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Rock and Roll! Your Friend in the Trenches

A few thoughts:

One: Great idea! I'm glad you thought of it and not me, because I have too many damn website projects as it is. Nice clean format, too.

Two: I think the boundaries of "behind the curtain" and "outside the curtain" are becoming increasingly blurred, and to the benefit of both Dorothy and the Wizard. While there is a romantic notion of a writer hunched over a manual typewriter in a villa in Tuscany, being served tea by a charming local girl while a guitar trio strums nearby (hey, it's my notion, back off), in reality a writer benefits from as much interaction with the audience as possible. That's because he or she is a brand in shoes. The reader wants to experience a story and the writer wants to convince the reader that it's his story that is worth hearing. This happens on the street between friends, without the trappings of the publishing industry. He's your friend; you are interested in his story. Usually.

Three: Continuing on that idea, writers can learn a lot from rock and roll bands. For decades, musicians have been encouraged to interact with their fans. Not because you might meet adoring, charming local girls (I appear to be fixating... I should take a walk or something), but rather because you complete the circle of communication started in your songs and performances. Assuming you don't piss your fan off, you have cemented yourself in his mind as a person to which he can relate, and whose stories he wants to hear.

Musicians have the luxury of performing their works in social meccas, i.e. bars, coffeehouses, venues and state fairs. Writers now have to utilize the internet's communication power to make that happen.

But the great, exciting, and revolutionary aspect of that new circumstance is that it empowers writers to create a fanbase, aka a market, without relying on the deep pockets of a publisher's marketing department.

Here's a suggestion: go to a show by a band that has achieved some level of notoriety. Try to visit their website beforehand to find a picture of them. Now sit at the bar and look for them in the crowd. If they are good at what they do, they should be in small groups of people, chatting away (though you will have to forgive them if they are wandering around the room looking preoccupied; it's part of the mental preparation for a performance, and some of us have a hard time chatting until after we've played). The singers are particularly good at this.

Watch the body language of the fans in conversation with the band. They want to make a connection. They don't care so much about autographs, not at this level. They want to get to know the artist whose art they enjoy.

The most powerful and important impression you can leave with a fan is: "What a nice guy." Do that, and you have a customer for life.

Damn, this is good advice! I think I'll toss it up in my own blog too.

Four: Again, good job. I am eager to see how Oort progresses.