Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Just Ask Kenny Rogers

Tate Publishing is the company I selected to publish my first book, Bleedership, Biblical First-Aid for Leaders. They are a group of some really neat people who do a great job.

I remember speaking with Richard Tate, the company's founder when I was trying to choose a publisher. He told me something that really stuck with me. He said, "Jim, don't think that by having this book published that you are all of a sudden going to get rich. This is just the beginning. You will need to work to help market it." I didn't fully understand this until after my book was released and I attended the Christian Booksellers Convention in Denver. There I found out that I really was a tiny minnow in an enormous ocean. Richard was right, it was going to take a lot of effort. And this is true in anything we do.

Tate sends out a regular newsletter to their authors and in the past issue were these words on this very topic from Richard:

The sad issue today is that many new authors and artists think that because they have a good book or great music that it should just “happen” for them and that it is the total responsibility of the publisher or label to do all the work. It takes work, persistence, and lots of effort by the author or artist alongside their publisher and label. Trust me, it is all worth it, and Rita and I have a million good memories as a result of those years and made a fine living on the road. You can as well if that is your dream – and if you are willing to work with your team.

Last fall I was outside our house standing in the driveway talking with my son Ryan, who is the effective President and CEO of our companies, when my cell phone rang. The voice on the other end was our good friend and country music legend Kenny Rogers. He was calling about his upcoming trip to our location and wanted to go over a few things with me and Ryan. Here is the “kicker” to the conversation.

I said, “Kenny, you sound a bit tired, my friend!”

He replied, “Just a bit, Richard. We have the Fiftieth Anniversary tour coming up in January with Dolly Parton, and I have been working ten hours a day on the phone and on the computer calling venues, newspapers, radio and TV stations, and promoters working to get the crowds out. I have been doing this for half a century and it is still a lot of work.”

Kirt Webster, who works with us out of Nashville and manages Dolly Parton, told me at our dinner there recently, “Richard, I have never seen anyone work harder than Dolly. She is after it hours and hours every day to stay successful.”

Lee Greenwood, who is a new part of our music and publishing family and the author of “God Bless the USA,” told us in the conference room at his last visit that he worked for years and years in every kind of venue that would book him, large or small, before his career took off and he became the legend he is today.

Two-time country music entertainer of the year Neal McCoy is doing several projects with us. He was Entertainer of the Year TWICE and said to me from his bus one night after a packed out show, “It took me thirteen years, Richard, before I had a hit. Thirteen years of any and every kind of gig until things took off. I work harder today than ever to keep us on the road doing what I love.”

We love our relationship with the Oak Ridge Boys and their long time manager Jim Halsey. I was visiting with Joe Bonsall when the “Boys” were here recently (they still do over 100 shows a year), and I asked him what he would tell some of our new and aspiring authors and artists. He did not even hesitate. “They have to be willing to work. They have to be willing to sing or speak to 5 just like they would to 5,000. Most people think they should get their break because of the record label. Not so. It takes the label and the artist working hard every day. You don’t deserve that booking, you have to work for it and it HAS to be about your music or the message of your book first of all.”

Our marketing and publicists work hard to make each artist and each author as successful as possible. But the biggest mistake I see authors and artists make is to think they deserve it, and it should just “happen.” It takes hard work even after you have become a legend in the industry.

Just ask Kenny Rogers.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.
Hebrews 10:36

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