Sorry for any errors on the tips & how to pages. I'm doing this fast.
I won't talk about what's in the book. If you want to write your books, I want to show you how I came to this book.
I started reading about the science of becoming a celebrity in 1993. There is a science to it. I had also been reading business, leadership and marketing books even before this.
I remember a few tips from the books:
Having a book at the bookstores that you wrote is like having a visible, perpetual business card on display. It makes you the authority on the subject you wrote on. You can be invited by companies to become a paid speaker on the subject.
"Triangulation" is when you add an element to your "foundation," giving the public a sense of stability when dealing with you. For example, a visual artist does not have to write a book on art, but if the artist did write a book on art, the art can become more collectible.
You can produce "parallel upward mobility" by affiliating or hanging out with higher leaders that are in another field.
The "law of the lid." The lid in a jar is the highest part of the jar. An organization's highest achievement will be dictated by the leader of the group, which is the lid of the group. If you're not happy with the lid, you have to look for another better, bigger, taller jar. Internally, you have to work on your lid, which limits you.
If you keep seeing the same ad in a newspaper, in a weekly or monthly magazine, or in the annual yellow pages, then the ad is at least getting back the cost of the ad. Try running the same ad and see if it also pays off for you.
In 1993, I joined a theatre group in Chicago. There supposedly are 300-400 theatre groups in a given year in Chicago and the suburbs, so in theory, it should be easy to join one. Because it's mostly voluntary, all the meetings, workshops and rehearsals were done after office hours or on the weekends. It turned out that not everyone had the guts to join one. People tend to be shy and not everyone had the guts to face an audience. In retrospect, my friends and I were lucky. I joined a newly formed one, so we were all pretty much shy and forgiving at the start.
It was good that I got encouragement and support from most members of the group. In the next few years, I eased into the production side. I took charge of making the posters and souvenir programs, because I was pursuing art, I already worked as a graphic artist, and the posters lasted longer than the performances.
I wanted to do something "great." Because of art, I needed to be great anyway. I wanted to write, and I came to the conclusion that I should write about art.
I also had this constant idea playing in my head. If I can kill two birds with one stone, there should be ways to kill ten birds with one stone.
Some books I've read around 1993 said that fame is a drug. I played with fame by getting onstage with my theatre group. I eventually settled into making the posters, not only because posters last longer than the shows, but because theatre posters get posted all over the city.
I then became a columnist for a free monthly paper. Here I discovered that by having a regular column, I had a regular, sustained exposure compared to the people I featured. Because I wanted to learn how to make the paper, I eased into become the paper's assistant editor and graphic designer. I was called assistant editor only because the owner was the editor.
I started attending writing and publishing events and conventions.
I decided that my next move was to write a book. Thanks to the publishing conventions, I saw that unrecognizable authors can also have books, publishers and agents.
I read this marketing book, that said if you join together two already familiar concepts, you would come up with a new one.
Four friends died of AIDS within a few months of each other, and this depressed me. Three of them were around my age. I set my mind to pursue art and hopefully succeed as if I were pursuing not just my plans for my life, but theirs as well.
One of my marketing books said that if you join together two familiar concepts, you will come up with a new one that the public will accept.
In 1996, I came up with an artistic statement that I called The AIDS Crane. I said: "There is this belief in Asia, that if you make a thousand origami paper cranes, you wish will come true. I attach the red AIDS Ribbon to the beak of the crane because I wish for a cure."
This idea was picked up by a few nonprofit health groups. We got on local television, print and the radio.
I think I was being perceived as high and mighty by my friends. I found ways to get publicity for myself, and most of my friends seemingly had the same frustration; they just would not admit it.
I decided it was probably time to "lower" myself.
In 1998, I had been attending publishing conventions, that I wanted to write a memoir. I couldn't seem to justify anything, because I also read somewhere that the reason people read anything is because it's about sex, or it's about something they want to learn for themselves.
One night, after returning from a publishers convention, it dawned on me to become a masseur. I discovered that the local massage ads kept repeating. I ran one ad and discovered it made money. I can kill ten birds with one stone with massage! I can pay my rent and come up with a story that might be sexy, or I might discover new lessons I can write about.
I thought I was going to have a "sexy" book, because massage involved naked people, but as it turned out, those massage clients shared with me: tips on leadership and branding, tips on keeping my interests alive and never giving up, proofs that triangulation works, becoming famous like themselves is possible, business and politics exist with galleries, art , auctions and collectibility as an artist, and many more. My precious time with my massage clients, who were singers, actors, authors, public speakers, taxi drivers, CEOs, fellow artists, gallerists, nonprofit museum executive directors, chairmen of the board, and many more became the chapters in the book.
This was my first idea for a memoir. I became a masseur to see if there was a book in the "adventure." There was. The money as a masseur was good, but writing about it gave me a creeping realization.
I was, finally, writing to legitimize myself. As a masseur, I remained a servant to my clients. Each conversation I had was an invitation to join them on the other side of the fence, which was really an invisible barrier. I crossed the barrier every once in a while, like when I was given complimentary tickets to that night's concert by my famous client or borrowing an extra badge for the candy convention they came to Chicago for.
What I perceived to be my final legitimization was writing the last word of my first book draft. As soon as the last word was typed, and I still remember where I was, I told myself, "On to the next adventure." I lost interest in continuing to be a masseur. I stopped making money as such. It was a bold, scary, depressing move.
Be careful because this might happen to you. At least you would be aware. I am giving you a warning that was never given to me. Getting a book about yourself published will change your perspective. You will feel as if you have elevated yourself. Publish yourself, but make sure to remain practical and grounded. Or not.