This past winter I was contacted by a professor from the local university about the possibility of doing a presentation for some of the student writers in attendance there.
Unsure of exactly where the professor’s line of thinking was headed I remained quiet while she described the possibility of doing a reading and book signing at the university library. I thought to myself that it would be great to be invited somewhere to talk about my books rather than not so subtly bring it up in conversations when ever I’m in a public setting. Like when I'm at the grocery store and someone asks me what brand of yogurt I like, I say something like, “Yogurt I love Greek yogurt, by the way my latest novel is coming out this week.” Smooth, not so much but at least I’m trying. So an opportunity like this is golden.
Unfortunately the professor wasn’t done with me yet and thus far her conversation was...directionally challenged to say the least.
She went on to tell me about the group I would possibly be doing a separate conference with and this, as they say, is when the train started to derail. She asked me if I’ve ever heard of the Black Fly Review? It is a yearly local publication of collected poetry and essays…I know that now…not so much when confronted on the phone by an over zealous college professor. I could tell by her tone that she wasn’t impressed with the fact that I had no idea about a yearly publication that went out of existence when I was in 2nd grade, that they are now thinking of revamping.
Somewhat discouraged she then went on about how I might have something to offer their aspiring authors because and I quote, “You might have some talent in that area.” Eye twitch, this was quickly turning into the phone call from hell but my eyes were on the prize and this lady was not going to slow me down.
Next she compared me to a very well known author from the area…this confused me since the only thing this author and I have in common is our area code. The professor wasn’t done with the underhanded intentional insults or simply diarrhea of the mouth quite yet though. “I have all of her books. I haven’t read them but everyone seems to like her so I bought her books.” Um okay, good for you? At this point I was starting to think this was a prank call. Then she continued. “I was checking out your books and I can’t find them anywhere? Maybe we could help you get more attention so people know where to find your books?” Side note, there isn’t a bookstore in an eighty mile radius of my small town. If you read…at all, the books you get come from on-line book stores, where all of my books can be found. I would have told her so had she shut up long enough for me to get an word in edgewise but unfortunately our call ended and I was left standing in my kitchen with a confused look on my face as to what I may or may not have agreed to do this coming summer.
Moral of the story, we all have to take a few hits to the pride in order to get to our eventual goals. Will I have to deal with this woman again? Yup. Will it be worth it in the end? Don’t know. Will I laugh about this in the future? I sure as hell hope so. What wouldn't most authors do for to help promote their books? I'll tell you one thing, list is pretty short and jumping through flaming hoops isn't on it.