This post originally appeared on ‘The New Sleekness’ August 29, 2011
Before you make that face, let me stress that I am 1,000% supportive of anything he wants to do. Just as I’m totally supportive of him getting a degree in Archeology at the spry age of 68. However, I’ll kill him if he calls me Junior.
I honestly thought that he would treat this project like our family basement refinishing: He would get 85% of the way through painting a villa/landscape mural and leave it to sputter out into a series of well-intended pencil lines. I never thought after 10 years he would actually FINISH writing his story.
So, now he’s looking to me for advice and it’s flipped my usual mindset. Do I sugarcoat everything because he’s my dad and I want him to be happy? Do I do my usual ‘no bull’ approach and warn him he might not make it past a self-published work for family/friends because he doesn’t have a platform? Do I drop everything each weekend and market the hell out of it, no matter how good/bad it is?
And how the hell do I explain ePub?!
How do I guide him through this process? He’s not going to be on Twitter. He doesn’t have a platform. He thinks ‘blog’ is a marketing term for nasal congestion.
On one side of my brain, I know what kind of writer my father is: meticulous, verbose, and writing in a language that is not his native tongue (he was born in Greece), so it needs editing. My inner businesswoman can’t shake the cold voice of skepticism I bring to every acquisition meeting. It’s not like I can hand him a copy of Tribes (DRINK) and tell him to go forth and Tweet.
On the flipside, he’s the smartest person I know. And, perhaps more importantly: the King of Charm. Bring us to a Greek diner and we’ll be eating for free after a quick word in the kitchen. He’s best friends with the former Connecticut Secretary of State – who he met at a random fundraiser. He’s the artist/photographer/taxi-driver/bridge inspector/travel agent/bus driver renaissance man – who’s never interviewed for a job. He’s gotten them because he’s the master of one on one conversations.
Here he is, looking at his fairly successful daughter in the publishing industry and here I am, looking at my father, who has written a hefty Historical-Fiction novel without one clue how to bring it from words on a screen into a bound achievement.
I’m probably being selfish by even questioning the next step (shut up and support him, ya jerk!), but I can’t help feeling protective of my Pop, wanting to keep his expectations low, for his obstacles are many.
Is this my punditry coming back to bite me square in the press release? Yeah, probably.
More to come on this subject, as Dad and I pursue his dream together.