They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Ha! I guess I should be flattered instead of seething...
The good thing about Facebook is that it reunites people. The bad thing is that time effaces the reason why you didn't associate with them through the journey called 'life'. And, with the interactions on FB with those people, it comes to surface. And I want to gnaw off my fingers for accepting their invites.
A case in point:
While revising Five-Star during 2009 and going through the galleys, I was contacted through FB from a girlfriend I knew eons ago. One of those who I never cared to stay in touch with over the years although I couldn't remember why.
"I'm writing a book and decided to self publish," she wrote me. "I want to fly into town and discuss self-publishing with you."
I stared at the screen. "There's lots of information on self-publishing online. That's how I learned."
During 2009, I conducted extensive research online in addition to the Business Library on Madison Avenue & 34th Street in NYC. I spent hours over several months researching different options for self-publishing, the costs and venues. I also had to learn about graphics, formatting and all sorts of stuff I never knew about. It was a stiff upward learning curve.
She wrote back, "Let's meet for lunch and I'll pick your brain."
I sat in front of my laptop thinking. My first thought was, "Why not?" Then, my mother's spirit hovered over me.
"You always do for others and no one does for you," she said. I drove my mother mad dispensing advice and helping people out who turned their backs on me once they got what they want.
"Mom, it'll pan out. Karma."
"That's bullshit. You made several people wealthy helping them with their companies. And they spat on you afterwards."
I never had a comeback because it was true. This time, for once, I'm going to be selfish. I actually considered, "If she's going to pick my brain, what do I get out of it?"
I wrote, "Yes! Sure! Let me know."
I didn't hear from her for a while. With my luck, though, she contacted me again. Meanwhile, the enormity of that request hit me. Outside of friending me on FB, there was no other interaction between us. She never extended any civilities, trying to catch up on the past decades of non-communication. I checked out her FB page. The woman was a success in the entertainment industry and had homes dotting the country. I lost my job on Wall Street and was in the process of losing my apartment.
"Why don't you use your contacts?" I wrote her when she next introduced the topic of meeting for lunch to pick my brain. Not even an invitation to pick up the tab, the miser.
"I want to do this myself. It's written to be picked up by a studio."
"Well, if we meet, can you recommend an agent for me to do the same?"
I watched the minute hand on the clock overhead the laptop move until her next response.
"I don't know anyone."
What a blatant lie! That was the last interaction I had with her.
Since then, Five-Star won several awards, notably the 2011 Nat'l Indie Excellence Award for Comedy. And great reviews by lions of literary critics. Even so, it's a long haul for sales because I recognize that my marketing skills are not as aggressive as they should be.
I don't hammer people into purchasing my book. I don't like to be a one note Johnny on social media. I believe that good will rise to the top and my books (yes, my minis and the tomes I'm constantly revising) will get the readers, in time. I just hope that it doesn't happen posthumously.
This woman, though, is a marketer par excellence. She actively promotes on social media her book, her friends' books and not a peep about mine. But, I'm okay about that. What next got me was that I started this blog 2 weeks ago and made a passing reference to it on FB. She started hers yesterday. Call me paranoid, but the timing's way too close. Anyhow, she blasted every avenue on FB about her blog, ramming it down our throats.
And I'm livid.
It's okay, I keep telling myself. Unlike her, I write comedy and infuse it with literary allusions that only 200 people so far understood. My fans are dedicated readers and even though they don't post online their raves, for the most part, I have oodles of emails from them.
Yet, I know that my next move will be closely monitored. Something tells me she's reading this now. Hmmmm.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.