When I was in the music biz I would hear stories from recording artists who were upset and disappointed about their early albums and projects released to the marketplace. They felt the music and songs didn’t really reflect who they were. They were even disillusioned by music videos that didn’t portray their personalities honestly. Some I dismissed as ungrateful. Didn’t they realize they had all of these “experts” at the label looking out for their best interests? A&R reps wanting them to record songs that Promotion reps could get on the radio? And Publicity types who needed a “look” or “angle” to market them to TV and magazines for success? Egos and Divas!!
Well, I got a taste of that when I began the process of publishing my memoir-Turner’s Big Radio & Record Adventure. I cut a deal with Life Rich Publishing, a Readers Digest company to administer all aspects of my manuscript from editing to marketing. While I knew enough to promote an album nationwide, not so much about a book. It wasn’t like I was trying to establish a career as an author but at least I wanted to have a professional attempt at telling my life-long story.
The moment I submitted my manuscript to Life Rich, I was exasperated with the process. I was constantly responding to their “Content Evaluators” about their concerns with stories I had written of entertainers I had worked with…wanting me to delete or change portions and even suggesting I change the names of the artists to escape liabilities or other legal consequences. They demanded I get written permission from each performer mentioned in my manuscript. This made me crazy! The stories were all true plus this was a non-fiction account of my life in the record business. If I leave out the edgy, revealing parts of my relationships during my career, the whole book becomes vanilla as a read!
But hey, it gets worse. These “content evaluators” were sending me emails asking me to get written consents from my ex-wife about stuff I included about her break up with me, permission from my son to write about his struggle with addiction and other topics that would have reduced the manuscript to a total warm and fuzzy book. That was unacceptable.
I understood the permissions needed for the photos to be included. But even that became ridiculous. A photo of my parents was rejected because it had an Olan Mills logo on it. I researched the company and found they were no longer in existence! But that wasn’t satisfactory enough for Life Rich. After about 6 months of this frustration, I called the executive whom I originally hooked up with at this Readers Digest outfit to work out an amicable parting of our agreement. It was an eye opening experience.
After talking with Sheila Shipley about how she self-published, I went that route. CreateSpace is a company of Amazon and the print on demand publishing process was a breeze. They are not interested in the content, I’m 100% responsible for the content. They act as the distributor. I designed the front and back cover, the interior layout and set my royalty rate based on the number of pages in the manuscript.
So folks, that is the story behind how Turner’s Big Radio & Record Adventure made its way to reality. And by the way, thanks to those who bought a copy, I was able to write a small check earlier this year to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.