August 4, 2004

nobody suddenly discovers anything


More thoughts on "How To Be Creative":

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain.
I was offered a quite substantial publishing deal a year or two ago. Turned it down. The company sent me a contract. I looked it over. Hmmmm...

Called the company back. Asked for some clarifications on some points in the contract. Never heard back from them. The deal died.

This was a very respected company. You may have even heard of it.

They just assumed I must be just like all the other people they represent- hungry and desperate and willing to sign anything.

They wanted to own me, regardless of how good a job they did.

That's the thing about some big publishers. They want 110% from you, but they don't offer to do likewise in return. To them, the artist is just one more noodle in a big bowl of pasta.

Their business model is to basically throw the pasta against the wall, and see which one sticks. The ones that fall to the floor are just forgotten.

Publishers are just middlemen. That's all. If artists could remember that more often, they'd save themselves a lot of aggrevation.

Anyway, yeah, I can see gapingvoid being a 'product' one day. Books, T-shirts and whatnot. I think it could make a lot of money, if handled correctly. But I'm not afraid to walk away if I think the person offering it is full of hot air. I've already got my groove etc. Not to mention another career that's doing quite well, thank you.

I think "gapingvoid as product line" idea is pretty inevitable, down the road. Watch this space.

Posted by hugh macleod at August 4, 2004 9:39 PM | TrackBack

i have had the EXACT same experience as you, only in the recording industry, and instead of "never hearing back" i heard a voice screaming me at the other end of the phone, "HOW DARE YOU question how i do business!" this was after he heartily encouraged me to "have my lawyer look at it"...

yeah. like i'm going to turn around and say, "oh dear, i stand corrected. sure i'll sign that contract now!"

one can only hope that karma meets out its pure vengeance of mutability on these specimens.

Posted by: r@d@r at August 4, 2004 11:18 PM

Fine. So, when you're disgustingly rich and famous, we'll feel cool because we knew you back then :p

by the way, a week or two and I'll get myself blogcards. I'm running out of excuses.

Posted by: Nia at August 4, 2004 11:41 PM

Been enjoying gapingvoid, a new discovery for me.

Just wanted to say "hear hear" about walking away from publishers. I have, and have always been glad I did.

I eventually landed with a tiny but respected house. Neither of us have made money from my book (since it's poetry, this is not surprising) but they've worked hard and hand-and-hand with me to put together a book I'm thrilled with, and they've bent over backwards to get good placement in good stores, to land reviews, and to send me out on tour. They're investing time and energy in me, and I trust them. Another book coming out in the spring -- this time with a modest advance. That's how it's supposed to work.

Posted by: Erin at August 5, 2004 4:07 AM

My roomate turns people into noodles and flings them against the wall for a living. It's irritating at times to see people let him do this, but hey, it could be their big shot right? He knows I write and has asked if he can read something of mine. I tell him sure, but have never handed anything over. Figure I reverse the roles a little. Yeah right. Still, if you never get flung against a wall how do you know if you're sticky? To me what's important about the whole "sex and cash theory" is that the "cash" pads the fall if you decide to get flung and don't stick. I figure if you got a thick enough pad, go for it. Course that's easy for me to say, I'm young and near padless. Oh and BTW Gapingvoid rules.

Posted by: nick at August 5, 2004 6:41 AM

Nerdstar and I were talking about how she wished she had some t-shirts of your stuff to wear while she's in Iraq. So you've definitely got two customers here!

Posted by: Beth at August 7, 2004 1:29 AM

I like your encouraging comments that we should proceed with ideas regardless of the "experts".

I wrote an original song and decided to manufacture an actual product, gourmet steak sauce, based on the song title and the character of the song.

I'd like to have one of my songs used in a movie, so I decide to write my own screenplays and insert my songs in the scripts. The "experts" say don't do it this way. Use the usual proven methods and write it out the way we say it should be done.

Jimmie R. Vestal
Pinellas Park, Florida

Posted by: Jimmie R. Vestal at August 29, 2004 7:23 PM

nice job!

Posted by: john at August 31, 2004 4:08 PM