This is the tragedy of being a writer.
I’m sitting here in my lounge, waiting for my good friend Peter Allison to appear on Channel Ten’s ‘The Circle’. Yes, I’m name dropping here! So sue me. Peter is the best-selling author of three books, including ‘Don’t Look Behind You’ and his brand new book set in South America called ‘How To Walk A Puma’.
I’ve been on TV now and then, for a variety of reasons which I won’t go into here (because who cares, right?!). One thing I know is that whenever you’re waiting for your ‘bit’ to come up – it takes forever. It’s ALWAYS the very last part of the last section, one advert break past the point where you were sure there couldn’t be any more advert breaks. The show is long enough that even your most stalwart mates, who’ve been sitting on your sofa with a bribe of beer, will start to make excuses to leave. It begins with a sigh, followed by “Oh, I just realised I’ve gotta make a phone call…” and ends with them distracting your attention by setting fire to your rug and then diving out the window while you throw yourself bodily onto the flames.
Although to the casual outsider it may look like I lead the life of a loafer (I haven’t had a ‘proper’ job since December 2009!) – it’s not true. Honest! I tend to be quite busy and I frequently work up to 18 hours a day between writing my new book and promoting my first one.
So I had no idea daytime TV was laced with so many infomercials!
Now, I am a very suggestible person.
It’s funny, because only last night I was writing a chapter in my new book about it; how I can’t help doing whatever people tell me, up to and including licking a prickly cactus. Anyone who knows me knows I can’t be allowed to watch infomercials on my own. At least, not if there’s an active phone line in the house.
So… I’ve bought two packets of Bug Mesh and a Miracle Wonder Bra.
I only narrowly avoided buying a triple-box of ‘EKO Crystals for only $78.75’ because I was busting for a shit. Seriously, if that advert hadn’t happened to coincide with my morning bowel movement my credit card would have taken another pounding.
How I will live with my body’s rampant acidity levels in the absence of these miraculous crystals I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure Roo will be happier, knowing that I spent that time on the toilet.
I also got to sit through a delightful segment on shoes, promoted by a woman in a blouse so hideous even my Mum wouldn’t wear it. Well okay, my Mum probably would wear it. With her nylon trousers and crocs.
This woman was the in-house fashion expert for the show, and was on there showing a selection of shoes which the presenters hated. “But I own these shoes,” she protested, when told they looked like a Grandma would wear them.
Hardly surprising – the woman reminded me of one of my old high-school teachers. I think I would have come across better as a fashion expert in my stained board shorts.
Anyway, Peter’s slot, when it arrived, was delicious – and short. About half the length of time devoted to the shortest infomercial (about a miracle fat-busting powder that I’ll almost never use). The presenters themselves seemed horrified, and asked Peter if he’d come back to carry on their discussion when they had more time! Like, say, at the start of the show, before whatever viewers it attracts have already given up their will to live for the day.
Just goes to show that, write a great book – which Peter has – and people still don’t give a shit. Show up in person and fascinate them, and they’ll finally give you the time of day, become interested, read your book and love it – but until then? I can almost see the show’s guest booker in conversation with the producer.
Booker: “So, we’ve got Peter Allison, this best-selling author type guy…”
Producer: “Really? *Yawns* Okay, stick him in somewhere.”
Booker: “But not before the bras?”
Producer: “Hell no! He’s just an author. You know, books n’ shit.”
Booker: “So after the acne powder?”
Producer: “Acne powder eh? Interesting..! Double its slot. And yeah, stick whatshisname on after that. Oh, but put an ad break I first. Let’s try and make some cash for a change…”
Sucks to be an author. It’s not a bad way to make a living (if you are making a living doing it!). But where’s the respect, eh? Where’s the love? Peter’s new book took him two years to write. I’ve read it and I love it. But those 15 minutes of fame… well, if it is 15 minutes – are pretty fickle.
Yet another reason why authors need a tough skin!
And that’s reason enough for me to need that Acne cream.
(Look, it was THREE tubes for the price of ONE, okay?)
This post was great as I am scheduled to appear on a local daytime talk show today. Guess who I’m going to be sandwiched between….an interview with Blake Shelton and the first and only snowstorm in Roanoke this year! I figure if I’m not cancelled I’ll get less time than the Snuggie commercial. Oh, and I’m not a best-selling author, and I suspect the hosts have no clue who I am, evident by the way my name was flubbed big time on Friday’s promotion…too many vowels! They got Blake’s name right…LOL!
Wow, well best of luck with the talk show! Publicity ops like this don’t come around very often – at least until we’re selling so well we don’t need them! They have to fill their shows, so make the most of your time – and prepare a few witty comments! If they like you and think their audience likes you, they might have you back again – or even better, another show might express an interest! Exciting… :0)
Ok, I did it! Got a whole 4 minutes 🙂 Blake got bumped, or should I say he bumped them, LOL. I did make the host laugh and after the show she did invite me back, so we’ll see. Unfortunately there was a widespread power outage due to the snowstorm so don’t know how many viewers actually saw it. Murphy’s Law! Checked my website stats and one person clicked on after the show…haha!
Never know though… when you start getting recognised in the street, that’s when you realise how many people watch those shows! Not all of ’em will jump straight on the internet afterwards (I don’t think I ever have in response to seeing someone on a show) but a lot of ’em will now be carrying that knowledge, tucked away i their heads, that you’ve written a book they want to read, when they next come across it…
Go back! Soon as they’ll have you! And make them laugh some more :0)
Sad but true…the only thing worth watching on a tv show is in the last 10 minutes! Peter Allison might not be too inspired to return after such a meager showing…5 minutes between infomercials and at least he has a real skill as opposed to Mrs ‘fashion advice’! Poor Peter…at least I’ve read his books!
And I hope the audience will read his books too – they each got a free copy! Now that IS good promo, if you can get it – one reason why it’s nice to have a big publisher with deep pockets behind you! Of course, Peter has written three books already and sold stacks of them because they’re awesome – so he deserves what he gets. Well, unless it’s a slot on that crummy show – I wouldn’t wish that on a snake!
That’s awful about the show. The lack of respect might be why so many authors dread marketing. It would be way different if you walked into a place (bookstore, tv station, whatever) and felt some love! And I love your Mom’s jacket! It looks warm and fuzzy!
Yeah, it’s worse at signings (so I’ve heard – I’m not there yet!) – Peter does alright at his signings and talks (sold out normally!) because he’s got a really interesting story to tell, how he ran off to Africa as a teenager and became a famous safari guide… hell, I’d go here him speak if I could! But an awful lot of authors, especially newbies, have that dreaded empty-table in an empty bookstore thing going on… ugh! How crummy would that feel?!