I know it goes against all the rules of promotion to openly admit when a release hasn’t exactly been flying off the shelves, and that the way to generate buzz is to spread the word that the initial run has almost sold out and that those who’ve been hanging back need to buy now or miss out, or, worse still, be derided by their peers for living in a cultural vacuum. But I can’t be the only contrary consumer who reacts negatively to such hyp, and will automatically give up hope of obtaining a copy and claim that my avoidance of the latest trend is a mark of protest and a sign of virtue. Anyway, I’ve still got a fair pile of copies of ‘Lust for Death’ sitting here in the office (which is quite an achievement considering that there were only 25 to begin with). Pah, we’re in the middle of a global financial meltdown and I’m not the world’s most commercial writer.
I’ve written a fair few blogs in the past – and have a fair few more articles in the pipeline – that reflect my obsession with the economics of art in the 21st century. Without retreading old ground (or spoiling the surprise concerning the contents of the future pieces on the subject), my basic argument is that it’s nigh on impossible to make a living exclusively from art – be it writing, music or whatever – in the current society. I don’t blame the Internet. I just don’t think we’ve adjusted to it yet.
My initial strategy was to produce so much content that it would prove almost impossible to key anything into a search engine without stumbling across something I’d written. Now, I still maintain that content is king, and that the way to bring traffic to a site is by having as many words as possible that may show in a search as is humanly possible, but have come to realise that quality is still as important as quantity when it comes to building a fanbase. And what’s more, I’m also finding that there are other obstacles, namely publishers – but also time. I simply don’t have the time to try out countless publishers only to be told ‘not quite what we’re after.’ And I get that a lot.
Even for a writing machine, the endless stream of rejections gets to be a grind. So, at least for a short time, I intend to cut back a little on my output. Less is more, and all that. Rather than endlessly blogging and publishing on-line, I plan to spend a few months completing as many of the half-finished stories and articles I have kicking about as possible, and trying to find them homes by selectively targeting potential outlets.
The pamphlet series I began on March 31st with ‘Lust for Death’ will still happen as planned, with a new pamphlet at the end of every quarter. # 2, ‘Before the Flood’ is already written and the cover art almost there, and # 3, as yet untitled, is coming along nicely, and will be in the bag well before it’s due to be published at the end of September.
I will also be continuing with the music reviews. Since I began contributing to ‘Whisperin & Hollerin’’ back in November, I’ve added 37 reviews (and counting). It’s a good gig for me, as I get CDs in the mail and have to listen to bands I’d otherwise have avoided or simply never heard of in the name of ‘work,’ and even the occasional free entry to gigs. And I’m also noticing my reviews cropping up in all sorts of unusual places: a few of the bands I’ve reviewed have quoted from them on their websites and on CD Baby, and I even saw one of my lines in a mailing list mail-out from a label I particularly admire in the last couple of days. Is it shifting books or building my reputation? Not yet, but it’s gratifying to see that there are other routes to ubiquity. Watch this space: 2010 could yet bring me world domination…