In 1980 I authored my first book titled Quadragrip. I can revisit my process and evaluate the many parts of the experience. This was my first en·tre·pre·neur·i·al project in the business of self publishing. As I’m writing this in 2017, I’m about to embark on my 21st book. My (20th) book in 3 years.
It’s working title is:
The Business of Music:
BA DA BOOM
What I did to create my Quadragrip book included: writing, audio recording, audio editing, and logo design. I hired a photographer to take photos. I hired an art design person to create a printable layout. I contracted a printing business to print my books. Ba Da Boom, I had authored and created my Quadragrip book, NOW WHAT !
It’s 1980, the drumming magazine “Modern Drummer” was the only publication of it’s kind. I (hand-wrote) a letter and sent them a copy of my book. I got a reply from the editor, Mr. Ron Spagnardi. He told me they would be interested in printing an article, if I could supply the material. I wrote the article and they printed it with the photos that I provided. A few months later, I walked into a local music store and the drum department sales person told me about the article in this month’s Modern Drummer. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to read it. It was very exciting. I certainly felt like I had accomplished something for my efforts.
I was a published author. NOW WHAT !
I contacted Modern Drummer and requested information about advertising my book. At the time it was very affordable. I started with a (per word) classified ad and eventually worked my way into a quarter page display size. I rented a downtown Post Office Box where possible buyers of my book could send their $10.00 payment. To my surprise, buyers sent their $10.00 to my Post Office Box. I would package my book and cassette into an envelope and mail it to them. Sometimes, I got a letter from the buyer saying they enjoyed it. NOW WHAT !
From my initial success, I began to reach out to well known drummers and percussion educators for their feedback and endorsements. Vic Firth, Jim Chapin, Louie Bellson, Berklee School of Music, Ted Reed and others were very nice to reply. I received (hand-written) replies from these individuals telling me that they enjoyed my book/tape. Vic Firth, Louie Bellson, Ted Reed, Jim Chapin wrote a nice review with permission to be included in my endorsement ads. Berklee School of Music invited me to perform a Quadragrip clinic if I was ever in the area.
With (0) ZERO experience in THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC, I was having quite a successful sales and marketing campaign. NOW WHAT !
What happened next was a very interesting change of events. In 1980, as a musician I had been studying “legit”percussion with the idea that I would like to audition for a future Orchestra gig. A position opened up in the Brevard Symphony Orchestra. I auditioned and won the principle percussion chair. I was a substitute in the Florida Symphony Orchestra. I got a call from Walt Disney World to audition. After my WDW audition, I was immediately hired to perform in a month long Christmas program. I was the only drummer that played percussion and worked 30 days straight. I was paid double and triple overtime as a musician. I was doing ok.
NOW WHAT !
I resigned my orchestra gigs in order to work at Walt Disney World as a part and full time musician. I was busy playing music. BUT-what happened to the momentum I gained with my Quadragrip book all ended. I was completely sidetracked with being an employee of WDW.
I had more personal success with my Quadragrip book, but because I stopped running my Modern Drummer ads the “checks in the mail” all stopped.
I believe there are several lessons here.
- Don’t stop doing what’s working
- Keep your eyes on the future if possible
- Though I gained a decent paycheck from WDW for being a musician-what I was building as a self-published author and drummer had undiscovered possibilities
- It’s possible to be successful with little knowledge and much effort
- Reaching out and trying new things can be very rewarding
- Basic planning and following through is a good thing
We learn from our efforts, rejections and success
Before closing with this post, I want to add a few things that I did while I was authoring and self publishing my Quadragrip book and cassette project.
- I called the Washington, DC office for Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights
- I joined (BMI) Broadcast Music and created Michael Welch Publications for all of my music and other published materials.
- I filed an original Trademark for my Quadragrip logo.
- I filed an original Patent for my Quadragrip drumming concept and book.
I did all of these things in the early 1980s without an attorney. I ordered their free (snail mailed) information, read it and followed their directions. I had a professional phone conversation with an individual that helped me get started. This started the process which ended with a completion in my favor. I did it, so can you.
BA DA BOOM