[Dixielandjazz] Getting published

willc willc at nova.edu
Wed Aug 13 16:19:05 PDT 2003

Hoo, ha, does Bill Horton ever have it right when he says the key
problem with writing a book is getting it published.
For a long time (and still) I was nuts about the trumpet playing of Tom
Justice, so I formed Star Jazz Records and cut a couple of albums
featuring him. You'll have to take my word for it that they were not too
At the time, 1980, rock had succeeded in pushing honest music off the
radio and despite major efforts at promotion, and getting a top national
record distributor to handle the product, the albums sold like cold
cakes. The return rate from dealers was about 90 percent.
When the smoke cleared, I'd lost about $8000. 

So I wrote a book about the nuts and bolts of record production. This
was in the days before I knew about computers, and writing a book was
really a chore in those days.

I sent out scores of query letters to publishers and amassed about the
same number of 'thanks, but no thanks' cards and letters. 
Finally, and it must have been nearly a year later a company in Chicago
- Contemporary Books - asked to see the manuscript and bought it. The
book became "The Musician's Guide to Independent Record Production" and
was published in hard cover and paper back in the U.S. and Canada. It
eventually sold about 8000 copies and I got my $8000 back. 

I've written articles for electronic, boating, marine and political
publications, and I currently write features for the Mississippi Rag.
But stuff I have sitting unpublished these days include a piece on why
homophobia is entirely justified in an era of AIDS, one on the secrets
of cops and the traffic ticket, and one long-out-of-date on the insanity
of breaking up the world's best telephone system (ATT/Bell
Comopanies'Western Electric) in the interests of "competition:" (let's
hear it for Worldcom, telermarketing, and falling technical standards
for phone service, folks).   

Don't worry about whether Don Ingle can write. You've seen enough of his
work here on DJML to know that he's a great story teller. All we need to
do is keep bugging' him to do a book! 

Will Connelly
River Liffey Saloon Jazz Band
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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