Back in 2007, a small-time music journalist in Adelaide got frustrated by not having her work published. Her genre - heavy metal - was as strong as ever, but the publication she worked for didn't publish anything because of the politics of keeping advertisers happy. So when she had an opportunity to set up in competition, she did. The publication she founded went on to great success and was acquired by another company.
As for the journalist herself? By mentoring other writers, she discovered that there was a real need for music journalism education. So, she began to write.
The first course was published as a series of blogs, which became - as a result of public demand - a book.
That book, Music Journalism 101, was published in 2013. It was the first book on the mechanics of rock journalism.
In 2019, it has been chosen by the Los Angeles College of Music as the primary text for a new music journalism course.
'I was a little bit surprised that they chose it, because for a start I thought it might have been a scam to get free books,' laughed the author. 'They contacted me and asked for free copies to evaluate whether it not it could be included. I was like, "well it's only $14, you could buy it"; but I took a punt and sent the books. I heard nothing about it for ages - and then all of a sudden, fantastic news.'
Leticia knows that her work has been referenced in other works; notably, a Masters thesis on rock journalism by Melbourne-based writer Tom Valcanis, who wrote the introduction for Music Journalism 101.
'You know, Tom was one of the best writers I ever had on my team at MaF,' Leticia recalled. 'When he was young, he was an arrogant writer - and I wasn't afraid to call him out. To his credit, he learned, he grew, he adapted, and his style became one of the best. But he was also willing to do the work and be helpful which, to an editor, is a goldmine. I'm not surprised he ended up as one of the editors of Heavy Mag.'
The news that her book was picked up by the LA College of Music was greeted with both enthusiasm and trepidation by Mooney.
'Well, you know, it's a first edition. I self-published it. Any artist who goes back to his or her work can see the problems in it, and as the first of my own books, it is like the hallmark of imperfect copy. But it is what it is and people still love it,' she said. 'I know of a journalist in South Africa, for example, who has used it as her guiding light to establishing her own publication, and that is just outstanding.'
Even though Mooney isn't working as a music journalist any more, she is still writing about it. She's currently working on a follow-up volume, titled Music Journalism Mastery. While it's still in the very earliest stages, it's got a promising outlook and a market that really needs it.
'So far, I've spoken to publicists at major metal labels in the US, to indie labels, to indie and freelance journalists, and working writers who are doing incredible work for amazing publications, and there's definitely a need for Mastery,' said Mooney. So many writers just give up on things, and in my opinion most of the music journalism courses around the world just aren't capable of giving people the skills they need to become professionals, let alone masters. It's a lonely world without a mentor, and Mastery will help existing music writers to take themselves to the next level.'
Music Journalism 101 is available via Amazon, Book Depository, and your local bookstore.
Leticia MooneyM: 0421 925 382