Guest Post by Sue Donahoe
In just one day my first book will actually be in my hands and in just three days I’ll be signing them at the first of a series of Book Release Concerts. I can’t tell if I’m breathing.
NEVER HEARD OF ‘EM: Austin’s Music Explosion, 1994 – 2000 was one year in the writing, but covered the past 17 years of a life which was, for most of that time, shared with my wonderful husband. Mike died of cancer in 2009 and – instead of sitting in my Corpus Christi living room crying over old photos of our record store years – I attacked the project of turning memories into a book.
Attack is the right word to describe writing this book. The “hook for the book” was always there and we always knew it; we were happy witnesses to the birth of Austin’s greatest Indie Scene. In the pre-internet world of 1994, CD duplication became available and musicians in Austin and elsewhere began making their own music. We sold their music and wrote about it for magazines in three countries. We always hoped to turn all that excitement into a book but never did. After Mike died, it was the only way to fill the void and hundreds of musicians welcomed me back into their shows and their lives. I love music people!
Dozens of trips up and down the highway, in and out of rock clubs and honky-tonks, contributed to making this an exhausting and delightful year. I worked myself sick three times, missing Christmas, SXSW, and nearly missing the production deadline. It was my own deadline, but fixed nevertheless. Clubs must be booked, artists must schedule performances….it ain’t all about me.
And, of course, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d written lots of magazine articles but no books. It would have to be self published because most of the music was self published. I knew what kind of documentation I would have and what I hoped to get, and I knew who I could interview. But what a book should BE how it should LOOK …all mysterious.
The Writer’s League of Texas was right here in Austin, not too far from the restaurant with the cross dressing waiter and a huge colony of bats so I was certain I’d have access to all I needed to learn. It was through the Austin Writer’s League in the late ‘80s that I got my first freelance writing gigs, after all, so I “re-enlisted”. Here I found information about printers and designers, editors, classes I could take to help me improve my craft and to develop a marketing strategy. Every step forward pushed my book to the finish line. My NEVER HEARD OF ‘EM Facebook page is very active and a website will be up soon, accepting credit cards no less.
In just one day I’ll have my first book in my hands. It won’t be my last.