Thanks, and You’re Kind of Cute, Too

People mean well, they really do. I think they do; I keep telling myself something like that.

 

Yesterday, I was a guest at a business networking luncheon. To the uninitiated, all these clubs have their own rules and secret handshakes, and this group was no different. Blessed with a mercurial psyche, sometimes I’m in the mood to self-promote and help others do the same; other times, not so much. Yesterday, I was feeling pretty self-promotional by my standards.

 

After our orders were taken, members of the group took turns giving their thirty-second elevator pitches about their services and who they would like to do business with. Then it was the guests’ turns; there must have been seven or eight of us newbies who stood up and took our swings.

 

When I stepped into the networking batter’s box, I held up copies of my books (looking for readers), spoke about looking for companies and organizations holding special events (that I could emcee or keynote), and people and businesses looking for custom writers (for web content, blogs and newsletters). I stayed within my thirty-second time frame, and even worked in some actual humor. It seemed to be well-received, and the guest sitting next to me asked if she could take a look at my books. “Sure.”

 

She started on All That Twitters, and looked at the front cover, flipped through a few pages, and then studied the back cover. She appeared to be enjoying herself—at nobody’s expense—and I tried not to stare at her. I’m still somewhat impressionable in these situations, and while I knew squat about her, I was interested in whether she was interested…in buying or recommending my books to others.

 

She seemed to be amused, but there was not a chance that she would interrupt the meeting with raucous laughter or thunderous applause. She continued her bemused expression as she leafed through Wordapodia, and after a few minutes, handed them back to me, and said, “They’re cute.”

 

“Great, you’re kind of cute, too.”

 

 

Actually, that was only the voice of my alter(ed) ego, JGM (too much to explain about him right now), which nobody else can hear. But what could I really say? One of these days, someone will take a similar spin through my books and say, “Matt, I must have 10 copies of both of your books…no, make that all of your books…can you please sign them? I only have cash. Is that okay?"

 

 

Okay, there’s probably a middle ground that I would find more acceptable than cute. “Great,” “terrific” or “brilliant” comes close. Cute kind of works for physical appearance (for kids, girls and pets, anyway), and admittedly, cute coming from a woman is much more acceptable than cute coming from a guy, but it did nothing for me at that moment, and upon reflection.

 

Truth be told, I may just be broke, tired and cranky these days, but “cute” for an author who prides himself on talent and wit is akin to being told by a potential date that you have a great personality. And yes, I do, or used to, have an amazing personality, and some even find my looks to be cute. Almost by definition, they have great personalities. Where was I?

 

Selling my own books person-to-person has always been tricky business for me, and I really was not expecting people to buy books from me at that setting. Still, I’m always prepared to—physically—and I think I am prepared to sell in a spiritual way as well. The reality of this is that almost any dunce (and/or genius) can publish a book, and how is a reader supposed to determine what’s worthy of her/his time and money? We are all bombarded with everyone and his neighbor writing and blogging away. How do we define quality, and do we really care? It’s tricky for everybody concerned.

 

I’ve had a few people stop or call me about a mention or two that I’ve had in the local papers for writing books or winning speech contests. It’s nice of them, but how do I communicate to them (and preferably, without sounding like a self-important jackass) that I don’t care about having my picture in the paper unless it brings me opportunities—to sell books, speak at special events and perform custom writing for others.

 

 

My immediate goal is solely to be able to feed my family off of my ideas and my talent, and to inspire people to laugh, smile and think just a little bit in the process. Yes, my ego is somehow gratified for a split second by seeing a write-up or picture of me, but it means nothing unless it brings opportunity. But how can I explain this, and also learn to enjoy the ride? It’s hard for me to do so when not knowing if it’s the ride to ruin or to riches.

 

 

I’ve steered my career into a time and place where the stakes are extremely high, and perhaps some of you can relate. If you can relate, and have the opportunity to read my books, please accept as a given that my tone is usually lighter than this, and I promise you (or the person you’re buying the book for), lots of unique, wonderful reads.

 

And if you can relate (or even if you can’t) and only have time to window-shop my book(s), please return them in the same condition, and try to come up with a word other than cute when you do so.

 

On behalf of all humorists of varying degrees of cuteness, I thank you from the top of my heart. I mean well.

 

As always, thank you for reading. Please check out my other blogs, books, and speaking information.

 

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4 Responses to Thanks, and You’re Kind of Cute, Too

  • Rebecka Vigus says:

    That's almost as bad as doing Lunch with the Author at the library and having a lady say after I'd read the first chapter of my newest book, that she didn't have her hearing aids in so she didn't hear a word I said.  Oy vey.

  • admin says:

    Hi Matt, Those meetings are always so so professional, aren't they? If I read a few snippets of one of your books (and you know I have read a few snippets) at a meeting, I know I would be very tempted to laugh right out loud and embarrass myself but who cares? That would be so authentic of me. Keep on selling and being your authentic, humorous self!!

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Karen….Actually, I understand that they have to keep the meeting moving, but the word "cute" to characterize my humor and my writing –even if she may have meant well — still rankles me.  Just how I'm wired, I guess.