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    • CommentAuthordot_xom
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
     (6348.1)
    I don't think anyone's posted this yet (been away from Whitechapel for a while; did a quick search and all's clear, as far as I can tell). Thought the musicians here might be keen to give it a read.
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      CommentAuthorkrista
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
     (6348.2)
    As a non-musician, I still found it an interesting read. There are valid points there that apply to pretty much every modern-day creative pursuit, including the artist or comic author.
    The recent update he made, with regard to pay-what-you-like distribution I found particularly interesting (and something I've discovered the personal truth about), and applies no matter what you're trying to sell. If you're brave and/or thick skinned enough not to be disheartened when someone offers 1 cent for your product, well done to you. Most of us fragile egos will probably resort to falling about weeping or being overcome by an attack of the vapours, though.
    • CommentAuthorchris g
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009
     (6348.3)
    Great stuff. Hope I can apply some of these tips to my comics work in the future. Ever since The Slip came out I've been trying to just put everything up for free and develop a following from there, and then just keep working at it.
    • CommentAuthorBoga_
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009 edited
     (6348.4)
    Yeah I liked his insights on the "pay what you want" distribution system, made a lot more sense than the "AH-BLOO AH-BLOOH IT WORKS IF YOU'RE RADIOHEAD!" (see: Sonic Youth), even if he did end up saying it.

    Plus, not offering your stuff for free wholesale works sort of like a mental blockage for the consumer... As if the fact that he'd have to shell out a dollar for a whole record would automatically throw him off purchasing it (this happens, btw).
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      CommentAuthortexture
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2009 edited
     (6348.5)
    Music wants to be free. (Lesson learned from massive Whitechapel response to Double Helix album). All my stuff will be free in teh future.

    Thx for the link! Great post.
  1.  (6348.6)
    "Forget thinking you are going to make any real money from record sales. Make your record cheaply (but great) and GIVE IT AWAY. As an artist you want as many people as possible to hear your work. Word of mouth is the only true marketing that matters."

    That is sound advice, not just for music, and something I'm working on at this very moment (a novel to be published online for free). I like to think of it as a demonstration of my style, an online curriculum -- that's what my blog, my animations and my stories are. Something for future associates (i.e. people with WAY more money than me) to look at, something to build a foundation on for a future career as a writer. I'd love for it to be a living as soon as possible, but getting to the point we're you're paid to make stuff up is a hard road and some sacrifices have to be made.

    And there's no guarantee you'll make it.

    And...

    ...

    ... maybe I should try window cleaning.

    No. No. Persistence, Andre, persistence.
  2.  (6348.7)
    I reckon it's mostly quite common sense stuff, but he's put it down in a very clear and compelling way for today's artists. Thanks for the link, it's reminded me of a bunch of things I'd forgotten (principally that I've gotta start making music again).
  3.  (6348.8)
    Okay, I'll send a copy of my Cryptomusicology Kit (see www.myspace.com/cryptomusicology) to anyone who wants it for free. Just contact me according to the instructions... and if you want to contribute postage, that's okay too.
    • CommentAuthorjeff
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2009
     (6348.9)
    It's all really common sense stuff that you can find on a dozen music marketing websites, but it's good to hear it said from someone with some actual credibility.

    I wish I would have read what he said about not signing a manager/booking agent/small label unless you're sure of their marketing strategy months ago. I've had some recent bad experiences with a booking agent who was desperate for work and still clinging to the old system, and you can guess how that worked out. Unless you understand the internet and how internet exposure works, you can't expect to get anywhere these days (with very rare exception). OK Go got to number 43 in the UK pop charts out of filming themselves dancing like a bunch of fucking spastics in their backyard (not that the charts really mean much to me or anyone else, but still).
  4.  (6348.10)
    It's all really common sense stuff that you can find on a dozen music marketing websites, but it's good to hear it said from someone with some actual credibility.


    Thats exactly what I thought when I read it.
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      CommentAuthorroque
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2009
     (6348.11)
    I can see the applications to music, but I'm not sure I see quite as much to fiction. a novel is a major undertaking both to write and to read. I haven't yet finished one. I can't imagine putting it out there for free once it's done. excerpts, sure, for publicity's sake... but a whole one? not unless I was already well-established and didn't really need the money-- a Stephen King e-book kinda thing. even when it comes to short stories, I'd rather get one into a journal or zine that only paid in contributor's copies or published online, than just throw it up on a random website. at least then I'd have a publishing credit, something to tell other potential publishers "somebody looked at this person's work, liked it, and committed to it."

    is that just me?
  5.  (6348.12)
    I'm all for putting out free novel excerpts for publicity and all that, but not a whole work right off the bat. I've got way too much time and effort invested in the one I'm working on right now to aim low. I mean, if that Twilight chick can get something published, I sure as hell am not going to just give it a way for free.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2009
     (6348.13)
    @roque & @Darthshatner - apparently John Sclazi posted his novel Old Man's War for free online, before he had ever sold any novels, and that one got picked up by a publisher afterward and arguably made his career as a science fiction author.

    It's hard to extrapolate general rules from his unique experience, but I wouldn't right off discount the usefulness of giving away a novel sized work. Cory Doctorow, Charlie Stross and Peter Watts have all done this as well with significant successes, though they were all somewhat known quantities when they tried it. Scalzi was essentially an unknown (though he was already a professional writer for newspapers & articles & things like that. He hadn't published any novels though, and essentially gave his first one away free.)

    Publishing it free online does not actually prevent you from having it actually published by a publisher later.
  6.  (6348.14)
    I'm happy for Mr. Scalzi et al. for their succcess. But I repeat: If that Twilight chick can get something published, I sure as hell am not going to just give it away for free.

    I have no illusions about million dollar paydays and the glamorous life of the celebrity author, but if someone as bad as Stephenie Meyer can be picked up by a major publisher I'm not just going to put my work out there free on the Net first thing and hope something comes together for me, eventually one day. Consider it a matter of pride.
  7.  (6348.15)
    Yeah but "that twilight chick" is the novel equivalent of the mainstream pop bands reznor mentions
    If you are looking for mainstream super-success (think Lady GaGa, Coldplay, U2, Justin Timberlake) - your best bet in my opinion is to look at major labels and prepare to share all revenue streams / creative control / music ownership. To reach that kind of critical mass these days your need old-school marketing muscle and that only comes from major labels. Good luck with that one.

    If your writing a novel that (you hope) is the literary equivalent of a band like NiN or
    If you're forging your own path
    Maybe you should consider other options.
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      CommentAuthorroque
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2009
     (6348.16)
    Publishing it free online does not actually prevent you from having it actually published by a publisher later.

    but wouldn't it kind of negate the point, and make such later publishing both less likely and less lucrative?

    I'm thinking of a music analogy here. buddy of mine has a band, and he's planning to go mostly to digital/iTunes releases. however, he's still going to put out limited release hard copies along with special extras like lyrics sheets, band posters, etc.

    so let's say I put out my novel as a PDF. it's then available to anybody, anywhere, for free. later let's say I get a publishing contract, for some reason. what incentive would somebody have to buy it? just to have a hard copy you can take to the beach? anybody with a printer can make one of those for less money. a signed hardback with a leather cover, an accompanying mix CD, a free coupon for Quiznos? putting myself in the reader's place, I just can't think of anything that would make me buy a hard copy of a book I could read on my computer anytime I wanted.
    • CommentAuthorWinther
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2009 edited
     (6348.17)
    but wouldn't it kind of negate the point, and make such later publishing both less likely and less lucrative?


    Actually, I think Doctorow's success with Little Brother, which, despite being available for free on his website, "debuted at No. 9 on the New York Times Bestseller List, children's chapter book section, in May 2008", and which "[a]s of July 2, [...] had spent a total of six weeks on the list, rising to the No. 8 spot," (via wikipedia) disproves that notion. Couple of things at work here, I think:

    There are lots of people who have no idea who Cory Doctorow is, much less that this book they're checking out in the store is available online for free.

    And, more importantly, I think - I've found that there's a sizable part of the internet community who just like to support stuff they like. It's basically how people like Jonathan Coulton make a living. So maybe, if you read the book and really enjoyed it, and wanted a hardcopy, you might plonk down some extra cash for the actual book instead of just printing it out, because, in addition to the fact that a book is better than a stack of tacked-together A4 pages in so many ways, you're supporting the artist, and maybe enabling him/her to write another book/make another album/whatever. I'm reminded of this article from a while back, which is about how with a 1000 fans you could possibly make a living as an artist, and how with the internet, if you've made something good and know how to get people interested, 1000 fans isn't really an unfeasible goal.

    I think in general, free online distribution - and in particular Creative Commons - has shown itself to be a boon to upcoming artists of every stripe, rather than a detriment. The more people you reach, the better. And free's a good way to get people's attention.

    ETA: Also, while it's a comic, not a prose book, and Warren's obviously a fairly well-established name in comics, Freakangels serves as a pretty good example as well. Can't remember, has it ever been discussed here how the printed volumes have done? Link, if so? Otherwise, maybe we could ask Mark? Nothing too specific, of course, but any impressions on whether the online availability has had a noticeable effect, positive or negative, on the comic sales?
    • CommentAuthorDC
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2009 edited
     (6348.18)
    shit, ignore this post. When I wrote it I hadn't read Winther comment...
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      CommentAuthorroque
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2009
     (6348.19)
    oh, I'm definitely not arguing that online distribution is a detriment to upcoming artists. I guess what I'm trying to do is articulate the notion that free distribution and self-promotion is for some people but not others, and that there's nothing wrong with going after traditional publication. maybe it's just a matter of personal preference, as Andre sort of said above ("I like to think of it as a demonstration of my style"). as for me personally, if I have to pick a modern writer to emulate, I'd rather be Chuck Palahniuk than Cory Doctorow.
  8.  (6348.20)
    as for me personally, if I have to pick a modern writer to emulate, I'd rather be Chuck Palahniuk than Cory Doctorow.


    Could you elaborate on that point for me please?