Marie Wise, blogger and author, used her 30 years of experience in the Christian music industry to write, “The Christian Band Guidebook.”
“I got tired of answering the same questions all the time,” said Wise. “There really wasn’t a time line — it sort of morphed. It probably took about seven years between when I started and where it is now.”
The book, which came out as an ebook in September 2011 and in paperback in August 2012, takes a musician from the initial decision to be in a band to an established ministry.
During the past 30 years, Wise has not only volunteered and worked at various non-profit organizations, but she has also promoted, managed and consulted with bands over the years. In addition, she was also a member of a band and was a singer and songwriter herself for a number of years.
“I was the girl in the band,” she said. “I did vocals and keyboard, but I also got to do all the secretary type work. Through that, I learned a lot of about the business side of music.”
She also managed the Christian band that her husband of 25 years belongs to, Right Side Cast, for four years, and she would often go to the Battle of the Bands events. These events are contests where bands compete for the title of best band. The winner is usually determined by a panel of judges, response of the audience or a combination of both. Traditionally, the contests are live with the type and number of bands competing dependent on who is hosting the event.
“The new thing is to have the bands compete online and then the fans vote,” explained Wise. “Then only the winners get to compete at the actual live event.”
It seemed whenever Wise was at these music events, she invariably got caught up in answering the same basic questions about the music business over and over. It was at this point that she decided to start compiling the questions into book form.
“Having it in book form is a huge advantage,” Wise said. “When I am consulting with a band, it is very time consuming, so I can only work with a few bands at a time. With the book, I can help a lot more people because I don’t have to physically be with them.”
Wise decided on multiple publishing formats for her book because of the unpredictable lifestyle most band members lead.
“I like the multiple media because you can read it on your phone or you can have the book in hand,” she said. “A lot of times, when bands travel, they won’t have good reception, so sometimes a paperback is better. Other times, it’s better to be able to read it off your phone. Bands don’t normally have any kind of routine schedule.”
Wise wrote and put together the ebook version herself, which included editing and cover art. With her training and experience in graphic design, this was not difficult for her. However, she found actually writing the book more challenging.
“I was still managing Right Side Cast at the time,” she said. “I spent every spare minute writing. It was pretty intense.”
Wise published the paperback version through CreateSpace, an on-demand book publishing division of Amazon.com.
“I did get an offer to publish the book from a regular publisher,” she said, “but the offer was so bad it didn’t even make sense. Not only would the book be more expensive for people to buy, but I wouldn’t have made anything off of it either.”
Despite the cost savings of on-demand publishing, Wise said she does not expect to make a lot of money from the book. Her whole purpose is to help Christian bands be successful.
“The book covers what the band should be doing the first year,” she explained. “Artists and musicians have a very creative mindset, but they generally don’t have a lot of business acumen. They tend to do whatever anyone tells them to do and sign any contract that is put in front of them without really understanding what they are doing. The book gives them the basic information and will hopefully, save them a lot of trauma.”
She added, “I want to teach them that, yeah, they want to have a great ministry, but in order to do that, they need a good business structure as a foundation. Many musicians think all you have to do is stand on stage and play a song.”
For Wise, helping bands become successful is very rewarding. “I love it when I can see a band take the stage and I know their business is solid,” she said. “I know there relationships are solid, and I know they aren’t just going to fall apart in three months because they made bad business decisions.”
“The Christian Band Guidebook” is available for $14.95 at www.christianbandhelp.com and at www.amazon.com.
Christian band book