Update: December 6, 2022

Update: December 6, 2022

We’re about due for an update, aren’t we?

It’s nice that I’m back in the rhythm of publishing daily here on my personal blog, but this is, after all, about documenting the journey. Not that this isn’t what I’ve been doing, but the content has certainly had a more outward looking esthetic to it than before. For the most part, this will probably continue to be the case.

Either way, a personal update is in order, because I’ve been making some massive progress in a couple of domains.

The Renegade Musician Manuscript is… Complete?

As of today, I’ve completed editing the bulk of The Renegade Musician book, and it’s coming in at nearly 70,000 words! The only thing left to do now is to edit Appendix II, and the manuscript will be considered complete.

Of course, there is more to do before we can publish. All the content needs to be dropped into a 6×9 US Trade template, and then we need to add the boring legal stuff, table of contents, acknowledgements, next steps, and so on.

In the meantime, though, there is going to be a bit of a publicity push, and we do expect to see some blurbs and interviews out there soon.

The project has taken a little longer than expected but I obviously underestimated how much I would have to do in November. As of today, it feels like I’m starting to get back on track with everything (and I emphasize starting, because my email is still piling up…).

New Podcast Incoming!

I began discussing the idea for a new podcast with my team a couple of weeks ago. The wheels are in motion, and we’ve already created the podcast artwork. We’ve also settled on a podcast theme, and I’ve generated over 40 episode ideas.

If all goes according to plan, the first episode will come out this week. But there are a lot of moving pieces we’re trying to work out.

Also, this is the first time I’ve made the call in a while, but we are looking for more team members to support the project! So, if you’re interested in contributing:

  • Graphic design
  • Social media
  • PR
  • Audio editing
  • Something else

Be sure to reach out to me so we can get into conversation!

You Can Now Pre-Order The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition

You Can Now Pre-Order The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition

Last year, I had the pleasure of sharing my best-selling, guitar-windmilling, cigar smoking and whisky swilling The Music Entrepreneur Code with you.

And the feedback I got on the new book was phenomenal. Rocker status.

As I continued to share the work with readers and friends, though, I realized there was an opportunity for an encore performance.

Most if not all of what’s shared in the book is going to stand the test of time, like “Stairway to Heaven,” meaning it’s unlikely to go out of style like nu-metal shlock of the early 2000s.

Not to mention, in the book, principles were distilled down to their core essentials like Eric Clapton’s Unplugged. No fluff, no B.S. In that sense, revision would have been redundant, like the Beastie Boys’ deluxe edition of Check Your Head.

Here’s What’s New in The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition (Now with More Ninja)

The most significant opportunity I recognized with the book was the importance of sharing my story.

As we all know, story creates connection. And I don’t say that to sound smart. Some of the greatest songwriters of all-time, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, and Paul Simon obviously knew this.

Story creates connection. Click To Tweet

But with a new introduction centered on story and heart-based connection, I knew that the tactics and strategies discussed in the book would land the plane on smoother, gold-studded runways.

As with any other artist or creative, I’ve had many struggles (some would say that’s putting it mildly). And while struggling is ultimately optional, to get to that point in your development requires some deep intellectual digging (and usually several thousand dollars’ worth of courses). But that’s a whole other conversation. Remind me to waffle it out on another occasion.

With the latest edition of The Music Entrepreneur Code, I wanted to crack the code on creating intense relatability and instill an emotional connection, just as Elton John did with “Candle In The Wind.” I believe I have accomplished exactly that with the new introduction.

This isn’t all that’s available in the latest hard-rocking edition of The Music Entrepreneur Code, though. Here’s what else was changed:

  • More data and insights. Although some of the bigger questions will be left to the forthcoming follow-up, The Music Entrepreneur Companion Guide, the latest edition of The Music Entrepreneur Code features art- and science-based secrets to unlocking your inner musical star.
  • More opportunities. We’re getting ready to launch some done-for-you opportunities to earn an income from sharing the book, and we’re excited about what’s to come.
  • More ninja. Talking about revisions and updates is unsexy. So, I’m calling these changes “more ninja” instead. It’s more fun that way.
  • More tool and resource recommendations. One of the things readers loved about The Music Entrepreneur Code was how it pointed them in the direction of other great gear to help them on their Budokan journey. The latest edition of the book comes with even more.

Pre-Order The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition

The writing of The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition is complete. The Kindle version of the book is set to go live on December 15, 2021. Paperback and hardcover copies will be soon to follow.

Click here to pre-order your copy on Amazon.


Thank you for taking the time to connect with me, and I hope you’ll make the decision to pre-order The Music Entrepreneur Code – 2022 Edition.

I’m doing everything I can to get the word out about this latest release. Anything you can do to help out is much appreciated (including sharing this post), and it means the world to me.

Here’s to your continued creative success.

Are You Still Working on Flashes of Elation?

Are You Still Working on Flashes of Elation?

I’ve recently had some personal questions from those who are either interested in my forthcoming book, Flashes of Elation, or have already pre-ordered it, and are wondering about its status (and rightfully so). So, I thought it would be worth making a public statement so that no one would be in the dark about this.

You may have seen my November Monthly Hustle post on Music Entrepreneur HQ, seen the blurbs about “next books” and noticed that Flashes is missing from the equation.

First, and most importantly, I have not abandoned the project. Yes, I’m still working on it. And it is a very important work to me.

I admit that I use the term “working on it” a little loosely here, because honestly, I haven’t had a whole lot of momentum with it since 2018. But this is not because I don’t intend to complete it.

I am acknowledging that this has become somewhat of a Duke Nukem Forever or Chinese Democracy type situation, but at least what you can say about those releases is that they eventually happened (even if they didn’t impress). And it’s going to be the same with Flashes of Elation – it will happen, and hopefully, it will impress.

The other reason Flashes doesn’t appear in my “next book” list right now is because there are still some tough editing decisions to make. Will I eliminate certain chapters or entire sections of certain chapters, will I write new chapters, will I knowingly break certain writing conventions (spelling, grammar, formatting, etc.), and so on.

Not to make too much of it, but these are the types of difficult decisions I’ve been facing in the editing process, for a book that is sure to be the same length as The New Music Industry (66,000 words), which I laboriously edited many times (12 hours at a time), along with the help of my editors.

There is some good news in all this, though. I started an intensive yearlong leadership program about six months ago, and I’m in what they call the “Completion” quarter. And that means I’m looking for every opportunity to tie up loose ends in my world, and I know that Flashes is one of those loose ends I’m not willing to sit with for much longer.

But first and foremost, I plan to complete another Duke Nukem Forever or Chinese Democracy that’s been gnawing at me for even longer, and that’s my musical release, Back on Solid Ground.

That said, I’ve created a separate list of projects and tasks to complete, and Flashes of Elation is on that list!

As challenging as they have been, the last few years have taught me a great deal. With Music Entrepreneur HQ, I thought I was building a community / membership. Only to find that the traffic was just as disengaged as the stats showed. I thought it was growing into a profitable, sustainable business. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone one step forward and two steps back in the preceding years – even more so in the last six months.

I never would have discovered all that if I hadn’t gone through the motions of setting it all up and testing it in the market though. And maybe one day I will have a hungry, ready, engaged audience for what I’ve created. But I can see that time isn’t now.

I guess what I’m saying is – in experimenting with a lot of business models and initiatives, I’m recognizing that what people want from me most is music and books. And so, music and books you shall have. Online academies and coaching programs? Maybe for another time.

And, once the political weirdness that’s been playing out across the world over the last 21 months starts settling down, maybe you’ll see me on the stages of the world performing and giving presentations again.

Anyway, at this point I’ve gone on long enough, and I can’t justify spending more time on this when indeed, I could be working on Flashes of Elation. So, I hope your question has been answered, and thank you so much for sticking with me. It’s been a ride.

Structures & Snowballs in Your Music Career

Structures & Snowballs in Your Music Career

I write a new piece of content daily. I schedule it to publish at 1 PM PST on my blog. This content is created deliberately, and with intention. It’s usually a small piece that forms a bigger whole long-term. Not everyone knows that or understands why it matters.

What I’ve just described, though, is a structure. And a structure is something you put in place to ensure your success.

This is not a conversation about content though. It’s a conversation about ensuring that you’re consistent in taking the actions that lead you where you want to go. Structure crates consistency.

For instance, you could have a structure built around songwriting. Every Friday, you sit down to write for an hour at 3 PM. After your session’s over, you share a short clip of the song you’ve written on Instagram. That would be a structure.

And what would it help you achieve over the long haul? Maybe not mass fame or fortune. But it could be a piece of the puzzle that helps your music career. Maybe you’d never run out of songs or song ideas again. And maybe your Instagram following would grow, even if gradually. That would be cool, right?

But the reality is this is how most things work. As much as we desire instant gratification, it’s not available much of the time. So, it’s our habits that help create momentum. You can’t expect your career to blow up just because. It probably won’t.

As for the habit of publishing I mentioned earlier, do you know what that helps me do?

Obviously, publishing a 300- to 800-word blog post daily isn’t going to propel me to superstardom. Plenty of people publish amazing content every single day.

You know what it does do though? It helps me write my next book. And a book is far more valuable than a blog post. Small pieces start form the bigger whole. And it doesn’t need to take a fully year. I could have another book in 90 days.

Setting aside time to write songs daily or weekly can help you create your next album. And if you’re consistent, you could have that done in a shorter period than you might think.

Don’t lose sight of the long-term as you’re facing short-term decisions. A small habit could be the snowball that starts rolling down the hill, gains momentum, and turns into an avalanche of success.

A small habit could be the snowball that starts rolling down the hill, gains momentum, and turns into an avalanche of success. Click To Tweet

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book

Per Meg Dowell, 81% of people want to write a book someday.

But writing a book requires persistence and tenacity. You must have the dogged determination to keep going, even when you don’t feel like editing 300 pages of content you just finished writing.

And even if you do finish a manuscript, there’s no guarantee that it will be anything revolutionary. Putting the finishing touches on your manuscript isn’t the end, either – then comes cover design, book description, author bio, getting reviews, marketing, and more.

There are many ways to write a book. Though some methods can easily lead you down the wrong path.

Here are some thoughts on how to write a book and different methods you can use to achieve that end.

The Hunt & Peck Method

This is how most beginners get started.

If they were self-motivated enough to begin the process of writing before being told how, they probably ended up with a hunt and peck manuscript.

In this case, “hunt and peck” does not refer to typing methods. It’s basically the general attitude of “let me write about this” and “let me write about that.” You end up writing about anything and everything, regardless of whether it’s related to the core topic, and generally make little to no progress.

If you’re familiar with the story of how I wrote my first best-selling book, The New Music Industry, then you will know that this is exactly how I got started. And you will also know that I scrapped that draft, despite being thousands of words into it.

On this, the experts are right. Starting without a plan is unwise. If you end up publishing your “hunt and peck” book, you will probably look back on it with some sadness, knowing you could have done much better.

Starting without a plan is unwise. Click To Tweet

But mistakes will be made, and sometimes you just don’t learn any other way. At least you started writing, and that’s a big step in the right direction.

The “Let’s Put a Word Count on Each Chapter” (or the “I Learned from My Mistakes”) Method

I scrapped my first run at The New Music Industry. But my second manuscript made the cut.

By that time, I’d published hundreds of blog posts I could use as a starting point. And with one failed attempt behind me, I was much better prepared to write a book I could be proud of.

I knew that I wanted the book to reflect my experience – something that was absent from my first go at it. As much as possible, I wanted to talk about what worked and what didn’t work for me, so that the reader could benefit from my experiences and go further with their music career than I ever did.

I kept writing and editing sporadically for a couple of years. But that finish line still seemed a long way off. So, I finally committed myself to writing 5,000 words per chapter. Some chapters already had more than 5,000 words, but several others needed some work. This gave me clear milestones to work towards.

And I began to follow a bit of a format for each chapter, based on some of the reading I had been doing. David Hooper’s Six-Figure Musician (affiliate link) served as a bit of an inspiration. James Moore, who authored the foreword, also gave me same great tips.

That’s what got me to the finish line. If I had never committed to that word count, then who knows how much longer I would have spent messing around with the book. Maybe it would have never seen the light of day.

I spent a lot of time preparing for the launch of the book too. I went back and forth with cover ideas and spent a lot of time collecting praise. But I think it all paid off and The New Music Industry became a best-selling book I can be proud of (even if it’s begging to be updated). It continues to sell to this day.

The “I’m A Mind Reading Guru” Method

I’ve read enough books on how to write a book to know that the experts basically tell you to:

  • Step into the shoes of your target audience
  • Turn common audience questions into chapters
  • Use the expert’s magical, proven interior layout
  • Craft a compelling title
  • Write a compelling book description and author bio
  • Get 10 to 20 reviews for your book
  • Send 100 copies of your book to influencers
  • Sit back and watch as the royalties roll in

Sound familiar?

If this works for you, I’m not here to judge. But I see several problems with this, especially for newbies, who are probably going to follow the method, come up with an inferior manuscript, and feel disappointed when royalties don’t roll in by the truckload.

So, let me address the above point by point:

  • Unless you’re a mind reader, you can’t know what your target audience wants
  • If you’re just going to turn the questions into chapters, why not write blog posts instead?
  • Author and expert marketer Dan Kennedy always says do what works – if the old works better than the new, why change it?
  • The title of the book should be connected to the book’s core premise, which has yet to be defined
  • This advice is confusing at best – some experts will say Tim Ferriss’ book description is awesome, while others say it’s awful (so, what does a good description and author bio look like, anyway?)
  • Reviews help in a lot of ways, so no disagreements here
  • Don’t send any books to anyone unless there’s a strategy behind it
  • Sorry, we’re not in the wild west anymore – everything you create must be promoted

The Top-Down Method

There’s no denying that I’m opinionated when it comes to writing books.

But I have read hundreds of them, have written five, and have had three best-sellers. I have also read my share of guru miscarriages that were supposed to be genuine game-changers.

Their books will do fine, I’m sure, because of their fame and reputation. But so far as writing and relaying valuable information is concerned, they violate good sense at every step, and even leave you feeling frustrated as an independent author, knowing you could do much better work.

The top-down method is how I suggest others approach book writing. And it’s incredibly simple.

You don’t know how many times I’ve talked to people who said they had a manuscript but couldn’t imagine publishing it as is, because it wasn’t organized, the content was all over the map (hunt and peck), and the ideas needed to be brought home. That’s basically what happens when you follow any of the other methods described above.

The top-down method is this:

  • From a bird’s eye view, what is your book about? What’s the core premise?
  • What three to five supporting points do you want to share with the reader?
  • What questions do your readers have, and how could you tie them in with your supporting points?
  • Add summaries to each chapter, so the reader can walk away with actionable steps
  • Don’t use more words than needed to communicate your arguments – it’s not all about the word count

If some of the previously mentioned gurus had followed these steps, they may have ended up with a book worth reading.

Instead, they came across incapable of finishing a single thought before jumping to another. They may have been successful in fluffing up their book, but they weren’t in getting more than a couple of useful ideas across.

I think you should think about what you want to say. Come up with your supporting points. Then, tie those into audience questions. That way, you will get to say what you want to say. And your perspective will have been expressed. Your thoughts on the matter may be more valuable than you even realize.

If you are cornered into answering common audience questions, then your book will be like everyone else’s. And what good is that? You never get to say what you want to say, and your voice gets lost in the mix. The reader never gets introduced to your unique solution.

Write the book that you want to write. And use the above to organize your ideas.

Key Takeaways On Writing Non-Fiction Books

I’m taking my own advice and summarizing the key takeaways here:

  • Fail early. Your first attempts at writing a book will probably fail. Don’t get down on yourself. Scrap the first draft and try again.
  • Write openly and transparently about your experiences. Otherwise, you may not have anything new or original to say!
  • Take expert advice with a grain of salt. Especially if they are saying, “this is the new way – violate at your own peril.” It’s all garbage if the “old way” still works.
  • Promote like your life depends on it. No book sells thousands of copies without a heavy push.
  • Leave your reader with action steps. Many authors assume the reader knows what to do next after reading a long, drawn-out chapter with too many examples to process. Simplify it for the reader by creating summaries and action steps.
  • Word count doesn’t matter. Perry Marshall’s Detox, Declutter, Dominate (affiliate link) is a mere 8,000 words. My last four books were somewhere in the 12,000 to 25,000 range. It’s not about word count. It’s about saying what needs to be said clearly and succinctly!
  • Read plenty. You will get a better sense of what a good book is, how to structure one, and how to write one of your own.

Final Thoughts

As I said, I am rather opinionated when it comes to book writing. That isn’t to say any method is perfect, including my own.

But if I were you, I would take guru advice with a grain of salt. Instead of taking their course on writing a book, read their books. Find out if they’re any good. If not, move on. Find another book.

The more you read, the better you will become at writing and knowing how to structure a book. There are many excellent books out there, and if you want to be a writer with any longevity, you should always be reading and learning new things.

What is your method for writing a book? What has worked best for you?

Let me know in the comments.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

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