Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Pumped for my Interview!

December 30, 2012

There is a lot to learn about prepping for your first TV interview, from what to wear, to how to prepare for the conversation itself.  It is all very exciting and informative, if a bit daunting at times. Let’s start with the exterior.

 

I received a series of instructions, and people to contact. I had misunderstood my direction to make an appointment with the sylist. I assumed this would happen upon my arrival inSt. Louis, where the interview would be conducted in a newly renovated ABC studio. But no, this was not the case. This was to be a phone contact only.  Andy asked me to send her my current (aka only) head shot, and we made an appointment to speak by phone at6:30in the evening (for which I would forego my Zumba class…)

 

“What is the purpose for the interview?” she inquired. I stuttered, and then talked about my book,  my hopes for writing more columns, and mid sentence she demanded, “What are you doing in a suit? Drop the suit.” “When was that taken?” she snapped. I explained that it was taken three months after my completion of an Executive Coaching program (hence the suit). I was being conversational, but it was dawning on me that she had things to do, and was not in this for the chat.

 

“You need to be in solid colors, jewel tones,” she declared.

 

“Look on my website – go to the pictures section.” I suggested. “Look at the bright blue suit in the picture at the Ben Franklin Awards. How’s that?” I was sure this was a winner. Kind of a dichroic blue, with ¾ length sleeve, a bit of a ruffle at the sleeve, open neckline.

 

“The blue is good. But you’ve used it. You need something different; you don’t want to repeat. This would definitely be used in a Sizzle Reel.”  I could tell you who was reeling at this point. (A sizzle reel is a series of shots, a “best of” events.)

 

“I have a pretty bold pink dress.”

 

“There you go. Wear earrings that come down to accentuate your jaw line.

 

“I don’t have pierced ears.”

 

“You don’t have pierced ears?” She sounded confused. But just for a moment. “Then wear a big brooch. It will call attention to your neckline.”

 

I was searching frantically around my room, scanning my pin collection, which is in fact, fairly substantial. “I have a big frog, or a bright purple and teal fish.”

 

“That sounds great! I like the idea of a frog on a pink dress. And get fabulous shoes. You just need to be able to walk across the set in them. You don’t want black for either dress or shoes. Anyone can wear black. You want your clothing to reflect the leader that you are.” She gave me prices if I wanted to hire her for the day to shop in NYC or Boston and we rang off.

 

I was not feeling so leaderly. I was feeling downright flattened and like a bit of a bumpkin. It was 7 pm. Where could I go right now? I was leaving in less than a week, and I had 3 long days of work ahead of me. I pulled myself together and raced to TJ Max, which was still open on a Tuesday night. I tried on bright blue suede shoes, fabulous to be sure, but I felt like a baby giraffe on ice skates as I tried to venture off the bench. Nope. Too fabulous. I eventually settled on shiny bronze colored pumps with a lizard heel.

 

Trying them at home I realized they weren’t really right. This would require another foray into places unknown. Six days to countdown. A few days later I wandered into Talbot’s and there was a great patterned shoe with blue, pink, white and black and a classy tall back heel. On sale, of course, with my size there! Okay, I had an even better option. Good news. I scored a deep purple dress at Sara Campbell and I felt ready to rock this thing. At least my outside would be ready.St. Louis, here I come!

My Romp Through Book Expo

July 20, 2012

I attended Book ExpoAmericafor the first time last month. It is the largest such expo inAmericaand second only to an event inFrankfortin terms of size and scope. It takes place inManhattanat theJavitzCenter, or the equivalent size of many Coscos put together. Large booksellers like Amazon, and small Indie publishers are represented there. It is largely a trade show for media, librarians, publishers and…authors, which is where I come in.  I realized that it was not intended for the general public when I learned that admission for a day is $199, with better deals if you go for two, or the full three days.

 

My interest in taking part began with an invitation from Nautilus Books Awards, who had generously acknowledged my book (Topic of Cancer: Riding the Waves of the Big C) with a Silver Nautilus Award in the category of Women’s Issues. For a fee, they offer authors the opportunity to sign books for an hour at this event. (Read, they are given away to interested parties.) I was considering doing this when I learned that the book was also a finalist in the Ben Franklin Awards in the category of Best First Book (non-fiction) and there was an awards ceremony the night before Book Expo began.  At that point my curiosity prevailed and I signed up for both events, which it turns out could be shoehorned in between my older daughter’s graduation from college the Saturday before, and my younger daughter’s graduation from high school the Wednesday (or day after) my time at Book Expo in New York City.

 

We arrived in front of the Marriott Marquis inTimes Square, where the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Ben Franklin Awards take place. There in front of the hotel was the famed Naked Cowboy, a tall, strapping man wearing nothing but a cowboy hat, and a guitar covering his tighty whiteys. Women were posing with him when he wasn’t singing, and this seemed quite a suitable greeting toNew York Cityon a balmy June evening.

 

The Awards Ceremony itself was enjoyable, particularly as I ended up with a little statue to take home for my gold place finish.

 

I had signed up for the Authors Breakfast at Book Expo, trying to maximize my one morning there. I had assumed that this was a time for us to network and get to know one another. Well, I suppose it was, but it was actually an event that featured Stephen Colbert as master of ceremonies, and people like Barbara Kingsolver and Juno Diaz as speakers. I first had to check my load of books, which I had brought in my back pack. I realized how easy it would be to find it amongst the sea of roller suitcases which seemed a much more efficient way to carry 30 books.

 

With my Published Author ID tag slung around my neck, I waited in line with several hundred people who had also jumped at this opportunity. I had worn my bracelet that links with a pair of magnets, and it was continually attracted to my ID tag, so I entertained myself with detaching the two, trying to maintain some semblance of dignity. “I hope there’s coffee there,” I heard someone say. I tried not to look incredulous as I could not fathom an American breakfast that did not feature our National Drink.

 

The food in fact, was not remarkable, but did contain coffee, and it was certainly a treat to hear these brilliant people who could entertain even at8 am. I raced from there to my signing, which was interesting in itself. People could more than make up their price of admission in picking up books signed by the authors themselves. I had an hour left before needing to leave to return home for my daughter’s Senior Night, and spotted a corner where they were doing professionally taped 3 minute interviews. I managed to fit this in, impressed by the interviewer’s ability to track with each of our very varied book topics with incredible speed, and then took off for the exit.

 

I decided to visit my book in the New Titles Showcase where I paid for the privilege of having it placed through Nautilus in the more intimate area just as you enter or leave the entire facility. I found Nautilus’ section, but could not find my own book.  No time to go back and tell them, but I e-mailed that afternoon telling them about it. “We know,” the founder of the company told me. “Someone made off with two of our award winning titles and yours was one of them! Not to worry, though,” she added. “We have a duplicate and are getting it out there.”

 

Well! First I was peeved, wanting the book the get whatever exposure it could at this huge event. And then after awhile I thought about it, and realized that, well, someone thought my book was worth stealing. Hm! Fancy that! We were in the car making our way acrossManhattanwhen I received another in a series of mass texts from Book Expo. They were inviting me to meet Captain Underpants. “Hey, they must mean that guy inTimes Square!” my husband exclaimed.  Well, at last I felt a little more in the know about this. “No,” I replied. “This would be an invitation to meet a children’s book character.”  Too late for that, and I deleted the text, but decided that I appreciated the invitation none the less, and what a fitting way to end my brief foray into this year’s Book ExpoAmericaevent.

 

 

In Praise of Entrepreneurs

June 27, 2012

I learned at the end of May that my book was a finalist for Independent Book Publishers Awards in the category of the Bill Fisher Best First Book (non-fiction). I decided to attend the Awards Ceremony in New York City on June 3, as Book Expo America was getting underway.  At the last minute, I decided that I needed to prepare something to say, mostly because it would help me to clarify how I was feeling about being there at all, but also in the event that my book was chosen as the winner.  As the presentor of this award, Howard Fisher, Bill’s son, had called to interview each of the three finalists.

While I won’t go into all the details of that fascinating evening, I was delighted to be there, and felt like I had already won; everyone there was a finalist in his or her category. As the award is actually for a publisher, there was some prior discussion about whether my little compnay, Virginia Martin Press,  actually fit under this heading. It was decided that it did and hence my attendance at the ceremony.

When my book was announced as a gold winner, this is what I had to say:

It is a thrill to be here, and to have the opportunity to take part in this event. I’m so glad I had the chance to speak with Howard a couple of weeks ago. Learning that his dad, Bill, championed a number of new publishers and their entrepreneurial spirit was so meaningful to me.  It is a thrill to be included in this category. During my time learning to be an executive coach, I felt a particular respect for these creative and courageous people, and realized it was because I shared some of their vision, if I was lacking the time and had not yet created the space to follow through with that. To be recognized for producing Topic of Cancer; Riding the Waves of the Big C is an honor and I am deeply moved by and appreciative of that.

And if producing a book is like raising a child, I have my village of people to whom I am grateful, starting and ending always with my family. My husband, mom and sister are here tonight. Both daughters needed to remain at home as they are in the midst of graduation related activities. My friends who comprised my Breasty Business Team (the people who received my updates that turned into the book) ROCK! And my treatment team who consistently respected and treated me as an individual were terrific.

Thank you for this support of my dream- may it lift the spirit while it entertains and informs those needing treatment and all those around them.