Jim Rubart

Since 1994, Jim Rubart has worked with clients such as AT&T/Cingular, RE/MAX, ABC and Clear Channel radio though his company Barefoot Marketing, but his passion is writing fiction. His debut novel ROOMS will be published by B&H Fiction in April. He's also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer, and semi-pro magician. He lives in the Northwest with the world's most perfect wife and his two almost-perfect sons. No, he doesn't sleep much. You can reach him at jlrudini[at]comcast.net

It’s Time to Meet Someone Famous

You never know when you’ll bump into someone famous.

Years ago, when my hair was still black, my wife and I sat at a Seahawks game, marveling at the two whacko guys behind us.

They put on a bozo noses and raced down to the edge of the railing in our section, saying, “Take my picture! Make sure you get the field in the shot.”

When the Seahawks did something mildly successful, they roared their approval. When the Hawks scored, these guys did something resembling the mambo. They even spilled beer on my wife’s head (I think that was due to clumsiness, not excitement).

Behind me (to the left of Moe and Larry) sat Paul Brendle, long-time traffic reporter for the leading news radio station in Seattle. I worked in radio at the time, so we started swapping war stories. At one point I commented, “Wow, Paul, these guys next to you seem, uh, pretty excited about the game.”

“Yeah, they are. They’re my guests. It’s their first time at a pro game, and they’re nuts about the Seahawks. So they’re going a little crazy, I know.”

“They’ve never been to a professional sporting event? Ever?” (They looked to be in their mid- to late thirties.)

“Never.” Paul pointed north, over his head, with his thumb. “They’re from a really small town in Alaska.”

“Which one?” (I was curious because during college I worked on a fish processing boat in Alaska, and we stopped at a lot of little Alaskan towns.)


“Interesting. That’s where Tom Bodett, the Motel 6 guy, is from.”

Paul’s mouth turned up in a quirky smile as he motioned again with his thumb, this time to his right. “That is Tom Bodett.”

He introduced me to Tom and his pal and we had a nice chat. Down to earth, unassuming, Tom struck me as a decent guy without ego, even though at the time he was a pretty big deal between his books and Motel 6 fame. It was obvious he didn’t know he was famous. Or if he knew, he hadn’t given in to the temptation to think he was different from the rest of us.

Here’s what all this has to do with marketing:

Like me, you’ve probably met a number of famous people. Yes, there are some with Australia-sized egos, but don’t you find many are regular people who don’t act like they’ve achieved anything special?

They remember where they’ve come from.

They want to give back.

And all we have to do is ask.

It’s easy to look at that author or editor or agent you’ve always wanted to meet and think they’re untouchable, too busy to talk to you, or too important to return an e-mail.

Sometimes it’s true, but it usually isn’t.

I’m relatively new to the world of publishing. Yet I’ve already become acquainted with a number of well-known people in the industry. How? I’ve simply introduced myself. The majority of the people I’ve approached have been incredibly warm and giving.

They’re not gods, they’re human. Really. They carry fears and insecurities. Some have figured out they’re a big deal, many refuse to.

A few years ago I had a business meeting with pro-golfer Peter Jacobsen. What I expected to be a half-hour meeting turned into an hour and a half. He treated my client and me like old college buds. There wasn’t a hint of self-importance. Little wonder Jacobsen has one of the best reputations in professional golf.

It’s All About Relationships

The other day a writer said to me, “You know, this publishing industry is really all about relationships.” (I kept my mouth shut and refrained from saying, “Uh, what business isn’t all about relationships?)

And at its core that’s what marketing is all about. Relationships. With readers, with agents, with editors and authors. Without building a good reputation and rapport with these groups, your career will always stay in sputter mode and never take off.

I suppose this month’s column is a long-winded way of saying maybe it’s time for you to take a relationship risk.

Time to introduce yourself, make a new contact, reacquaint yourself with someone you’ve lost touch with. Be gracious, don’t take too much of their time, listen more than you talk.

And while you’re at it, turn around and reach back to someone a few steps behind you on this narrow publishing path. You might be surprised whom you’re famous to.