Mike Shaw laughed and said, “There came a time when I looked into my future and said, ‘Self, you ain’t gonna be retiring in style making this kind of money.'”
And so, even though it fed his soul, Mike Shaw [see his website here] left behind his wandering musician’s life, turned a university degree into a job at a company, then eventually went on to found a highly successful marketing firm from which he made money to fund his retirement.
Lazy and stupid he is not.
But even with all that success in the business world, Shaw was still a wandering musician at heart. After selling his company, he took on other projects in his marketing wheelhouse to continue bringing in the moolah but that now gave him time to feed his soul.
He began piano lessons to refresh his skills…and he wrote a book about something he knew a lot about. But even with all his spectacular business savvy and great storyline, nobody wanted to publish his book. His frustration grew as year after year publishers declined and agents were disinterested.
As a member of the Atlanta Writers Club, he poured out those frustrations to other members. Finally, a couple of longtime members who understood his frustrations told him to contact Blue Room Books. He did.
Shaw sent his first manuscript to us entitled “The Musician”. Our founder, Angela K. Durden, is herself a songwriter, singer, music publisher, author, and more. So, when she read Mike’s manuscript, she immediately saw, not only the accuracy of the story, but was blown away by his “voice”, his style, and recommended to the editorial staff that this was a book to add to our catalog.
That “voice” did not have any affectations. It wasn’t fake. It did not seek to write in the style of a favorite author, as many authors will do.
No, his storytelling — right down to sentence structure — had a rhythm to it that was, all at the same time, symmetrical and free-flowing and had the power of the Mississippi River carrying us along gently but with hints of danger. What a ride.
But edits were needed.
So, we read it and found certain issues with timeline that involved years passed, popular culture, and even the aging of characters. This sort of thing is normal. Writers write in the moment and because they are so intent on looking into the future of the storyline, they often forget what happened in the past and what they said would happen in the future. Heck, even characters’ ages, names, and personal details have been known to change — willy-nilly — in many manuscripts.
That is why editors are needed.
Anyway, after reading and making our notes, we sat down with Mike over a long lunch (His treat; thank you, Mike!) and proceeded to point out each and every issue.
Mike was not happy with those comments, but he wasn’t mad at us for pointing them out. He was more upset with himself that he had not caught them and promptly got busy fixing those.
As we write this, we will be meeting with him in one week to go over those changes. Mike understands that a process has power to benefit everyone in the long run.
And as a publisher, we appreciate such authors. You see, we are not guaranteed to make a profit nor are we guaranteed to break even. We spend a huge amount of time, at our own expense, to bring a work to saleable condition so that it has a chance in the market. (See this page for some of our other works.)
Mike’s marketing background and his ability to see the potential in the “long tail” of his book means he is the type of author we love to work with.
Long gone are the days when a writer would focus on nothing but his next brilliant manuscript and would wait for mailbox money. Reinvention of publishing (books, films, and music) is happening now.
The thing about writing about “what you know” is that most people don’t know what they think they do and thus their output sucks in a variety of ways. One: Unclear as to why they are writing. Two: Reader doesn’t know why they should even want to read it. Three: Boringly told. Four: Well, the list can go on and on.
In any case, one day you may find Mike and Angela doing some shows together. That would be fun. Mike has already started on the follow-up novel to this one. We haven’t seen it yet, but who knows?