Many young Nashville, Austin and Los Angeles recording artists are confident when making a new CD. Yet they balk when asked about writing a book. Instead, they let media write about the early years of success.
Many of those magazine and newspaper stories may be very flattering. But do they truly express the artist?
Behind-the-scenes feature stories often reveal backstage exploits or realities. Fans love that kind of thing. They want to know what it's like to be a star.
Even more, fans want to understand the inner life of the artist, the way he or she lives life off stage. At any point in a career, these are key ingredients for a good book.
Where You Live is Who You Are
If you are a Country artist, where is your base? Nashville--Los Angeles--Austin, Texas? Each of those locations shape an artist. You've chosen that base camp for a reason. Express it in a nonfiction book. Make it a publishing event.
Then make it available on your merchandise table. You can do this easily if you control that making and duplication of your title.
Ghostwriter and Publishing Consultant
These days independently publishing a book is quite easy for musicians, songwriters and performers. The artist takes control of all aspects of the book's theme, content, timetable for publishing and price.
My role as ghostwriter includes writing the manuscript and guiding the author -- you, singer-songwriter, blues master or folk singer -- in the design and launch phase.
Use Lyrics, Diaries and Social Media
To begin, we must define the purpose of your book. Who are you trying to reach? Your fans, of course. But who are they, what are they like? How can you help them? Or merely entertain them? What do they love about your art and performances?
Your personal story may guide your book. Chose a period of your life, or a series of events, that profoundly shaped you. Some of your stories will be very moving. We’ll dramatize as best we can, while keeping everything honest and direct. Candor and reliable information wins readers.
But some of your experiences may be humorous, romantic or political.
You might also build a book from your daily journal, social media, drafts of song lyrics and other sources, including interviews with your ghostwriter. I often conduct interviews over the phone, because artists are on the move, and face-to-face meetings are not always possible. We’ll keep these to about 45 minutes each, so that we both are fresh and focused.
The title and subtitle of your book are very important. Review the examples below, and imagine your own titles.
When I Left Home
by Buddy Guy and David Ritz
Portrait of Joni Mitchell
by David Yaffe
Innocent When You Dream
The Tom Waits Reader
by Mac Montandon and Frank Black
Morning Glory on the Vine
Early Songs and Drawings
by Joni Mitchell
Empire State of Mind
How Jay Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office
by Zack O'Malley Greenburg and Steve Forbes
Every Night Is Saturday Night
A Country Girl's Journey To The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
by Wanda Jackson, Scott B. Bomar
Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer
by Chely Wright
Have some questions about beginning your music memoir or road trip diary? Contact me for more info about the type of book that makes the best merchandise!