John Bayer’s weekly North Dakota newspaper humor column was ranked #1 in North Dakota and ranked #2 nationally. It was so successful he turned it into a best-selling book titled 15 Months of Winter: My Year in North Dakota (makes a great gift for anyone who lives in North Dakata or ever visited…it’s hilarious). John has also worked for ABC Studios in Hollywood among other creative jobs.
John’s Best Advice for Someone Wanting To Publish Their Own Book
Start with a blog or journal. Start sharing your writings on social media.
It’s a good idea to write about a small niche. You need to figure out how to stand out in a sea of millions of people. In my case it was a newspaper humor column about living in North Dakota.
Write about what you’re interested in. Create what you like. Be authentic, honest, and meaningful.
Amazon has a great platform to self-publish books.
Hire someone to proofread and edit your book.
Invest in hiring someone to design a good cover.
It’s not going to sell itself. Even if you hate marketing, you have to market it. Do giveaways, social media promotion, call bookstores, ask for reviews, do readings, do events, etc. Talk about your book any chance you get. But, don’t waste your money on advertising thinking that ads will magically sell your book. Think more in terms of marketing and connecting with an audience.
John’s Life Wisdom
I’ve had a lot of insecurities in my life, and I’ve learned that the times that I’ve felt judged or attacked or minimized by other people, most of the time it was me projecting my own insecurities on other people. I’ve learned that if you’re being held back, it’s probably you who’s doing it.
John’s Favorite Author
John’s Favorite Book
John’s Favorite Movie
John’s Favorite TV Show
John’s Advice For Making It In Hollywood
Making it in Hollywood is mostly about perseverance. With just a little talent and luck thrown in.
In Los Angeles, you’re either trying to convince someone to let you make something or trying be part of a crew that is making something. Either way, Hollywood is a machine and it’s hard to break in. But, once you do it gets much easier to work. Also, Hollywood is mostly a freelance industry. You’ll have work for a few months with a project, but you’ll have to hustle to get the next project lined up.
Think in terms of Hollywood being for where you turn your passion into a career. Outside of Hollywood is more about being entrepreneurial and making the things you want to make on your own.
You can skip film school. You’ll probably need to start an an unpaid intern somewhere, so better to just start now instead of spending a few years going into debt and postponing getting started.
If you move to Hollywood, you need to know you’re starting at the bottom. You’ll probably have to work for free to get started.
You have to eventually get in front of decision makers, and have something to show them. So you should always be preparing for those moments if and when they ever happen.
If you’re not working on your craft, you won’t have luck. Luck comes when your preparation meets coincidence.
If you’re pursing acting, volunteer at a theater. If you’re pursuing writing, find work at any cost.
Start building community right away. Hollywood can get lonely very quickly.
It’s okay to change career directions midstream. You’ll probably learn a lot about yourself, and what you love or hate to do as time passes.