I sit in the middle another early hour - somewhere in the region of 2am to be exact.
Sleep studies lab tonight... watching over a seven month old with some mysterious poor feeding/poor weight gain/poor developmental issues that are a real question mark right now. It's the kind of thing that would have Gregory House and his team salivating with a clinical/dramatic desire to solve this mystery ala Murder She Wrote. But if I throw in another TV Reference here right now - I'd probably vomit.
The old Bakelite telephone I have in my office at home has probably received more of a workout in the past month or so than at any other time in it's nearly one hundred year life span. It is seriously old - like pre WW1 old.
I purchased it from an antique store in a place called Tyabb in rural Victoria - it must have been a good 6 or 7 years ago. At the time of purchase, the shop-lady showed it to be in good working order, however the journey from there back to my home in Adelaide must have done something to it because I couldn't get the damned thing to work on my phone line in my Adelaide house. A call to the phone company revealed that it was indeed registering a fault on the network so, after a quick search, I found a guy who was a whiz went it came to these old contraptions. He found the original dialer to be so badly corroded that the only option was to replace it.
Good as new.
The black Bakelite telephone has served me beautifully ever since and has proudly sat on my desk next to my laptop, cell phone and PDA. A granddaddy communications device punching ably above it's weight in the digital age.
I have always been a lover of technology - a geek if you will - and I have an appreciation for the technology of yesterday as much as I appreciate the technology of now.
Anyway - another Monday went by yesterday and I spent most of it placing calls on the old Bakelite, following up with people who are (potentially) interested in my novel and keeping the squeaky wheel thing happening. I'm discovering that nothing happens quickly insofar as marketing.
In the case of one major book retailer here in Adelaide, who I've been talking with now for nearly six weeks, the progress has been maddeningly slow. They've expressed a keen interest in doing an event with me (supporting a local author and all that) but I'm finding that I'm doing a lot of chasing. Calling, leaving messages, emailing, requesting return receipts, getting none. As recently as today - after three attempts at speaking to the contact - leaving messages - I finally touched base with the person only to be told 'we're still waiting for the go ahead from head office'.
See - what happens is - the book store has a program supporting local authors - they help in organizing and hosting an event (i.e. a book signing/meet the author) and they secure funding from HQ to submit a purchase order to my publisher for stock. But it all happens fairly slowly and patience has never been one of my stronger virtues. I'm still being told that this all will happen...but part of me is having doubts.
I spoke again to a local FM station here in Adelaide who expressed interest in talking to me about my book and I have supplied them with a copy to review. There is one catch though, that is knocking my confidence off kilter. The station is a Christian focused one, which in itself isn't a concern for me. However the novel is quite dark in the beginning, contains a fairly graphic sex scene and also has some fairly strong language. I fear that these may work against me in terms of the station's philosophy. The novel does have a strong spiritual thematic string as well though and, as a good friend of mine - who herself identifies as a Christian - said to me today, most modern Christians are fairly progressive in their thinking and are broad minded (she, btw, loved the novel).
So I dunno...I furnished them with a copy from my own batch which I paid for...so I'm taking a leap of faith here. Time will tell.
After what I regarded as a completely bloody shambles - that being last Monday, I consider today...well now yesterday actually...to have been a much better say.
A couple of unexpected things happened today that made me smile. Two libraries - one here in Adelaide and one across in Melbourne are intending to purchase the book for their collections. This kinda spun me out because, thus far, I hadn't given much thought to libraries. But I'm told there are opportunities to do events with them as well so I'm going to consider this as another option for getting the word out.
I sat back in my chair after I had done as much as I could do by late in the afternoon and considered my old Bakelite telephone. What conversations had that phone facilitated over the years? What news had it been a silent witness to? What momentous occasions, haunting tragedy, trials and tribulations had it transported down it's wires over the many decades of dedicated service it has performed? It has accumulated nearly a century of communication mileage...
And what the hell is Bakelite anyhow?