When I first published SWINDLED, and was beginning to get some recognition, I was approached by a well-known author. This well-known author was actually a key component in my economic re-education, and he had an idea. Several of us had written books along a similar theme, and he thought it would be mutually beneficial if we reviewed and promoted each other’s books. I agreed , and a couple of other people agreed. We all exchanged copies, virtual and otherwise of each other’s work.
I was pretty excited to be working with and receiving help from somebody who I looked up to in certain areas. I told this story to a friend of mine and she warned me not to get my hopes up. She said that when she had first started out she had been similarly solicited, and in the middle of her flattery of being noticed and taken seriously, she agreed to a great deal of work that was never reciprocated. She reminded me that the author in particular that had arranged this deal was an atheist with some pretty horrible opinions on the issue of abortion. Her parting advice on this was “I hope it works out, but remember that he isn’t in the business of helping you, he’s in the business of selling books, and if you help him do that, he’ll use it.”
Regardless of her advice, I took my end of the commitment very seriously, and I plowed into the books. I took notes, and within a few days began compiling my review. I tried to be honest, but fair. I finished all the reviews within weeks of receiving the books, and posted them everywhere I could. I sent links to the reviews to the other authors, and got busy with the rest of my life.
As of the time of this writing, I am the only one of that group to keep their commitment. A few months went by and I contacted the ‘idea man’ for this venture and tried to gently remind him of what the arrangement had been. He assured me that his review of my work was coming out any day now. I am still waiting. I spoke to one of the other authors over the phone and he told me that he didn’t know if he would actually get around to what he had committed to. He apologized in advance if it didn’t happen.
So what are the lessons here? One lesson is that you should do the right thing, and keep your commitments not because of what it will earn you in return, but because it is simply the right thing to do. I cannot control the actions or work habit of anyone else, and if they entered into a deal with no intent on following through, that is a reflection on their character, not mine. This famous author continues to write and lecture, receiving accolades for his smartness. At the end of the day, I got a couple of free books out of it, and an invaluable education.
I also reaffirmed within myself that if I ever make it ‘big’, I’m going to bring as many people with me as a I can. My inspiration from this is director Sam Raimi who made movies and let all his friends be in them, plus his car. Danny Dileo did the same thing. Make a note of this; the time to be nice to me is now.
This incident confirmed yet again that Mrs. Becky Akers, in addition to being a great writer with amazing hair, probably gets migraines from being so brilliant.