The short answer is that you probably don’t know it at the time.
I have met many people who share my interest in country music during my travels round the country music scene in both the UK and in the USA, particularly in Nashville. The majority of the people I have got to know are musicians, singers or songwriters, and some are also producers or promoters. Others friends are, like me, music lovers who love to attend the many country music festivals and clubs around the country in order to see their favourite artists in action, as well as getting to hear artists who they’ve not seen before.
Ever since I joined the country music scene I have always made a point, wherever possible, of trying to get to speak to the artists I like. I frequently follow up their gigs with an e-mail to them to say how much I enjoyed their performance. As a result I have made some very good friends.
It is an amazing discovery when you find out that some of those friends and acquaintances that you’ve made, sometimes several years ago, prove to be such invaluable contacts at a later date. I was not consciously ‘net-working’ but, as it turns out, this is what in effect I was doing. Up till recently it had never even occurred to me that any of these people would be in a position to be able to help me complete my book. Most of those friendships had been made before the book was even a blip on the horizon.
While writing my book the time came to think about the cover design and I needed to get some blurbs for the back cover of the book. I thought it would be good to try and get blurbs from some of the people who had worked with Jack and Misty in the past, all well known people in Nashville. A few possibilities came to mind and Jack’s daughter, Kathi, suggested a couple more names for me to consider. I chose six people to ask and I set about trying to contact them. I already had the contact details for two of them, as I had met them on one or more of my previous visits to Nashville, but for the other four I needed to do some detective work. Being in the public eye, they kept their private e-mail addresses and phone numbers just that …. private.
However, I had recently met someone who I knew would be able to contact two of them as he had been working with them both not many months before. He kindly agreed to forwarded my e-mail on to them and they responded quickly to my request, so now I had four out of the six blurbs I wanted.
The other two proved to be much more elusive. I searched the internet for any contact details I could find, but I was getting nowhere fast. I was getting no response to my e-mails or, if I phoned, I was reaching publicity or merchandising staff who had no idea how to get a personal message up the hierarchy to the man at the top. I tried contacting some people I knew in Nashville who I thought might know how to get a message to them in person, but they were unable to help me.
Suddenly I remembered someone from the UK who I had met a few times over the last year or two. I knew that this guy had many Nashville contacts, so I asked him if he had the phone number for one of these two elusive people. He didn’t have it, but he knew someone in Nashville whom he was certain would have it as he was a close friend of the person I was trying to contact. My UK contact kindly forwarded my e-mail to his friend in Nashville, who then phoned his friend, passing on my request. A few hours later I received an e-mail with the blurb I wanted.
I had given up hope of hearing from the sixth guy, having had no response to my e-mails or phone messages. Then, five weeks later, he replied to one of my e-mails with the long awaited blurb. If he’d left it much longer he would have missed the deadline for it to be included in the book, but he made it on time … just. As a bonus, my proofreader, who has been a fan of Jack and Misty for most of her life, gave me a seventh blurb.
I now had another problem. I had asked for one or two-liner blurbs, but most of my contributors had written much longer ones. How were we going to fit them all onto that back cover? The answer was to extract a highlight from each one for the cover, with the full text of the blurbs being placed inside the book. I checked with the contributors to see that they were happy with this solution and they all agreed with it.
I am so very grateful to all my contacts who made getting these blurbs possible, and to each one of those contributors.