So, what d’you think of the new blog look? Not bad, eh? I’m very pleased with it. I fancied a new look, something quirkier and different. I particularly like the flash drive as the search bar! You know what they say: a change is as good as… or something like that. Drop me a comment at the bottom – let me know what you think.
To celebrate the build up to International Record Store Day on April 16th, here’s a short essay on digital indie publishing in the record and book worlds.
Death by Digital
In parallel with the current trend in book publishing that is seeing the buying public deviate towards ebooks from the physical paperback (and the main reason in why I am about to experiment with Kindle), the music industry has gone the same way. In fact, it’s gone almost entirely the other way.
In last week’s Popbitch mailout, the following statistic appeared: “Only one single in the top 40 midweek sales is selling more than 2% on CD: The Wanted’s Gold Forever with a whopping 5%! Only three tracks register anything other than 100% digital sales.
It’s a devastating statistic if your career or business depends on the physical sale of records. The public, it would seem, is going digital and thus squeezing the life out of vinyl and the paerback.
And yet, if you have an open mind and can see what’s really going on in both industries, you’ll know that the book isn’t dead and nor is vinyl. The best music in the UK isn’t to be found in the charts where the big corporations want you to buy. No, it’s to be found on the streets; in bars and clubs and venues where music is being created by thousands of talented musicians, and then distributed digitally as well as in physical formats.
The same goes for books. There are thousands of books published outwith mainstream publishing houses that are quality works of art. Literature, if you are prepared to go out and find it, is there to be discovered. The key for publishers and indie authors, therefore, is to go out there and make it easier to be found, to extend to your readership in any way you can. Only the most tenacious will last.
How then, does this relate to my own personal dreams in the world of publishing? Quite simply, it’s exactly what I and many others are already doing: independently publishing art in whatever form, and finding new avenues to reach an audience that is crying out for something different, something new, something non-conformist to the standard model; standard model being either a big music corporation that will lead you to a fast buck and an appearance in the Top 10, or a huge pay deal from a traditional publishing house that will leave you to sink if they get a whiff of their profit margins being hurt.
Independent publishing gives you an experience, an incentive to always strive for something better by starting at grass roots and building your own ladder to the top. It’s about making your own way and a name that lasts with it. It’s not about finding yourself massively successful overnight – what serious musician or author really wants that? – it’s about creating and learning and growing day by day. It’s about character building, learning from the bottom up and about connecting with your readership or audience.
Support independent artists, espeically writers and musicians. We all like to listen to music and we all like to read something. So on April 16th go to an independent book and record shop and browse. Take your time. Find something you like and buy it. Log onto iTunes or Amazon and checkout some of the bands you’ve heard about but weren’t sure of. They might well be there. Download an album or book – listen and read something that’s NOT mainstream. You may just be surprised in what you find.
Before I arrived at the day job yesterday I visited the same coffee shop where my inspiration had struck late on Friday evening. This time, instead of poetry landing on the page, a new short story arrived with as much force.
This is very pleasing. Writing fresh stories gives me a thrill, and for me it’s where the buzz is. Giving new life to a story, meeting new characters and always with the possibility of surprise lurking around the corner, is really why I write in the first place.
I finished it earlier this morning and it came in at around 1000 words. It’s good and I like the shape of it. I’ll let it sit now and then return to give it a polish soon.
Last night saw me begin the final revision work on GREENER IS THE GRASS. This is THE final polish of the manuscript before it goes out. Later in the edits I will be inserting a new scene or two in order to support the much healthier ending I worked out (painfully) at the weekend. Then it’s off out on submission; I have my top markets already set out for this one.
Belladrum Tartan Heart
The headline acts for this summer’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival were announced yesterday. Surprise surprise, 80s and 90s sensations Texas and Deacon Blue will top the bill again. Whoopy do, is this the best we can do?
Actually, NO it is NOT.
Why do Scottish festival producers rely so much on ageing Scottish acts to try and boost their ticket sales? What’s wrong with giving some of the new musicians a chance, of which, by the way, Scotland is overflowing with at the moment.
What is wrong with:
- Kid Canveral
- Rachel Sermanni
- King Creosote
- The Phantom Band
The list goes on. Not only do they make great music but they also deserve a lot more attention than they are getting.
Withered Hand at SXSW
Another top, yet non-mainstream artist in Scotland, is Dan Willson (a.k.a. Withered Hand). There’s a great write-up and super pictures of his experience at the recent annual SXSW festival in Austin, Texas over at Central Station. I wanted to post them here because, well, Dan’s a good guy after the disappointment of last week’s Wide Days gig I missed.
Free Ebooks Giveaway on Twitter
Time is running out in my special Twitter giveaway. I’m giving away ALL my published ebooks for free to the 1000th person to follow me on Twitter. Not only that, but a randomly selected follower from between Friday 1st April right up to the 1000 mark, will also win the same prize! Click here for full details of the great Twitter Ebook Giveaway.
Enter coupon code APRILMAILUK305 at checkout and receive FREE MAIL SHIPPING on any of my poetry books: FRINGE FANTASTIC, POOLSIDE POETRY and SILLY POEMS FOR WEE PEOPLE VOL.2. Offer cannot be applied to previous orders. Offer expires on 30th April, 2011 at 11:59 PM.
Get 25% off STELLA, my spy novella with a twist, when you order the e-book from the publisher’s website at www.eternalpress.biz. Simply quote 612JMZN67VZX at checkout.