Joe Compton is an Indie Author, filmmaker, and owner and executive producer for the GoIndieNow Network. Joe published his first book in 2015 entitled Amongst the Killing and he will be releasing the sequel, We the Mortal Majority, in March 2018. Joe has produced 5 short films, 3 of which he wrote and directed, 1 feature film KARL’S LIQUOR, and few miscellaneous projects along the way under the banner of Infinite Dream Films. Joe worked in the music business at a few small indie labels and served 4 years in the United States Marines.
Joe, thank you for agreeing to this interview. You have had an impressive life, serving in the Marines, dabbling in screenplays and filmmaking, and publishing a book. Could you share with us a bit of your journey and what life lessons have stuck with you?
Thank you for having me Josh and thank you for saying my life has been “impressive”. I always go back to a couple keys philosophies that have always held true for me and that’s life every day like it’s your last and appreciate the last day like it’s your first. The other is never let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. Not having this or that is an excuse; it’s not a reason. So I go for it, I don’t worry about failing. I have made plenty of mistakes and I am bound to make a few more so it is the last thing on my mind when I go after something. I loved everything I tried and learned from them as well. Some things were good for a time period like being in the Marines. Some things are more of a calling like GoIndieNow. Some things are a work in progress like my stymied filmmaking career that I keep meaning to get back too, along with a few novels and even a non-fiction book. Each of these has a place in my heart and I am glad for the experiences and I am sure we will go more into depth in a lot of them here and possibly on your show.
This past week I watched your first Episode of GoIndieNow where you speak of modern bookstores and the art—in the form of music, books, and movies—lacking from its shelves. Tell us a bit about how that episode speaks to the passion behind your company?
Well, it’s the foundation really. It’s the vision I had to try and get everybody who I know as an artist some love out there from not only their peers but a public that I think quite frankly is bored with the same old, same old. There are so many artists doing so many amazing, innovative, and creative things but the way to hear about them is so happenstance and so random. I hope we can give them the shelve space they deserve on our various places we showcase them and their art at GoIndieNow and as we grow, they grow with us.
You have met a variety of incredibly talented people over the past couple of years, many of whom have found success. Have you heard any common themes that should be shared with upcoming artists, writers, etc. to guide them in their journey?
Do the work, treat your career like a business, and look outside the box, don’t try to fit into the same one everybody is, be daring and bold with your choices.
I think it would be safe to say that you are a man who values relationships. How has your passion for people shaped the way you approach your business and your life?
It’s everything to me. Being an artist can be a lonely life and misunderstood one as well. Finding those people who share your passion, your creative energy, it’s invaluable. Not just for your art but for your life. Energy feeds off energy. Not only that but you find real bonds and cherished commonalities that you may have thought was nonexistent before. Also, I want to be around people who want to be around me, It’s no fun when a job has no human reward for me, I like to interact. It’s the whole reason I started GoIndieNow, to have all my friends in one place, getting together, working with each other, and celebrating each other.
Changing gears a bit, let’s talk about your crime thriller, Amongst the Killing. What is it about? What drove you to write this novel?
It’s a dual perspective crime thriller that is one story told by two men who are living it. In this case it’s a hot shot detective named Charles Street who’s dream job was to be a detective in the Robbery Homicide division of the Los Angeles Police Department because he wants to make a real difference in the world. A world that gets turned upside down by a mass murderer who has a survivalist mentality when it comes to living his life, killed or be killed essentially. The Mass Murderer Jack Casey kills Det. Street’s wife and 1-year-old daughter which sets up a string of events and a chase that becomes this ideal that each of them is seeking, their freedom. One chapter is told by Detective Charles Street, the next by Jack Casey.
You had quite the journey in publishing Amongst the Killing. What do you think are some common traps for aspiring writers in the publishing company, and what advice would you give to avoid them?
Publishing companies are a business and writers don’t gear their approach toward showing publishing companies their worth. They think it’s about the work, and yes there is a little of that, but what gets you in the door is showing companies that you are the best fit for them because your book can do this or that…for them. They don’t have to publish you. They already have a roster of authors, and they don’t need to generally add another one. So how does your work and you the person make them want to create room to add you to their roster? Usually authors approach it the opposite way. When you write you are told to show not tell, right? Why wouldn’t you apply that your pitches or queries too? Most of the time, they don’t take you on because they think you’re a bad writer, they don’t take you on because you are a bad fit for them and you haven’t convinced them otherwise. Also before you sign anything, read it yourself, and have a lawyer who is NOT YOUR AGENT read it. Most good agents will have a lawyer on retainer but just like the publishing company you queried, do your research on that lawyer, nothing says you have to use your agent’s or publisher’s recommendation. If they do say you have to, they aren’t looking out for you, and that’s a huge red flag.
What can we expect from you in 2019?
Well we are producing more shows, going to cover more events at GoIndieNow and we will be broadcasting across many different platforms and doing special things at each, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and of course YouTube. Me, personally I have 1 novel, the sequel to Amongst the Killing coming out for sure in March and possibly more than the 1 book and I will again aim to try and get another short film done by year’s end. One of these years that will happen 🙂
It has been a pleasure, Joe! Please tell us where fans can find you online or in the upcoming year at events.
Pleasure has been all mine, sir. Thank you so much for this opportunity.
“It’s always time to Go Indie Now.”