How The Art of Asking led to me talking about Tampa by Alissa Nutting, Morrissey's novel and the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards on LitReactor's Unprintable podcast
I'm back home from California, enjoying being back in my own bed, in my chilly in certain spots but lovely new home, and catching up on blog posts and writing. I had meant to share a fun interview I did recently, and a little backstory on how it happened, and now I am.
This podcast interview was a huge honor, because it's with a podcast and company I greatly admire, and a lesson in Amanda Palmer's book title The Art of Asking, one I've previously put into action as well. It's probably the #1 business/creativity book in my life in terms of the profound effect it's had (close second, or in the running for #1, is Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert). I'm not saying I'm in any other way like Amanda Palmer, who I don't even know that much about beyond reading the book, but I am saying the principles of her approach to asking have stayed with me ever since I read it and I try to remember them when I'm going after something I want, or I'm nervous about making a request, even though it feels utterly right in my heart.
I will save my "why I believe in DIY author self-promotion" rant for another day, but suffice it to say, while I used to wait for opportunities to magically appear in front of me, now I go after opportunities. I feel I owe it to myself and my business, and I believe in my message enough, and my offerings (like my upcoming LitReactor online erotica class, hint hint!) to want to share them with the world, and by "the world," I mean the world beyond people who might already know who I am (like you, my wonderful, patient with my meanderings blog readers). Especially when I become a fan of a podcast, which often feels more intimate to me than reading, because I'm hearing someone's voice, I'm hearing how they ask questions, how they pause and phrase things, how they laugh, I tend to think about what it would be like to be a guest. In many cases, that wouldn't make sense, because it's not about what I do, but when it is, I let that image linger a little longer and if that image like it would make sense, I let myself envision it happening, which makes the ask a lot easier.
Gaining that perspective, that I'm coming from a place of passion about my work and belief in its power and importance and in the case of my teaching, effectiveness, changed my sense of asking for things from being rude and pushy to simply being one creative businesswoman asking someone else to share in a mutually beneficial arrangement, while knowing full well they may say no. I don't invest my ego or my sense of self-worth in the answer; I simply see it as one small step toward following my dreams.
Plus, in 2015 podcasts sort of took over my life. I devoured so many new ones and woke up eager to listen to whatever was on tap that day. I haven't been listening as much in 2016 mainly because I was busy moving and have had lots of deadlines and I can't seem to both write and listen to podcasts. I can listen to music, but podcasts require another level of concentration. So when it came to thinking about promoting my new book and my upcoming class, being interviewed on podcasts seems like a fitting next step. Oh, and I got on Girl Boner podcast by asking too. I'm proof that it works.
TL:DR I got over my qualms about sounding pompous or overly entitled and asked politely if I could be interviewed on LitReactor's Unprintable podcast, which I only recently found out existed but quickly became fascinated by (as a book lover, how could I not enjoy hearing what the hosts are reading each episode, told in a manner that conveys of course we're reading, we're always reading).
They said yes and here's our episode (yes, that's me and Morrissey pictured above, and we talk about and laugh at a snippet from his novel Bad Sex in Fiction award winning List of the Lost, definitely not something teen me would have thought I'd ever do when I saw him in concert).
Not only did they say yes, they put me on with co-hosts Cath Murphy, who also is one half of the must-listen Domestic Hell podcast (their current episode is on "Granny Vajazzling," which should really tell you whether you're immediately intrigued or not), and whose accent I adore, and LitReactor class facilitator and writer Renee Asher Pickup, for the first all-female Unprintable show. It was so much fun, and while at the top it was suggested we go for 30 minutes, we babbled on for an hour and 15 minutes, and I know I could have kept on talking with these wonderful women for way longer.
It was a sprawling, sometimes hilarious, thoughtful discussion, about sexism in book criticism and mansplaining, Morrissey's purple prose, how Tampa by Alissa Nutting was treated by the media, whether the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards are good for writing, the use of pseudonyms, tattoos, and more. For me, it felt like talking to two old friends, even though I'd never spoken to them before save for a very quick Skype call to go over things a few weeks prior.
Again, in case you missed it the first time: It would never have happened if I hadn't asked. Am I saying you'll get everything you ask for just by asking? No, but I am saying that asking is the first step. Being prepared for rejection is part and parcel of asking, and I'll revisit that topic, but for now, I definitely recommend tuning in and you can subscribe to the Unprintable podcast in iTunes. If you like books and reading, I'm pretty sure you'll like it.
So now I will apply the magic of asking again: if you know anyone who might be interested in my upcoming LitReactor 4-week online Between the Sheets erotica writing class, please pass on the info! This will be my sixth time teaching it, and right now I'm preparing for it by researching and interviewing new literary agents, publishers, editors and authors because I aim to make each class even more informative than the next. In addition to all the stated weekly lectures and assignments, I bring students over a dozen exclusive interviews with erotica publishing insiders designed to help you get published and get your publishing questions answered. Plus I've learned so much about what's happening in my industry that I wouldn't have known otherwise, and found great books to read, like Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O'Keefe, which I'm reading now on the recommendation of the agent who sold it, who I interview for the class.
Speaking of which: I love when students come in with questions! But I also appreciate that four weeks is a good amount of time to develop even more, and that's part of the joy of this class: you can figure out what you want to know as you go along. Plus after it's over, you'll get an invitation to my private online group for erotica writing student alumni where I share writing news and resources, and students ask questions and continue the community that's often formed in the classes. The class is limited to 16 people so everyone can receive as much attention and feedback as they deserve. Questions about the class? Email rachelkb at gmail.com with "LitReactor" in the subject line.