"In these pages many mysteries are hinted at.
What if you come to understand one of them?"

"Words let water from an unseen, infinite ocean
Come into this place as energy for the dying and even the dead."

"Bored onlookers, but with such Light in our eyes!
As we read this book, the jewel-lights intensify."

- Rumi

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Call to Arms

I just started to sit down to write this blog entry to talk about all the help and support beginning/struggling artists need from their friends, family, and first fans.  I have two ways that I write for the blog.  Both ways start with an idea.  Something pops into my head, and I think, "I want to write about that."  I open up up blogspot and set myself to crank out the new post.  Then things change in execution.  One way is that I go by the seat of my pants, just writing and writing with no care in the world for where I'm going and finally, I think, "This is a good stopping place."  The other way is to take my time, take some notes, and think carefully about what I'm going to say.  I'll delete stuff, move paragraphs around, and rework stuff that isn't really flowing how I think it should go.  This blog post was one of the latter.  I've been fiddling with it on-and-off for the better part of the day.  Then I had a conversation with a guy I know from the Southern California Ren Faires on Facebook.  He gave me the following quote:
"It is unfair to struggling authors to lend books.  If you have enjoyed a book, hide your copy, tell your friends about it, and direct them to the nearest reputable bookseller."
The quote is from a writer, Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery (Retired).  His collections of "Sea Stories" in the late 60's, were memoirs of his time in the military.  He changed the names of the characters to protect the guilty.  Thanks to Brad Mitchell for that quote.  And while Rear Admiral Gallery was talking about writers, it can be said the same for all artist, because, in a sense, we're all struggling.

Now, what does this mean to you, oh supporter of artist, struggling or otherwise?  I'm going out on a limb that you support the arts in some way, especially the artist of this particular blog, mostly because you're reading it right now.  True, we get some random hits from people doing Google and Yahoo searches for random stuff, but they are rare.  For the most part, my readership logs in to read me pontificate ad nausium because, for whatever reason, we are familiar in some way.  So again, what does this quote mean to you.


Buy my books on Kindle.  Give up a soda for two days, or your coffee from Starbucks.  Klick on the "Like" button.  Do a review, give me however many stars you think I deserve.  Any attention you give my work on Amazon will help create a little more traffic there.  On the same note.  Come and see my shows at Renaissance Faires, if you're attending a Faire where I'm scheduled to perform.  Not necessarily every show; I know oeople are busy, but it helps generate an audience, and I cycle around my material, so I can make sure to do something newer if I see more familiar faces.  These things help.

Do the same kinds of things for other artists you know.  Support them in little ways and big ways.  Without an audience, artist are merely hobbyist.  I firmly believe that.  If art is not being observed and appreciated, by someone other than its creator, then well, never mind, i don't want to open that can of worms just yet.

Second (and probably more importantly):

Tell people about the artist you are trying to support, without giving them anything the artist has produced for free, unless the artist himself or herself had provided it for free.  (Steve and I have done just this for National Short Story Month.  You can find free stories we've written elsewhere on this blog.)

Right after the publication of "Knight of the Living Dead," I had one of my well meaning fans talking about loaning his or her Kindle to people so they could read the story.  This fan meant well.  This fan wanted to spread the word.  I appreciate that.  However, to help all of us poor struggling artists out, if we're not giving out freebies, you shouldn't either.  Talk us up until you are blue in the face.  Tell people where and how to find us!  We will love you for it.

Here is the bottom line:

We, the hopeful, struggling artists of the world need you, our first and most often strongest fans, to help us.  We may understand how to promote our work, but we only have as much time in the day as any other single person on the planet, and we need as much of that time as we can get to work on future projects.  If you really want to see us succeed and be able to put out more of the work you love, please help us.  The slang term "fan" comes from fanatic.  We need you to be fanatical for us.  Pimp us out to everyone you know.  Email links to your entire contacts list.  Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter about us.  If you see someone reading a book that is even vaguely similar to your favorite up-and-coming writer, or the cover look like something another artist you like, ask the person if they've read so-and-so, and sell them on why random person in line should check out favorite writer/artist you love.

We, the artist, cannot make it in the world without you, the fan, talking about us, creating buzz.  In this day, in this age, where everything moves at the speed of light, the artist does not succeed or fail on the merits of his or her work.  We succeed and fail on the loyalty and voice of our fans.  Please, stand up and make yourselves heard.

Please, if you are an artist and have someplace online where you sell your work, add a link to it in the comments line.  I will be linking to this particular post everywhere I can.  I ask if you are a fan of my work, to email it, link it, post it everywhere, and if you know of another artist with work for sale online, post a link in a comment as well.

Let's make some noise!

First Chosen
Knight of the Living Dead (3 Strange Knights)
The Dragon Bone Flute


  1. I'll be the first to promote someone else. Please take a look at my buddy Jeff Carlson. His novella "The Frozen Skye" can be found on Amazon for the Kindle Reader:


  2. All good points, Michael. Buying my friends' books and art is a priority for me. I'd never ask for a free copy. They need the sales!

    Also - can we plug other new writers? Our friend Pat McArdle's novel "Farishta" comes out June 2. It is based on her time as a diplomat in the State Department, and specifically about the scary & dangerous year she spent in northern Afghanistan. "Farishta" won the Amazon/Penguin breakthrough novel contest last year. You can pre-order it on Amazon.com!
    In case this posts as "anonymous," it's me, Penny. :)

  3. Absolutely, Penny. Promote anyone you want.

  4. This first for me. I have never, ever signed onto a blog.

    I am of the old school. I buy books on whim and, if the first 15 pages do not grab me I close the cover, never to open it again.

    I don't own a kindle, don't think I ever will. I like my stories the old fashioned way, on paper. I also believe in supporting book stores, new, used and those in between.

    However, I think, I will sign onto your blog every once in a while. I like what you have to say,and the way you say it.

    I also enjoy your act at fairs.

  5. Thank you for the kind words and supporting the blog.

    I also, truly prefer my books the old-fashioned way, but in this day-and-age, that's not always possible. Also, you don't need to purchase a Kindle to read books published in that format. Amazon has free Kindle Reader applications for almost any platform. Another joy of Kindle is that it provides access to many hard to find and out of paper circulation books. While you may never purchase the actual Kindle device, more and more quality writing is being published directly to Kindle. I would hate to see someone who speaks to enjoying my performance and the way I write just because my work is not currently being published in the "traditional" way.

    I also understand the desire to support book stores, but I'm talking about supporting artists in all formats and mediums. Most businesses (even used bookstores)usually don't support the struggling artist, only the proven successful ones. It's the fans that make bookstores, and other businesses that cater to art-loving customers, take notice and put artistic work in their stores.


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