Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Few Fast How-Tos and a Book by a Pal

Zestful Blog Post #287

How to deal with not having read the authors you meet.

First of all, nobody reads everybody. Upon meeting another author whom you haven't read, say, "So wonderful to meet you! I've heard great things about your work!" That's it. Don't overdo it.

If you need to make convo with someone for an extended period, such as being seated together at a lunch or dinner, you can say, "You know, I'm afraid I really don't know your work, but I've love to hear how you got started."

If it’s a trad-published author, you can ask, “Do you like your agent?” Every author who has representation is curious about every other author's agent. 

How to be a happy tyrant.

Demand the utmost from your characters. You are both composer and conductor! Sometimes, during a demanding passage under an exacting baton, musicians strain so hard to deliver the effects asked for that they snap a string or blow their lips out of shape.

Only by going to the limit, and risking going past it, and suffering whatever damage might be the penalty, will we find out if what we thought was our limit is really that.

We can only discover new strengths by exhausting the old ones.

How to avoid a headbanging mistake.

If you have an opportunity to do a live event like a booksigning and they want to know good dates for you, look ahead on line and find when the next Olympics and major sporting events are going to be. Try not to schedule anything during the Olympics, the Super Bowl, Presidential election night, or, come to think of it, the soccer World Cup final sequence. The World Series is hit-and-miss (ha, I just made a pun), and not as much of a ratings draw as the other things. Kentucky Derby, I guess if you live in Kentucky.

I'll always hold grudges against Sarah Hughes, Irina Slutskaya, and Michelle Kwan for making nobody come to my booksigning event in San Francisco on the night of the women's Olympic figure skating finals in 2002.

And now for a word about a book by a buddy. Congratulations to Jim Misko on his multi-prizewinning novel.

From the cover:
Miles Foster is a newly minted teacher who dreams of getting a teaching job in the highly respected and financially stable Portland, Oregon school system where everything is available, and where he and his wife call home. But the only opening for his talents is in a remote lumber mill town in central Oregon, two hundred miles away. It is a poor school with forty students, and is controlled by a jealous superintendent and school board who tolerate no thinking outside the box and who conspire to destroy his teaching career.
Miles must find a way to educate students who have been passed along regardless of what they learned, and defeat the damaging control of the school board and superintendent without losing his marriage or his job, or both.
Buy it HERE.

What do you think of today’s how-tos? To post, click below where it says, ‘No Comments,’ or ‘2 Comments,’ or whatever. If you’re having trouble leaving comments on this or other blogs, it’s probably because third-party cookies have been turned off in your browser. Go into your browser settings and see if that’s the case. Then turn them on again in order to leave comments.
If you’d like to receive this blog automatically as an email, look to the right, above my bio, and subscribe there. Thanks for looking in. [photo of Cass Tech High School music room by ES]


  1. EZ you always come up with fascinating stuff! Today’s tips are great ones. I have been in the position of sitting next to an author I didn’t know and hadn’t read. I was at a loss other than asking what she wrote. I like your ideas better.

    1. Another good line, esp if you want to suck up a little, is: "I have to be honest and tell you I haven't read your work, but I'm getting the feeling I really missed out on something!"

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the tips on what to say to authors you haven't read. Now, here's a dilemma I have. I hate to do the author book signings. Part of it is, I hate being the center of attention. Just let me go write...I guess I should have been a ghost writer. How can I get over this so I can do book signings in peace?

    1. Well, you don't have to do them; you can always bow out. But if you want to be part of the crew, so to speak, just hang out. Bring a crossword puzzle and work that, and you can ask the other authors to help with the words. They will be appreciative for the opportunity, and it's just fun for word people. As soon as a customer walks up, put the paper aside and schmooze.

    2. Thanks, I need to come up with a lot of small talk questions for readers that might help me with my marketing. Otherwise, I'll work on that crossword so I can say nice words when needed.


Tell us your thoughts! You know you want to.