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Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Blood Approves of the Paranormal Activity that was witnessed by Amanda Palmer & Grand Theft Orchestra

The Internet is so full of potential,but I never thought of it as a two-way thing as much as I do right now.  I've always known the power the Internet has for the individual as a receiver of information, but it wasn't until this week that I really began to realize how much reach the individual can have as a giver.

All you readers out there have probably heard of Amanda Hocking, the indie writer from Minnesota who sold a million copies of her work when she self-published on Amazon after years of rejection from publishing companies.

You have probably seen at least one of the films in the Paranormal Activity trilogy, or at least heard of them- they're those "found footage"movies by previously unknown director/writer Oren Peli that beat out records previously held by The Blair Witch Project.

In the last couple of weeks, you may have heard of Amanda Fucking Palmer & Grand Theft Orchestra, who shattered all expectations and goals when their album and tour became the first Kickstarter funded project to receive more than $1million.

So what does Amanda Hocking's books, Oren Peli's movies, and Amanda Palmer's music all have in common?  The Internet!  All of them used the web to reach out, find fans, and get their work noticed.  In past posts on Hocking's blog, you can read about her putting in hours and hours of marketing when she released her books.  Peli and his team did a ton of internet marketing in order to get people to demand Paranormal Activity be shown in theaters near them.  Palmer and her band spent loads of time Tweeting, blogging, and spreading the word about their album and tour.

"I must tell everyone about my romance novel, Secretary Spread!"

Artists of all types- be they writers, film makers, or musicians- have this amazing resource at the tips of their fingers (quite literally), and many are finally starting to harness its power.  We can no reach our precise audience, thousands of miles around the globe, at any time of the day or night.  You can find a web forum on any topic, from something as broad as "Pet Lovers" to something as specific as "People Who Want To Visit Planet Vulcan for the Sole Purpose of Taking An Elective Class On Historical Technologies of Wild Frog-Bears and How They Were Used To Win The Amphibious Civil War of 2361" and you'll find hundreds of people in them.

But there's another thing all three of them have in common- quality.  They put a lot of work and dedication in to creating something they believed in; something that other people would want to read/see/hear.

Do you want to reach an endless amount of people and share your work?  There's never been a better time to do so.  Before the Internet, artists (writers, film makers, musicians, et al) were limited to who they could connect to via snail mail, having to wait months to hear back, if ever, and more often than not it would be a rejection that came back.  The outlook was pretty bleak- send in your work, hope it didn't get lost under the mountains of others who were hoping to be discovered just like you, and hope that the person who could do something about it (producer, publisher, etc) would be willing to take a chance on it.  More often than not, it would pass through an intern first, and you'd have to hope they liked it enough to pass along to their boss.  Once it got that far, you'd have to hope that the company would be willing to front the money for printing, publishing, production, and marketing.  If your project was lucky enough to actually get made, you then had to hope that the right people would walk in to the right stores and go to the right section, see your work, and be intrigued enough to pick it up and buy it.  A long shot, for sure.  (Did you know that the majority of traditionally published authors make $300 a year?  A YEAR!)

With the Internet, it's MUCH easier to get noticed.  That is, if you work for it.  You need a quality product, something you can be proud of, to put out there.  The cost of getting it out there yourself is virtually eliminated because of the Internet.  For example, publishing on Amazon does not cost the author a cent, which makes it possible for authors who would never have been discovered to become a best-seller.  The downside to this is that it is completely YOUR responsibility to get yourself and your work known because you don't have a marketing team doing it for you.  None of the three previously mentioned artists just sat back and *hoped* people would happen to Google the right terms to find their work- they went out and let people know about it!  So go, get out there, make something incredible, and let people know about it.  And please tell me about it, too- I love indie stuff!

P.S.- If you're looking for some great indie music, check out Hey Geronimo.  They have a new song out called "Carbon Affair," and it's free to download.  They have a great sound!

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