Onward

Well, it’s time to say goodbye to broadcast media.

I have had seven radio interviews. I still have one pending in Grants Pass late next month as well as the one promised to me by KXL for which I have high hopes.

Nevertheless, I’m not kidding myself. The radio interviews have resulted in perhaps five (count ’em FIVE) book sales. This is speaking volumes to me. Pardon the pun.

Yes, I still possibly have the TV stations. But I’ve done all I can with them. Now it’s a waiting game. I truly don’t expect much in the way of a response. Let’s face it; everyone wants to be on television and the TV stations probably spend an inordinate amount of time filtering through all the “boy loses dog, boy finds dog”–type of stories. Yes, my story is compelling. I’ve learned this from my interviewers which was gratifying since they are strangers. But others have intriguing stories, too.

No, it’s time for me to pull the next rabbit out of my hat. Now I will focus on adoption organizations, reality TV shows and websites. Perhaps somehow through these leads I will score, for lack of a better term. Something tells me that this shotgun approach of hitting the masses isn’t going to work unless I get on Oprah or Ellen.

So, I will spend November focusing on all that. I will also use some time in December since I will be out for one week due to surgery. I’m not terribly sure how far I’ll get as so many people and companies slow down for the holidays. But I have to try.

I still have a couple of things coming up. But not many. I would love it if my calendar were completely full. Some day soon.

Cut some slack and keep on keeping on

OK, I’m gonna cut myself some slack here. I just listened to the MP3 of my KUIK interview. I rattled along like a magpie and I now understand why. After Thursday’s interview at KSHL it became clear.

The interview at KUIK in Hillsboro left me with precious little time to speak. It was live and there were a LOT of commercials. As a result, I felt that I had to cram a lot of info into a short space of time. Whereas, the interview at KSHL in Newport was not done live and was recorded for future broadcast in November, National Adoption Month.

In the latter interview I felt more relaxed, like I could express myself and answer the questions fully. Perhaps even think. This helped me so I didn’t fall all over myself trying to think of the right word.

This whole thing is a learning process. I will become more versed as time passes and also more relaxed.

Secondly, I’ve got to cut myself some slack on the pace of success. Radio interviews seem to be relatively easy to get–I’ve proven that. TV interviews? Well, we’ll see about those. I’m sure they are much more difficult.

The frustrating thing is that radio interviews are not resulting in sales. It makes me wonder if I’m spinning my wheels. We all know that visual media sells more so perhaps that should be where I focus my energies.

I’ve already contacted the TV stations in Portland and Vancouver, B.C. I still have to contact Seattle. I’m gonna pursue Bend, Eugene and Medford, too. But once I’ve done that, then what? Do I just let This is My Lemonade lie there and die a slow, agonizing death?

I get discouraged and sometimes wonder why I’m doing this. Should I have quit my job? Was it an impulsive thing to do? Should I have thought this out more? If I had, I might not have made the jump. I tend to over-think things which means I’d STILL be considering the decision if I hadn’t been so impulsive.

Yet every time I doubt, every time I think of pulling the plug, something happens–KXL suddenly tells me they want an interview. I find out KEZI-TV in Eugene is considering me. I then find my faith stretched. Is this God’s way of telling me to hold on, that I’m getting somewhat closer to the end of the rainbow for my pot of gold? By that I don’t mean a million dollars, but some substantial income generation that will allow me and encourage me to continue? Or at least the knowledge of where to go next, what to do next?

Or is this just random? I believe in God and in the power of the Almighty but I am not certain what part He plays. Is all of this the result of my efforts, blessed by God? Is it just me using the talents God gave me? How do I know? The thing is, I don’t know for sure. A former friend said once that he believes God is aware of everything but not necessarily involved in everything. That makes sense to me. Is God responsible for me getting a convenient parking space when I’m late for an important appointment? Or did the man parking there just happen to leave?

I know there are some who are not happy or comfortable that I’m suddenly invoking the Almighty. I don’t care. This is important to me and I grapple to know so I can make intelligent decisions. Yet the reality is this: if I were to pull the plug, it would not be God that was responsible because the book wasn’t successful. It would be due to my decision. Yet if I continue and it does become successful, is that because of my intelligence and diligence or because God influenced it? Or is it both? It all takes me back to two paragraphs above. Whatever. I will keep on keeping on.

Think like an author. Act like an author. Be an author.

I’m sitting in the library of the Sylvia Beach Hotel. The hotel is on a cliff overlooking the shimmering blue Pacific in the historic Nye Beach area of Newport. The sun is unrelenting, without encumbrance from the usual ever-present clouds. The view from my room looks out onto the Yaquina Head Lighthouse as well as an almost-empty beach.

This area has been a favorite of mine for several years now. Ordinarily I would stay at the Elizabeth Street Inn (what is it with me and hotels named after women, Sigmund?). But during this short jaunt, I opted for Sylvia Beach. The area is chock full of bistros, restaurants, pubs and bookstores. Access to the beach is easy. It’s a glorious atmosphere.

This hotel is known around the world for its unusual twist. Each room is dedicated to a famous author and decorated accordingly. I happen to be in the Virginia Woolf room, which was the only one available with a bed that would accommodate my large frame (read: massive chest). I have to admit that I wonder what the Hemingway room looks like—is it full of empty whiskey bottles?

I’m quite taken with my decision to stay at Sylvia Beach. The library is upstairs facing the ocean. Comfy, overstuffed chairs and couches abound, some looking out on the beach. Books galore fill tables and spill out of bookcases. One of the books is mine. Autographed, of course.

I’m here because I opted to visit four radio stations in person. I’ve been having difficulty getting through to the people in charge at these stations so I just drove over. It’s called assertiveness.

Stopping in Albany first, I visited station KLOO and dropped off an autographed book. I continued on to Newport where I invaded station KSHL. The Program Director, a fun lady named Leslie, apologized profusely for not returning my calls. She redeemed herself by giving me a twenty-minute interview on the spot. Next on my hunt will be KCUP, also in Newport, and then KBCH in Lincoln City. My work will then be done. For now.

While I’m here, I will meander along the beach, reveling in the fresh sea air. Tonight I enjoyed a great salmon dinner at Sylvia Beach. Two dinner companions enthusiastically bought books when I told them that I’m a writer. Tomorrow will feature lunch at a favorite bistro, Canyon Way, after visiting the radio stations. Later, the return home.

But until then, while it’s dark and windy and cold outside, I will ensconce myself in a small alcove of the library of this historic home cum hotel and allow my brain to free associate. I will write, enjoying the pristine solitude. I will breathe in the musty scent of decades gone by, of old books a million times read, of worn leather. I will do what an author does. I will think like an author. I will act like an author. I will be an author.

I am an author.

October 16, 2013

So, radio interviews are now old hat. Or are they? Today I had my fifth radio interview. I went in supremely confident and just fumbled over all my words. I’m really afraid for the MP3 to arrive because I’m going to sound like a twit. Should I put it on my website? People will think I’m drunk.

But it’s good that it happened. Even though I know my topic (ME!), it’s important that I’m mentally prepared for each interview. Each radio personality has different questions and I’m still falling into the trap of wanting to say what I want to say. I also noticed that the radio personality knows what he/she is doing. That’s probably a “duh” statement, but it’s important to remember that. I need to respect what they are doing and the path they are on and follow it.

This interview was different than the other four. The personnel at the station were very respectful and polite to me. I mean, they displayed a respect and politeness that I remember as a child–old-fashioned respect and politeness. The kind that you only seem to find in small town America. However, this was in Hillsboro, Oregon, the epicenter of Oregon’s high-tech cluster, a suburb of 100,000 people. I was impressed.

I was especially impressed by my interviewer. She had actually bought the Kindle version of my book and read the whole thing. When she told me she had “read it”, I thought she meant the prologue and first chapter which are available on my website. She corrected me and I was astonished. I sent this station (KUIK) an email on October 10. On October 12 they contacted me for an interview. That means she had less than a week to read it. As most people have indicated, she, too, said she couldn’t put the book down. She said the characters were fascinating and that she was totally engrossed.

But more than that, she told her listeners this same thing. Probably three times she spoke about how engrossing the book was and how everyone should go out and buy it. I was so gratified. She is the first radio personality to do that. I fell in love with this woman!

But even more than that, she GOT it. By that I mean, she understood the issues behind the book. She understood what I was going through. She asked me if I have trouble trusting and I answered affirmatively. She said that as she read, she was yelling at the book, telling me not to go back to my biological father. But she understood why. I was thrilled.

And to top off today, as I drove to this interview which was at 3:30, I received an email on my iPhone from KXL, the biggest talk radio station in Oregon. The Program Director said he would be in touch for an interview. KXL is also coupled with KUFO and he said that they would probably play the interview on both stations. I never expected to get an interview there.

I still have one interview scheduled in Grants Pass in November as well as a possible TV interview in Eugene that month. I’m waiting to hear from stations in Klamath Falls, Medford and Tillamook. Tomorrow I go visit stations in Corvallis, Lincoln City and Newport. I’ve already contacted TV stations in Portland and Vancouver, B.C. I still have Medford and Seattle TV stations. After the media is over, I suppose I’ll put more effort into my next outing. As I fly to Europe for Christmas, I’ll have lots of dead time to make notes and write.

The pursuit continues

Sometimes I’m such a dunce. I just found out that November is National Adoption Month. A good buddy of mine told me. He works for a TV station in Eugene, Oregon and gave my book to one of the primary people there. They are actually considering it and me for an interview to commemorate the month. He then told me via Facebook about National Adoption Month.

Now why didn’t I know that? Why didn’t I research that during all this work to promote my book? Yes, an argument can be made that I’m doing all the work with no one to help me, but, DAMN! I could have been working that angle for months in order to garner some sort of leeway into interviews.

Nevertheless, I’m using it now. And thanks to my awesome buddy, Doug, for looking out for me and trying to help me. Now it’s up to me to, once again, take the knowledge I have and run with it.

With this knowledge I am now using it as yet more leverage into radio stations and television stations. A couple of radio stations are very interested in addition to those I’ve contacted. I’ve contacted every TV station in Portland and am pursuing those in Bend, Eugene, Medford, Roseburg and Salem. I’ve also decided to go out of state and pursue the Seattle TV stations. Probably quite a long shot, but who knows, eh?

But the biggest prize for me would be Vancouver, British Columbia. I reasoned to myself that this topic would be HUGE for them. Think of it: an unmarried woman from B.C. travels to Oregon to live with a couple and give up her son. Biological father attempts to keep child and is arrested and imprisoned for his efforts. Her son searches for the family and meets them (sans bio mother who already died) in B.C. Said son has a tumultuous relationship with his Canadian family. Nevertheless, the biological family takes the son to Italy to meet the extended family. Adopted son also starts proceedings to try and clear bio father’s name for his unfair arrest. I mean, GOOD LORD! Who wouldn’t want this story???

Of course, I’m prejudiced. But I think it would fascinate people.

Once November is done, there won’t be much left for me to do to promote this book. I supposed at that point, I’ll pull out all the stops on the next one. I’m going to Italy for Christmas (Paris for New Year’s) and will have time on the long flights to write and make notes. Of course, once I’m in Italy, not much will get accomplished!

The pursuit continues. I’ve spoken to several translators and the cost is ranging from $4000-$16,000. I have people in Italy searching for translators for me. It will be interesting to see what happens. Once gentleman communicating with me is an Italian who recently relocated to Burbank, California. He is also a screenwriter which I found intriguing–until he told me that turning my book into a screenplay would cost $25,000! Might have to wait awhile.

I’m certainly uncertain

I feel really self-conscious. I’ve only done three radio interviews, yet I’m already feeling uncomfortable. And I have another upcoming radio interview, plus who knows how many more that I might get. Today I visited two television stations in the Portland area. I’m also planning on visiting TV stations in Bend, Eugene and Medford.

And if I get interviews with each of them, I will feel self-conscious. Why? Because I feel like I’m repeating myself. And, truth be told, I AM repeating myself. I can’t help it. Each independent endeavor requires the same questions to be asked to me resulting in the same answers. And that makes me feel somewhat embarrassed.

Yet I should not feel so. I mean, come on, each audience in each city is different. It’s not like people are driving from city to city to listen to each interview. But it just feels somehow a bit, oh, inauthentic. Is this what the creative realm is like?

Even if the creative realm is like this, it’s no big deal. When I worked in the corporate world, I gave the same training or sales speech over and over. After years I had perfected them. What’s wrong with now?

Perhaps it is because I’m talking about something so intensely personal. Something that is very important to me, that I truly hope will resonate with people and touch their lives. By “marketing” myself I feel somehow like I’m cheapening it. Yet if you look at late night talk shows, they are full of celebrities moving from one show to the next to sell their movie, memoir, concert tour or television show.

I also think that there’s another issue. Prior to these radio/TV gigs, I was just having readings/book signings. They were hard enough to accommodate. Now, already, I’m dealing with the media which means that things could actually, truly get bigger. Maybe even BIG. And that frightens me. Not that I wouldn’t be able to handle it; I believe I would. I have a hard time accepting success. What would I do if I achieved it? As I’ve said before, I would have to admit that I’m OK and that I’ve actually accomplished something. And, as any abuse victim can attest, it’s difficult to accept positive things about yourself. It’s comfortable to remain quivering in the shadows, believing that you’re worthless and have no use. I think that will be the most difficult aspect to conquer.