As someone who has spent most of their adult life in the arts, first the music industry as a consultant, helping artist/bands find their way around the industry and building career plans to hopefully give a good foundation on which to build on. I have a diploma in music industry, trading, business, art and law. I also have a diploma in Business, Leisure and Tourism, as well as being a trained chef. It was a heavy work load and rewarding as it was at the start of Open University and the government here in the UK allowed people to train and have an education in musical affairs.
These days, we have the Music Academies in Liverpool and Manchester that give wanna be artists a good flooring on which to stand on for their entire careers, now these people know it takes more than just an idea and concept to make a living out of their art and recognise it as a business, not just smoke and mirrors as the media would have you believe. It isn’t glamorous or a high earning job, but it is a job and you will work harder than you ever thought possible, it is a myth that you can sit on your arse, watching MTV and talking out of that arse about your favourite artist or links into the industry to make you apart of an industry that doesn’t give a shit about you.
My job as a consultant was a heavy work load and rewarding as it was at the start of Open University and the government here in the UK allowed people to train and have an education in musical affairs. Now we have the Music Academies in Liverpool and Manchester that give wanna be artists a good flooring on which to stand on for their entire careers, now these people know it takes more than just an idea and concept to make a living out of their art and recognise it as a business, not just smoke and mirrors as the media would have you believe.
The media have always given the music industry a hard time and no more so than when it began losing money and sales due to the digital revolution of MP3’s and streaming services such as Spotify. I gave a talk over a week at the end of my time in the industry to state that we will see hard copies of music products come back, vinyl, CDs and cassettes, these are tangible products that people will want to own, collect and have in their music banks. The losses are temporary, unlike the media, the demand for music is far more lucrative and in demand.
Now, the media who gave the music industry a hard time for this is now seeing the same thing happen to the media. Newspapers are becoming obsolete or out of business because they are having to compete with news online. I see this as karma. However, media industry people keep up the delusion it is temporary like it was in the music biz, this won’t be the case. Physical copies of newspapers will never be as in demand as a cd, record or a tape.
These industries aren’t glamorous or a high earning jobs for the less funded person, but it is a job and you will work harder than you ever thought possible. It is a myth that you can sit on your arse, watching MTV and talking out of that arse about your favourite artist or links into the industry to make you apart of an industry that doesn’t give a shit about you, talent or none.
My career now is in the book industry, dominated by Amazon’s online store and Kindle. I feel there will be an overturn of the digital copy of a book due to the over saturated pool of free, unprofessionally edited and cover designed crap.
I work hard on my books, I research extensively so much so I can say to people, ‘Google that shit,’ and they can. I spend a ridiculous amount of time search for the right image to go with my covers and work with a profession so that the interiors and exterior match the content and do it justice. I spend just as much time editing my own work and getting it beta read so that when it goes to the editor, there isn’t so much of a problem with content. I know my weaknesses and that is punctuation and typos but there are programs like Grammarly to help me and I use it a lot! To ensure my product is at the highest quality I can make at this point of my budding career. The Ancient Ones is my best work to date in this example.
There is another side to the book career that most people don’t take into account when they embark on it. It is a business, this means it costs money to do this job and at the beginning, you will put more into it than you get out of it. (Blame all of that free to 99c unedited, no to little plot and badly covered crap). The hardest thing to do in art is making money out of it, and that is the rule of thumb. The second hardest thing to do is keep making money out of it. As hard as writing a book is, yes it isn’t sitting on your arse, in a cafe (picture Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City) writing about what happens between your legs. It just isn’t a TV show, it is damned hard work to write a book. I hear people say ‘I could write a book’ or ‘I always wanted to write a book’ and then there is the idiot that says, ‘My book would sell, I know I have the best story and people would love it.’ Another head to desk line is, ‘I could write my life story, I have been through so much, people would read that wouldn’t they?’ My reply to any of that is. ‘Do it and when you type ‘THE END and you hit top 40′ get back to me.’
As hard as writing a book is, it is even harder to promote and sell it. I am changing my marketing strategy and bringing my work into the real world while maintaining my presence online and on social media. I feel that my experience in marketing and customer service has been held back by being departed from it and doing so much on my PC. I work from home and it gets a little boring, I suffer cabin fever on a regular basis and get depressed as I want to be out in the real world, talking to people and not just about my books but also about making conversation about my local community. I have seen my goal and know that I want my local community behind me. I feature Blackburn in my books and though it may not be everyone’s taste, it can certainly bring a light to the town in which I live the more success I have, the better for the place I live and the other people who reside here.
My point of this article is, get out of the house, take your marketing and promotion into the real world. Begin physical book launches at your local pubs, community centres and cafes. Make sure everyone in your local community knows about you. Spend money on local paper’s advert space. Place more emphasis on hard copies of your books and always have flyers and business cards to hand, this way you can talk about your book to prospective readers face to face. This will help the industry to become more lucrative and less saturated. You can donate your physical book to libraries, cafes and second-hand shops. Place flyers in shops, stores and leave them lying around. Let’s change the paradigm in the industry and make Amazon pay attention in it domination of book sales and in turn ruining the art of writing books.
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