Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saying Goodbye to ReverbNation

I've gone ahead and deleted my account from ReverbNation, even though my statistics tell me I have well over a hundred fans on that site. Why would I do that?

Because the same statistics also tell me that my songs have only been played on ReverbNation 19 times. What does that tell me? It tells me that most of my "fans" are actually just other artists looking for me to "fan" them back. That's like the Twitter followers I get that don't actually seem to have any connection to what I actually do or have to say.

That kind of gaming doesn't do anyone any good. It's just a waste of time for us all, time that we could be spending writing songs and making music.

It wasn't only that. Every day, sometimes multiple times a day, I'd get an email form ReverbNation telling me about some fantastic opportunity to promote my songs. Most of the them were completely irrelevant to my style of music, or had some other restrictions that left me out of the running. So no targeting on these emails.

But even worse, the few that did sound interesting were only available to paid members, something that was conveniently left out of the emails. I understand the need for a site to make money, but I need to make money, too, and I'm not going to do it if I sign up for every paid service that promises to give me exposure.

So, one fewer social media site for me to keep up on, and more time to write. Still working on my book series, some short stories, a weird book on people who believe that the Earth is flat, and at least four songs.

Now that the vacation is over, I'm hoping (between bouts of prep for the Christmas season) to put the seat of my pants firmly on the seat of my chair for some serious writing.

Look for the results soon. But not on ReverbNation.

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Contest Entry

I just entered a song in a contest for only the second time in my life. This one is the Great American Songwriting Contest (the other was the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, many years ago).

Before I entered the contest, I solicited suggestions from my Facebook and Twitter followers, and my friends. I got lots of suggestions, some of them quite unexpected. And I didn't take any of them. Not because they weren't good songs, but because the purpose of entering this contest is, for me, fairly specific and narrow.

My purpose is to submit a song that I think is well suited for recording by someone else, in the hopes of getting feedback from the judges (every song gets an individual critique) to see if I'm on the right track. Some of the songs that were suggested to me didn't quite fit that bill.

For example, one of my family suggested I Hate Halloween. I love that song. But I also have been planning to arrange my own recording of the song, with some local talent, for release in 2016, a couple of months before Halloween. And it has limited commercial appeal for a record company.

She Works So Hard and Don't Want To Know also got high marks from friends, but they are among the five songs I've already written for a planned album, and I'm not currently interested in having anyone else record them.

I was also surprised to see some of my old favorites come up as new favorites from people who hadn't heard them before, and so (unlike me) had no memories to associate with them. These included Years Away and It Seems Like I'll Never Let Go. It's got me thinking that I should dust them off and give them new recordings when I start working on my second album.

That's right, I am planning multiple albums. I'll let you know what they are about as I get closer to recording them.

As for the contest, the song I chose was Bad New Always Comes In the Mail. It's funny, it always gets a good reception, and I can easily see another singer getting good results with it. Was I right to pick this one? Well, only time will tell.

And it will be quite a while; the winners won't be announced until March, and the critiques won't come out until after that.

But it really doesn't matter whether or not I made the right choice. The important thing is that I made a choice, got a song out there, and will get some professional feedback. If the judges love the song, or if the judges hate the song (or something in between), entering this contest is still an important step in getting my songs out there.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Regrouping

Every once in a while, usually at some turning point, I will look over the projects I'm working on—or procrastinating about—and make some decisions about which are worth doing. The change in the weather as New England starts getting chilly and outdoor projects become less practical is just such a turning point.

The book series that I started is proving to be a slow-mover, because I committed myself to creating a world, and I haven't done enough of that the settle down to any real story developments, much less actual prose. I'm not abandoning the idea, but I am putting it on a shelf in favor of a new book, though I don't quite yet know what that book will be.

I'm working on a very unusual book right now that just sort of pushed it's way into my life (which you might know a little about if you also read Synapticality). It's a book about the strange world of YouTubers who believe that the Earth is flat. I'm not kidding. It's kind of disheartening, actually, but I sort of need to get it on paper and move on from it. I'll try to make it as interesting as possible, and not depress my readers too much in the process.

More songs are coming, and improved (hopefully to the point of being marketable) recordings of my existing songs, and an album, which I'll be talking more about by the beginning of the new year, if not sooner.

I'm also working on an instrumental album, kind of. There probably won't be any lyrics, but in a sense there won't be any conventional instruments either. It's sort of electronic music, but not completely, and that's all I'll say for now, if only to keep from confusing you. I'll probably have some kind of sample up soon, and when I do I'll announce the title of the album.

In an effort to reach a bigger audience, I'm going to start putting myself up on YouTube singing my songs, as soon as I can find a picturesque and acoustically reasonable space to film in. I'm going to try to do more video in general, if I can squeeze it in.

And I have an interesting publishing project coming up, too. Years ago, my late stepfather, a former newspaper editor, wrote a wonderful book to help confused people like me tell the difference between words that are far too much alike. It's called Similogues, and I'm delighted to have found a printed version of the manuscript, and lucky enough to have found a slight out-of-date electronic version, so that I can turn it into a book.

It will be one of my hunker-down-for-the-winter projects, and since I will be my mother, who lives on the opposite coast, proofing the result for me, look for a Spring '16 release date.

I've also decided that it's time I got serious about writing, and eventually making, a feature film. I have to find the right story, and I have some serious practicing to do before I take on anything that big, so this isn't something you'll see results from for several years. I'll be into my 60s before this happens. Hopefully my passion for the story and for filmmaking will make up for a lack of youthful energy and chutzpah.

This is the plan, anyway. Anything that comes out of it, you'll get to see, as long as you come back and pay me a visit once in awhile.