were a part of what made the castle MAGIC.