Writing books can be a solitary affair. It’s impractical to be the only one who can kick themselves in the butt and summon the necessary energy to write every day. In fact, physically kicking oneself in the butt is quite challenging, but that’s a different story. In this series of articles, I want to focus on those wonderful moments when I haven’t been alone in my writing journey. Instead, I’ve been blessed with acquaintances who have found their way into my writing life, shedding new light on my daily experiences.
This time it’s about Ryan Whyte Maloney
A Cozy Project Turned into a Universe
My book series about the action hero Coolman started as a relaxing hobby project. In the midst of my longer manuscripts, I had an immense desire to just go wild and write something fast, fun, and insane. Something that definitely could never be traditionally published and offered readers a little break from their more serious adventures. A humorous “palate cleanser,” as one of my good friends, Stevie Carter, put it.
The theme was to be action and humor – as if taken from my favorite ‘80s movies. Commando from 1985 is a good example. I took it quite seriously when I was little, but looking back now, it’s a movie with a lot of humorous undertones. A film that doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Which gives it a whole new element.
I turned it up a notch, though. Commando on steroids – with heroes who cause more havoc than necessary but also have something endearing about them. Cool one-liners. Exaggerated action where scenes are sometimes just rattled off because it’s so fast-paced. Crazy, intimate scenes. And a common thread throughout it all so that the story actually develops.
Because that’s what sometimes happens when writers dive into creating a crazy book series. Sometimes it gets so crazy that you forget about the story and character development – and that things still need to make sense in the end.
Coolman couldn’t be like that. Something new had to happen every time while still recognizing some of the funny quirks I’ve come up with.
The series has become exactly what I wanted it to be – and I’ve reached a group of readers who have loved the series so much that they’ve written and shared their experiences. It’s become a journey and no longer just a small project. I receive emails from scriptwriters asking if the books should be made into a film. Suggestions for actors if such a film were to be made. And I’ve received recognition from cool writers who love the ‘80s as much as I do.
At some point, it dawned on me that Coolman deserves a whole universe. I started offering merchandise. I took on the semi-big task of putting together an encyclopedia, which I’m still working on (of course, it’s called ”The coolMANUAL”). But I also quickly wanted to introduce Coolman to the world of music. And that’s where I met Ryan Whyte Maloney.
An Expert Musician Takes the Stage
I had an idea of how Coolman’s first theme song should sound. I had written the lyrics. But I needed a professional who could bring it to life. With a studio. With the skills. And who found the project fun.
I eventually found Ryan, who is nothing short of an artistic music machine. The man was a top 5 finalist on NBC’s The Voice Season 6 (Team Blake). He has performed in front of 100,000 people at the National Balloon Festival. He has the busiest tour calendar I’ve seen in a long time. And you don’t have to look long at his online presence to conclude that he makes people ecstatic through his art and talents. He simply spreads joy by doing what makes him happy. And the wildest thing of all: He occasionally finds time to turn people’s music ideas into reality, no matter how serious or silly they may be. He produces for others and gives them a finished product to goof around with. And he even takes on a goofball like me, who writes B-books, which says everything about the man’s kindness.
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it,” they say. And it’s true. I wrote to Ryan and waited in suspense. And after a short while, he replied in as concise a manner as possible, “I can 100% do that, yes.”
It didn’t take long for the first Coolman song to come together. I listened to it all day. In the car on my way to my day job. In my headphones while I sat in front of the computer. When I worked out in the shed. When I brushed my teeth.
And eventually, I knew that this was just the beginning.
100% Turned into 200%
Ryan’s work was fantastic. It was a catchy tune, and it was so well-produced that other musicians I know had to bow down. But Ryan also did something else. He attached a list of resources that made me wiser about the world of music. A long checklist for how to move forward with the tracks and get them released on various streaming services. Everything you need to be aware of to get the music out there.
It turned into a fun journey, but also a massive amount of work. Writing lyrics and thinking about the melody is one thing. Having an expert like Ryan bring it to life is another. And yet another is getting the music out there to live!!!
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
A song’s popularity depends on whether you can get people to listen to your tracks a handful of times. It’s rare for listeners to just catch on the first time, as Ryan was kind enough to emphasize. It needs to get out there, it needs to be heard, and at some point, someone thinks, “I could listen to that again. And again. And hey, this is actually pretty good.” And a few thousand people need to have that experience before music services decide that you can bask in the algorithm’s divine light.
It requires a kind of marketing apparatus that most ordinary people don’t possess. Or it requires patience – and accepting that things take time.
I’m perfectly fine with the latter (of course, I have to say that). For me, it’s all about offering an extra dimension to my readers. The idea is that you enjoy the books – and have the opportunity to enjoy them all over again when you listen to the songs. Because my lyrics build on the books. They tell new stories or elaborate on a funny situation – accompanied by cool beats and Ryan’s awesome voice! So my readers can unleash their imagination in a new way. Just like when you listen to a great soundtrack, and the images run through your head because the songs draw parallels to the movie they’re a part of.
Ryan Makes Things Happen
That’s why Ryan has been absolutely indispensable for the project. He’s the one who opened the door to the next dimension. He understands Coolman fully and knows how to best present him musically. And Ryan is simply a man who makes things happen.
If Ryan reads the following sentences, he’ll probably get a good laugh out of it, but I believe our communication during each new project consists of sending about three words to each other about the task at hand, and then the project is underway. It’s extremely efficient and can only work because our expectations were aligned from the start, and because Ryan is so good at interpreting the task you send his way. But most of all, it can only work because he takes over and puts all his professionalism into the project. I know what he delivers – and he knows what he delivers. When he says 100%, he means 200%.
I can be a little awestruck when I think about this genius sitting in his studio working on my crazy projects. And when I listen to a new idea that has become a reality, I often find myself shouting, “Hell yeah, Ryan. You did it again!”
I don’t know how much time Ryan has these days, but if he doesn’t have time, he probably finds it anyway. So, if you have any tasks related to music, contact him. And even if you don’t need his talents, follow his journey. It’s rare to come across someone who just has music in their blood like that, and it’s super fascinating.