Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Rock 'N' Roll Diaries Blog Tour: Jamie Scallion Talks About His Career!

Jamie Scallion is the super cool author of The Rock 'N' Roll Diaries, and I'm excited to be part of this blog tour for book three, Losing It. If you don't know what the RNR Diaries is all about, here's more information about the first instalment:

When Burt decides he must start a rock band to win the love of Bex, the hottest girl in the school, he is forced to assemble a group who wouldn’t normally be seen dead together. The RockAteers are born. It must work, and not just for Burt’s sake. Egg has spent his life on the outside looking in, Tea needs to avoid becoming part of his criminal family and Clipper yearns for more than a fast track to a football academy. When Egg reveals his song-writing genius, the only way is up… Can four opposites led by an ego-maniac function as a band and navigate the music industries shark infested waters? Who will win the race to sign them? And who will get the girl?

As part of this blog tour, Jamie has very kindly written a really interesting piece about his career, from his time in a band to his newfound status as a young adult author. Thanks, Jamie!


Rocker to Writer
by Jamie Scallion

I’ve been in bands for a long time. My dad was in a band; my brother was in a band. You could say it was in my blood. I love writing songs. Coming up with a strong concept and working on telling that story in three or four minutes was and is an all-consuming passion. It felt like a natural progression to write a book. It’s a very different discipline of course, a marathon not a sprint. Muscles I didn’t know I had were needed in the pursuit writing a decent novel. I wrote four novels before I felt like I was even getting somewhere. 

I started touring with The Script in early 2007. We were both supporting a bigger band at the time on a four week UK tour. We got on and our friendship was built on four cornerstones: laughter, creation, inclusion and innovation. Laughter because they made me laugh, creation, because each of their songs is a vignette, songs like The Man Who Can’t Be Moved or If You Could See Me Now have a storytelling flair that really appeals to me. Inclusion because I was drawn to the way they treated their fans; with respect and affection. The Script isn’t an exclusive members’ club, it’s a party anyone can join. Innovation because I had never seen a band so focussed on thinking outside the box and striving to create an experience that pushes boundaries. 

After that first tour the lads started to get pretty big, pretty fast. They began to invite my band on the road with them more and more and the friendship built. When I mentioned I had written a novel about my experiences on the road Mark and Danny asked to read it. I sent them a PDF and they read it in a matter of days. 
“What if we brought the band to life with music!” they said. 
This was a crossroads moment. I saw it very much as a choice between traditional publishing or some kind of enhanced self-publishing. By applying the same ethos The Script lived by I felt sure the books would have a good chance. Decision made, we started to work up a model that concentrated on using talented friends to help build the book and design the world it would live in. The tour bus became our office. Our shop front would be the World Wide Web. We wanted to harness the power of social media to create the buzz. Despite Mark and Danny being behind it we didn’t want to over use The Scripts clout to gain superficial followers. We wanted to engage people, to get people reading sample chapters, listening to excerpts of the songs we had written. We were meticulous in our plans. Our mantras were don’t run before we can walk and if we don’t know the right person, let’s ask someone who does. 

On the music side we were savvy of course. On the literary side, not so much. We took meetings with literary professionals. Many of whom were positive but constricted by traditional practices. Some didn’t understand what we were trying to do at all. One even suggested we re-write the story and base it on three Irish lads from Dublin. But Amazon got it! They were enthusiastic from the moment we explained our idea, saw its scope and had exactly the place for us to house the book - KDP select. Kindle direct publishing select were the only outlet who instantly understood the potential and could help us spread the word in the most effective way. We retained our independence and ability to act quickly whilst at the same time having their full support, with the added benefits such as the Kindle Owners Lending Library allowing us to extend our reach even further and build on our positive word of mouth. 
They introduced us to Amazon music, Audible, Create Space and Goodreads. They created a landing page on their site and helped develop our campaign. It’s been incredible. I love being in control of my own destiny and I love the direct contact with our very engaged fan base. It’s already been the most empowering, exhausting and exciting thing I have ever done in my life. Whatever happens next, we are immensely proud of what we have achieved so far.


Fine Jamie on Twitter: @JamieScallion

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