Monday, September 6, 2010
The Call of a Lifetime
It happened yesterday. I had just put in a 12 hour day doing construction work at our latest elder care facility, when I got an email. It told me that someone had left a new comment on one of the posts of my personal blog. I checked the text of the comment, and nearly dropped my phone. It was from an honest-to-god Hollywood producer who wanted me to call right away and talk about my book.
After I finished peeling my jaw off the ground, I jumped off the couch, started yelling and screaming, and fist pumping into the sky. After a few moments and when the hyperventilation had somewhat subsided, I thought I'd better compose myself before I called him. I didn't want to sound like a slobbering idiot, even thought at the time, that probably would have been a good description.
After thinking for a minute, I dialed his number, and here's kind of how the conversation went.
"Hold a minute"
I said "OK", and waited patiently.
"OK, I had to put in my bluetooth headset" he said.
"This is Doug Perry calling as you requested." I responded.
"Wow, that was fast."
"I am very connected. I got your message on my iPhone."
"That's great. Well the reason that I am calling you is that I just love the feeling and environment that I got from your book The Girls of Murder City. You seem to have captured an interesting...."
Wait, that's not my book....
He went on talking more about the book using a lot of what I can only describe as movie speak, though I wasn't listening that close because I was trying to figure out what the heck was going on. He was really getting a head of steam going, but I decided I better tell him I didn't have a clue what he was talking about so that he didn't figure me for a complete idiot when I finally told him.
"Let me interrupt for a second."
"Uh, OK, sorry I got carried away."
"That's not my book you're talking about."
Silence for a second.
"This is Doug Perry, right?"
"Douglas L. Perry, yes."
Another short silence.
"Oh, I think I must have the wrong person."
"I think there is another author up in Oregon with the same name."
"Well, sorry about that. So what kind of books do you write?"
Oh my gosh, I was actually going to get to pitch to a real live Hollywood producer, but for some reason, my brain was still focusing on the fact that he had the wrong person, and my brain literally locked up.
"Uh, I write thrillers."
"What's your book about?"
I could hear my brain going OMG, OMG, OMG, and I have written posts in the past about how you should always have your elevator pitch at the ready, but did I? Heck no...
"Uhhh, It's about a guy on a plane going the wrong way."
Silence. Complete and utter silence.
What an idiot... was all that I could think. I tried to rescue the situation by thinking about the back cover blurb, but it wasn't coming. The problem was that I haven't thought about that book for a while, because I wrote it a few years back and unfortunately I wasn't ready to pitch it. I have been so busy marketing my latest WIP to agents, that I could hardly remember what that book was about.
I fumbled through a little better explanation, but if I was going to give my performance a gymnastic rating, my combined scores would probably average a 2.1 out of 6.
The producer listened patiently and got my email address, so he could send a mailing address where I could send a book. I found that to be a really classy move, and overall the guy was extremely nice. He sent me an email right away, and I will send him a book, but if I have to be honest, I'm not expecting to hear anything. I say that for a couple of reasons. First, I looked at the movies he's done, and while they seemed like interesting movies, they are not thrillers. Secondly, I think my performance wasn't up to the level I think I would need to garner interest. But hey, you never know. Maybe he's got a friend that does like thrillers and will pass my book along. A guy can always hope, can't he?
Overall I was disappointed with my performance, but you learn with every experience. Now that I have that one behind me, I hope I'll do better next time.
Are you ready with your elevator pitch? Are you confident you could have handled the same situation?