I like Rush Limbaugh.
Now that I’ve effectively guaranteed that The New York Times will never review my book, allow me to explain why I like the most-listened-to radio talkshow host in the United States.
The short answer is he mentioned my entire name and the title of my book on his show today. I provided neither my full name—Matt Manochio—or the book’s title—The Dark Servant. I was Matt from Netcong, NJ. I encourage you to read the call’s transcript and how Rush came to mention me. Whether my book sells more copies (I know I’ve sold at least one!) because of this, I’ll wait and see.
But there’s a longer answer to why I like Rush Limbaugh. Rush speaks passionately about the lengths people go to achieve success, and he laments when people who are capable of achieving success don’t try because of self-imposed limitations, or because success—however it’s measured— isn’t immediately achieved.
When you’re an unknown author, success rarely comes overnight. It sometimes takes years and several books under your belt. You have to plug away. And even then success isn’t guaranteed. You’ll experience failure in the form of rejection, be it from agents or publishers. But if you’re good enough, learn what you’re doing wrong, and persist you will get yeses. And those yeses matter. My point to Rush was that unknown authors must get blurbs from established writers, most of whom will say no. It’s not personal. It’s time consuming for established authors to squeeze in work they might not enjoy. But authors ask, and that led me to discuss a point Rush sometimes makes: Never be afraid to ask for something because you just might get it.
I asked at least 130 New York Times bestselling and/or Bram Stoker Award-winning authors and had a 6% success rate in getting blurbs: but that 6% accounted for 10 blurbs, an impressive haul that included some respected names. And I got them by asking, always respectfully, never pleading, always professionally.
The impetus for my call was a college professor’s study declaring the American Dream dead, and that upward mobility is an illusion. That’ll certainly be the case if you don’t try. And it will be the case if you abandon your passion. One of the things I wanted to tell Rush was how great it felt to write my book every day after work, not thinking it was something I had to do, but something I couldn’t wait to do. It’s a feeling I can’t describe but it’s something I hope everyone experiences in their life. I might not even sniff a bestsellers list, but I’ve achieved a personal goal, and whether it leads to massive financial success isn’t up to some force of nature. It’s up to me and my ability to tell a compelling story, to hook readers, and to spread the word about what I’m trying to do. If I wanted his listeners to take away anything, it was to at least try, and ask for help if you need to without losing your dignity.
I called Rush’s show and was greeted by the call screener, Bo Snerdley. I explained what I wanted to tell Rush about the blurbs, and told him I would not ask Rush for anything (otherwise authors would call Rush all the time). Bo took my data—Matt from Netcong—and sternly commanded me, I’m paraphrasing, not to plug my book on the air or else I’d come to regret it. I gave him my word I wouldn’t.
Now, Rush isn’t stupid. He sees on the call board that there’s an author on the line and that I’d be a fool not to want to plug my book. But I didn’t, I wasn’t tempted to. Rush sometimes allows authors to give their names and titles. I figured if the call went well, perhaps Rush would express interest. That didn’t happen. He commented on the point I brought up and went to break. That was that. I wasn’t able to plug my book, but I did get through to Rush Limbaugh’s show, which is no easy feat. People try for years and don’t get on. This was my second time trying (the first being last week) and I got through. And I’m certain he appreciated what I was saying. Success!
Rush returned from the break and then proceeded to identify both me and my book. I was sitting on my couch at home and my jaw dropped. It literally dropped. Rush said he appreciated that I was reserved in not attempting to shamelessly shill for myself, and explained that he Googled Matt and Netcong NJ and there I was. I didn’t ask for this nor was I expecting it. But it was a classy thing for Rush to do, and for that I’m thankful.