Be PreparedI’ve always understood the concept of being prepared. It’s smart to have an overnight bag packed in case of emergency. If it’s 40 miles to the grocery store, it’s essential to lay in plenty of canned goods and toilet paper. And, when I become a 25 years-in-the-making “overnight” success with oodles of famous fiction selling world-wide, I want to be ready to field product endorsement deals.

There’s a story behind this. A few years ago I was visiting friends who have a popular bluegrass band. They were giddy with excitement because they’d just received a sponsorship from a snack food manufacturer. The conversation went like this (friend names and product name changed to protect the innocent):

Me: (tactful as ever) So, what did they give you?

One of Them: See all those big cardboard boxes?

Me: I’m sitting on one. We’re all sitting on one. Didn’t you guys used to have a couch?

Another One of Them: Look! (opens one of the boxes and pulls out a small, colorful bag) We have two thousand sample-sized bags of Fake-O-Chips!

Me: So, how does it work?

Them # 3: Every time we have a gig we hand out free Fake-O-Chips to the audience!

(all of Them beam with delight)

Me: So, the sponsor didn’t give you any money or anything?

The Last of Them: Oh. (They look at each other, worried) Uh, no, I, uh guess they didn’t.

Me: (thinking They could use a business manager) Are the chips any good?

One of Them: Not really.

Them # 3: They, uh, kind of taste like salted cardboard.

Me: Well, I guess that’s one way to make the audience remember you.

See how ugly the world of corporate sponsorship can be? I don’t plan to decorate our home with big cardboard boxes, so I’m thinking ahead about products I want to be associated with, especially if I’m presented with a lifetime supply.

Based on my mixed writing and farming lifestyle, here are my top picks, complete with real-life endorsements:

Levi’s: Levi’s 501s are my jeans of choice. They’re perfect for mucking out the barn, writing world-famous fiction or a night on the town. (Okay, so nights “on the town” are moot since the farming part came along.)

Science Diet: If our four rescue cats and beagle-dachshund mix are hungry, the house will ring with pitiful cries, compromising my ability to write world-famous fiction.

Powell’s Books: A great resource for finding research books (critical to writing world-famous fiction- -yes, fiction requires research!). Sometimes they even have books about farming.

I’ll pass on the snack chips- -I can’t abide crumbs in my keyboard.

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