Updated: Dec 3, 2019
After thirty years as a screenwriter, Blotto is my first attempt at writing a book. When I first thought of writing a book, I naively figured that all I had to do was write a book and it would somehow magically be offered to the universe. How wrong I was. As of today, I have devoted more time to publishing and marketing than actual writing. This is mainly due to my decision to self-publish. I came to understand that, as a non-famous person, it might take years to secure a publisher or book agent, and I would most likely lose creative control, so I decided to go it alone. Well, not entirely alone. I hired a brilliant marketing consultant to walk me through the endless array of actions I needed to take on social media. As a technical troglodyte, I had always avoided all forms of social media. I feel badly for my consultant who had to deal with my frequent tantrums and ongoing expressions of confusion and hopelessness.
There were so many new experiences in self-publishing my book. I was deeply out of my comfort zone. In the midst of my frenzy, a number of people (especially younger people) strongly suggested that, in addition to a paperback and ebook, I should create an audio book. Again, I had no idea what that would entail. At first, I wanted to enlist an experienced actor or a voice actor to record the audio book. As written about in Blotto, I am not at all comfortable performing, and recording definitely involves performance. I was talked and sometimes shouted out of this decision by everyone in my constantly expanding corner who insisted, “This is your story, your life, it needs your voice! Alright, already, I’ll record it myself.
Living in Ojai, a town of eight thousand, there aren’t that many sound recordists to choose from, but eventually I found an older man, a nice guy, let’s call him Tom. As I began to record my book (which contains vivid passages about drinking, drugs and sex), Tom started to make strange sounds, indicating that he was clearly uncomfortable. I didn’t know why until I entered Tom’s recording studio office, strewn with images of Jesus Christ. He’s a full blown Jesus freak. When Tom Interrupted my reading by asking if I could reword some of the racier passages in the book, I gently but firmly informed him that I would not alter the contents of my book according to his or anyone else’s beliefs. He got it, and was extremely helpful to me as I spluttered though sixteen hours of recording while suffering severe dry mouth and claustrophobia. During our breaks, Tom and I got into friendly conversations and debates about religion and spirituality. The last few hours of recording were a true pleasure, as I finally feel that I’m bringing my book to life.