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Overnight Success Is Not a Real Thing

Published June 26, 2019 by Maryanne

Monkey AroundIs it business or monkey business? 

During my years as a journalist, people contacted me to publicize themselves. (Or just for a great story in general). It was a dream come true writing about bands (both famous and up and coming). I shared the story many times about how I interviewed The Jonas Brothers before they were a household name.  Those years were an amazing run in my life.

Then I started getting into writing books. And public speaking.

All of a sudden, publicists were coming out of the woodwork wanting to make me a “star.” Five years later, none of them impressed me.

Finding a good manager/publicist is like figuring out who to give your virginity too. It may take a long time. It may not happen at all. But whatever the case, don’t just give money to anyone.

I didn’t settle for love and ended up with a very happy marriage. So, why should I settle for a publicist/manager? In the end, I want it all — including a dream publicist/manager!

My goal in finding one would be:

  1. Someone who doesn’t lead with money. When someone (like the last scam artist) suggested that I create a Go Fund Me page in order to use her $7K per month services, I ripped her. I told her, if I was interested, I’d pay CASH in PAYPAL. And that Go Fund Me pages are to support those in real need, like people with cancer or hurt animals … Not publicists. Her plea of desperation for money was a major red flag. She spoke about money before she spoke about what she could do for me. Our phone consult lasted a mere five minutes while she put me on hold several times to talk to her friends at the restaurant. How can you ask for money when you barely spoke to someone? She didn’t even purchase one of my books, so how could she promote me? SCAM ARTIST ALERT! Another one said he could get me to warm up for Tony Robbins if I paid him $50K. He said Tony Robbins always wants him to be his opening motivational speaker act, but he’s too busy with his own stuff. I researched, and asked around. Nothing told me there was any truth in this man working with Tony Robbins.
  2. Someone who believes in me. Several years ago I exhausted myself interviewing potential managers. During one interview, a retired guy said, “Are you any good?” I ended the interview quickly. Why? Because he didn’t do his homework before the interview. If he read my newsletters and saw that I was consistently working for myself since 2009, he’d KNOW I was good. To me, being at the top and not lasting isn’t a good thing. But being somewhere in the middle and having longevity IS! I interviewed a woman who was putting me down while wanting the job. It reminded me of the “Sex and the City” movie when Carrie Bradshaw is interviewing potential assistants and asks, “So, why do you want this job?” It’s mind-blowing that people would want to work for you, but don’t get you. It makes no sense and is sure to go nowhere fast.
  3. Someone with a great track record. Yes, I know a few people like this. They are so good they don’t have time to work with me — yet! I say YET in high hopes that someday these women/men may have a window of opportunity for me. This could be another pipe dream–kind of like how some women wait for their dream guy to divorce his beautiful wife. But when you have in mind something special, it will manifest. It always does. Just don’t force it.

The thing is, when it comes to publicity, just like anything else that is good, stable, and successful, I say, do not rush your muse. Cherish your precious creative talents like you would your body and soul. Do not give them up to just anybody.

What you have is a GIFT from God and the Universe. Slow and steady is the key. Overnight success is not a real thing.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

When it Comes to Reviews, Bad = Bad Ass!

Published July 31, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_3767“It’s better to be looked over than overlooked.” — Mae West

One of my favorite episodes of “Sex and the City” is when the character Smith Jerrod is the new poster model for “Absolut” vodka and referred to as the Absolut Hunk. That is, until some jealous person scrawls over the ad,  if my memory serves correctly, “Absolut Ass.” (Someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).

Smith Jerrod was so put off by the cruel, unnecessary act that he almost quit his acting career. Yet his gal, Samantha, encouraged him. She explained once the gays and teenyboppers embraced him he’d be a hit! And he was.

But dear readers, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need justification from fans. As an artist, writer, musician, etc. — you are already GREAT!  The fact that you are an artist willing to share your work is something to be proud of. Having the desire/will/dedication to publish (or self-published, doesn’t matter) — more power to you! AND … if you are making money to boot, darling you are so THERE!

So, now you have it all — guts to share,  people who enjoy, people who buy, and the blessing of not relying on anything else but your art for a living. Then the bomb drops … a bad review.

Thank God I learned early in my career that a bad review is the total opposite of what you’d think. A bad review is not “bad” at all. In fact, it’s “bad ass.” It simply means: people are reading! It also means people are being provoked by your work, and/or people are jealous (though I like to believe I’m strong enough to accept a bad review without using the word “jealousy” to go tit for tat with a hater). AND it can get you MORE readers — yeah!

When I was a writer in New York City for several publications at News Communications, one of the writers/editors was trashed in a “letter to the editor.”  I was new to the industry and feared she was going to get reprimanded or fired. Luckily I was wrong! The editor cheered her on and said, “People are reading you!” She became the darling of the news room.

A few years later, when I was an editorial assistant at The Montclair Times, I got my first bad review. I had written a feature article on the three tattoo shops in the town. A man from NYC, obsessed with our New Jersey newspaper, griped about hating tattoos and wondered: “…if Maryanne Christiano has any tattoos herself!”

I was ecstatic! Someone was reading me! My first bad review took me to Cloud 9!

That same man wrote letters to The Montclair Times, every three weeks, like clockwork, usually griping about something someone wrote. I saved the funnier ones in a folder. Part of my job as editorial assistant was to confirm “Letters to the Editor.” Eventually I built up a relationship with this man and we became friendly with each other. Another staff member said to me, “I can’t believe you get along with that guy!” This man was infamous for attacking the car of a NYC politician, so the fact that I got along with him was impressive.

Bad reviews don’t mean anything. They are no reflection on your character, not even your talent. Even best selling authors and the hottest rock ‘n’ roll tickets in town get bad reviews. Take for instance, one of my favorite bands, Queen. After seeing them for the third time two weeks ago, I started re-reading “The Queen Story” by George Tremlett, a book I had since I was 13.  I had long forgotten how they were trashed by the music magazines when they first came out. In fact, two journalists in very reputable newspapers trashed them after their amazing show with Adam Lambert. One was so off the money,  I was tempted to write a “Letter to the Editor” about his bad review.

“Go get ’em, Tiger!” my husband said to me. Though after a little research, I realized the journalist was around my age and a musician himself — a good one at that. I re-read the article and though I disagreed with him saying Brian May had a bad voice and his guitar solo was too long, I realized the dude was all about Freddie Mercury, and I’m okay with that. I couldn’t bring myself to trash a fellow middle-aged journalist and Freddie lover. However, his bad review inspired me to visit Google search and give the “thumbs up” for every excellent review I could find about the Queen + Adam Lambert world tour.

I rarely write bad reviews about musicians even though I’ve made a living as a music journalist for many years. Though I’ve given many bad reviews to venues I’ve received bad service, like Whole Foods and a hair salon I won’t mention because the owner stalked me down, harassed me on the telephone and demanded I take the bad review off Yelp. The only reason I did was because we had a mutual friend so I decided to take the high road. I deleted the bad review but will never forget the bad service: a stylist leaving dye and foils in my hair while she went to the bathroom to fight with her husband on a cell phone! (The result, my hair got fixed, two hours later; but she got a divorce. Bad karma, right?)

Bad reviews I’ve given other writers, I can count the times on one hand. The only times I trashed a book were two that were super popular and it was definitely no skin off their ass; and another book that criticized every band she wrote about, because to me that said, “well, then, why even bother?”

I never got people writing about things they hate when reviews come across so much more exciting when you write about what you love (and are knowledgeable about!) Bad reviews never stopped me from seeing a band, seeing a movie, buying a book or a CD. I’ve even befriended people who have gotten “bad reviews” from others. I fail to judge by anyone’s opinion except someone I really trust that knows me inside and out.

The thing I’m getting at here, is that bad reviews are just like mosquito bites. Annoying, but not nearly the end of the earth. The classy way to handle them is just ignore them.

But do embrace those who get you. Some may totally, some may a little, some not at all but like you anyway. What I’ve also learned, as a creative person, though some people may like me and not my work, others may NOT like me, but love my work. The greatest compliment ever was when it got back to me that a person who didn’t like me was trashing my character, but added, “She’s a great poet though.”

Not everyone is going to like everything about you. Some might not like ANYTHING about you. The cool thing is, it’s no reflection on you or your merit in the art/music/publishing world. The bad critic has no real power over you — especially when others are digging what you wrote and you’re selling art, books, articles, etc. and have been doing so for many years. In fact, a bad review may do many good things, like getting the right people curious or inspiring your true fans to defend you.

While there’s always room for improvement, never beat yourself up over a bad review. Take all reviews with a grain of salt. Don’t compromise your style or voice to appease a critic. And for God’s sake — keep creating!

Dear Abby, RIP

Published January 19, 2013 by Maryanne

Dear Abby

Genius “Dear Abby” sample, swiped from The Frisky

It’s the end of another era as we mourn the death of famous advice columnist “Dear Abby” who died of Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 94 a couple days ago.

Pauline Phillips was the real name of  “Dear Abby” (Abigail Van Buren) who started writing her column in 1956 at the age of 37 and shared the column with her daughter Jeanne Phillips in 2000, but by 2002 Jeanne started writing the column herself.

“Dear Abby” will always hold a great place in my heart. You see, growing up, there was always a Paterson News in our home. And in the apartment downstairs from us, my Aunt Sophie got The Herald News. “Dear Abby” was syndicated, therefore her column was in both.

I always loved to read — a lot! If I read all my children’s books and comic books, I’d go to cereal boxes. One day I decided I was going to challenge myself and read the newspaper. I may have been too young for newspaper reading, but I decided I’d just skip over the words that I didn’t know. Surprisingly, when I got to “Dear Abby” it was an easy read for a kid and I looked forward to reading the paper every day. I went straight for the gusto — “Dear Abby” and the comics section. Grown-ups were impressed that I was reading the newspaper at such a tender age.

Moving forward, I was pretty wise for my years. Always an old soul trapped in a younger person’s body. I think Abby’s wisdom had a lot to do with it. When I grew older I became the go-to person amongst friends; the one people would seek advice from.

Even in later years when I had some struggles with depression, I’d be in therapy and the psychologist would tell me that I should be a therapist! This happened not once, not twice, but THREE times, on THREE separate occasions, with THREE separate psychologists. One even thought I should go to school for psychotherapy! What an honor to be told that by a professional.

I guess reading “Dear Abby” religiously was a form of therapy and I learned so much from her, which is why I reap the benefits now and have an amazing life and know how to roll with the punches.

Now in modern times, when many people lack people skills and manners we could really use a Dear Abby. The world is full of selfish, lazy people who don’t want to work; people who prefer the coldness of texting and emailing rather than picking up the phone or visiting someone (or even worse, people who don’t even answer emails because they can’t be bothered); people who are always in a hurry, honking horns, slamming into each other with their shopping carts; people who are always trying to one-up each other as if life is a competition rather than a beautiful place to be that God blessed us with. It’s just ugly out there! No wonder I just love spending my nights at home with my wonderful husband and our kitties!

But like I said, the end of an era. “Dear Abby” is gone and she took a lot with her.

I thank this wonderful lady that I never had the pleasure of meeting for all her wisdom and pure common sense. I also thank her for, in a way, teaching me to read!

God bless Dear Abby and may she rest in peace.

Here is a fabulous article on her that was published on the CNN website: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/17/showbiz/dear-abby-pauline-phillips-obit/index.html