March 15, 2010 was a very exciting day for me. After more than a lifetime of dreaming and a year of writing, editing, photo shoots and all around hard work I self-published my first book, Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down.
At the time I was working professionally in HIV prevention and HIV/AIDS awareness was a passion of mine so publishing a book of erotic fiction with an emphasis on HIV education was right up my alley.
Two years prior I was published in Zane’s Succulent Chocolate Flava 2 so it would also seem that erotica was right up my alley!
Truth is, erotica is really not my genre of choice. Sure, I’m good at it. Damn good if I may toot my horn, but I had no intention of releasing book after book of erotic fiction. Many of the short stories I have written are quite unusual and have a sci-fi feel like Love no haha.
These days creative writing has taken a back seat much to my surprise and I have no plans to publish a book (paperback) anytime soon. Ebooks however are another thing . There may be more projects that I will release electronically like I did with The Half Series: When Black People Look White, which started as a blog series on this website.
Being a self-published author is almost a thankless job that often results in low sales and no recognition. It’s tough as a writer to do something you love and not be successful at it.
But hey, those are the breaks!
HIV continues to be a major problem for African-Americans and that is why I wrote Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down.
Some of you may only remember Kevin Powell as the angry Black guy on the very first season of MTV’s Real World who got into a heated argument with cast mate, Julie, about racism in the streets of New York City.
That was a lifetime ago, 23 years to be exact, and Kevin Powell is now known as a very prestigious and prolific activist, writer and public speaker with an extensive and very impressive resume.
I recently followed him on Twitter and he returned the favor. Here’s the conversation that lead to this #FridayReads feature:
Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and The Ghost of Dr. King are 22 raw, unfiltered blogs and essays, intent on not just exposing, but understanding, all the while building bridges of dialogue — with ourselves, and with our America.
Add the indie psychological thriller “3 Holes And A Smoking Gun” to your DVD queue on Netflix to watch James Wilder in the lead. For his stunning portrayal of a duplicitous washed up screenwriter, Wilder garnered not only a Best Lead Actor nod at the Red Dirt International Film Festival but glowing critical accolades.
Wrote the London Film Review: “(Wilder delivers) an excellent performance and burns up the screen.”
The film was also awarded the prestigious Grand Jury Prize at the Red Dirt International Film Festival and Best Screenplay honors at L.A.’s Downtown Film Festival.
The actor’s indelible portrayals include an ambitious lawyer in the Emmy Award-winning drama “Equal Justice” (co-starring Sarah Jessica Parker) and the charmingly sleazy drug dealing seducer in “Melrose Place.” His demonically authentic rendering of serial killer Carl Isaacs in the acclaimed Miramax film “Murder One” that led the New York Times to comment:
“James Wilder, as Carl Isaacs, is a thoroughly malevolent character, one in whom evil rather than insanity seems to prevail.”
Wilder, however, is no one-trick pony. In fact, acting wasn’t even on his radar when he started out as a street performer in his native San Francisco and later in LA, New York, and Europe. Renowned for juggling three running chain saws as part of his perilous crowd-pleasing act, Wilder was only 14 when he performed at the legendary Moulin Rouge in his mother’s native Paris and was barely out of his teens when he staged a one-man show on Broadway.
When Wilder did catch the acting bug he threw himself into it like everything else he does. He studied at the famed NY Actors Studio and quickly began getting high-profile roles. At some point, however, the offers ceased being interesting and he turned his attention other of his many artistic pursuits.
Although not formally trained, he has become a formidable architect and designer who transformed a dozen empty lots throughout California into singularly unique residential art spaces that have attracted a stellar cast of celebrities and creative types. Over the years many of his properties, collectively known as The Modern Villas, have hosted long-term A-list tenants and served as sites for numerous photo shoots and exclusive events.
One of his homes was even recognized by HGTV, alongside a Frank Lloyd Wright property, as among LA’s top three architectural gems.
He also designs exclusive leather jackets and jewelry, refurbishes vintage furniture that he finds at auctions and flea markets, collects classic cars and commits to acting projects only when it inspires. “3 Holes And A Smoking Gun” is one such project.
1. As someone who started as a street performer you know all about being a “starving artist”. Did you think of yourself as struggling or were you simply doing what you loved?
It’s a hybrid of both. One needs to survive in a capitalist environment but it makes it much more comfortable if you’re doing something you love. So growing up in the tourist community of San Francisco and being 10 years old, experimental performance seemed to be the perfect recipe for me.
2. What was it about 3 Holes and a Smoking Gun that made you want to be a part of it?
I was at a lounge called Hemingways named after the writer. Someone tapped me on my shoulder and said “I’m a writer, I want you to read this script,” I asked “what is it about?” he said ”it’s the story of a writer” I replied, “I’m in a bar named after a writer and a writer is giving me a script about a writer.” I thought Ashton Kutcher was going to pop up and say you’re punked! Instead I read it, I loved it, and we made the movie!
3. How can myself or my interested readers become tenants of The Modern Villas? It seems like a perfect place to relax and create.
Visit me at my website themodernvillas.com. I love interesting people looking to be inspired at the villas.
For this installment of #WriterWednesday I want to feature the first draft of a short story written by me!
I encourage you to read and leave feedback to inspire the final piece.
Multi-talented artist Vitaly Didenko has been using the #feedart hashtag on Twitter with a vengeance and that’ s how he caught my attention.
His work kept my attention!
He has so many amazing pieces!
He uses several mediums in his work and has a very extensive online portfolio at VitalyDidenko.org.
I participated in the Madonna Rebel Heart album review program as a member of One2One Network.
I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.
People Magazine says that Rebel Heart is Madonna’s best album in a decade. I can’t agree or disagree with that because I have not bought or listened to an entire Madonna album in many years. I think the last one I bought was Ray of Light and I still haven’t played it all the way through.
I liked her duet with Justin Timberlake, 4 Minutes to Save the World and me and my daughter jam to Hung Up often but I haven’t found Madonna exciting since the 90’s. I was once a big fan but Madonna’s music has gotten boring over the years.
Rebel Heart is okay. As I type this I am listening for the second time. Giving the 19 tracks a second chance.
Madonna tells Billboard, “Rebel Heart explores two very distinct sides of my personality, the rebellious renegade side of me and the romantic side of me.”
Her Rebel side shows most in the following tracks:
Her Heart is best revealed on these tracks:
You should be familiar with the #FeedArt campaign that I introduced some weeks ago. If not, learn all about it here.
Here’s another way to get involved!
It’s easy! Include #FeedArt in your tweets, find other accounts using the hashtag and re-tweet their messages, and watch as others re-tweet yours.
The more active you are with the hashtag the more likely you’ll be to expand your reach, amplify your brand, increase engagement, find fellow artists to collaborate with and get featured!
So, what are you waiting for? Get to tweetin’!
Your contact info will remain confidential.
Your contact info will remain confidential.
It’s also quite simple and can be done yourself or there are website services specifically aimed at artists like Foliolink.
For creative inspiration visit the website of your favorite band, author or visual artist. Copy what they do and apply it to your work.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, is there? Nope!
Join Kathryn McDowell as she covers the importance of a well designed website below.
Just for fun, try this – think of a subject that you would like to find some information about and then go Google it. When the results appear, click on one of them that you think might give you the answers you are seeking. Now pay close attention to the amount of time that it takes for you to find relevant information on the site that you clicked the link for. Is the information easy to find or do you have to spend more than a minute looking for it on the web site? On that site, is it easy to navigate from page to page or is the navigation tricky?
What does all of this have to do with website design? Typically, if your information is easily found and navigation is simple then the site in question has been designed well. Easily found information and the ability to be easily navigated means that the web site has been designed to be user-friendly. The usability of a web site is composed of a variety of characteristics that work in conjunction to make the web site user-friendly.
Website design is critical because if your visitors can find what they are looking for quickly, they are more likely to stay and browse awhile. If finding what they are looking for is difficult then your visitors will more than likely get frustrated and leave to look for the information elsewhere.
An excellent website design will be easily understood and navigation will be simple. This will allow for your visitors to be able to find what they are looking for and it will also take you closer to either getting in touch with potential clients/customers or making a sale.
There are a few aspects of website design that might be taken into consideration if you feel that your current design just isn’t getting the results you need. These include:
Remember that there is more to designing a site than simply looks and navigation. You will need to know coding as well as other things. Website design companies can handle all of this for you and get your site right where it needs to be.
Kathryn McDowell recommends hiring a professional website design company to take care of designing and implementing your site. A well designed and easy to use site is essential in today’s marketplace.
Your contact info will remain confidential.
I’m also an artist.
I own DangerousLee.biz, a blog geared towards creating more exposure for artists in general but especially – “starving artists” who want to increase their online prescence, which in turn generates more traffic to YOU and YOUR ART!
Your contact info will remain confidential.
Your contact info will remain confidential.
Thanks to MyBlogU I was able to collaborate with a group of knowledgeable and wonderful people to get answers to the question: How do you feed a starving artist?
Have a website where you present and sell your work.
If you live in a city with tourists, go set up shop on a sidewalk or in a park and show off and sell your artwork.
Sign up for Fiverr and learn the tricks of the trade: Yes, you will only get about $3.90 after a sale, but you need to learn how to up sell the $3.90, that is the icing on the cake, make your clients want more from you. Reel the client in, give them just enough to be satisfied.
If you offer something unique and different as far as art goes, offer training lessons and charge a fair price per hour or per lesson via Skype or in person.
In continuing the idea from above, find after-school centers or activity centers and see if they will hire you for a few hours a week to offer lessons to others.
Attend Comic Cons or Arts & Crafts Fairs and sell your work there – don’t be greedy – sell it for a price that makes people believe it is not too much and not too little. I’ve seen people sell beautiful artwork for as little as $5 (or 4 for $20) — they know it is not much, but it is something, and they might just sell it to that one person who wants to buy it all and then some.
Learn the art of up selling, for example, someone at Comic Con put their artwork on a metal plate, signed their name and wrote 1 out of 50 on the back. He assured me that he would only ever be making 50 pieces of this particular artwork and that I would have the first one. Why wouldn’t I want the first one of only 50? Maybe in 20 years, when they are all released, I am the FIRST – only 1 out of 50-people that owns that particular artwork. He assured me that any other piece of art I wanted that day would be half price.
He also gave me a card in which he wrote a unique number on it – this way, if I ever see him again, all I have to do is show him the card and he will give me a 20% discount on all his future artwork.
Be unique, different, and crazy. Stand out and make people laugh. Humor and weirdness will always grab people’s attention. If you are like everyone else, you are just like the average person who gets looked at once and passed over.
Have a steady day job until your talent and skills as a starving artist are so in demand, you won’t have time for a day job, because your passion will become your day job.
Know that you are never a failure and that your vision stands for something: You do have something to offer the world.
I advise you to check out one of my idols, the violinist Lindsey Stirling, for example, whom was shot down and told she had nothing to offer by 3 judges on America’s Got Talent. She knew she had something unique and different to offer the world, she just had to figure out how to sell it to the world and overcome what the judges told her she could not do. She is now a millionaire traveling the world, playing her music, and America’s Got Talent has asked her to perform for the audience multiple times.
Believe in yourself and know you can do it no matter what anyone tells you. Never see rejection as failure. Never see failure as the end. Everything in your life that happens to you is an opportunity and a possibility for anything to happen. Anything is possible.
I know very few artists who can make money just one way. Most likely you will be successful if you can set a few different streams of income. Go to craft fairs, sell in the galleries, have a blog and build your online presence. Sell online through web-sites like Etsy, Dawanda and Zibbet (choose only one or you will have zero free time if you are trying to be everywhere).
Take commissions. Consider teaching your art, as teaching is actually a very good source of income. Constantly create new work, you need a lot of it to get noticed. The most important, do not give up.
Leverage Facebook to create your own brand (which can be you as individual or in the form of business page). After providing free or paid stuff, request for a Facebook (or any other social media that you prefer) like. Have a link of your website/blog (in case you cannot afford for the time being, go for free ones) on Facebook. Include affiliate links of products that you can sell directly to customers on your website. Make use of website to earn revenue through sales which can even be selling flight tickets or mobile recharge to your friends and relatives.
First you need to keep a track of contests in your field and participate in those contests to showcase your talent. If you win, it may open up new possibilities. Second is to identify influencers in your field and try to get a recommendation of your work from them that you can use as a reference for approaching others for work.
As the hashtag suggests, it’s a movement pertaining to the world of creative professionals and self-sufficiency issues, which a lot of people think don’t go hand in hand.
My Story – I am a teacher by training, taught for 27 years. I moved to Ireland for a temporary teaching job, contract not renewed after 1 year. I applied for all manner of jobs, eventually got one working 24/7 standby as a security van driver, repairing ATMs around Ireland. I was made redundant in 2010 aged 57. I had no option but to work as a writer online.
I built up my knowledge, reputation and contacts at InfoBarrel.com for 2 years. People I met on the forum offered me paid work because of my reputation. Every paid job I have had since 2010 has been from someone I met in a forum!
Moral? Help other people 24/7, 100%. Don’t expect any reward, but welcome it if it comes.
My Philosophy Now – The 5 Currencies – Time, Knowledge, Reputation, Contacts, Money – Use every 24 hours of Time every day to grow my Knowledge, Reputation and Contacts. Take every opportunity to spread my Knowledge. The Money just happens – AND it really does work like that!!
Fluence is a great place to find authors, music artists and much more. They send you submissions and all you have to do is write a review about their work. Also you can feature them by extending your help to feature them.
Try fluence.io to help music, writers and artists.
The strange thing, for me, is that I have been told that I am “so good” that it is assumed that I am with a major label. As a result, I am often excluded from the “starving artist” category because everyone assumes that I have the financial and production backing of a major label.
Also, I was #1 in Los Angeles, for a year, on the Jazz Charts on Reverbnation. People have written about me as a “legend.”
But, still, the reason I fit in the “starving artist” category is because people download and listen to my music and I have a good fan base, but there is no profit. My music is funded through my social media consulting (socialwebcafe) and not only do I not make money on it, but it hasn’t even been a drop in the bucket for paying for the production and distribution costs. Basically, I give my music away for free and as a gift.
I have had so many people say, “Why are you not doing the Deborah E gig full-time?” Well, because then my children wouldn’t eat. So, instead, I share my music because I love people and love to share. :)
I’m a totally blind coach aspiring public speaker blogger sometimes podcaster and recent self published author. My book is called Leading You Out of The Darkness Into The Light and it’s a short motivational book with exercises that the reader is encouraged to work through and report on their progress via email.
I’m hoping this will result in people actually making progress and it makes my offering unique. This idea I’m going to tell you about isn’t mine but its one me and a fellow coach are working on. She is a coach in California that is part of a women’s professional group. She made a presentation at a conference recently where she put out a poster of my book cover and encouraged people to buy it. She wanted to offer print copies of my book for sale but they aren’t available yet, so she gave them an opportunity to buy the e-book plus pre-order the print copy at the event for a low package price.
I’m thinking this is something that could be replicated by other authors. its something I’m exploring and getting other friends of mine to do at their events. of course once I start attending networking events I will have to return the favor. I have done guest posts and have been interviewed for podcasts, blog articles and radio shows.
This guy has Blogging for Starving Artists down to a science!
I read the first book and thought it was badly written like so many other people.
The Grammarly team reviewed the book and came up with this infographic!
I’m sure you have thought about it or maybe even wished or dreamed for it – being able to afford someone to help you sell your art (books, music, visual art) and increase your presence online 365 days a year.
The problem is you’re a starving artist and can’t afford the thousands of dollars that would cost!
Let’s say I’m the person that can help you! And, by the way, it is me :) I’m the person that’s going to help you make more money blogging AND selling your art. I can help you because I am also an artist who has tried and tested many tips and tricks of the trade.
Let me be clear: I cannot guarantee that you will make money for legal reasons but my services will help you to increase your current sales and you will learn the best ways to market your art online and have fun at the same time.
You don’t create art for nothing, right? It’s time to get fed!