Is Writing & Music & Art Getting Specialized to Death?

nicheartwritingmusicI just watched “Dear Mr. Watterson,” a light-hearted documentary about the impact that Bill Watterson’s ever-famous, ever-persistent comic strip, Calvin & Hobbes, has had on people over the years.

The part that gripped me most was when several prominent cartoonists spoke in extremely gloomy terms about new media.

Berkeley Breathed, the cartoonist behind Opus, Bloom County, and Outland, said that Bill Watterson had created the last great comic strip. He claims that art itself is now “atomized.”

He reasons that there’s a lot of stuff out there, but nothing that could be water-cooler conversation material, a piece of art that people – including Breathed’s mom – all know.

That made me wonder – are artists specializing their work to death? With so few filters to get through, and the freedom to only support the very, very specific, niche work we like, are we guaranteeing that no art can have the same widespread, enduring impact of something like Calvin & Hobbes?

Continue reading “Is Writing & Music & Art Getting Specialized to Death?”

Fitzgerald & Hemmingway Were Bloggers, Too

Sometimes, I feel guilty about blogging. It’s a little pinching sensation, probably a sensation most writers are familiar with – the feeling that you’re wasting time you should be using to work on your novel.

That’s why I was reassured when I read a recent interview with a professor about “the Lost Generation” and found out that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway were also both dawdling bloggers, in their own right.

Continue reading “Fitzgerald & Hemmingway Were Bloggers, Too”

A Fictional Serial Killer Starts a Blog… Then What?

personabookmarketingI forget what I was Googling, but I found a very unique press release that caught my eye: “Serial Killer Starts Blog Ahead of 2MCH4YA Book Completion.” Yes, a serial killer featured in the upcoming novel, “taRNished,” now has a blog.

The blog is an example of what I’ve been thinking about a lot when it comes to book marketing: the power of personas. The only thing I wonder is… is this really going to work?

Continue reading “A Fictional Serial Killer Starts a Blog… Then What?”

Is KDP Select Worth It? (An Example From a Real Person)

kdpselectAmazon’s KDP Select program has kind of been marketed as a Miracle Grow for Books. It seems that, whenever you Google something about KDP Select, you run into another article boasting about authors who got rich and famous from just using KDP Select and barely marketing their book at all.

Like a lot of authors who are having an identity crisis because of the eBook “revolution,” I decided to try the whole self-published route myself. My self-imposed requirements were that I would do minimal marketing, pay nothing to advertise or format it, and publish solely via KDP Select.

The test was this: was KDP Select worth it? Could it actually boost my book, and myself, into super stardom? Was it the future of books?

Continue reading “Is KDP Select Worth It? (An Example From a Real Person)”

What All Writers Can Learn from Calvin & Hobbes

It’s widely accepted that Calvin & Hobbes is the best comic strip in the known world.

More than anything else, that’s because of its universal appeal. Kids, college students, and adults have all found something unique to treasure in Bill Watterson’s timeless comic strip.

I grew up reading Calvin & Hobbes. As I got older and read them, something strange happened… I started seeing Calvin & Hobbes in more than one dimension.

I could understand the subtle messages of the strips, which made them even better and made me appreciate the strip even more than before.

Besides the genius of the writing and the art, Watterson is the perfect example of someone who accomplished what a lot of writers bemoan as impossible: a balance between the commercial and the artistic.

Continue reading “What All Writers Can Learn from Calvin & Hobbes”

4 Things You Have to Do to Get Google to Show Your Personal Website

showupgoogleresultsA lot of authors, artists, and bands are creating their own websites these days, only to find that… whoa… Google isn’t showing their page.

I’ve been blessed and cursed with a one-of-a-kind name, so getting BlaiseLucey.com to the top of Google wasn’t that difficult. I also basically blog for a living, so that helps.

The truth is that it can be nearly impossible to get your name to the top of Google if you’re John Smith, instead of Blaise Lucey. Just remember that the fans searching for you know that, too, and they’re likely to give you the benefit of a third word (“John Smith author” or “John Smith Band Boston”).

Here are the four things you have to do to get your personal website to show up in Google:

Continue reading “4 Things You Have to Do to Get Google to Show Your Personal Website”

Music, Writing, and Art in the Age of the Optional Purchase

makemoneyebooks1

In the summer of 2010, when I started my first job, I listened to about six hours of Pandora a day. The ads were an annoyance, but I sat through them because I loved the songs that Pandora found for me.

I knew that there was such a thing as “Pandora One,” but, like most millennials, I scorned the idea of paying for something I knew I could get for free.

Yet Pandora persisted. Hours and hours a day, it brought me amazing bands I never would have otherwise heard.

A few months in, I took the $32-a-month plunge. And I’ve never looked back.

Why did I buy something that was so optional? More importantly, how can any creative person ever hope to get compensated in the age of the optional purchase?

Continue reading “Music, Writing, and Art in the Age of the Optional Purchase”