For my first book, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS, my publicist got me a five-minute spot on Fox television in Providence, R.I. It was a show called, "The Rhode Show," and featured locals with stories to tell.
I agonized for weeks over what to wear and finally decided on a black dress with a red jacket. I didn't want to disappear into the backdrop but I didn't want to be too flashy. My necklace and earrings had to be visible but not overwhelming. I decided on a string of black beads and black earrings.
I had talked about the book for weeks in radio interviews and speeches, so the topic was no problem. Besides, the studio had been sent an advance copy.
When I arrived thirty minutes early, I had to be buzzed into the locked studio. I signed in and the News Director took me to a waiting room, where four others sat in plastic chairs. She offered me donuts, coffee, or water and told me the order of our appearances. I went to use the restroom.
When the person before me was "on air," an intern led me past miles of wiring and props to the set. Behind a partition was a fake kitchen. Well, the appliances, sink, and counter were real. It was where the chef exhibited his talents during the cooking segment. We walked through the pretend kitchen toward the set for "The Rhode Show." The intern attached a tiny microphone to my lapel and told me to stand with her till the previous guest was finished. During an advertisement, I took my position on the couch next to the show's hostess, while the previous guest scrambled off. My book was propped on the coffee table in front of us. Lights glared down from the darkened exterior. The intern was attaching a microphone to the guest that would follow me, in the same spot where I'd stood.
The dynamic of having to respond with information and wit within seconds on live television is entirely different from being on the radio in the comfort of my living room or standing in front of an audience with notes. I gave lots of information but my eyes bugged out. My hands felt glued together on the side of my lap. I made sure to keep my legs together. My publicist told me I appeared stiff. Although I nodded, smiled, and shook hands with the hostess, I hadn't been dynamic enough. "Television is a visual medium, after all!" the publicist said with an exclamation point in her voice.
For my second book, ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS, a new publicist got me a two-minute spot on ABC6 "Noon News" in Providence. This time when I arrived thirty minutes before air-time, I'd gone to the bathroom first. I wore the same red and black combination, but the red was a blouse and the black was a skirt. As it turned out, I would be sitting behind a news desk.
I was met by the News Director, who introduced me to the News Anchor named Matt. He had to be younger than my kids! I handed him my book so he could look it over. The News Director escorted me to an 8x8' waiting room, where I sat alone for twenty-five minutes. No donuts, no coffee, only water. Same plastic chairs. Finally an intern brought me past a room with hair brushes and make-up (nobody was there, so guests were on their own!). We continued past the darkened control room, where the News Director sat, and other tidy rooms to the news set. I stood in the wings with the intern, till Matt motioned me into a swivel chair next to him behind the elongated desk. "How much time left?" he asked the intern.
"About thirty seconds," she said, fastening the microphone to my blouse and draping the wire behind my neck and down my back.
'"Just look over there at the camera, unless you look at me," Matt said, giving a swipe of his arm to a vague area in complete darkness.
We began. I smiled at the cameras in every direction, since I didn't know where I was supposed to look. I smiled at Matt. I used my hands and arms. I picked up the book lying on the news desk, and gave lots of animated information. I even flashed a sign I'd made about caregiving: ASK FOR HELP! I tried to be dynamic without spinning in the chair or dancing on the desk. The two minutes were over in a flash.
I stepped off the news platform and the same intern disengaged my microphone. Matt mouthed a "Thank you" during an advertisement. I waved good-bye and turned into the open office to retrieve my purse.
"You smiled too much," my new publicist said. "You looked unnatural. And you were looking in different directions. But you gave lots of good information. If you want me to market your book for nation-wide television audiences, you'll have to make a video trailer," she said.
I'll put that on my blog when it's ready. Meanwhile, the ABC6 segment is linked below.
- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.