Things move in inches. Going from a literary novel failure (4 years on one book) to a cult humor writer has been an interesting ride. It hasn’t been that long but it feels like years.

It is a long haul type of deal to be an author that can make a living writing (you really are in the 1% if you can do it) and in this goal you look for little victories: sometimes it is a tweet about your book from a fan, a boost in very moderate sales, an Amazon review from a complete stranger, and last having a solid reading.

I have had some open mic readings and pre-published book readings. But I had one recently with a crowd and it went really well.

I am a writer in New York City with no car so in my backpack a ton of books went and let me tell you: the best feeling in the world is going home with a light backpack.

I enjoyed this moment of little victory as I walked to the subway knowing I’d have no back pains the next day. I approached the Subway and felt my phone buzz. I looked at it and saw I got a friend request from Jane Friedman.

Now, to my non-literary friends who watch American Idol Jane Friedman is to the literary world like what Jimmy Iovine is to the music world. In these very changing times of the digital age both are still very relevant and masters of their field. In twitter terms she is someone with a check next to her name.

This is not a huge thing, though, on Facebook writers and literary people will friend writers, so I didn’t think much of it. I have some A-List writer friends on Facebook probably because there intern saw I’m friends with their friends and accepted my friend request or vice versa.

But I thought: cool, I’m putting in some hard work. I have 3 books out they are pretty damn good, I am really busting my ass, the reading went well; maybe some of that hard work is going to be rewarded in the short-term. Maybe she has heard some good things or at least her intern/assistant has.

And then Jane Friedman Facebook messaged me with a simple “hello.”

I think this is the only time in my life where I was glad the subway was running late. This was serious. Jane Friedman freakin’ just Facebook messaged me. This was my moment.

Of course I try to play it cool and responded back “I really enjoy your posts about writing (which is true) and really appreciate you taking the time to reaching out. Thank you.”

Then it got weird as she asked, “How are you doing?”

I responded, “Really well, I just finished a reading; people are really responding well to my work.” But I thought wait, what if this isn’t about work. Did Jane Friedman see one of my YouTube videos with the band. Does she like me or something…wait, isn’t she married? This feels strange.

When she answered back, “I have good news.”

Those feelings passed and I thought, ‘No, she is not looking for a booty call; she wants to talk business. This is my BIG BREAK. She wants to interview me or maybe want to do something with me as writer. Finally!”

With excitement but playing it cool, I typed, “Oh, what is the good news?”

“You have been selected in a free give way…”

I didn’t even read further I was “Bookfished”. Someone posed as Jane Friedman to take advantage of young writers. I saw I was not the only one as her friend list was small and all were D to F-List writers like myself. It was pretty evil.

It was not the big break especially after the catfish asked for my phone number so I could collect the prize (though it would have been a better scheme if they wanted to see new talented writers work and steal it.)

It was a real bummer and the person doing this I hope Karma gives them a good kick in the ass.

It was disappointing but as a writer you just have to laugh at stuff at this, hell even write about it remembering you can’t get too high or low.

A writer much better than me said: slow and steady that wins the race. Yes, someone with some ‘klout’ can make that journey feel a little shorter, but in the end, we all have to put in our time and if it comes too soon it is probably not real.

Musicians say 100 shows with under 100 people. Why shouldn’t be any different for writers? When you have the attitude that you’re just putting in your time and just doing the work, you are less vulnerable to be ‘Bookfished’.

So, will that big break ever come? Maybe, maybe not, I am not going to be waiting for a tweet, email, or message; instead, I am just going to worry about booking my next reading.

3 thoughts on “I Was Catfished (or Bookfished) by Jane Friedman

  1. Nice piece and I recognize your excitement but with only a fraction of your thrill. A number of years ago I was honored by receiving a 3rd place prize judged and awarded by Jane Friedman at a Midwest Writer’s Workshop in NW Ohio. Jane’s reputation was little known to me at that time so, now that I’ve attended a couple more of those worthy events and know who she is, I am doubly, nay triply honored by being even considered by her expertise. I started another writing group after moving to Indiana and often use her advice or even print out and share her articles on writing with my group. Hopefully I or one of my group will be rewarded at some time in the future by her attention and approval.

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