Books, Music and Other Good Things in 2009!

December 23, 2008

December 22, 6:45 am

 

The final FAST180 webcast for 2008 is in the books! Now we get a two week break to enjoy the Holidaze and make plans for the New Year.

 

Like a lot of people right now, I’m under the gun to make some good things happen in 2009. While 2008 had many highlights, it has also been…, shall we say, a “character builder!” Bottom line: lots of folks are getting their asses kicked financially in the current economy. As they say, “this too shall pass.” Comforting? Maybe. After all, the same logic applies to kidney stones as well… OUCH!  

 

Sick humor aside, you don’t have to listen too closely to hear the stress in peoples’ voices. Blinding flash of the obvious: times are tough. If not for you, then for someone you know.

 

OK, let’s keep the chin up. Things are going to turn around. And the more time and energy invested into the solution, the faster change will happen. Are you ready for a FAST180? As collective wisdom says “It isn’t what happens that counts, it’s how you react.” OK, sounds good, but what is the best reaction to the current economy?

 

For me it starts with finishing up a few misc. projects that have been lingering on the back burner for a while. Case in point, a book I just completed with my co-author Toni Brown. Toni was the longtime Editor and publisher of Relix, a music magazine based out of New York City that evolved from a hand typed newsletter for tape traders of Grateful Dead bootleg recordings to connect and trade tapes back in the early 1970’s into a top shelf music magazine with international distribution, a record label, merchandise division and rabid readership that loves live music. It really is a great story and the book is a very visual retrospective of Relix early years. 

 

Toni has really done all the heavy lifting in this project and my hat is off to her! Same with Ed, Toni’s husband. Ed’s doing all the layout work and is truly crafting a masterpiece! We are in the final stages of sending the finished manuscript and layout to the publisher (BackBeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing), which will be sent off in a matter of days. Toni’s done a great job and I am very excited to see the finished product!

 

The Relix book is four color ink from cover to cover with tons of great rock and roll photos, articles, interviews and artwork from Relix first 25 years. Can you say: “Eye Candy?” Distribution will not only include the bookstores but also stores that sell musical equipment, reaching our hard core music freak target market with laser like precision!

 

So for me, I will finally have a new product to sell (other than real estate) to diversify my income streams. Don’t get me wrong, I write because I love writing and will always find a creative outlet to wreak my personal brand of literary havoc, but the business of intellectual property is my focus for 2009. I just get excited about books and all the side projects that spin off in unforeseen directions.  

 

So marketing the Relix book is on my to-do list. Fortunately, my co-author Toni is a high profile musician on the live music/festival scene and she is, pardon the pun, jamming on this thing full time!

 

The book is scheduled to launch in the 3rd quarter of next year. I need to get busy now on building some strategic relationships to support the book selling campaign.

 

I’m going to start with two old friends who have been in the music biz full time for many years. Lee Crumpton is the founder of Leeways’ Homegrown Music Network, an awesome marketing and merchandise fulfillment service that has helped hundreds of independent touring bands (usually 200 shows a year) sell CDs and other merch to keep their act on the road.

 

I will also speak with Mark Huff, a phenomenal singer/songwriter who has opened for musical icons Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and many, many more.

 

Both contacted me within days of signing up for MySpace a month or two ago. While we’ve exchanged emails, I haven’t had a good opportunity to call and say hello. That’s gonna change in the next few days.

 

These days, ‘social networking’ and online marketing are the big buzzwords in the world of business. Lots of people (like me) are taking a serious look at this stuff for the first time, diving in head first with LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, etc.

 

Guess what? Musicians and record companies have doing the cyber dance for over a decade! In a lot of ways, the music industry was the first private sector group to start networking online, after the scientists, academics, and computer nerds got the thing rolling in the early ‘80s.

 

So I guess I hear myself saying that the FAST180 is going to feature some of these music biz insiders to share what they’ve learned, and the mistakes they’ve made, building their businesses online.

 

Now I’m excited! Where’s the phone? I’m ready to make some calls…check back soon and find out how the conversations went, next time when our adventure in networking continues… (Follow me on Twitter)

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