The Book Tour Begins . . . . .
I have seen dozens of authors on talk shows whine that the worst part of writing a book is the exhausting tour required to promote it. Well, one week into my own debut on the circuit, I must admit it is a challenge, though a welcome one for a new author who is proud of the book about his career, LOUD.
My first stop was a familiar one, the WIP Morning Show, where I was a host for the previous 33 years — the scene for many of the best stories in the book. It was surreal sitting on the other side of the studio while the new hosts, Joe DeCamera and Jon Ritchie, asked me questions I was ready for, and a few I was not.
During our conversation, I revealed for the first time (other than in the book) my battles with clinical depression, and especially the one in 1995 that nearly ended my tenure at WIP. I always took pride in having no secrets during my time in radio, but the depression issue was one of very few exceptions.
I don’t remember what I said after being off the air for three weeks in the summer of 1995, but I chose not to speak then about my struggles because I thought they would make it harder for me to present myself as a smartass, take-no-prisoners host. The world was a different place back then, and I was a different person. If I had it to do all over again, I would have shared my struggles. No audience is more understanding than our Philadelphia listeners.
While back visiting my old show, I took the opportunity to express my concerns about the Eagles, despite their 8-1 record at the bye week. Can a team ranked 26th in pass defense actually win a championship? We will know a lot more about the team after they face the best QB in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes, next Monday night. I am not confident.
I also mentioned how hard I would have tried to sabotage the WIP initiative to cheer Trea Turner last summer when he was batting under .240 in the first year of his $300-million contract. Of course, I was wrong. I am still channeling the negativity of the 1990s. Fans nowadays are much more forgiving — a good thing, I guess. Let’s just say I still prefer the snarl of the old days.
The next stop on my tour was an awards dinner on Thursday night for MAPACA, a mid-Atlantic organization dedicated to a critical analysis of American culture. I very much appreciate them giving me an award for my work in radio. As I mentioned in my acceptance remarks, it must have been a very lean year for mid-Atlantic media people.
During a question-and-answer period, a member of the crowd asked me the key to my success. It was in that moment that I developed a theme I plan to repeat in the many tour stops ahead. It’s so simple, really. Find something to do that you love. I complained constantly during my many years at WIP, but I loved doing that job every day.
If you love your job, it’s not really work. And you have a huge advantage over others in your field who don’t feel as much joy when they show up every day.
On Sunday morning, I got to see an old friend who knows a thing or two about books. His name may ring a bell — Mitch Albom, author of the iconic Tuesdays with Morrie and seven subsequent No. 1 New York Times bestsellers in a row. He was one of the best regular guests we ever had on our show.
Mitch has a tradition of starting how own book tour at his former place of worship when he was growing up, the Temple Beth Shalom in Cherry Hill, N.J. Mitch’s new book, the little liar, is coming out today (Nov. 14), and it is extraordinary. He has a hour-long presentation that expands on the premise of his book that is spectacular in its own way — riveting, emotional and ultimately inspiring.
I’m going to make a bold prediction, despite my status as a novice in the book business. I predict the little liar will sell more than LOUD. If I can sell as many books in the next year as he does in one hour today, I will be ecstatic. Mitch is a genius. It was an honor to be in the audience on Sunday.
I wrapped up the first week of my own tour on Monday night at Rowan University, where another old friend, Neil Hartman, hosts a weekly “Pizza with the Pros” event for the many communications majors at the school. Neil was one of the most accomplished and popular sports anchors in Philadelphia form many years, most notably at Comcast Sportnet during the regional network’s heyday.
Neil may be even better in academia than he was in TV. And the students? Wow. I taught many years ago at LaSalle and was privileged to work with eventual media stars Mike Sielski of The Inquirer and John Gonzalez of The Ringer, but this class of 80 was filled with Sielskis and Gonzalezes. They were so focused, so determined to realize their own dreams.
And nobody looked at his or her cellphones during the entire presentation. How about that? (It must have been a Rowan rule.)
Afterwards, I sold some books to the students — most of which were for dads or moms who listened loyally to our show on WIP. My conversations with the young people confirmed one of the best things about being a sports fan in Philadelphia — how one generation hands down its love of sports to the next. In some cases, the kids in the car going to school decided to follow the same path as that weird voice (me) on the radio every morning. Imagine that.
Anyway, I just want to thank all of the people who have already ordered early copies of LOUD. You can still get the book ahead of the Nov. 28 publication date right here on this website. And I will happily sign it with any message you like, including that infamous insult to the Dallas Cowboys.
If you want to wait till Nov. 28, you can get the book on Amazon both in its book form and now Kindle. An audiobook is still in the planning stages.
See you soon on the book tour. The updated list is also on this website.