When I woke up the other day, I realized that I was on the cusp of a milestone. In just a few days, I’d be celebrating my first anniversary as a published author. Go figure. And now that day is here. I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears is now officially one year old.
I suppose “celebrating” is a bit of a misnomer. I won’t be getting any cards or buying any cakes. I’ll be “celebrating” by going to work like any other time I’m on the duty roster.
Still, it’s been a year. Damn.
Things have changed a bit in that time. And still other things remain exactly the same. That being said, I continue to feel myself moving away from what I’ve been doing and further into the next phase. Every day, I feel a little more distance between myself and my current career. That world — despite my quarter of a century square in the middle of it — is starting to feel foreign. It makes less and less sense. Meanwhile, an already steady stream of musical thought is transforming into a raging river of ambition. It’s a nice feeling, even if I did sound like Hedley Lamar in Blazing Saddles for a second.
I’m looking forward to starting on my second and third books. However, there is still much more to be done with this one.
Sales of I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This have been … adequate. I wasn’t expecting a New York Times bestseller. Still, I know there are plenty of untapped markets I have yet to break into. This book is still full of potential.
My reviews on Amazon have been nothing short of phenomenal. The review I got from David West in Prog magazine may or may not have slowed my momentum a bit. I’m quite certain West didn’t read the whole book, because he would’ve known it wasn’t merely about the music (which may have been quite exotic to an American, but well-known to an Englishman). Rather, it was about the journey leading me to each musical stopover. I know I lost at least one sale because of that review (because the potential reader told me so). And while I claimed to be over it, it still nags me a bit.
My first book signing was by all accounts a success. After all, I left the signing with more money than I spent bringing copies in. Still, I got first hand experience in what my many musician friends already knew: people can be unreliable. Dozens of people say they’re coming to your Thing. A handful of them show up. This is the way of things, even it sucks a little. On the plus side, a couple of fans have shown me more love than I could ever hope for. They each purchased three copies. I guess they saw something David West didn’t (yeah … still a little bitter).
It doesn’t help that I have to do the lion’s share of the publicity. Such is life with a small publisher, not unlike most of the musicians I admire, support, and cover. Except most of those guys aren’t slagging away at their day jobs for 60-70 hours a week. Mostly. I will reach those other markets. It will just take a little time to make it happen.
The past year has also yielded some fascinating occurrences, centered around the book. I’ve been recognized by a few people in the music community since the book’s release. That can be rather surreal at times. I stood in front of Bent Knee guitarist Ben Levin as he set up for a show in St. Louis. He stopped what he was doing, studied me for a second, and said, “Hey … you’re Cedric, aren’t you?” I could’ve been knocked over with a feather. Turns out the rest of the band knew me, too.
At last year’s Progtoberfest, I was stopped eight or ten times by people who told me they bought my book. I had to disappoint a couple of others by telling them I had not brought any copies with me. That was a bad mistake on my part. It won’t happen again. I was approached by a fan at the Haken/Leprous show I attended in November. A couple of people brought books to the Adrian Belew show I attended so that I could sign them! Had these things not happened in front of my friends, I’m quite certain no one would believe they happened.
It has become much easier to approach musicians and get interviews. Bands are sending me music to review. Slowly but surely, a new world is opening up before my eyes. And the platform continues to add planks, one at at time.
It has been a fascinating year, indeed. And the car hasn’t even hit the proverbial highway yet. I’m excited about the adventures yet to come, and I’m hoping you’ll come along for the ride. If you haven’t checked out my book, I would be most grateful if you did. I’ll start work on the next books soon enough. But first, I’m going to enjoy a little of the nice weather.
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