I’ve often complained about the lack of good books about how the publishing industry really works. I don’t mean the shelves full of texts that tell you “don’t send your horror novel to Harlequin Romances” or “An agent can help negotiate a better deal.” I’m talking about a resource that breaks down publishing contracts and business manuvers into minute detail. Pat Walsh’s 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might is probably the best in regards to the mechanics of the industry.
I wish there was a publishing equivalent to Marc Ferrari’s Rock Star 101: A Rock Star’s Guide to Survival and Success in the Music Business. Marc Ferrari played in the 80’s metal band, Keel. He sold more than a million-and-a-half records, played with some of the biggest bands of the era, appeared in Wayne’s World, and now runs MasterSource, a company that provides music to Hollywood’s biggest films and television shows such as ER and Fight Club. He has also written for Metal Edge magazine and is a two-time recipient of the ASCAP Special Writer Award.
Published by Allworth Press, this informative book goes into incredible detail about how to set-up a band and prepare for life in the music industry. Ferrari explains royalties, synchronization income, mechanical income, partnership agreements, grand rights, licensing, and every other facet of the music business you can imagine.
Rock Star 101 should be required reading for anyone striving for a career in music. It’s also a damn good read if you’re just a fan interested in seeing what life is like for your favorite band.
Ferrari also offers some inspirational advice that is completely relevant to our own literary pursuits. He suggests using envy of other artists to fuel your own hard work. “There was a period in early ’82 when I became depressed about the lack of progress in my career, and I began getting migraines,” he writes. “I knew what I wanted so badly, but I felt I wasn’t getting any closer to making that a reality. I was jealous of the success of some of the other bands that were my age… I just drove myself harder to try to match them.”
He also realizes that success does not come easy and requires total committment. Early in his career, his band moved from Boston to Los Angeles. But shortly thereafter, the band became homesick and returned to the East Coast. But Ferrari was unswayed in his determination. “I had just uprooted my whole life, relocating to a strange city where I knew no one else,” he writes. “I had just taken the biggest leap of faith in my entire existence, placing all my belief and conviction in this new undertaking, not once entertaining the thought of returning to the East Coast. I had committed myself so entirely to this endeavor, not allowing the possibility of failure to enter the picture.” So often, aspiring authors tell me how badly they want publishing success but they’re not writing at this moment because work’s too busy, or the kids are in the middle of soccer season, or the grass needs mowing. But Ferrari’s lifestory is a testament to the kind of dedication and risk-taking that is necessary for success in any art form.
Marc Ferrari’s determination, business acumen, and writing skill all combine to make Rock Star 101 an educational and entertaining read.