Episode 108B Paul Bahou – Post First Book

Overview

Paul finished his first book and is working on his second. Unlike many, he wants to get the first one out and not hold onto it while he works on the second one.

Being a musician, there are some comparisons he makes to publishing. There are some things that are different, but we discuss options for what to do after your first book is published.

YouTube

https://youtu.be/J6SgULOMx0Q

Transcript

[00:00:49] Stephen: Okay. Transitioned into some other stuff. So let’s move on to the parking, the craft and business aspect of the books. You’ve written one book in you’re working on another and some [00:01:00] short stories. What are you doing different now than what you did clear back at the beginning?

[00:01:05] Paul: I have a much kind of clear vision of what my writing style is and where I’m trying to go.

I feel like your first book is the hardest because. You’re not just writing your story, you are developing your voice and how you tell stories and how you approach a fleshing out a narrative. Are you the kind of writer that’s just quick and to the point, are you the kind of rider that likes to meander and there’s no real wrong way to do it?

The reader has their different tastes. And one person who thinks something is overly bloated and self-indulgent the next person be like, oh, it was amazing. And it was immersive. And so it’s, you don’t have to try to be anything. You’re not, you just kind of have to discover who you are and bring it out from that perspective.

[00:01:54] Stephen: And what a software and services do you like to use, whether it’s [00:02:00] writing or marketing or.

[00:02:02] Paul: So I everything’s on Microsoft word or bullish, short stories. I write them on my phone, just using my apple notes program. And I just, because I’m in the phase right now where I’m always trying to get my kids to go to bed and sometimes they fight me on it.

And so what I’ll do is I’ll just sit next to them. Usually my daughter will sit next to her and you know, I can try it leaves you like dad or they’ll leave. I’m like it’s okay kid. I’ll sit right here and I’ll sit there and I’ll just write from 15. And just work on my next short story. And I got a couple of them that they usually have one or two on my phone I’m working on.

And then one or two on my computer, like after I get like the first draft I’m on a phone, I’ll dump it into my computer and then I’ll start developing it on my computer when I have time. But then I have other ones in my phone that I’m working on any given time, but you’ll get a steal 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there and just Peck away at it as time.

Yeah, so I don’t have any fancy writing software. I don’t [00:03:00] have any fancy editing software. I’m old school. I just keep kneading the dough until I feel like it’s finished. And then when I want to actually put something out into the world, I have, I have an editing service that I’ll use. And. We’ll do story editing, just a copy, editing that whole thing, and I’ll let the pro state put their eyes on it and then I’ll go through it and I’ll fix it that way.

And then I’ll put it out. Got it. So I always feel like, and again, taking it back to music right now. I just got a bunch of demo tapes. I’m not going to send it out into the world and tell it’s mixed and mastered. Got

[00:03:36] Stephen: it. So what are you doing to market? Okay.

[00:03:40] Paul: I hooked up with a creative edge. There are, um, there are a publicity agency.

That’s amazing guy named Mickey who really is helping me take what I understand about how to push something for it. Cause I know how to. Try to publicize a band, but he’s [00:04:00] showing me what works and what doesn’t in the world of books. And so he’s really been very helpful on that. So something like a kind of a Sherpa, if you will helping me climb the mountain.

And I would definitely say find someone that knows what they’re doing because you probably don’t and you can wing it. 999 times out of a thousand. You’re not going to go anywhere with it. You’re just going to spin your wheels. So find someone out there who knows what they’re doing, follow their advice, follow their lead, and start building your machine.

[00:04:36] Stephen: There you go. For a topic of discussion. You. Suggested that we talk about for new authors, what you have a book out what to do next, what to keep doing and keep going on. So what brought that topic to your mind in a more particularly, what are you doing after your first book?

[00:04:57] Paul: I brought that topic because you know what, when we got the [00:05:00] introductory email and just talking about like, Hey, you know, what are we going to talk about?

And what, what kind of topics, you know, would make sense to you within the context of authorship and is particularly like on discovered authors and. And I’m still getting my bearings on all this. And so I feel like it’d be a good topic to talk about because I’m right there in the middle of the eye of the storm on it.

I’m still finding my way and it’s really easy to get overwhelmed. Trying to get other people to read your book. And I feel like there’s this expectation that, oh, well, you haven’t made it. If you don’t have a publishing deal or you haven’t made it, if you haven’t become like an Amazon number one bestseller, or you haven’t made the same thing experience with music.

And there was always that next level that you felt like you weren’t legit until you got to. And it’s a trap. It is absolutely. Do you write yes or no? Yes. You are a writer been established and you [00:06:00] don’t have to explain yourself to anybody. So find what works for you. Find what works within the context of your life.

Does it suit you or does it not? There’s you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses in this world. You, you should do this for the love of it for the creative process. And if you make a living on it. Great. And if you, don’t fine,

[00:06:27] Stephen: when you released your book, did you have a whole plan, uh, you know, step you’re doing this, you’re doing this and then you released it and all this marketing, or did you just put it up and then did other things to market at afterwards?

[00:06:40] Paul: Oh, mark it afterwards. So I released my book like three weeks after my son was born. So right out the gate, I couldn’t really do much of anything because I was working and I was taking care of this newborn and a toddler and not sleeping. And again, I’d always try to take my own advice. Don’t overwhelm yourself.

It’s not fun if you’re not enjoying the process, don’t do [00:07:00] it. And, um, and so for the first six months, my book being out, the only people that read it were people that knew me personally. And then okay. Now that my child is not just up all night, every night, and then my brain is functioning to at least 50% complete.

Now I’ll start. So then I started hooking up with some other people in the industry and just, and again, it’s really tough with COVID, right? Because a lot of stuff was closed down that like a lot of these conventions that you would go and make some connections weren’t available. And so just, I have a lot of just by the nature of just being in music and also the things I have a lot of very creative friends and some of them do this professionally.

And so I was able to reach out to my friends and contacts and. Getting pointed in the right direction to follow. And that’s how I, that’s how I was introduced to Mickey was my dear friend, Jen Lieberman, who is a wonderful writer. Yeah. She used to come see my band all the time. Yeah. We were both in that kind of LA scene there for a [00:08:00] while.

And, um, and so you just meet really, it’s cool when you meet other creative people and especially with the think they’re when they’re actually talented and it’s not just like, yeah, they’re my friends. When they’re actually good at what they do. And so, yeah, she helped me. And that’s what you do. You meet other people you find.

Uh, kindred spirits and people you like working with and you just keep growing from there and, oh, I’m sorry. Go ahead. I was like, and that’s just the plan. Like my website is going to be coming out soon, but it’s out when it’s out. I’ve got more short stories in the can ready to go. But when it’s time

[00:08:37] Stephen: advice out there that if you have one book, but it’s part of a series, hang onto it until you get books two and three done, then release them all or release them really quick and write a really good.

Uh, w you really didn’t follow that, but you did choose a publicist, which is something people like, oh, I’m not going to choose a publicist because it’s a waste of money and I won’t get anything out of it. So [00:09:00] what made you want to pick the route you did?

[00:09:03] Paul: So I think that there’s different ways of coming across.

And then you have different objectives. Some people they come in and they’re like, I need to make money doing this. This is my thing. And that totally respect that there that’s the, if you can make money doing it great, your plan will be different. There’s lots to choose your own adventure if you, so if you want to make money right away, and then there’s a path to take towards that.

For me, I’m trying to really establish myself as an awful. And so the route I’m taking is I worked on this book for a very long time. I was not going to sit on it for another five years while I hammered away at this other snow, if something’s done and I feel like it’s done, I’m going to put it out. And then.

And then I’m going to, like I said, the next batch will be short stories. And then the thing after that will probably be the, you know, part two. And I’m just [00:10:00] trying to just get my writing out there at its own pace. And I feel like for my purposes, I don’t need to write for a living. I own my own business.

I’m not going to pay my mortgage selling books or at least not right now, or right now, I’m just trying to establish myself and get this rolling. And so I’m fortunate in that I’m coming up for the position. Like I enjoy writing. I it’s something I do when I have the spare time I received over the last time I played a video game.

It’s this is what I do with my spare time. And when you’re building a business, you can expect to lose money for the first three years. So I’m coming out here, I’m putting it out there. I’m getting readers where I can, and I’m just developing at my own speed. Okay. And I have the luxury of time.

[00:10:50] Stephen: You don’t, you’re working on book two a and you got a publicist.

What about somebody that say, why don’t you just not get a publicist and wait, you get the second book done [00:11:00] it be stronger. Or did you find that you’re getting momentum with what Mickey’s is doing for you and just some bots?

[00:11:07] Paul: So it’s important to know people who know what you need to be doing. And it’s regardless of what medium you created or even in business and in life in general for professional purposes, it’s good to learn from people who were in the middle of it.

And with Mickey, the great thing is that he’s a publicist and learning how this whole world of authorship works. It sets a whole new brave world because it is very unlike the way music works and music, you can just drop singles. You keep playing shows. There’s a lot of ways for you to integrate. And build your audience with books.

It’s it’s um, I got this novel that I’ve worked on for years, and now here it is. And then what? Wait, I’ll see you in a couple more years. I don’t know that this is this whole process. I’m [00:12:00] learning a lot about it and it’s not just about reaching new people for. We’ll be aware of my book or be aware of what I’m doing or who I am, which is definitely important, but it’s also just taking those steps one at a time to just make yourself in a place where you you’re actually doing it.

You’re in it. You’re doing your podcast. You’re putting your stories out there. You’re building what? Your business, your machine, your, whatever you want to call it. It doesn’t happen all at once. Right? And I think that it depends on what kind of level of progression you’re comfortable with either faster or slower, but this is the one that makes sense to me and might not work for everybody.

But I definitely think that if you are someone that isn’t a writer full time and you’re paying your bills that way. Then yeah. Do you know, take that tack D really go out there and try to get what you’re doing out there. Get a [00:13:00] publicist, put your name out there and start building your following.

[00:13:04] Stephen: I think that’s very important thing for people to think about.

Realize everybody has slightly different goals along with everybody has slightly different situations you might use. Maybe. Okay. Let’s just suppose that I lost my job and I’ve got a severance that’ll last me for three months or whatever. So I sit down and I write every day and I’m turning out three books and bam, they’re done.

Now. I have, I can go get another job. Or if these books do well, I could just keep writing. So to me, I’d want to put everything I could into getting those books out there and get. As many fans and all that, whereas like you, I’ve got a job, I’ve got a family, the books are almost a hobby that I want to do well.

So I don’t have a lot of time myself to do a lot of the marketing. I get a publicist to help with some of that. You could probably [00:14:00] also think about if you wanted to get someone to do ads or something like that. I want to get it out there, but I’m not trying to hit us bestseller today. It’s. People need to define their self, their goals with what they’re writing can accomplish and

[00:14:17] Paul: then you need to manage your expectations.

Yeah. It’s because I remember, and again, going back to music again, I remember you always have these thoughts of, oh, well I just get this out there and then it’ll be huge and will be the next big thing. It’ll be huge. Look, a lot of people that are trying to do what you’re doing to varying degrees of success.

And it’s okay to not be the next gigantic thing, because odds are, you’re not going to be JK Rowling, and that’s fine. It’s okay to build your following organically and to take it one step at a time, [00:15:00] you don’t have to rush with this big marketing plan and this blitz and these ads and this and that, and the.

Your eye on the prize, which is your writing. Develop yourself as a writer, keep writing, don’t stop writing, never let the advertising and marketing. And that whole side of it overshadow the writing. I remember back in my band days, you could tell the bands who spent more time pumping their shows than in the practice.

And so you, if you’re out there and you start getting some people start noticing you, but the thing you’re putting out there is terrible. What’s the point?

[00:15:41] Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. I pointed out to my kids. I tried to get them to understand what music that you could have a band. Two bands played the exact same song, and one of them will have energy and life and it just gets you and the other one’s just flattened down.

And that is something [00:16:00] you cannot teach. That’s something you can’t understand unless you just hear it and you do it. And writing’s kind of the same way, but people that just, you get a lot of people that try and copy the big sellers, but they’re not really into it. And the words show it. And I think people feel that.

And. It’s a different, you have to feel it, you know,

[00:16:22] Paul: and you have to be true to yourself and your abilities and what kind of stories you want to tell and how you want to tell them. And again, there’s no right or wrong way. You can be a writer and only write novellas or novelists or sports stories. You don’t have to only be someone that releases proper novel.

And you just tell the story as the story needs to be, to tell it to the best of your ability and then go get someone else with better eyes than yours to tell you where you’re wrong, because you’re never going to get any better. If you’re not interacting with other people, we all think we’re great [00:17:00] at everything we do.

And we’re not, that’s not always the case. And sometimes you need that honest outside opinion. That’s not your friend or family member to say, these are the weaknesses. This is how you can fix it. And you just keep that process and you just keep, and you just keep doing it. You keep doing it over and over again.

There was, my wife is very into theater and she was always doing shows and musical theater and musicals and the like, and we watched this movie. Yeah. Yeah. What’s, what’s the name of the guy who wrote rent anyways, that guy. So it follows him in this whole story, you know, the whole time he was trying to. Is his first show out into the world and birthed, and it’s just, it’s frustrating.

And the peer process is driving him crazy. It’s affecting his relationships and his friendships and his girlfriend and everything. And he finally gets it done and he gets it out there and he gets to [00:18:00] perform it in front of the powers that be, and they love it, but then it’s just, okay, what’s next? And that will destroy a lot of people, but if you’re really in it, because you love to do it, you’re going to pick yourself up and you’re going to keep going.

And you’re going to keep putting that. You’re next. You’re going to keep rolling forward and doing your next play or your next film or your next book or your next album or whatever that

[00:18:28] Stephen: is. Um, I, I know we all were talking about first books, the second books and beyond the first thing I wrote, I was like, everybody else.

Oh my gosh, this is so good. And then the editor got ahold of it and I re-read, it I’m like, wow, this is so bad. So I moved on and wrote something else. And you forget, there are a lot of bands using the music analogy. They don’t hit their stride till album three or album four that their first album may not have any real hits on it, but they get all their big stuff in album [00:19:00] three and then album six again, or it’s even Bon Jovi for the first two.

Albums were not as big as slippery when wet,

[00:19:09] Paul: you have to figure out what your style is. First, you have to know what you want. And then you can start tweaking with the formula as you get feedback.

[00:19:20] Stephen: Yeah, for me, I found that, and this is looking in hindsight. If I could go back and tell myself, don’t try so hard to make that first book absolutely perfect.

And everything and blah, blah, blah. Put it down, then go write something else. A lot of short stories, get the practice in and forget about them. Let them sit. You can go back to them and write something out because you’ll find that each new project you get as excited for that, you’re like, oh, this is the one.

This is the best one ever. Oh no, I really liked this one. And then you get better and you’re like, yeah, those old ones aren’t as good. I think that’s way more helpful. Moving on through a [00:20:00] career for most people, then just focusing on that one book and marketing it and rewriting it and everything.

[00:20:09] Paul: You’re absolutely right.

You have to always be moving forward. You always have to be creating, you always have to be working on that next thing and it’s, and. I’m taking it back to Nikki. Again, he was always saying, people forget you after a year. And I’m like, that’s totally fine. It’s again. And I think that a lot of that also is if you’re a full-time writer, I told him, I said, I might be an every other year, just the, just to let you know, but you should never stop writing.

You should know whatever your creative niche is. You should never stop doing it. You’re always doing it. You’re always going to get better. You put the hours in, put the work. And then take the feedback, even, especially the negative stuff. And some negative feedback is not useful at all. It’s not my genre.

Okay. That doesn’t help me, but sometimes people can maybe point out something actually useful and you’re just like, [00:21:00] oh, okay. Maybe I need to develop how I, my descriptors and move beyond certain words I’m using or leaning on too much. Or do you know, are there certain traps on pulling in. Or my characters one dimensional is my universe.

One dimensional, take that feedback and keep working because we’re not perfect. And we’re never going to be, we’re always, God-willing, we’re always developing and growing and becoming a better version of what we’re able to do. And yeah. So don’t stop, keep going. And I would maybe I’m wrong because I’m just winging it like the rest of us.

But if something’s done, put it out, spit it out, get it out there and then do the next thing.

[00:21:41] Stephen: Yeah. And it’s amazing how you forget the stuff that you were so excited about because it really you’ve. You’ve heard other authors do interviews and the someone that has a ton of books like Koontz or king or whatever.

And they’re like, yeah, that was such, was that this character in this book and they [00:22:00] totally forget their own books and you’ve got fans. How could you forget that? I’ve read that book 50 million times. Yeah. W when you go over it, writing it over and over, it really does leave your brain after you get it out.

[00:22:13] Paul: Absolutely. Yeah. I, after this book, I put this book out and I held my actual nut first novel as a physical thing in my hand. And it’s still sitting on my shelf. I haven’t opened it to read it because I’ve read it so many times. Like my albums I’ve put out, I don’t listen to them. They were of that time in my life.

And I went through the ringer with them, but then once it’s done, you’re like, thank God. Next thing please.

[00:22:39] Stephen: Yeah. I’ve picked up some of the old music played it. I’m like, wow, that song sucked. Why did we ever do that one?

[00:22:45] Paul: Yeah, exactly. But then you can say, Hey, maybe we can revamp it. Maybe we can do something different with it.

Updated a little bit. My favorite band. Is there it’s tool. Some of you might know who the band was. If [00:23:00] you’re in a progressive metal, they just did a 10 minute long version of their song, opiate from their first. And they went back around and they’re like, read it. And yeah, there’s no rule saying that you can’t revisit your older work.

There’s no rule saying that you can’t do an updated version of something you’ve done before. There’s no roles do what you want.

[00:23:20] Stephen: Well, it was Stephanie Meyers or whatever, with the Twilight. She like rewrote her whole first book from a totally different perspective. So

[00:23:28] Paul: can we take a quick.

[00:23:30] Stephen: Yeah, actually, I think we’re about done.

Okay. Do you have any advice for new readers or new authors before we go and join the process? There

[00:23:39] Paul: you go. Enjoy it. If you’re not having fun writing, then forget about everything else. Find a new hobby, find a new line of work first and foremost. Enjoy what you do, because if you don’t, you are wasting your life,

[00:23:57] Stephen: music or books.

[00:23:59] Paul: [00:24:00] Music books, your job, whatever. Find a way to be fulfilled in your life. And obviously that, that not everyone can get there, but shoot, go for

[00:24:09] Stephen: it. I agree. All right. Well, I appreciate the time it’s been great talking to you and I wish you luck on your book. Thank you. Hey.

[00:24:18] Paul: Hey, thank you very much. And Hey, let me leave you with one of my dad jokes.

Oh, there

[00:24:23] Stephen: we go. Yes.

[00:24:25] Paul: Okay. I got a couple on these are all workplace appropriate. People go in and go. How come you only tell dad jokes? And I’m like, I don’t want to get sued. Let me see here. Let me see here. Oh, okay. How do you air out your house and Ecuador? Not sure you open an echo window. Okay.

[00:24:45] Stephen: That’s a good one.

I love it. All right, Paul, you have a great evening after.

[00:24:52] Paul: All right, Steven, take care. Thanks.

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