Longtime Los Angeles indie rock musician Bill See just released his new coming of age “docu-drama” memoir “33 Days.” This is a recent quick Q & A with him from his Miracle Mile home.
Q. How did you come to self-publish? Did you try to get published traditionally?
A. D.I.Y. is in my blood from putting out my own records, touring, self-generating hype, and making people take notice. We (Divine Weeks) got signed to a bigger label that way so for the book, self publishing is the logical approach.
Q. What self-publishing service did you use? Happy with the service?
A. Lulu based on some friends’ recommendations. On balance, I think it’s a pretty good option. It’s really a learn as you go process, but for me, I’m used to that from the indie rock thing.
Q. What avenues have you taken to market the book? Have you gotten reviews, interviews, TV, print media coverage?
A. Well, I’m just getting started. Again, using the indie rock model, I see young bands now utilize the internet nd wish Divine Weeks’ had had social networking and all that back in the day. We certainly wouldn’t have starved like we did on the road back then. I’m treating the marketing and promotion for “33 Days” as part movie and part DIY band model. I’m making videos and book trailers and creating youtube channels, things like that.
Q. What drove you to write this particular book?
A. “33 Days” is actually a combination of two projects that commenced simultaneously about 12 years ago. The first was a letter to my sister, who was given up for adoption and then reappeared in my mom’s and my life. She asked me to describe for her what growing up was like in my household. I grew up in a pretty turbulent household, and so I was originally going to call it, ‘Hey Sis, Glad You Missed It,’ but that only told half the story. The other thing I was working on at the time was turning my old tour journals into a readable book. So, I had these two things that initially seemed so unrelated, but then it occurred to me, the background I’d written for my sister was actually the primary motive for what lead to me leaving on that tour.
Q. Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?
A. Well, it’s basically a coming of age, on the road story. It’s a true story, but it’s written like a novel, a docu-drama novel, I’m calling it. Anyway, I don’t know if this answers the question, but I’ve always joked that I’m no author, I’m just a guy in a band blessed with one of the most extraordinary and eye opening journeys a band at our level could have. I’ve just been trying the last 12 years to weave all these remarkable experiences into the most compelling book possible. Hopefully I’ve succeeded.
Q. Who are your greatest writing influences?
A. Hmm, Kerouac, Salinger, Camus, Harper Lee as authors whose body of work I love and probably Jim Carroll’s “Basketball Diaries” and Henry Rollins’ “Just Get In The Van” as two specific influences for “33 Days.”
Q. What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?
A. I work in bursts and then welcome time away to recharge. I do a lot of walking and driving and kind of write that way, jotting down notes or what have you.
Q. Would you self-publish again?
A. I don’t know. Like I said, DIY is part of my core. I watched the music industry torn down by people doing it themselves, and I never shed a tear over it. So, if the insular exclusive world of the publishing world is blown open by self publishing, I’m all for it.
Q. Any final words of advice for those looking to self-publish?
A. Write the book you need to write, celebrate the moment you hold it in your hands, and then get ready to do the real work. Because it’s down to you to generate the interest and learn as you go. I was never the shameless self promoter a lot of my peers were back in the L.A. club scene, but with this book, I’m gonna learn to stand up for it and try to take it all the way to the sea.
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About Bill See
I just published my first book, "33 Days," a coming of age, on the road story based on the journals I kept during my band Divine Weeks' first tour in 1987.