It was 2006. I wrote a book about all the mistakes of my 20s. It was fun to research, write, and release. I had dozens of conversations with people I might never have met otherwise. At one point, I even had a meeting with a producer from Hollywood about making a Ruin Your Life movie.
Ruin Your Life is meant to be a humorous manual of bad but not hurtful behavior. For the most part I think it still succeeds in that. But there are portions of the book that I find myself unable to defend. Initially I thought this would mean cutting the objectionable parts and reissuing it, but I think cutting parts out of Ruin Your Life runs contrary to the spirit of the book. So I think the responsible thing for me to do at this point is stop publishing it. I have contacted my publisher to have the book be taken out of circulation. It will be out of print and I doubt I will be putting it back in print.
Ruin Your Life had a good run. It sold hundreds of physical copies and thousands of digital copies. I’m happy for the experiences that happened as a result of that book and apologize to anyone who was hurt by anything I said in the book. As always, the reason I portrayed things one way or another was I thought it would be funny. No harm was meant.
For anyone still wanting to get a copy, it is still available on Amazon as I write this. By this time next week it definitely will not be and it could be gone any time between now and then.
Thank you, everyone for your support. Rest assured that my next book, a novel will be out by this time next year at the absolute latest.
– Jack Cameron
There’s something to be said about doing things on your own terms. For a long while creative people have had to deal with record companies, movie studios, and publishers in order to get their art to the masses. There are certain advantages to going that route. If you’re lucky and talented enough to get in good with the Powers That Be, there’s quite a bit more money involved. The odds of more people seeing your work increase dramatically. These are all good things, but there are two big problems with that system.
The first problem is that you don’t only have to be talented, you have to be lucky. Your work needs to be put in front of the right person at the right time. Sometimes this happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. The second problem is that you lose control of your work. Studios have been known to buy scripts with no intention of ever making the movie. Sure, it’s nice to get a paycheck, but most writers I know would rather see their work produced.
The good news is that modern technology makes the old system an option and not a requirement. As I write this, I have a friend who is producing an album with another guy on the other side of the country. They’re both using Macs with a few inexpensive accessories. Last year some friends of mine used Kickstarter to finance their movie. Their budget? Four hundred thousand dollars. That’s almost half a million dollars with no studio involvement. Sure, that’s not a lot compared to the budget of a MichaelBay movie but you’d be surprised how much you can get when you’re not having to deal with studios. More to the point, there’s no bosses telling them that they need to throw on a happy ending or make sure that there’s a sex scene. They can tell the story they want to tell.
This is why my next book is going to be entirely self-published. It’s not because I don’t like the system. It’s because I want to have complete creative control.
And that’s where the ‘bad news’ comes in. It’s a lot of work. Yes, it’s possible to just throw together a manuscript and have it published and tossed up on Amazon.com. Thousands of people do it every year and it’s largely what’s responsible for making the word ‘self-published’ seem disreputable. But the truth is there is no reason you can’t make a book every bit as professional as anything the big six publishers put out. That’s my goal.
My plan is to have my novel available for purchase by my birthday, December 5th. It’s not going to be easy. The key to doing anything well is realizing when you can’t do something and hiring someone who can. In order to do this right, I’m going to need to set things up for more than just this book. I’ll need to start my own publishing company. As I go through this process, I’ll write about it here, along with anything else I feel like writing about.
Welcome to 2013. It’s going to be a good year.
– Jack Cameron