Making Promises You Can’t Deliver

© Can Stock Photo / eric1513

Years ago, a fellow writer contacted me about including me in a book she was writing. I’d met her at a few events where I was promoting my Luke and Jenny book series. Her book was about honoring people who helped to preserve the history or promote the culture of the old west. It would feature many prominent Arizonans, as well as a few Hollywood actors.

Needless to say, I felt both honored and excited to be included in this very distinguished group. One member had been the host of a kid’s TV show in Phoenix which ran for over thirty-five years. He may not have been as famous as the Hollywood actors, but I grew up watching him on TV. I was especially excited to be in the same group he was, and I really looked forward to reading her book once it was published.

A few years went by. I checked her website from time to time. There was no new information, but I wasn’t concerned. Writing a book doesn’t happen overnight, so this was not uncommon.

It’s now been more than a decade since she first contacted me, and her website has since been taken down. It wasn’t a good sign, and I wondered if something might have happened to her. A number of people she included in her book have since passed away, including the kid’s TV show host. Then the other day I saw one of her posts on Facebook. It was the first I’d seen or heard of her in years.

I commented on her post and asked her how she was doing. I also asked her about her book. Her response was totally unexpected. She changed her mind and she wasn’t going to do her book after all. It was too much work and she didn’t have the time. Seriously?

We’ve all had ideas for books which we may have started, but, for whatever reason, we were unable to finish. The issue here is her having contacted and interviewed people before she changed her mind. At the very least, she should have reached out us, along with the families of those who had passed away, to thank us for our time and to apologize for not being able to complete the book. It would have also been nice if she had returned whatever materials I may have sent her. Where I come from this is called common courtesy.

Things happen, but it never ends well when you don’t deliver on the promises you make. I honestly feel like I’ve been duped, and whatever respect I may have had for this woman evaporated the minute I read her comment. I take my profession seriously, and I’ve worked hard to build a good reputation. If something beyond my control comes up and prevents me from keeping a promise I let the other party know, as soon as I possibly can. My reputation depends on it.

Gayle Martin