I made my radio debut this morning on 99.1 FM in Honolulu. Unfortunately it was airing while I was on the road, driving my best friend and a buddy of his to the airport to fly back home to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and since I can’t pick up that station in the neighborhood I was in, we missed almost the entire thing. We just managed to catch the last minute of the last segment, at which point I said, “Ew. Do I sound like that?”
Sigh. Still, very much a positive experience for the week.
When I published my first book I did nothing in the way of promotion and publicity and marketing. Because I knew nothing about any of those subjects. I started researching them after I published. The first expert on building a name brand and platform that I listened to was Michael Hyatt. He recommended that you start building your platform two years before you publish your book. And here I was already published and haven’t started yet.
So after that is when I created a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account and this blog page. Also, right about that same time is when I responded to an ad to participate in a Reality TV show. If you read my “About Matt” page I describe myself as an “occasional actor.” All my previous acting experience was with an experimental theatre group called Theatricus (currently on production-hiatus). Our productions were all improvisational, environmental drama. Improvisational, so we had no scripts. And also environmental, so our venue was typically without a stage where we would take ownership of the location and incorporate the audience into the performance. Which perfectly equipped me for reality TV.
As it turns out, the owner of the company where I auditioned at was using the show as a means to recruit door-to-door salesmen for his company. And his partner on the show was a famous local comedian (not going to use his name because I didn’t ask permission first, I will call him Mr. A for now). The premise of the show would be to follow the development of this new company in Hawaii, and there would be a contest among the salesmen, where the first one to sell 100 Widgets would win $50,000, etc…
So I went through the training spiel, filmed some footage for web commercials, went out knocking on doors for training, all in preparation for this 6 week contest. After four months the contest hadn’t started yet, although the first few episodes of the show had already aired. For me, no big deal. I wasn’t there to earn a paycheck selling door-to-door, I was there to be on TV and hopefully gain some name recognition. But all the other people who signed on would quit, get replaced, quit, get replaced. Why? Because selling door-to-door sucks. I didn’t mind it, because I spent most of my time talking story with people. One day I spent over an hour talking to a gentleman named Mike who was a trained dog psychiatrist with three giant Saint Bernards and I never once pitched him what I was selling. But I did gain some valuable insight into why my dog acts the way he does, so it was a good day.
Over the course of time, the video cameras were around a lot less in the office. And management started leaning on me for not getting more sales. So I stopped showing up. No cameras, no contest, no reason for me to be here. And they wouldn’t miss me since I had five sales in five months. I’m sure I could have had ten in a single afternoon, I just never talked to a single friend or family member in a city that I grew up in. A few weeks later, I saw a post on Mr. A’s Facebook page that he was no longer affiliated with the company.
I did get to know Mr. A a bit when he made appearances in the office. Like most of the Hawaii celebrities I’ve met, he was a very down-to-earth, local boy. One day he told me, “Hey, Matt! I like your tweets.” Everyone in the company was encouraged to create a twitter account, so we were all following each other. One of the things about Mr. A, was that most of his tweets were not just comedy, they were about encouraging people to dream big and pursue your dreams and goals, which I of course am all about. Then three weeks after I read about him leaving the company, I got a message from him on Twitter. Paraphrasing our exchange here:
- Wassup, Matt! (that’s a typical greeting here). Crazy busy month, just trying to forget the last year. Let’s keep in touch.
- Hey, I meant to ask. Did you get the book I left you in the office a few months ago?
- No I haven’t been back there for awhile.
- Send me your address, I’ll send you a copy of my book.
(the next day. Wow! Local mail is fast!)
- Got it, Matt! I have two books I want to publish! You want to promote it on my radio show?
I think my eyes actually made a “boing!” noise.
So, while in the studio I found out a little more about what was going on with the show. Mr. A was the one who came up with the original concept for the show. The company owner that was bankrolling the project took over and kept Mr. A bound in an incredibly tight contract. He kidnapped Mr. A’s local fame for credibility and turned his show concept into a weekly commercial for his company.
That’s okay though. Strength through adversity. So, after all that: This morning I got to be on the Mr. L and Mr. A radio show, and my book will be the first book reviewed on their brand new L&A book club. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help out Mr. A get his two books published before the Christmas season starts. And who knows, since it was Mr. A, and not this other company owner that originally pitched the show to A&E, the reality show is still on the table for him and I might be able to wiggle my way into the show and make an appearance on national television.
But seriously, does my voice sound like that?