5 lessons in being an artist from David Bowie’s career

A Bowie post from three years ago, when “Next Day” was released.

James Calbraith

music-david-bowie-the-next-day-album-coverToday is The Next Day. Today is the premiere of David Bowie’s first record in 10 years – and, some say, his best in twice as long.

In preparation for the launch, I’ve been reading Bowie’s biography – David Buckley’s “Strange Fascination”. It’s a great book regardless of whether you’re a fan or not. Half-way through reading I realized that DB’s life and career hold vital clues to achieving an artistic and commercial success for all of us.

Of course, it helps that Bowie is an unparalleled genius and the most beautiful creature to ever walk the Earth; but there are lessons to be learned from what he had done with his life that apply to anyone trying to make a living from their creativity.

David-Bowie_Early[1]5. Make fast, make plenty.

The way Bowie created his records throughout the 70s was legendary. Come into the studio, play once, leave. Write a new…

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2015 in review

I’ll be the first to admit I have severely neglected this blog in the past year. I’m not one for resolutions, but if I had one, it would be to post a little more often than once every two months 😉 I’ll post a more personal summary of 2015 tomorrow.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Writing Life: James Calbraith

I’m featured today on Kobo’s official Writing Life blog 🙂 What a nice way to end the year 🙂

Kobo Writing Life

JamesCalbraith (2)When did you first discover a love of writing? Is there a particular book that made you want to become a writer?

I’d have to find my old notebooks to tell for sure, but I think I was about 10 when I started writing short stories. I never really stopped. I’ve wanted to be many things since then—a theoretical physicist, an archaeologist, a programmer, a lazy layabout—but it always comes back to writing stories.

I read whatever I could get my hands on, and most of the names are now obscure to all but the most devoted fans: Robert Sheckley, Harry Harrison, Gordon Dickson. I didn’t try to write a proper novel until I was much older, and the transition from short to long form took me ages.

Where do you get your story ideas?

For the past few years, almost all of my ideas come from travelling, and researching…

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Twin Peaks Returns! Showtime Orders Limited-Series Continuation of David Lynch-Mark Frost Classic

TVLine

Where there’s smoke there’s… cherry pie!

Turns out all of that Twin Peaks revival buzz was much ado about something. Showtime confirmed on Monday that it has given the green light to a nine-episode revival of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s seminal ’90s drama series.

RELATEDTwin Peaks on Showtime: EP Mark Frost Talks Returning Characters, Storyline and More!

This would not be a reboot but a present-day continuation — in the same vein as TNT’s Dallas. Lynch and Frost will pen all nine episodes, with Lynch directing every installment. Production will begin in 2015 and air in 2016, marking the 25th anniversary of the series finale.

Ahead of Showtime’s formal announcement, Lynch and Frost released the following video on Twitter early Monday:

What’s more, Showtime will re-air the first two seasons of Twin Peaks, in advance of the new episodes airing in 2016.

Rumors of a new Twin Peaks

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Author Earnings: The Report (what everyone’s talking about)

Author Earnings: The Report (what everyone’s talking about)

This is the most important Report everyone in publishing is talking about. Based on the data gathered through trawling all of Amazon’s database, and complex calculations, a team of analysts fronted by Hugh Howey has finally reached their conclusions.

The report is long and detailed, but these are the main three takeaways:

  • e-Books are smashing paper books in sales, in every category where it’s fair to make the comparison. So, for example, while cookbooks, manuals and photo albums are still holding strong in paper, genre fiction on paper is as good as dead.
  • there’s a lot more indie writers being published, and read, than anyone (except indie writers and publishers themselves) ever suspected.
  • while earnings of the big publishers are still huge, when it comes to authors, indies score a lot more hard cash than traditionally published authors, not only in relative numbers but even in absolute.

The conclusion of the report is clear. Whether your book is dross or a work of genius, whether you’re a marketing guru or an introverted recluse, the decision to go the self-publishing route seems to be, increasingly, the only rational one.