I thought this was a different title for a book. I hope it doesn't sound cocky or conceited. To tell the truth it is a line that I stole from a song that I wrote called "Paid. The title could have been, If I make it Big. There is a big difference between those two words." When" has the ring of hope to it. It says to me, "This is going to happen. I don't know how or when but I believe it." If" I make it big sounds so negative. It reminds me a saying I used to say," If we had bacon we could have bacon and eggs. If we had eggs."
You can't write a book without giving some history about the person writing the book. What are their qualifications? What do they have to say that I can use? Is their advice legitimate? And the questions could go on and on. I am a songwriter but I haven't written any hit songs. I want to write a hit song. I am very passionate about music and songwriting. If you want answers on how to be successful from somebody who has done it. Sorry, you got the wrong guy and the wrong book. If you want to hear about my struggles and what I learned on the way, then keep on reading.
I have worked in the grocery business for over forty years and I don't own my own grocery store. I am an assistant manager at a Dillons grocery store. Dillons is a part of the Kroger company. Am I going to make it big in the grocery business? Will I become a store manager? Or a district manager? The answer to these questions is, "No." The reason I know this is because that is not want I want to be successful at. Yes, it is my job. Yes, I need money to pay my house payment every month. Yes, I enjoy getting a paycheck. I know that it is not my passion. It does not light a fire in me. I don't hate my job but it isn't the Wind beneath my Wings as Bette Midler would sing.
I am not getting rich in the grocery business. Ask anyone in this business and they will let you know it is not a lucrative field. My wife was a social worker. Social workers are paid similar to grocery store workers. The only difference is you need a four year degree. What I would really like to be is a songwriter for a publishing company. What does that pay? The answer is terrible. As a songwriter for a publishing company you would get a draw. The beginning draw for a songwriter would be $25,000 a year. Isn't that great. My dream job is a job paying half of what I am making at my current job. Sounds crazy, don't it?
Let me explain a little more how the draw system works. The publishing company is hoping that you will write a hit song or a song that an artist will record and place on a CD. If they sell enough CD's part of the money would go back to the publishing company. The publishing company would then take out their share of your draw. After you pay back your $25,000 for the year then you would make more money. Basically it is a loan that you must pay off when and if you make money. If you don't write a hit song and make money, you probably won't have a publishing deal for very long. No pressure.
I do not have the connections to get artists to listen to my songs, Publishers many times have access to the artists that are looking for songs. Many songwriters are their own publishers. This is great if you have time. Time is the one thing in my life that I need more of. I work many hours at my job and I need and want more time to do the things that I love.
Another advantage of working for a publisher is they listen to and offer suggestions on how to make your song more commercial. Commercial does not mean it will be an advertisement on TV or radio. Commercial is writing songs that everybody can relate to. The best scenario that I can come up with for that is being a painter.
As a painter, I could paint many things. I could paint beautiful masterpieces on canvas and sell them for big bucks. The hard part would be finding the buyer who is looking for the exact style of painting that I created and is willing to shell out thousands and thousands of dollars to own it. I could paint houses. Their are lots of houses that need a good paint job. I could use my creative side and come up with different colors.
In Topeka, where I live, we have a house that is painted like a rainbow. It is across the street from Westside Baptist church. Westside Baptist church is the left of center church that was founded by Fred Phelps. They are known for picketing funerals of gay people that have died and carrying hateful messages on their signs. The last time I checked there is not a big demand for rainbow colors on houses.
I have noticed that if was going to paint houses, the colors that I see most often are tans, beiges, and white. Not too exciting of colors. To get more jobs I would need to use these colors. Colors that are not too wild. Colors that will not offend your neighbors. I remember having a neighbor one time that painted their old two story house a dark charcoal gray with black trim. It looked like a Halloween house. All it needed was some pumpkins outside on the steps and some bats circling around the attic trying to get into it.
If you are writing a song you would need to write songs that everybody could relate to. I could write a song about my Dad being a hard working construction worker who quit construction work to make a good living buying and selling cattle. Some people could relate to this song but a lot of people wouldn't. So what are commercial songs about? Love, breaking up, heartbreak, drinking and partying songs, girls, etc. Pretty basic stuff that everybody can relate to. I call it "White Houses."
The hard part about "White House" writing is that it still needs to be different and interesting. How many ways can a song say, I love you? As a commercial songwriter, it is the songwriters job to say the same old thing in a fresh way. Here are a few ways that others have said it. You light up my life, You are the wing beneath my wings, and You complete me. I could write a song about Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I'll be the jelly and you can be the peanut butter. Jam us together and we'll stick together. That is hard to do. It is not as easy as slapping white paint on a house.
Okay how bout a little recap on this first chapter? I have not set the world on fire by being successful at my current job. I was raised on a farm in Kansas. I don't know any famous people. My parents weren't rich. I struggle to pay my bills and stay out of debt. I need more time. I work too much. I don't have all the answers. I don't ask the right questions. Maybe, you are in the same boat with me? We both want to be a success but how? Let's continue the journey together.