Rendered Fat Content


Follower of
Peter Paul Rubens:
The Apotheosis of the Hero (1630/40)

"We'll see where that takes us."

A year ago this week, a publisher contacted me to see if I might be interested in working with her organization. I reluctantly receive such calls because the caller often feels compelled to pressure me into agreeing to something before I understand the offer. Nobody appreciates feeling pressured into anything, so I feel baffled about why anyone relying upon persuasion or merely information to sell something would ever resort to pressuring anyone, but they do. I always ask for more details, paper if they've got it. I want to slow down the interaction so we might get to know each other before moving on to first or second base.

I've noticed a similar strategy at work when investigating the purchase of software.
Last week, The Muse invited me to check out a contact management system for her campaign. I quickly found that I could only access much information if I gave up more personal information than I felt comfortable forfeiting. I was asked to create a user profile complete with a Pastword before I could even learn what functions the damned system offered and how much it might cost. I quickly gave up in frustration. Pastword coercion like this accounts for ninety percent of the Pastwords nobody can remember. Further, inviting a clueless user into your system strikes me as the best way to demonstrate just how impossible that system might seem to learn. Who enjoys wandering around in unknowable places?

The sales function often chases away more customers than it attracts. In this case, with this publishing representative, I was pleasantly surprised by her low-pressure approach. She described what she offered without suggesting that I'd better hurry or she'd be forced to raise the prices by forty percent. She agreed to send me more information and sent it almost immediately after we spoke. I looked through it before losing the email thread in my impossible tangle of an email inbox. I'd looked for it several times but could not find it. I'd even sent The Muse in there to see if she could find it, and she had, but I'd been unable to locate where she's stashed her find then the thread slipped out of my mind again.

The idea of Publishing another book scares the heck out of me. It unsettles me so much that I'm apt to lose the contact information, so I won't be able to follow up. Publishing, as I've been explaining through this lengthening series, turns out to be an exacting challenge. It wants a writer to finish something, claim credit, stand up, and be counted. Almost all of a writer's efforts occur in isolation. Nothing in any way prepares the writer for an Apotheosis, public recognition, appreciation, or rebuke. The very threat of such a coming out should properly terrify the introvert. The willful pursuit of publishing represents the opposite of what I might dream of inflicting upon myself. Yet I persist.

I made Contact this morning—two simple lines. The first reminded the Contact of our short chat a year ago this week, and the second requested some time to continue the conversation. I have a fresh manuscript just about ready now. I cannot describe the courage it took for me to ask to continue that conversation, for I had grown accustomed to taking solace in the presumed unpublish-ability of my work. I have almost become the writer who works hard to avoid getting himself published, taking pride in that curious accomplishment rather than in my catalog of genuinely finished work. My work's not finished and will likely never very seriously threaten to become done. However, I might still release a few completed works without meaningfully diminishing my mountain of unpublished ones.

Let the record show that I made Contact today. We'll see where that takes us.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver