THE MAKING OF A BOOK
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PART 25 WELCOME TO MARKETING
I opened the email titled “Welcome to Marketing.” The nine months of labor producing Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot had given birth. I might add this was nine months collaborating with the publisher. Years of talking to people about their faith preceded the labor pains. The official release date was set for September 2012, but the email said books could be purchased from the publisher and the author. I put the link to the publisher’s purchase page on my website and ordered books.
Before I received my books, an acquaintance called. She tried to buy five books from the publisher’s website, but the links did not work. I called the marketing representative the publisher had assigned to me. He promptly called my friend to take her order. I had questioned that anyone would spend money on something I wrote, and was surprised that my first sell was not one but five books.
The marketing representative came to my rescue more than once rectifying minor glitches. He was professional and quick to respond to my concerns. On one occasion, he was trading emails with me at 8 p.m. None of the negative things I read about Tate Publishing proved true.
A professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University made the second purchase. While in town conducting research about the effect of religion on society, a pastor gave him my name as a useful resource. I met with the professor to discuss people I had interviewed and their experiences. He concluded the conversation with a purchase of my book.
After the initial purchases, I focused on delivering the complimentary copies I owed to the people who had shared their stories for publication. I made appointments with people who lived in the same area of town. Then delivering the complimentary books became a little more complicated. Three appointments in one day brought me across the Huey Long Bridge to the east bank and then across the 24-mile-long bridge that spanned Lake Pontchartrain to the Northshore’s Literary Society. My day did not go as smoothly as I had planned.
First stop, Betty, the subject of Never Too Old. I behind the assisted living facility as instructed. Collected the complimentary copy and the extra copies she wanted to buy. Betty met me in the foyer. “Come up to my apartment and we will talk,” she said. I would have loved to but had another appointment in less than an hour. We sat on comfortable chairs in the foyer, next to a Grandfather Clock that chimed on the quarter hour.
For the next thirty minutes, I received a lesson on aging. Betty told me about a woman who had lain on the floor for three days before discovered near death. The incident prompted the residents to develop a system of cards that hung on the door. If the card stayed out too long, someone would check on the resident. Then someone complained about the invasion of privacy, and they abandoned the system. Betty pointed to a device her daughter made her wear. If Betty fell and could not get up, she pushed a button on the device to alert her daughter. She made me ponder if I would need a device one day.
A woman approached us. “Is this a private conversation?”
“No,” I said. “Join us.”
Betty showed the woman her book and explained that I was an author. The woman politely looked at the book and returned it to Betty. The automatic door opened for a man to exit. He did not exit fast enough. To my horror the door shut pinning the man immobile. I leaped to my feet to rescue him. The motion sensor picked up my movement and opened before I saved the day by freeing its captive. The man shuffled out the door as though nothing had happened. “Happens all the time,” said Betty.
The woman left, and Betty launched into a discourse about the religious wars that had decimated her Bible study. She had invited a Baptist minister to speak. He spent an hour criticizing the Catholics. The Catholics responded by removing flyers announcing Protestant events on the community bulletin board. In the fray, four Catholics stopped attending Betty’s interdenominational Bible Study. I swallowed my distaste for organized religion and reminded myself that church is where spiritually immature people belong. The clock chimed on the half hour rescuing me from expressing opinions better left unsaid.
I drove to a bookstore café to meet with Kathy, The Creative Dramatist. By quarter after three I decided she forgot and ordered coffee to wait for a friend before leaving for the Northshore. I felt my cell phone vibrate. A text from Kathy said “On the way home. Waited in the bookstore and did not see you.” I should have told her I would be sitting in the bookstore’s café. We rescheduled.
My ride arrived for a soggy forty-minute ride to St. John’s Café, where I had two deliveries of complementary copies. Thankfully, the rain had stopped by the time we parked at the Café. My phone vibrated. A voice mail requested directions to Joe’s Café.
“Who is this and why are they asking me for directions to Joe’s Café?” I said to my friend.
“Must be a wrong number,” she replied.
I put the complimentary copies for the president of the Northshore Literary Society and Pam, a fitness trainer, the subject of Make Me Ordinary, in my briefcase. Then packed the briefcase with as many books as possible. I delivered a complimentary copy to the president of NLS, and then promptly sold every book in my briefcase. Pam, the subject of Make Me Ordinary, walked into the meeting. I had told her Joe’s Café. I had already sold the extra books she requested. Fortunately, I had more in the car.
After that day’s experience, I double checked information before sending it for specific and accurate information. After doing eighty interviews, I thought I was diligent about such things. Apparently, not!