No doubt, the best thing I ever did was write a book! I wouldn’t care if it didn’t sell one copy (original printing of 110, all sold, traded, or gifted); the act of writing it did more for me than anything else I have ever done in life. I can honestly say (nose in the air) “I am a published author!” I highly recommend it!
That book—The Plectrum Banjo: Beyond Chord Melody—introduced me to the Clifford Essex Music Co. Ltd; I now have over 70 pieces of updated plectrum banjo sheet music and a co-edited method book to my credit, plus being a popular (I am told) columnist for their magazine, BMG. I am currently working on updating Emile Grimshaw’s tenor banjo method book (no estimate yet on publication timeline), and have several pieces of tenor sheet music in the works.
I had originally planned on a second edition of my own book, but CE came along and kept me busy for a while, and now life has gotten “complicated.” Every once in a while, I look through my book and think “oh, I could have included this,” or occasionally “what an idiot; what was I thinking?” Actually—though I know where my stupid mistakes and innocent moments of naivety are—I continue to be happy with my work, warts and all.
I’ve gone through a period of not caring, knowing first-hand how much time, effort, and expense goes into the publishing of a book (and knowing how few would sell). I have been offering my lessons for free on-line, simply because I still have a lot to say; writing and sharing these has been the best way I can think of to learn the material myself.
I have begun to realize however, that nothing can beat producing a physical book that someone can hold in their hands and put on their shelf to collect dust (hopefully, after actually learning from it!); that book will remain somewhere in the system for the rest of time. 100 years from now, an aspiring banjoist may stumble across a copy and say “whoa, what’s this?”—and my name will live on. Digital content will just get lost in the sheer crush of information.
This is a long way of saying, I have decided to write a second book after all! Consider this to be my official announcement. The working title is Further Beyond Chord Melody; it will be an “addendum,” not an “update.” I have been working on a lot of jazz improv lessons, and was beginning to struggle with what to put online next; that’s when I got this wild hair. I know I promised a new lesson in my last blog, Notes Vs. Chords Part 2; I apologize if you were waiting with bated breath for that. I promise it will be worth the wait!
Speaking of wait time, I will estimate that it will take me about a year from now to get it published. In the meantime, if you do not have a copy of the first book, I will gladly send you a digital copy for free; all you have to do is ask. I’m not in this for the money; only to cover upfront expenses. The rewards of publishing—and having a book in circulation—far outweighs any financial consideration.