Thursday night my husband drove me down to Manhattan in the pouring rain to the apartment on West 79th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenue, my favorite neighborhood in the city. It was a bitter, gloomy night with pounding rain and strong gusts of wind, just the type of weather that induces you to stay indoors. When I first settled in the apartment, I wished I had stayed home. The producer from Fox & Friends had called me at 4:00 that afternoon to order car service which was scheduled to pick me up from the West-Side apartment at 5:30 the next morning. In fact, it was the producer who persuaded me to make the trip into the city even though she offered to have the car service pick me up from my home.
My husband, who had planned to join me for dinner on Sunday evening, had work to do was unable to join me. Friends in the city were all busy. I felt melancholic at the prospect of a lonely night in the city.
In my single days, I would have thought nothing about traipsing up and down Columbus Avenue by myself in search of a trendy restaurant and dining solo. So I switched mental gears, put on my raincoat, and afraid I would be taken for a tourist, hid my Zagats in my bag. As my umbrella blew inside out from the fierce wind, I walked past restaurants I had once dined at with dates from hell, reminiscing about my life as a single woman. Then I chanced upon Kefir, a Greek restaurant my husband had suggested.
I boldly walked into the crowded bar, the restaurant alive with the buzz that only a restaurant in Manhattan could have on such a stormy night. And I instantly felt at home.
I grabbed a chair at the bar, ordered an appetizer and entree that the bartender recommended, struck up a conversation with him and learned that he was writing a novel. I was charged with that energy that is so infectious in Manhattan—and that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
When I returned to the apartment, I was too wired to fall asleep, so I watched the remaining moments of Grey’s Anatomy. As I looked out of the huge bedroom window to the lit-up apartments across the street, I saw Grey’s Anatomy reflected through one window on a huge flat-screen TV and instantly felt connected in this city of a million strangers.
The next morning, at 5:15 AM, I received a call from the car service that a black limo was scheduled to pick me up on time at 5:30 AM.
Already dressed, I took one more look in the mirror, and left.
When I got into the limo, the driver said, “Fox studios?” I felt a sudden inner glow, a charged up sense of satisfaction mingling with pleasure and pride, as I thought to myself that I was the star of my own story. I experienced a swell of joy as we sped down an empty Columbus Avenue. It’s a rare city experience to be the only car traveling on a busy avenue in the pre-dawn hours that would be congested with bumper to bumper traffic in just a few hours.
I alighted from the limo, was escorted to the green room, and met Dr. Pryce, who had his own story to tell. His flight from Ohio had been delayed. He hadn’t arrived at his hotel until 3:00 in the morning. Sleep deprived and nervous, he was understandably anxious about how he would be able to discuss all the points he wanted to make in three-minutes, when another guest asked him about his book. Nothing like a dress rehearsal. Dr. Pryce was animated as he discussed the points he wanted to make, which he had written down and studied during the long delay in the airport, where he had re-read his book—advice I give to all authors. There’s nothing worse than to see all of your hard work go down the drain when an author can’t remember what he or she wrote in his or her own book.
The big moment arrived. Dr. Pryce got his three minutes of fame. The hosts, Steve Ducey and Gretchen Carlson put him at ease before the cameras starting rolling. Once on the air, they were enthusiastic about his book and well-informed, asking great, probing questions that elicited answers to showcase Dr. Pryce’s well-conceived health-care plan (If only Congress would read his book, I thought to myself). An author could not have asked for more. Dr. Pryce was right on the money as he explained his health plan. “Sounds so simple,” Steve Ducey said with a grin.
After the interview, like many people after a particularly great first date, Dr. Pryce replayed his appearance over and over again, wondering how he did. Standing in the wings of the set, where I could see and hear everything close-up, I was very pleased with his interview. But naturally, he still called his friends and family for feedback. He relived the interview during breakfast. And during lunch. And as I said goodbye to him in the hotel lobby.
I could see it would take sometime for the adrenaline rush to wear off.
As I headed back uptown, however, this time on foot, the only thought I had was getting some zzzzz’s.
It was back to the burbs for me. The night before already seemed like a fantasy. Reality would hit all too soon, when I would return to pitching more producers and editors. Trying for additional TV appearances and print placements. Facing rejection, or even worse, turning on my computer only to discover that not one of the hundreds of producers and editors I had e-mailed the day before had even responded.
But all those unanswered e-mails are well worth that moment’s glory when all of your efforts and hard work are met with one single e-mail: “We want to invite your author to be a guest on our show.”
All in a day’s work.
Labels: Book Publicity