We songwriters are like children. We start talking about things way too early. Like a new tune that P!nk might record or an upcoming single. When we’re excited about something we just can’t help it. It’s in our nature.
For instance, I’ve been yapping about my book “Confessions of a Serial Songwriter” for over a year now. When I embarked on my journey I had no idea what I was doing or how to even get started. Much like how I felt when I wrote my first song. Stumble. Fall. Get up. Stumble again. Keep going. All I knew is that I was confused by a changing music business and I felt a need to write about it and tell everyone that I was doing so.
Well, I thought sure I’d have the book out by last March but was humbled to find that the completion of a book is a lot more complicated than a 3 minute song. You keep thinking you’re finished. But you’re not.
When I thought I was finished for the fifth time, I sent my manuscript into Backbeat Books, a publisher whose passion is music, songwriters, musicians. I felt sure Backbeat would be the perfect home for my story.
So I went on to Plan B: I’d find an agent who could make proper introductions to publishers. Of particular interest to me was a woman whose name I’d seen credited in several music related publications: Ronny Schiff. But Ronny had no website. No Facebook Page. She was un-findable. Next!
I queried (a new word in my literary vernacular) at least fifty more agents. One said, “When you have 75K Twitter followers let me know.” Another said, “If you can get Christina Aguilera to give you a foreword get back in touch.” This was disheartening. What did Twitter followers or a foreword by Christina have to do with anything? I wasn’t even sure those agents read the book.
Plan C: DIY. Self publish. Everybody was doing it. I got busy. Very busy…licensing lyrics, clearing photos, registering trademarks and formatting…and just as I was coming to the end of my multi-tasking, something interesting happened: Ronny Schiff, the first agent I tried to locate a year before, came into my life quite coincidentally. Strange. We hit it off. She loved my story but was more interested in editing than representing me as an agent. Fine. I’ll take whatever you’ve got. Slowly and methodically, she whipped my narrative into shape and then on a whim, she shared it with a friend at…Backbeat Books. This time, the crickets chirped.
I wanted to get beyond emails and fantasies, so I flew to the east coast to see if John Cerullo and I saw eye to eye. It turned out we did. And we moved forward. Fast. My book was up on Amazon for pre-sale before we even signed the contract.
When I entered my name and the book's title on the Amazon search bar and it popped up with an ISBN, a description, and my author photo I couldn’t stop staring at the screen. Please don’t let me blink and see it disappear. Much the same way I felt the first time I had a song released and I couldn’t stop staring at the label copy.
Still, this made me a little uneasy. We had no paperwork. What if they changed their mind? I’m in the music business. Mind-changing happens all the time.
Well, they didn’t change their mind. And this morning we finally signed the contract! So, although I’ve been hinting at it for a while, I can tell you today it's official. “Confession of a Serial Songwriter” will be published by Backbeat Books—in stores March 1.
I realize many of my Facebook friends were thinking it would be sooner. So was I. But I assure you, Backbeat will be able to put the tales of our songwriting adventures and misadventures in front of many more people than I could have alone. I hope you’ll agree that it would benefit creators to have our stories told, and the issues we are facing today shared with a wider audience.
I’ve learned some lessons on this journey: 1—Dreams have minds of their own. They come true, or not, for reasons we can’t foresee or imagine. But if they come true at all it’s on their own terms. And 2—If you are writing a book, make sure to have it edited before you send it forth into the world!
Thank you for staying with me.
PS…Ronny is currently working on her website :)