Many of us have been told, many times... "You should write a book." I've heard it, literally, thousands of times over my blessed/challenged-beyond-believability/Fantasy Land-like lifetime.
So...I've done it. Written a book. Or AM doing it at least. For the past 3 years, I've been writing, writing, writing. And...I'm almost there. (The "Introduction" below explains a whole lot more).
I've explained a bit about my book, "Been There, Done That," in this Kickstarter proposal. There is quite a bit more on my site, at www.rickbassman.com In short it's about MY life -- which in writing Been There, Done That, I've realized that is more like 8 Lives. (8 down, one to go?)
In 2012, I acquired one of the literary field's top agents. He/they not long thereafter, got me a "deal" with one of the top publishing houses in the industry. From there, things went to hell pretty damned quickly.
Like most of us, I'm pretty attached to my story. I wanted it handled in a specific way, and marketed in a specifically proactive manner. While I like to think I was flexible in how this would all go down, at the end of the day --and despite an offer of a pretty decent advance -- I could see that me and my agent/publisher/editor/editor's publicity department-- weren't going to see eye-to-eye. This brought to the forefront of my mind what to me was a very important question... Do I take the money and run? Or, do I exercise my personal vision?
I've experienced MANY failures in my business life (not-to-mention the PERSONAL stuff, but let's save that for the Book). In-between the abundance of spectacular crashes-and-burns, I've done okay....I've been an agent at William Morris, an Emmy-Award Winner, a creator of the then-hottest promotional entity in the NFL, high-ranking Disney exec, owner/operator of a pro wrestling company that I sold to WWE (formerly WWF), pioneer of Mixed Martial Arts in North America, and so on and so forth. In doing all of this, I've always said "if you must choose commercialism over artistic integrity, choose the former." Well, guess what? In writing my Book, for the first time ever, I found myself leaning toward the latter.
I went out to my many friends, in personal conversation and through social media, explained my situation (the publisher/editor/agent gone awry), and asked "What would you do?" Overwhelmingly -- and especially from those who know some of my story-- the answer was..."SELF PUBLISH!"
But here's the challenge (my word for problem)....MONEY! As I mentioned, "Been There, Done That" is structured primarly aroud 8 Chapters, or "Lives" (again, explained in more detail below). Nonetheless, and by way of explanation (about MONEY that is), Chapter 7, or my "7th Life" is entitled: "The Downfall: Or, Everything That Can Go Wrong, WILL Go Wrong." It chronicles one of the afformentioned crasesh-and-burn,s this one of epic proportions. These days, I'm in "recovery," in every way imaginable, but I'm still-not-quite-there just yet. (Chapter 8 is "The Comeback: Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying"). Thus...I NEED YOUR HELP.
My goal, as stated in my Kickstarter Campaign herein, is to raise $50,000. In total, this will result in a first-class hardcover book, with LOTS of photos, a similar soft cover version, and an accompanying marketing effort pointed toward seeing "Been There, Done That" hit #1 on the New York Times Non-Fiction charts. Now, by saying this, I realize I run the risk of:
1. Disbelief. First, if/when I realize my funding goal, the hardcover WILL be produced, 100%, by June. It's simply a matter of doing. To me, THAT part has always been easy. I am commited to this. I am passionate about this. I will get this done. Now, past having a book in hand, there is much to do. While I cannot control" whether or not Been There, Done That climbs to #1, I sure-as-hell KNOW that WE (me, my social media team, my publicist and YOU) together can...attract 100,000 active connections that support the effort; generate tons of press; book meaningful media appearances; etc. The ingredients are all there...
2. Resentment. In stating I want/intend to see Been There, Done That at #1, it may sound a little (or a lot) self-aggrandizing/self-important. But...more than anything, my story is one of redemption and renewal. Of getting my ass kicked in just about every way imaginable, and rising from the ashes. To rise ALL THE WAY, I have to believe. And at the end of the day, doesn't everyone love an underdog? I hope that YOU do. And provided you do, please know that my focus on the #1 spot is exercised with the humblest of attitudes.
If you've read this far, perhaps you're willing to come a little bit further (anyone out there starting to recognize "The Shawshank Redemption" references?)...
Here is how the funding will be utilized:
Developmental Editing - $ 5000;
Copy Editing $ 10,000 (hey, it's a BIG book!);
Artwork - $1500 (a bargain, from the exceptionally talented Tanja Richter. Check out her work at www.futurecircus.com);
Social Media - $5500. This is being done presently and my wonderful team at Local Marketing 2.0 is doing an incredible job for me on a deferred basis, because they believe. www.localm2.com
Public Relations - $7500. Longtime industry leader Levine Communications Office is at my side. Chairman Michael Levine, with 18 books on the market, knows a thing or two about publishing. President Liam Collopy is handling my account personally, which should result in substantive media attention throughout the entire process. Like Local M2, LCO too is busting their butts for me on a deferred basis. www.lcoonline.com;
Fulfillment - $4000. This is what I expect to spend at UPS, the US Post Office and on airlines, to fulfill the Rewards for my awesome donors!
Printing/Self Publishing House Premium Package -Now, THIS is the big one. I intend on doing this right. That means finished hardcover and paperback editions of the caliber of a major Simon-Shuster, Penguin, etc. release. And, something a Simon-Shuster or Penguin likely would never let me do...LOTS of photos. In the longrun, I think my photos, spanning 3 decades of pretty outrageous pesons, places and situations, will help make the market for my Book. For just a small sample, check out this page on my site, http://rickbassman.com/favorite-pics/, or my personal Facebook, which has TONS of photos. http://www.facebook.com/#!/rickbassman. I won't know the EXACT cost of printing until the text, photos and artwork are assembled, and what the total of my Package will be, but at this time, I can safely estimate well over $10,000.
In a lifetime of dreaming dreams, of falling spectacularly --and sometimes miserably-- short, and at times, blessedly, in realizing some seemingly outrageous goals, seeing "Been There, Done That" come to fruition, and giving it a real shot at making #1, is far-and-away the dream of my life. Please help me to make this dream...my dream...come true.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I've written this book over the course of nearly three years, and in no chronological order, whatsoever. Rarely, would I backtrack and read what I’d written previously.
My writing has been accelerating, vastly, of late, and the end is in sight. I’m so excited.I’m purposefully not going back, because I’m feverishly looking forward, to that day –or late night—when I take stock of all I’ve written and attempt to assemble into a BOOK.
I mention not going back for a reason. BECAUSE, on the occasions when I have gone back --to complete something I’d started days, or even months before—I’d start to notice some inconsistencies. Not where FACTS are concerned, but more so in how I was looking at, or felt about, something that had happened in my life. I attribute this to a natural course of “progression,” or result, of major occurrences in my life, as I wrote. Or, something as simple as a mood swing. For a moment, I contemplated going back, to make everything “consistent,” but only for a moment. Hey, maybe I’m lazy.But my rationale is three-fold.One: Been There, Done That, is as much stream of consciousness/state of mind, as it is about my story, of what happened on the physical plane. And I felt that by going back, I’d bastardize that. Two:My “readers,” Sylvia, Brett, Eric, Gina, Katherine, Tom, Stacey, Cindy, Joey and Susan, professed to be tremendously entertained, and since all of them are incredibly bright, well-read, introspective and experienced-in-life, I figured I was onto something, Their suggestions, but mostly, their encouragement, kept me at the keyboard; and Three: I figured if James Frey could get away with it in “A Million Little Pieces,” and sell 5 million copies(!) –with a “Memoir” that is largely considered everything from anti-structure to brilliant to utterly non-sensical—if he could get away with it, well then, I could too.
I feel it’s important to mention Mr. Frey and his book.If I have even a modicum of success with Been There, Done That, I suppose that the comparisons to "A Million Little Pieces" are inevitable. Thus, there’s something I need to get out of the way here and now…EVERYTHING in MY book is TRUE. There is a small possibility that some minor details are out of order, in terms of chronology, but I did my level best to check with people that were there and doing that with me, to reduce this possibility. Further, and more importantly, NOTHING is FABRICATED, nor even slightly embellished, throughout. As I like to say --for the most part-- I hav ethe pictures to prove it.
Going back, to back-tracking…Really, the only time I’d go back is when I had started a section and left it incomplete, and would go back to add to it.
Probably just as I’ll do with this Introduction, which I’m starting on October 24, 2011 (so again, please, if you will, forgive me my mood swings).
Been There, Done That was written in numerous locales. Basically, I’d carry my old-school RCA microcassette recorder everywhere, and when the mood really struck, fire up my laptop in the most unlikely of places. The words themselves have been written in their entirety in Word files, on my slightly-used, increasingly beaten up, Dell Inspiron E1505. At a “massage parlor” in Bucharest, Romania, at the African Advocates for AIDS 10th Anniversary Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Insane Clown Posse’s “Annual Gathering of the Juggalos” in Bumfu*k, Illinois, in ocean view diners, bars, cafes and ratty motels up and down the California and Oregon Coasts, and in just as many bars and cafes in Studio City and Hollywood, CA, near my then-home in Valley Village, and just as much in my current home...a small cabin, surrounded by woods, in Big Bear, California. (Thank you Michael Dell and Company for building such a durable machine, and thank you Samantha for allowing me to pick it up from your office after my last laptop crashed). Oftentimes, I think I'm just all-over-the-place. but just as quickly, I dispel any notion of thinking I want to settle in, simply by observing the varied locations in which I wrote. To live, I need to stay on the move.Mostly, my book was written at my previous home, behind chain-link and razor-wire in, the cavernous Porn Studio in North Hollywood, and in the small “guest cottage” in the backyard of the bucolic home, on a tree-lined suburban street in ValleyVillage.The ONLY constant throughout, has been Ramone, alternately fixing me with that withering Daddy-I’m-bored-out-my-mind-can’t-we-do-SOMETHING!?! stare, or snoring contentedly at my side.
Being the ever-organized guy I am, at least in some aspects of my life, I created folders –“categories,” if you will—as my writing progressed. …
"Diary;""Tall Tales;" "Philosophy;" and "It's Just Part of Life."
The basic idea is this:
·The DIARY entries, which were written during the time frame in which I've written this book, do appear chronologically. A current Diary entry brings to mind something that happened at a point in my past,
…thus segueing to a
·TALL TALE, which is basically a short story, but so outrageous that is the “average” person were to live ONE of these, he’d tell it over and over for his entire life. I’ve got several dozen.
·MY PHILOSOPHY (for what it’s worth), is my take on what occurred at a certain point in time in my life, and how it affected me and changed my outlook, no matter how small. Or sometimes, meditations on themes that are universal…Love, Loss, Sex, Fear, Romance…
·IT’S JUST PART OF LIFE is a stand-alone segment, apropos of nothing, which I’ve done my best to place at a spot in the book where it makes the most sense . These entries are generally pretty visceral/raw/on-the-edge, and cover things like my Scars, my Tattoos, my Drug Use...
It didn’t dawn on me until halfway through putting four fingers to keyboard (both middle fingers and both index fingers; that’s how I learned to type), that I would end up with eight “CHAPTERS,” the first “The Cancer Years,” picking up when I was sixteen. (The complete title of the Chapter is “My Mom Dies Suddenly and Tragically.Causing my Dad to go to work on the road to pay the bills.Thereby leaving my Brother and I to our own devices.Thus, the Juvenille Delinquency years ensue.(Well –as much as Two Boys growing up as Upper-Middle Class Jews in the Valley can be Delinquents anyways). (and oh yeah, I stress out to the max, giving myself three years of ‘terminal’ cancer hell).”
As these “Chapters” – which also appear in chronological order” --evolved, I realized they would provide some cohesiveness, some continuity to what I’d written. (in other words, I hope it all makes sense to YOU)
In total, as I write the first part of this Introduction, I am anticipating having nearly a hundred individual files within the aforementioned sections, to string together. And I’m looking forward to it!It –writing this book—has been a hell of a journey.It’s brought me to the depths of despair, to the highest peaks of exhilaration; it’s caused me to "anesthesize" more than I have ever before in my life and it’s put me on back on the path to physical and emotional health, I path which I hope, and intend, to continue to walk with firm footing; it’s made me hate beyond a level to which I would have believed I was capable, and love with a fuller heart, also blessedly beyond which I previously believed I was capable.Writing this book has caused me to look inside, deep inside, to recognize, and to admit to the foolhardinessof much (read: most) of my life, and it’s given me just the very beginning…just an inkling…of a notion…that I am capable of the type of change that can (pray: will) give me lasting happiness and peace, and the opportunity to spread a bit of that to others.
In writing this book, I’ve probably earned myself a beating from a monstrous, very famous MMA Fighter, and a hissy fit from an even more famous Pro Wrestler, several lawsuits, likely jail sentences (praying on that statuate-of-limitations-thing) and a pair of cement shoes courtesy of a prominent, reputed Las Vegas crime family. Who knows how may lives one lives, but you only die once. So, who gives a damn? Right?
Indeed, writing Been There, Done That has been a journey, just as life has been, and God-willing, continues to be, day-after-blessed-day.
I wish you a safe, (relatively) sane and exciting journey. And the desire, the commitment, the conviction, to LIVE, and to write YOUR story, day-after-blessed-day-after-blessed day-AFTER-BLESSED-DAY.
Risks and challenges
God knows, I've faced my share (and then some!) of challenges and setbacks. THAT said, I ALWAYS find a way to complete what I've started. I am a bound-and-determined, goal-oriented person. This said, and ego aside (at least I hope it sounds that way!), provided I meet my funding goal, this project will absolutely, 100% come to fruition. It's academic! (now, THAT is arrogant! ;)
I don't expect this to be "easy," per se...there WILL be challenges; I will face obstacles. But simply, challenges are there to be met...HEAD ON; obstacles are placed in front of us to be overcome.
If you help me to attain my goal, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT --the actual hardcover Book -- WILL BE COMPLETED AND PRINTED BY THIS JUNE!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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