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How to Speak with a Publisher—Phobias and All

 


How to Speak with a Publisher—Phobias and All

In 2006 I was urged by a friend of mine in the arts to meet her with a large group of possible investors for her movie. Mind you I hate the city. I am a country bumpkin. Going into the city for me is worse than having an old wisdom tooth pulled out without any anesthesia. Trust me I know. Been there done that.

However, for a friend who I wanted to see succeed. And her journey in being a writer and filmmaker—I saw it as a noble task. She was an incredibly hard worker. So, I forged ahead driving over the GWB and arrived near the Empire State Building, which I’d never been that close to before this day since 1966. Yeah, that’s a long ass time.

So, here I was after I’d given my valet key to the parking garage attendant—always a scary proposition for me. I arrived out of the garage walked a block, looked around. I made visual notes of exactly what everything looked like. I held the address on a piece of paper, stared at the paper then looked up at the clear star-lit night sky. I breathed and realized I didn’t die crossing over the GWB. Sorry, but it’s a big bridge with its cacophony essence.

I walked a block then looked at the piece of paper in my hand. Next thing I knew I’d arrived at the building. I called my friend on my cell phone and surprisingly she answered.  I received final instructions on my Mission Impossible. The next adventure was finding the get-together inside the building. I thought to listen for the noise of a slew of people. Unless I was in an elevator then I was screwed. Don’t get me wrong. I might be a fatalist as a brain surgeon once deemed me. However, I consider myself a realistic the glass is half-full thinker a la carte some phobias.

Finally, I heard the noise and followed it down the hall and was greeted by my filmmaking friend. There were nearly thirty people there and I wasn’t considered late. Thank God!  She introduced me to some people. Then others who I knew there chatted briefly with me. My friend made the rounds again after I’d been there for about thirty minutes drinking water. As everyone else was having a not so bland beverage.

She introduced me to a man whose family was deeply embedded in the publishing industry. I’d just finished my first guidebook and gotten back into my writing regularly. The man’s family publishing business was about 100 years old and now this man was the great-grandson who’d taken over part of the reins. The company had been incredibly successful with children’s books, that to this day are still considered great reading material—to the point where nearly every adult alive today in the U.S. shares the joy of the characters of one author’s books with their children.

So, here we stood near a corner by a window. He began his fourth glass of wine. As he was terribly honest with me. And I on my second bottle of water. I asked about his business and authors he knew before he started to sip his fourth glass of wine. Then somehow I got him talking about his one daughter who he’d just taken in the car for one of her first drives with him. Now I understood the fourth glass of wine he delicately sipped.

I heard the woes of a middle-aged man now in the throes of having a teenaged daughter learning to drive. I was more than ten years behind his parental dilemma. He had been teaching her with a stick-shift vehicle. Then he paused, “I can’t believe I’m sharing this with you.” I nodded and said, “My husband I do that. It’s valuable information. I have two daughters.”---Jody-Lynn Reicher

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