Where’s Jack @ now?

That’s the question I get asked most often these days. That and “where can I get a copy of your book?”

The latter question first. The book has been in the black hole of publishing houses for the past nine months. The book publishing world is in the same turmoil the record business finds itself these days. The old guard getting smacked in the face with the frigid aluminum bat of digital reality and getting beat to the punch by Amazon, iTunes and other on-line ebook “publishers.”

Yes, I’ve thought about self-publishing but had not gotten serious about it (until recently) because the initial reaction to the manuscript was so positive. It really seemed like I was going to beat the overwhelming odds and get a deal quickly. Even a small advance would keep me afloat until the final editing was done.

But things have changed a great deal in the past six months – both for me personally and in the world of digital publishing. So I’ve been in an info deep dive into how to get that done. So stay tuned.

The former question is a bit more complicated to answer.

At the moment, I’m sitting in my sister’s kitchen in Middletown, CT. I’ve given up my rental house in Healdsburg, CA, packed my ever-surprising amount of worldly possession into storage, spent a week hanging in H’brg crashing in the guest house of my very generous friends, Doug & Susan. I’m heading to Boston for a music business/new technology conference called “rethink music.” Then I’m going to take my longtime friend, John – a great bass player, former NYC roommate & bandmate – and his wonderful wife, LaJuana, up on their offer to hang at their home in Maine for a bit.

Time to reconfigure the future. Which is unwritten yet.

When I walked away from my position as a marketing executive – vice president of advertising at Guitar Center, the musical instrument retail behemoth – to chase another dream, I didn’t step off the cliff blindly. I knew the risks and was all too well aware that some dreams, no matter how hard you chase them, how much you believe in them, simply may not come true. It’s as much about determination and perseverance as so many other things.

Luck. Timing. Who You Know. Who You Blow.

I knew that getting a book published was a high risk pursuit, as far-fetched as becoming a rock star. I mean, the numbers of people hustling to get a book deal are right up there with the staggering amount of bands and singer/songwriters seeking a record deal. Probably more.

But you don’t start chasing a dream thinking about the odds against you. There is no place for doubt. That’s a set-up for failure. Doomed from the start. You must believe in the dream. And yourself.

Whicht doesn’t mean delusional thinking – or a big dose of magical thinking – plays no part. I honestly thought when I started writing the book that I’d be done in six or seven months. The initial reaction to my writing and story – from people I respected and “in the biz” – was that strong. But no one – least of all a first time author – gets a book of any merit done in six months. A couple of years is far more realistic. Of course, I didn’t really find that out until those first six months disappeared in a haze of high octane caffeine and  eyeball searing computer screen stare-downs.

It took me close to two years to complete the first draft of the manuscript. Another six months editing and rewriting the first 75 pages as part of the proposal. Then another couple of months of re-editing after the first round of publisher feedback. A polite term for rejections. And they were very polite. My agent and fellow writers explained that any rejection that contained more than a “we pass” was a good thing. And my rejections have all contained praise for the writing and “voice.” Which is why you don’t give up. Those little glimpses of the gold ring just hanging there so close yet still so far away…which fuels the thinking…next pass, I’ll grab it. Only takes one to say “yes.”

So here I am, rapidly approaching the fifth year anniversary of leaving the corporate world. I long ago burned through whatever safety net I’d had strung up to break my fall. The marketing consulting work I was doing – there was an almost endless number coming my way allowing me to pick and choose, working when I needed and wanted, leaving me time to write – dried up in the Great Crash and with it any real revenue stream that kept the net strung tight below me.

Just call me Icarus. Flying to reach the sun and falling into a sea of debt!

The only difference is I’ve learned to become a really good swimmer.

And this is not to say the past five years have been a horrible, anxiety-ridden slog. If you’ve followed my adventures on this website or Facebook, you know my life has been anything but dull. Living in Baja, surfing in the mornings, writing throughout the rest of the day, moving to Sonoma County and becoming part of an amazing group of culinary artists, winemakers, cocktail designers all in a wonderful small town. Trips to Italy to play gigs in front of thousands of fans and time spent cooking and helping family members recover from illnesses.

Which has lead me to thinking about the next chapter of the adventure and how you all play a role.

next: Eat. Play. Leave. Getting Face to Face with my Facebook friends and making “Jack On The Rocks…On The Road” a reality.


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