If you’ve written a book, the day will probably come when you attend a book festival, full of hope and glory, dragging along a box full of copies. Like dozens of other aspiring authors, you figure you’ll come home in a few hours with a few sales to brag about. It turns out that you’re more likely to come home with some stories and a few new friends.
If your mama says you look nice in your new suit you say ‘thanks’ and keep on going. You both know it’s a mama’s job to say such things. When the CEO of your biggest client stops you in the hall and says ‘Hey, that’s a really nice suit. Where’d you get it?’ you know that you’ve received a sincere compliment worth feeling good about.
Yes, some words carry greater weight than others.
When you’re young enough to be wagging your tail because a boss or a teacher offers you praise, criticism is not always expected and can be hard to receive. Most of us have seen someone young and vulnerable get turned inside out because they worked hard on something and then somebody announced that it sucked.
On the other hand, if you’re old enough to have had a gastroenterologist sedate you so he could take color pictures of your entrails, you have probably learned one of life’s most important lessons: honest criticism is a good thing. If you believe in bettering yourself, you count on good people to be direct with you about your special brand of ineptitude.
Since ‘Church of Golf’ became available in late October, I’ve been ready for criticism. A guy can’t expect his first novel to be a perfect work of art any more than a four-year-old armed with a box of Crayolas could expect a commission for a Presidential portrait. So far, though, all the reviews have been uniformly positive. People seem to really like this book. I could not be more pleased or more surprised.
A few kind words or deeds can take you farther than a whole tank of gas.
A golf writer named Jeff Shelly, writing at Cybergolf.com (a blog produced in partnership with CBS Sports), recently described ‘Church of Golf’ as ‘an entertaining yarn’ and ‘a fun read.’ In the process, he made my day.
The editors at golf-fiction.com posted an excerpt of ‘Church of Golf’ after a review of the book to ensure it met their standards. It’s a nice sample of the book that anyone can read.
A book fan from Croatia, Denis Vukosav, a ‘Top 100 Reviewer’ on Amazon.com posted a glowing review just a day ago. Denis works with a charitable organization in Croatia that promotes literacy and reading and that features wonderful information about Croatian writers on its website. I know they would be happy for any donations you might care to make.
Finally, my lovely sister-in-law, Susan, has convinced the members of her book club in Charles County, Maryland, to read ‘Church of Golf’ and to discuss it at an upcoming meeting. Thank you, dear.
More to come soon, no doubt.
My grateful and sincere thanks to several nice folks who have posted reviews for ‘Church of Golf’ in recent weeks.
A golf blogger from Atlanta called C.O.G. “very engaging,” and “very enlightened.” He said the book tells “a very cool story.”
Since early December, eight more readers have posted reviews at Amazon.com, most of them five stars.
It’s nice getting good reviews. This is partly because most of us like having nice things said about our work. It’s also nice to think that somebody sat in a comfortable chair with ‘Church of Golf’ open on their lap, ignored their computer and their television and found entertainment and inspiration. That’s just so right there.
My mama raised me up to know the value of modesty. Having that knowledge means that when I call attention to myself, I’m required to feel guilty. (Knowing the value of modesty and being modest are two entirely different things, it turns out.)
I’ve always admired folks who are naturally modest — or at least who seem to come by modesty naturally. Garrison Keillor, possibly the cleverest Minnesotan ever, seems to have that quality. And at the risk of sounding partisan, Colin Powell does too. They both seem like people who would make memorable and pleasant dinner companions. I doubt either of them spends time dropping names of celebrities or babbling excessively about their accomplishments.
But if you write a book and you want to find an audience, you can’t afford to be too modest. You have to call attention to yourself. You have to believe you have done something worth boasting about and then you start boasting, even if it goes against your sense of propriety. So the nice folks at Saint Pete Press and I have coordinated an effort to boast. We have begun to contact numerous people who are prominent and have a public connection with golf. We’ve sent copies of the book to book editors at newspapers, golf writers, golf broadcasters and even celebrities who golf.
In the last week, Church of Golf and old Spencer have gotten some return on their investment in boastfulness. And the truth is, it doesn’t feel half bad. Getting public recognition and appreciation is kinda nice. A fellow could get used to it. Continue reading
‘Church of Golf’ is available on Amazon, at long last. Please tell your friends and neighbors.
Amazon.com Link for Church of Golf
When an important and long-hoped-for event doesn’t happen as quickly as you would like, you probably take a breath and go on to something else and say to yourself “All in good time.” You busy yourself with something else that’s important and take your mind off what you want but cannot yet have. You demonstrate maturity and evenness. You take satisfaction, knowing that you are setting a good example for those of tender years.
Me? The Dark Angel of Impatience alights on my left shoulder and shrieks in my ear. I do not shoo her away because her feelings and my own are too much the same. I am left unable to concentrate. I snap at the people who love me. I pace. I channel surf aimlessly, as if I could find what I want being pitched in alluring tones by Fabio on the Home Boy Shopping Network. I hurl mustard-flavored invective at innocent drivers who slow me down on my commute to work. I threaten small and defenseless pets and make them pee on the carpet. I brood.
So it goes with ‘Church of Golf.’
October 15 once looked like a safe bet for the date on which the world could go to Amazon, click a button and expect to receive a hard copy of ‘Church of Golf’ via the U.S. Postal Service. The same date looked good for Kindle downloads. Not any more. Continue reading
In the last week, a couple of important milestones on the path to authordom have come and gone. I approved the ‘marketing text’ — the blurb that appears on the back of the book that briefly describes the inside of the book — and the BISAC category (used by librarians and search engines to categorize and find books) for ‘Church of Golf.’ Also, the manuscript has been formatted so that it looks like a real book with chapter numbers, little squiggly things called ‘fleurons’ that divide sections; pages have been laid out with page numbers and the text has been put into the font and type size that will appear in the final.
One other happy milestone came and went: I told the publisher I was a little underwhelmed with the cover art that they had produced. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t all that good. I thought I was just venting. I didn’t expect that little old Spencer, not yet published or proven, would be able to have any influence. Two days later, I got an email with brand new cover art. I was blown away. It captures the precise feeling I had hoped it would. It features a lush photograph of a middle-aged dude getting ready to tee off on a golf course that is obviously tropical (possibly Hawaiian). He’s looking off into the distance (which the reader cannot see). The future of this particular golfer is something he’s very interested in and it’s a question mark. He gets to ponder his future while planted in a place as beautiful as any you could imagine.
More to come soon, no doubt.
The cover art for ‘Church of Golf’ is complete. Getting the right combination of pictures and text that said to prospective readers ‘this is a funny and touching story about a guy whose life was broken and he fixed it with golf’ was not easy. I hope you approve.
More to come soon, no doubt.