My road to syndication...continued...
In my other life (pre-husband-children-etc) I sold ad space for a local magazine. One evening, at some sales function, I met a local real estate sales person who was one of the top selling agents in our region. We were talking about sales and in the course of our conversation I asked him what he did to become so successful. He told me that when he first started in real estate he was completely green as to "HOW THINGS WERE DONE". He had no idea what the protocols were for networking for contacts and finding clients. He was ignorant, motivated and starting at ground zero...and he told me that, in his enthusiasm, he went out and did everything he wasn't supposed to do. Apparently, that worked very well for him.
Please keep that in mind when I tell you the following story about the Toronto Star.
I had developed a strip about some women friends (I called it "Just Between Friends" because I couldn't think of anything else) and was ready to get myself published. Full of bravado, I looked at the editorial page of the Toronto Star, checked the masthead, found the name of the Managing Editor and, after taking a deep breath, I called him. Amazingly, I got him on the phone immediately. I asked him if he would be interested in publishing some of my cartoons.
Bear in mind here, this was not a follow-up call. I hadn't sent any cartoons to the man. I don't know what the heck I was thinking...maybe that I was opening the door to a conversation about my work? God only knows, because I don't.
There was a pause...the MANAGING EDITOR OF THE TORONTO STAR tentatively asks me, "Have we spoken before?"
I feel this hollow feeling in my chest...a hot flush is welling up at the base of my neck...I have the first inkling that ... perhaps...I have gone about this all wrong...
"No.", I answer. My bravado has dissapated.
"You mean...you're just calling me up out of the blue?"
The flush has risen to my cheeks.
There is a pause of about twenty seconds...and believe me, twenty seconds of silence on the phone is a VERY LONG TIME.
The flush has engulfed me.
"Well...", he says, "I don't know if you're really serious about this...but if you are, I think you're setting your sights a little high to be approaching Canada's largest newspaper.
What could I say? I thanked him for his time and hung up.
IDIOT. Me not him. All things considered, the editor was very courteous to me. In fact, I'm not so sure I would have had this man's patience if the roles had been reversed. (I don't recall who the managing editor was at that time...I've probably blocked it out of my memory)
Fast-forward this story a little...I am bemoaning this moronic espisode of mine to a friend over coffee. She wonders why I didn't go to my local newspaper, the St. Catharines Standard. Hmm...now this may be a possibility. She tells me her boyfriend's father works at the Standard. Hmm...even more interesting. She calls the boyfriend...the boyfriend talks to dad...dad talks to Managing Editor, Murray Thomson. I have an appointment to see Murray Thomson. I think this is probably more along the lines of the way things should be done.
Still...if I hadn't done the thing I wasn't supposed to do...would I have gotten to this step?
Next: Approaching the St. Catharines Standard