When You Get Successful, Get A Goldfish! Be careful when hiring a publicist
By T.E. Watson
A sensational, surreal incident takes place illustrating the importantance of accuracy.
Welcome to Write On!, my monthly IN column wherein, apparently, I can write about anything I want -- as long as it has to do with writing and is of some educatonal value.
Ironically, the week I'm to begin this, one of the simplest, yet sensational and surreal, incidents took place that illustrates how vitally important accurate communication (read writing) is.
So I have to start this by writing this part first. Bear with me. When you become a successful writer, being asked to do appearances and signings at stores and such there is a certain amount of anxiety that goes along with it.
Are the tickets ready? Have you taken all your vitamins for the possibility of catch someone's cold onboard the plane? Make sure the kids are excused from school for this trip cause you know how much they enjoy coming with you. Especially since I was going home to Scotland, the kids could stay with aunts and uncles who live there.
So all of the prep work is done, the promos have been taken care of by the publicist -- (Remember that word).
The books are at the bookstores well ahead of time. Everything is in its place and the function of physical breathing can start once again. The heart is still pumping and the batteries are charged in the laptops.
The trip starts out brilliantly. Signings are breaking records at stores, selling 70 to 150 books at each within a matter of two to three hours at each venue. You are tired and happy and very at home with each day that passes. You are in good company and the kids could not be better.
Days pass and you are on your way to your next appearance in London. You know the kids are fine with aunty in Northern Scotland. You get to the book event and you are spot on with everyone. Your mood could not be more up.
A special messenger is directed to your location at the festival with a folded paper from my publicist that says:
Your Oldest Daughter Passed Away Tuesday At 11:30 AM With From A Rare Liver Cancer.
I don't believe I finished the last autograph I was doing. I immediately ran to the nearest phone to see if my aunt and uncle knew of this news and to see if my daughter Cassidy was okay. She was fine.
I grabbed a sigh of relief, and as fast as my fingers could dial I called back to the States. Despite the fact that stateside is eight hours backwards it did not matter I had to find out what was going on. I called my older daughter at her college. No answer. Her friends were not answering either. I got no response from anyone. I wouldn't. It was a holiday week and there was no one at the school.
So we high-tailed it home.
Our frustration did not help get the plane there any quicker. Thirteen hours is 13 hours. I was thankful for no delays. We landed safe and sound, retrieved our luggage, had the car brought round and zoomed towards home. It did occur to me to call my wife once we touched down. I just wanted to get to my child. She is my wonder kid. All star on her basketball team and 4.0 all the way through school.
The drive was five hours in length and as we all ran into the house I handed my wife the message. She wondered why we were home this soon. She knew something was wrong from the look on my face. She sat down with disbelief after reading the message and looked at me with tears flowing saying she had not heard anything about this.
We all sat down with the fear and sadness that burrows into your soul when something happens to one of your children.
The phone rang. It was a call from our vet. He was taking care of our Golden Retriever Samantha. He told me how sorry he was that there was nothing he could do for her. She simply passed away very peacefully. Now I was confused. I said thank you with a great deal of sadness for my long time friend. She was a fantastic dog!
But then the phone rang again. It was my older daughter. I didn't know if should be mad or relieved. "Where are you?" I asked.
She gave us the whole itinerary of her Disneyland trip with her friends and sorry she didn't let us know where she was going to be for the holiday, but she needed some money because she didn't realize how expensive it all was. I stopped her in mid-sentence and asked if she was okay. She was fine. Never better. Relief rolled over our entire family.
I called my publicist, the originator of this infernal message, and had a talk with him. Then after realizing what he had done and how many people this affected....
Anyway he is no longer my publicist. So the journey ended well and somewhat sadly for our family. Samantha our beloved Retriever is buried in our backyard with a wonderful site that was laid out for her. I know she is looking out for us as she always did.
So in the finality of it all when your success reaches such a height and you can afford a publicist make sure they know how to edit their own messages and more so know the difference between the words dog and daughter.
I wish you all much success, and thanks for all your kind thoughts through all of this.