A Request for Help

Mar 12, 2009 | Writing

Interviews are a necessary, sometimes torturous part of what I do for a living.  Unless you have experienced it (and I know some of you have) nothing can be as mind-numbingly uncomfortable as talking about yourself.  In fact, the only thing worse than talking about yourself would be doing it repeatedly.  

Some interviewers make it worse by asking questions that clue you in to the fact that they are not even remotely prepared.  “Today we have with us Andy Anderson!  Andy, tell me about yourself.”

Or they confuse you with someone else.  “Please welcome Olympic Gold medalist…”

Occasionally, an interviewer will introduce you with a description you’d rather avoid.  “Here to motivate us all for the next hour…”

As hard as it is to be excited about an interview, there are those who are excellent at crafting an interesting conversation from worn out subjects.  A good questioner can reveal fresh new seams of conjecture and discovery.  For instance, John, from the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis asked me the other day, “Considering your accomplishments and adventures, when the light goes out on your life, what do you want your last memory to be?”  Wow!  What an awesome question.  Even after babbling something for the camera, I have been contemplating the answer ever since he asked!

So interviews are a double-edged sword.  No normal person wants to talk about themselves, but as a public figure, if you don’t talk about yourself a little bit, folks might not be aware you exist.  This fact was brought home to me the other day with a peculiar question about my career.  “What,” a newspaper reporter asked, “is the biggest professional disappointment that the public does not know you have endured?”

Sheesh, I thought.  I’ve never been asked that before.   But the answer came to me easily because I am reminded of it every day.  Simply put, it is this:  The vast majority of people who have read The Traveler’s Gift, do not know I have written anything else!  

I am often approached in airports or restaurants.  People want to say hello or discuss a situation they are going through.  I really do enjoy these times, but it kills me when they say, “The Traveler’s Gift is one of my favorites…are you ever going to write another book?”  That kills me.  Kills me.

See, I think Island of Saints is the best thing I’ve done.  And I’m proud of some of the others, too.  I don’t consider myself a “braggy” kind of person and it is not in my nature to self promote, so this can be a big problem in an industry that relies on public awareness.  After all, if your life’s mission is to produce books and material that will help other people, but you feel uncomfortable telling folks you have the stuff….well. you see my challenge.    

So this time (as I take a deep breath), with a new book coming out soon, I am determined to ask for help.  From you.  I am already cringing as I write this and if you feel strange about me asking, please…stop reading now.  I’d rather you and I just stay friends…   But if you are one of the people who have seen some good come out of my work and wouldn’t mind spreading the word, move on to the next paragraph…

For a bit more than two years, I have worked on a book that I feel might be my most important.  In preparation for it’s release, as I test the life solutions revealed in this work against the challenges of today’s world, I am excited to see the “light bulbs” come on in the hearts and minds of early readers.   

The Noticer is a story that begins by detailing the period in my life when I was homeless, living under a pier on the Gulf Coast.   In it, I reveal the identity of the old man who helped and encouraged me during that time.  His name was Jones and it was he who started me reading the small, orange biographies that eventually lead me to the Seven Decisions in The Traveler’s Gift.  Having now returned to the small town of Orange Beach, Jones begins to shape lives, dealing with situations in a very unusual way.     

I hope and pray that this will be a favorite you will want to share with family and friends.  In an effort to somehow get major newspapers, magazines, and television interested, we are attempting to build a “buzz” before The Noticer comes out.  We are making available small, 8 x 10 easels that have the cover of the book reproduced on the front with an announcement stating:  Coming this Spring from the author of The Traveler’s Gift

If you have access to a location where people might see one of these easels, I would really appreciate your help in placing them around the country.  Cash registers in restaurants or retail stores, barber shops, churches, airport ticket counters…virtually any place that people frequent would be awesome.  If it is in a place that would allow you to talk about “this guy named Andy and these odd books he writes”, that would be even better!  Do you have more than one location for which you wouldn’t mind being responsible?  Ya want two?  Five?   I would really appreciate it! 

The intent is to release this book with as much noise as possible.  (Trust me, the “quiet” release has not been effective in the past!  Ha!)  Our goal is to get the book recognized and in as many hands as possible the moment it is released in hopes of making it onto the big newspaper best seller lists.  This in turn would provide more opportunities for the book to get into the hands of people who could use the encouragement and information.

Again, thanks so much for your attention to this.  If you have some fish that need cleaning or yard work that needs done in the future in exchange for your efforts, I am sure we can work something out!

Your friend,



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