OK — spoiler alert — not all my posts are going to be sweetness and light, or filled with ‘Go Team Go!’ spirit.

Over the past several months, I’ve been racking up several experiences while promoting my writing, that one can blithely call ‘paying your dues’.  Yesterday’s experience wears on me mightily.  Usually a good night’s sleep brings a new day with a new aspect or point of view to mollify my bruised ego — but it’s still aching this morning.

A quick review of ‘dues’ paid this past year…

  • Book signing that generated zero interest, despite good promotion by the host – check.
  • Book signing that generated zero interest, probably because of zero promotion by the host – check.
  • Gentle reminders to my readers, electronically and in person, to “Please post reviews, good or bad, 1 star or 5 stars, be it on amazon.com, goodreads.com, or {insert_name_here}.com. Just post!” gone mostly unheeded – check.
  • Banging my head against the social media wall, (adding two facebook pages, this blog, joining groups and posting the occasional promo) – check, double check, duodeca-check.

Yesterday’s round of dues-paying was ‘Battle of the Books,’ a game-show style event produced by GLVWG‘s John Evans, held in the Allentown Public Library. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of this game is quite good, the execution is enjoyable and fun, and the format allows a healthy level of audience participation.
I give this one a thumbs up.
Having written the OTAKON Game Show for eight years, which regularly had an audience over 500, I believe I have the street-cred to render a valid opinion.  In short, I am happy to participate in BotB, and hope to again.

However, the disappointment brought about by yesterday’s instance of BotB might lead me to this observation — a cup of yogurt has more literary culture than the booming metropolis of Allentown.  The members of APL could only spare 3 souls to attend BotB: also, one of the audience was a GLVWG member, and another worked at APL.  To throw salt in the wound, yours truly came in last place.


I can’t moan too fiercely about coming in last.  After all, I only have one book to my name so far, whereas the other participants have several works and several more years of experience in writing professionally under their collective belts.  Also, the physicist /mathematician /engineer in me would immediately disqualify the contest result due to ‘a statistically insignificant sample, too small to lead to any meaningful conclusions.’
Winning would still have been a cool beans ego trip, but let’s be realistic. Rather, the rhyme and reason of my participation was exposure.  Sadly, that just fell flat on its face.

Tsk tsk, Allentown. I know you can due better than yesterday’s display of apathy. I know Allentown is not totally devoid of culture, given that so many arts and music institutions thrive there.  But the fact that the members of the Nazareth Library demonstrated over a dozen times Allentown’s literary moxie when BotB debuted there, should make Allentown’s literary circles scratch their heads, or hang them in shame.

Now, am I going to cash in the chips?  Am I going to wash away my sorrows in a bottle of Chateau Hemingway ’58?  Am I going to burn my pen /typewriter /computer?
Not on your Nelly.
The other authors that participated in BotB got to where they are by paying their dues, with more than a dash of earnest pluck and persistence.  If anything, they are role models I should endeavor to follow.  I still have a few promotional tricks up my sleeve slated over the coming months, and I will continue to write.  My Faith and Pennsylvania Dutch stubbornness both stand me in good stead.

However, for today, I will still sulk a bit at this latest instance of ‘paying the dues’ (which in itself is part and parcel of paying).
I’m reminded of the wise saying by Foghorn Leghorn:

“Son, I seeya choppin’,
But therain’t, ah say, therain’t no chips a-flyin’!”