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Travel As Equals Or Not At All

January 20, 2012

Good Morning, My Beloved Mackamaniacs

I suppose today’s topic should be about the current digital DIY movement. We’re seeing more indie producers than ever before, thanks to the free and open internet. Do you know how much new content is generated by enterprising individuals who have decided to go it alone or distribute through independent websites? I don’t. But it seems like hundreds join the fight every month. I see new titles and new music and new art every day, much of it being produced and distributed without the guidance and support of the old gatekeepers, the publishing, music and movie industries. We’re doing it without Big Money, because it’s been so long since Big Money wanted anything to do with most of us, we’ve given up on ever getting on that particular dance card.

Right now, I’m listening to a free double album called Redemption City by a musician named Joseph Arthur. I know nothing, absolutely nothing, about this album or musician. I discovered the album through someone I don’t really know, who added me on Google+ a month or so ago, and writes very little english in his updates. This is how the world works now. We meet new people who know things we don’t, and we share these things around, exposing each other to parts of the internet and the world that we have no real access to in person.

This is a revolutionary thing, which Big Money never really wanted us to have. It’s new, and it’s free, and it’s equal. In the eyes of the internet, all content is equal. Oh sure, there is still promotion, and sites like still favour the big guns over the independents on the front page, but we’re in there, searchable, saleable, and if we can just find a way to crack the front page, we can start to breathe a little easier, pay the bills, buy the groceries, maybe pay down the mortgage or credit card. I can dream bigger dreams than that, but right now, that would be enough. Enough money to pay the bills, buy groceries, maybe some clothing for my wife, some items around the apartment that need to be replaced. Essentials. Small stuff. If enough money came calling that I could buy a house for my wife, well, that would be even better, but I’m realistic enough not to pin all my hopes on that.

Joseph Arthur writes and records strange, lovely tone poetry, techno rhythms and synths with clean acoustic and electric guitars and bass. Some beatnik rap poetry and sung choruses, kind of  the Beck formula, but not derivative, as far as I can tell. It’s nice, lush, bleak, grim, honest, clever, and not entirely my thing, but not unpleasant, and not unlistenable. I might review the album later.

My buddy Lee *cough cough* McIlmoyle is producing books and music and art. He designs his own book covers. He designs mine, too, actually. I’m holding back showing those until I have more work done, but here’s the demo cover of a book he published in ebook format, and is planning on publishing as a Print on Demand paperback:

He tells me there will be one of those fancy fantasy illustrations in the background when he’s finished. That’ll be nice, assuming he ever gets it done. We’ll see.

J.A. Konrath posted a new blog article telling us that it’s not important to have a best selling book anymore. The important thing is to have a decent mid list that can bring in steady income over time. I’d love to see that working for me.

Getting my back catalogue prepared for ebook sales has been grueling, time consuming, and inspiration-killing. It’s hard to want to write after you’ve spent a few hours formatting a novel for ebook distribution. These things never work as easily as the one-button approach many software suites promise. But yes, it will be nice to have fiction being published again, as I gain access to it. The Golden Rule, children, is don’t sign contracts that guarantee most of the money and control will go to the publishers. You used to have to take what you could get, and in the internet age, it’s still a little like that, but the difference is, you can make most or all of the money yourself, if you can just promote your work enough to draw sales.

I think there’s a lot more I could say about this, but I’m a little tired and thinking I should be reading that book on promoting ebooks a bit more. I hope everyone has a good day. Thank you for reading.


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