Tattoo-a-thon (South Africa & U.S.A.) / Ink Princess by Baz Black

BOOK THE DATE 17 September 2016   

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This is as great book from body piercer Blaz Black.

Megan Banks is now one of the most famous tattoo artists in the world. She is the star of hit TV show Rebel Ink, but her path to get here has been anything but easy.

Tonight she will finally tell her story. Live on the Michael Corbett Show, the world will hear of her journey that takes her from living rough on the streets to getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

This is a rags to riches tale like you have never heard before.But does fame come at a price? Amongst the millions tuned in, there is one particular person watching…. they are always watching.

As far as I can remember, I see artists and piercers doing tutorial DVD’s, books of their work etc but never a novel.  I’m sure a few have thought about it, but you actually did it. Where did the idea come from and and what gave you the incentive to actually sit down and do it?
The idea to write a book had definitely been there for a number of years in the back of my mind. I had always loved writing stories from a young age and even won some creative writing competitions, but never in a million years did I think I would release my own book!!!! So one night I lay awake in bed and the story started to unfold in my mind, I jumped out of bed and started to brainstorm my ideas down on a piece of paper. Once I had the name Megan Banks as my protagonist I then had a vision of what she looked like in my mind and began to develop her story further. I didn’t begin the writing process straight away as I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough to attempt writing a book, but the story wouldn’t leave my mind. Everything that was happening around me kept influencing the story I wanted to tell.

A lot of people really didn’t know what to expect from the book. I am pretty well known in the industry for my piercing and body modification work so people just presumed it was about that or some even thought it was my autobiography. Who the hell would want to read that? (laughs). Then there were those that were shocked that it wasn’t a collection of pictures from all the modelling work I have done.  For this reason I decided to write it from a girl’s perspective as I didn’t want people to directly associate it with me. It was also fun to write it through a girl’s mind and although loads of the writing is influenced by events that have happened me personally I was able to tell it through her personality and not mine. One of the biggest compliments I have received from people who have read it who know me is that they have have forgotten it was me writing it after a couple of chapters and that’s something I was defiantly aiming for.  It was also important that the tattoo side of the book was not just a gimmick, the industry has been the vast part of my adult life and I am very protective over it, so the real story took president and it just happens to be set in the world I know and love. Many have said it actually educated them on the workings of real tattoo artists and piercers which is something I am extremely proud of.  

So eventually I couldn’t contain the words any longer and began to write. Getting the prologue written was the main first hurdle, once I had that it gave me the confidence to continue. As I was writing, I really didn’t know if it was any good but continued on. Finding the time was the main issue, there were many late nights and even some early mornings. As I learnt over the process you cannot force yourself to write if you are not in the mood, I did this a few times and the next day deleted everything I had written. I have to admit I got a lot done on my honeymoon last year because I actually had some down time (my wife will kill me) Emma was really supportive over the process. She is a tattoo artist herself and designed the amazing front cover of the book. There were many times I was close to giving up, the closest being when my laptop crashed and I lost a full chapter of writing, but I persevered because the story excited me and I needed to tell it. I am told that is a good sign as a writer, if you are excited to get home and write down what has been in your head all day then you are on to something good. So, I had written 6 chapters and even reading over it myself I just didn’t know if what I had was rubbish or not. I didn’t show anybody but instead I decided to send out 3 chapters to select publishers. I just wanted to see if they would offer any feedback or advice. I really didn’t expect to hear anything back but three publishers contacted me and wanted to read a further three chapters. It gave me a small bit of confidence that were at least interested. After an anxious wait the three of them came back requesting the full book. I was delighted but I had to go back to them and explain that those 6 chapters were all I had. In fairness to them they said they understood and would wait. I did feel under pressure to get the book completed as I didn’t want their interest to fade. I busted my ass for the next four months and finally I had a first draft to send them.

 

What was the process of shopping it around like?
Two of the three came back to me and offered me a deal on it. The third is actually still in the process of reading it. As I began to research the world of book sales I was overwhelmed with the amount of people recommending to self publish. Even authors who had book deals were trying to get out of contract to go and do it themselves. Self publishing which was once seen as a somewhat dirty word seemed to be taking precedent over publishing deals. The offers from the publishers that I got were really low and they basically wanted me to self promote while they took their cut. Some people thought I was crazy to even think about self publishing when I had two offers on the table but the more I researched it became very clear that owning the rights to your own book and the royalties you receive greatly outweighed the offers I had gotten so I decided to go it alone and self publish. The great thing about owning the rights is that you can still accept a publishing offer at any stage if you so wish. Also, I have two script writers interested in a possible movie/TV adaption, and because I own the rights the decision rests with their profit out of it too but for now I am glad I went for it myself and am delighted with how it turned out. Luckily I have a large social media following so that has helped a lot with the promotion, but it is a tough slog getting it out there for the world to see but I will continue to push it as hard as I can and see where it takes me. It’s actually really exciting.

Did you have anyone in particular in mind when writing the book?In regard to the characters, I didn’t base them on anybody directly as they all have their own personalities but as with any writer I think influences come from people you have met during your life. I will admit that during the process of the book I was watching Ink Master, so one of the characters, Zane, in my mind looks a little like Dave Navarro. He is actually getting a copy of the book, so I hope he doesn’t hate it!! With Megan there will obviously be similarities to female tattoo reality TV stars like Kat Von Dee and Megan Massacre but she really has her own identity, strong, feisty and never allows herself to be the victim no matter how crazy her life gets.

Do you plan on doing a 2nd book? If so,will it be about the tattoo/ body mod industry again or are you going to branch out into something different?     
You know the idea of a second book is absolutely a possibility. During my meetings with the script writers they have asked me about a sequel to Ink Princess to find out where her journey goes. I have the story in my mind and actually made a few subtle changes to the book to plant the beginnings of a second book, but really it depends on how well this one goes, so far the reactions have been incredible so it might just happen. The other idea I have for a book (and have had longer than this one) is actually a children’s book written in a Roald Dahl style, a vast contrast but it’s good to keep people on their toes. (laughs)

I understand you plan a book tour, what can you tell us about that at this time?
I had a very successful book launch here in my hometown and it was covered by the media which was great for getting the word out. My book tour starts in a couple of weeks time, it consists of tattoo shops, book stores and tattoo conventions. As I have many friends in the industry they have very kindly offered me their shop to do signings from along the way. For now I am hitting Ireland and the UK but really hope to make it over to the states later in the year. As I am self published it’s expensive but it’s the only way to get the name out there, you can’t just sit back and expect it to happen by itself. I have a free signed print and bookmark for anyone who buys one along the tour, just as an extra incentive. Aside from the tour, Amazon is my main point of sale and is the only way I get ranked in the listings. It’s available on Amazon UK, Amazon Europe and Amazon.com. The reviews on there have been amazing so far and that will hopefully help with further sales. For me it’s not about the money, it’s the honor of having someone not only read but connect with the story I wanted to tell. I really want as many people as possible to read it and hopefully Megan’s story will continue for years to come.

 

 

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