My first book, How to Survive Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis, was published in 2003 by Perigee, a division of Penguin Putnam. In 2011 publishing rights reverted back to me and my co-author Gay Courter; my company has republished the book in print and ebook versions.
It was exciting to be published by a major publisher especially with the type of media blitz that major publishing houses provide. When the book was first released, Gay Courter and I did what might be considered the “usual” round of local TV and radio interviews, as well as book signings at bookstores in the Tampa Bay area. Gay and I, along with Gay’s husband Phil, went to New York for an appearance on NBC’s The Today Show . Before leaving New York, I made solo appearances on Naked New York with Bob Berkowitz, a late night cable program, and Norwalk News 12, a cable program in Connecticut.
When we got to the NBC studios, we were told that our segment would air later than planned due to the addition of a celebrity guest in the earlier time slot. I think Demi Moore dropped by but we were in the Green Room by then. We did get to meet Stephen King as he was heading out of “hair and makeup.”
Matt Lauer originally was going to do our interview but when the segment was moved, Al Roker (the weather guy) did the interview instead.
Unions control how things are done in the NBC studios which is why we sat in one chair so the hairdresser could make sure our hair was acceptable, and then moved to a chair next to the first one so the makeup person could approve us. The wardrobe person, in a small room across from hair and makeup, glanced at us as we returned to the green room. Later we were escorted to the set so that camera angles and lighting could be checked.
While we were waiting for Al Roker to show up I made the mistake of picking up a sheet of paper (the interview questions) that was on the arm of Al’s chair. “Never touch anything!” shouted one of the stagehands as he grabbed the paper out of my hand and placed it back on Al’s chair. On air, the interview was quick and generic and Al only called me by Gay’s name once.
After The Today Show I returned to my hotel (I was staying at the Chelsea in Manhattan), changed clothes, and walked about a mile to the studio where Naked New York would be filming that night’s show. My sister-in-law and her teenage son met me at the studio and we all went into the green room.
Almost every television studio has a “green” room but not all of them are actually green. This particular green room (not green) was small but inviting, probably because of the mix of people for that night’s show: a midlife crisis author (me), two drag queens, and a natural childbirth mother who gave birth to her last child while standing up.
The mood in the studio before, during, and after filming was jovial and easygoing and Bob Berkowitz and his beautiful blonde assistant were more than willing to pose for photographs for and with all of us. After spending several hours in the green room getting to know the show’s guests, my teenage nephew had plenty of things to talk about the next day at school.
The next morning I traveled by towncar to Norwalk, Connecticut, to tape an interview for Norwalk News 12. When that was done, I was dropped off at La Guardia airport for the trip home.
Since that time, I have self-published more than ten books including How To Be A Self-Published Author: A Step-by-Step Guide, published December 2009, which explained how to use technology and available online resources to turn a manuscript into a printed/published book. I usually suggest to authors that they complete their manuscript before starting on the publishing aspects, but I wrote this book as I did each step.
As prestigious as it was to have a book published by a major publishing house, and as much as I’d love to have a media budget the size of the one for my first book, I am much happier publishing my books myself and controlling all aspects of the process. It took over three years to get How to Survive from concept to published book which is apparently the standard for most books through major publishers except for “hot topic” books that are hurried through the publishing process — such as Jenny Sanford’s book about her marriage.
In addition to publishing my own books, I help other authors through the self-publishing process.