Name: Nemo James
Name of Book: Just A Few Seconds, A Story From the Hidden World of Music and Beyond
Guest Post for The Story Behind the Book:
Although I was a successful musician, composing was my real love and after 30 years of being unable to a make a living from my compositions I had dug myself into such a huge rut that I knew I had to change my life drastically. Before deciding on what direction my new life should take, I had a strong compulsion to write everything down that had happened to me in my old one. I suppose it was a kind of closure from the past and avoidance of the future. This happened twelve years ago during a tour of Switzerland when I had to drive hundreds of miles between gigs and it was during those long drives I practically wrote the whole book in my head. Having spent so many years memorizing everything from thousands of song lyrics to complicated classical guitar solos I was fortunate in being able to remember everything vividly. A year later I finished the final draft and tried to find a publisher but although a couple of them called to say how much they liked it they said it was impossible to sell autobiographies written by unknown musicians and to get back to them when I became famous. I was well aware of how slim were the chances of getting published but it was my last resort so that rejection forced me to look for a new life. It seemed extraordinary to me that the requirement for getting an autobiography published was not good writing and an interesting life but having a record in the charts.
In Just A Few Seconds, I wanted to write about what life is like for the 99% of musicians that don’t become rich and famous but still earn a good living often working for the rich and famous. The most interesting stories I have to tell are not about backing artists like Tom Jones and Cliff Richards or playing at private parties for Sheik Yamani or the Aga Khan but stories about holiday camp epidemics, strippers with flatulence and being the cause of US military personnel being Court Martialed. It is amazing how music is such a huge part of everyone’s life and yet so little is known about the ordinary working musicians who supply that music.
12 years later, I finally got my big break and so came to live in this beautiful seaside village near Dubrovnik in Croatia. I had the time to return to my book and was determined to publish it even if I had to do it myself. I contacted one of the many publishers that published my music and he advised me not to bother with traditional publishing but to go down the self-publishing route. This made sense as for years it has been necessary for bands and songwriters to produce their own albums. Record companies love it because it removes a lot of the risk of signing unknown bands as the band has already produced an album and shown there is a market for their music. I needed to publish my own book and prove there was a market for it and then, hopefully, a mainstream publisher would offer a solid deal as opposed to small publishers whose only real commitment is to get the book in print.
The more I looked into self publishing the more surprised I was at how sophisticated it had become. I was fortunate in having the I.T. skills to physically produce the book and some loyal fans of my music who offered professional editing and advice so the whole process was plain sailing. I released Just A Few Seconds in February this year and have already been approached by a publisher although it was a small company who were unable to make a firm commitment on promotion so I had the luxury of turning them down. All I have to do now is sit back and dream while I wait for the bidding war. The longer I wait, the longer I get to enjoy the dream.
About Just a Few Seconds
Just A Few Seconds is a story of one man’s experience in the music business. It is an amusing and true story of a successful freelance musician whose gigs ranged from private parties to the very rich and famous to the roughest London pubs where playing the wrong song at the wrong time meant the difference between life and death. He takes more twists, turns and knocks than a mouse trapped in a pinball machine but the ending shows how the road to success can lead us down the strangest and most desolate of paths. If you are looking for the usual rock star memoirs full of sex drugs and rock and roll then this book is not for you, but if you are interested in a unique insight into the music business that reads like a thriller then this book won’t disappoint.