Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Local Paper Shuns Me

I rattled off the following email to a St. Paul Journal reporter following a phone call to the local paper that made it abundantly and concisely clear that I was not of interest to them.  Now, I think I will go back to bed, curl up in a ball, and cry myself to sleep.

Hi, Shauna

I'm disappointed that the St. Paul Journal will not do a story about my publishing successes. I find it odd that the story about my two novels is not considered newsworthy. 

The St. Paul community has been very supportive of my career and I truly expected the same of my local paper.

Not only have local people been purchasing my books (with sales exceeding my most optimistic expectations), but the St. Paul Municipal Library sponsored an author's visit, the Co Op Gas Bar and Value Drug Mart offered to display and sell my books, and the radio station has twice now done interviews with me. 

As you likely know, the arts (literary arts, included) are not lucrative professions except for the very elite, yet are an important part of a community's and a nation's cultural identity.  Corporate, government, and media support is therefore vital to all artists. 

I and my family have been very strong and active supporters of our adoptive community of St. Paul.  The Schuh family is known for its volunteerism, extensive financial support of local charities, and its support of local businesses.  In fact, recently I supported the Journal through ordering my book mark business cards and also, for years, I have been placing ads in your paper for our family business, GENESIS HOMES LTD.

As the St. Paul Journal has in the past considered other artists and authors (such as most recently Margo Legasse) newsworthy, the paper's position on my successes is particularly hurtful.

Eileen Schuh Author of THE TRAZ, Schrödinger's Cat
Sample/purchase THE TRAZ: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/60190 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005199RFE
Web site: http://www.eileenschuh.com
Blog: http://eileenschuh.blogspot.com


Sarah Butland said...

Isn't it a crazy world? You strive to be liked by most everyone and feel like so many just do give you a chance.

I had the same result with my local newspaper - the one most local didn't even reply while one cities over said it wasn't topical/ newsworthy. Meanwhile they kept reporting about childhood obesity rates being sky high and literacy being very low.... ummm, so what about a book that encourages healthy eating and activity while being a book kids love to read isn't newsworthy?

You'll get your fame and fortune without them.... eventually. Keep at it!

Eileen Schuh: said...

Journalistic integrity ought to outshine small-town politics. We'll see. I'll let you all know if I get a response to the above protest letter which I sent to both the reporter and the publisher.

Perhaps they have a valid reasons for avoiding my story.

Unknown said...

I hope they will "see the light" so to speak. Your achievements are newsworthy, in my opinion. Hugs to you, my friend.

Shauna said...

I will respond here.

First of all I said simply "we are not interested in doing a story right now," and didn't say we would never do a story.

I personally have interviewed you and the story ran in our news paper so to imply you have been "shunned" is inaccurate.

The news paper is a strong supporter of the arts and the community. As you pointed out we also recently did a story on Margo Legasse. I personally know of three other authors from the area who have written books and are searching for publishers. None of them have appeared in the paper yet but of course the door is always open when the time is right.

Beyond this there are painters,sculptures, movie makers and more who also might like to have stories done about themselves.

I am sure you are aware small papers are dependent on advertising and sometimes don't have the space to cover everything we would like.

As a local community member who has purchased a copy of your book with my own money from the Coop gas bar, I wish you all the best.

Good luck.

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thanks, Shauna for buying one of my books. I hope you liked it.

I had invested a fair amount of thought and effort into preparing for the interview you requested and advised people I was going to be speaking with you so to be turned down so abruptly at the last minute was nothing short of, well...devastating.

Perhaps I feel shunned because not only was the interview dropped but the library notice about my recent author visit wasn’t printed, either.

However, it is entirely possible that I over-reacted. I will double my Prozac and schedule a follow-up appointment with Dr. Wirkman in order to stabilize my emotional response to disappointment.

I remember the interview back in February 2010 about my fund-raising efforts for the Haitian Earthquake relief. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t recall receiving any coverage since then or seeing anything in the paper about the publication and availability of my books.

I’ve met several people who’ve asked why they’ve not ‘heard’ anything about my books. Knowing that the St. Paul Journal is a primary source of information for many in our community, I can only assume they’re asking why they haven’t they read about me in the paper.

Thankfully, I can now answer them by saying, “Maybe, someday the Journal will run a story on me.”


Just to confirm, I am not an author looking for a publisher. I have one—WolfSinger Publications out of Security, Colorado released Schrödinger’s Cat in both print and ebook formats in August of this year.

But, then again, how does that news compare to say—the mayor golfing at tax payers’ expense?

Ah, the life of a small-town reporter. Been there, done that. Don’t envy you, Shauna.

Thanks for your well-wishes. I lap up all such encouragement—it helps me swallow the Prozac.