“For a decade, analysts have been hyperventilating about the demise of the music industry. But music isn’t going away. We’re just moving out of the brief period – a flash in history’s pan- when an artist could expect to make a living selling records alone. Music is as old as humanity itself, and just as difficult to define.” – Damian Kulash, OK GO, The Wall Street Journal.
A question I get a lot is “how do I get published.” Which in essence is like trying to answer “How do I get taller.”
Just as no one wants to hear “You need to break your bones and re-set them, or maybe find yourself a medieval rack torture device” in order to gain height, no one really wants to hear “These days, you have to all the work yourself” in order to get published. Or, “this is an amazing era for self publication.” And since I’m specifically thinking about plays here, no one wants to hear “Get produced, not published. Publication is the last step for a playwright.”
Writers, the ones I talk too, still have quite a traditional notion of publication. The handing off of their work to someone else who does all the work. And the thought of self publishing still has a stigma. For many it’s not real. And also, “I wrote the play, why do I have to do all the work to sell it? Isn’t the writing enough?”
The world is a constantly changing, evolving ball. And what worked last year, five years ago, ten years ago just doesn’t apply to today. . And that is especially true in the arts and getting our work in the world. Look at all the changes in the music industry. The way music is made and sold is changing every second. Read this interesting article from Damian Kulash of Ok Go to get an inside look at how this particular group is embracing change.
You have a choice as an artist. Embrace change and become an expert in the now, or put your work in a drawer and go do something else. If you stick with tradition, you’re going to get left behind. And yes, I know there are artists who succeed the traditional way. Just like actors are every once in a blue moon discovered in malls and coffee shops. But what if you’re not one of them? Then what?
Perhaps because I’ve never had a publisher or an agent and actually like doing things myself (coughcontrolfreakcough) that self publishing is exciting rather than an insult. That putting art into the world is dependent on me. I like that we at Theatrefolk do our own thing, we do the work, we get plays out there and we don’t do all that much sitting around waiting for others to do anything for us.
What are you waiting for?