Creative publishing guidelines

Memo to self. Coloring The Wind guidelines

  • Finding creative artists
    1. Don’t accept submissions. You’re not in the business of disappointment. Go hunting for creatives, don’t let them come hunting for you.
    2. If you don’t remember the work a week later, then probably no-one else will.
    3. Don’t offer help to artists who don’t need or want it.
  • The creative process
    1. Find contexts for art where it’s never been thought of.
    2. Mix different combinations of words, design, music in one creative pot. Stir, blend, see it if tastes good.
  • The artist relationship
    1. Liberate artists. Don’t lock them in. Don’t try to own them or their work.
    2. Remember that you’re working for the artist just as much as the artist is working for you.
    3. Be an honest critic. Say what you really feel, and why.
    4. Listen. Accept that you might be wrong. Changing your mind’s OK.
  • The audience relationship
    1. Remember that if there are no beholders, there is no beauty.
    2. Try to delight followers every day.
    3. Arrange for live feedback between audience and artist.
    4. Build a creative playground, but don’t try to referee all the games.
  • General
    1. Don’t publish if either you or the artist have reservations.
    2. Tom Peters’ advice: Underpromise. Over-deliver.

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14 Comments

  1. Love the guidelines, integrity and honesty comes to mind. The artists can be proud to work with you
    Retha recently posted..Finally from the meadow – FaithMy Profile

  2. Alan Miles

    Thanks Reetha .. I hope they will be. But it won’t suit everyone. What some may see as pro-active, others may see as meddlesome. And it’s always fairly easy to write good principles at the beginning. It’s whether we can live up to them that’ll matter.

  3. Alan – This leads me to think that your guidelines come from the experience of what you don’t want to repeat; a former disappointing experience as an artist? It will be interesting to see how this strong, independent take on the artistic relationship will keep you hopping and happy!
    Andrea Feinberg recently posted..Free & Dirt Cheap Marketing Tools – Online and On Planet EarthMy Profile

  4. William

    This is so true with everyone we deal with in our day to day lives. Not restricted just to artists. But then, I guess we are all artists at something even if we do not know it. Very well written, Thanks
    William recently posted..Six Small Changes For Big Weight Loss RewardsMy Profile

  5. As an artist, I can not begin to tell you how significant this list is. I may refer to it more than once. Thank you!
    Kellee Conrad recently posted..Friday Happy Hour: It’s Your Turn!My Profile

  6. Alan,

    I hope you realize that you have the essence and the outline for a book here.

  7. It’s fun watching this business model develop. Alan. Here’s a thought – since you’ve been effective at including and empowering readers so far in the process (making them more likely buyers), why not consider using the artists to help with the creative process and to assist in fleshing out how the artist relationship will work? Something like a ‘mastermind group’ comprised of the early artists selected for the site? Since your ultimate goal is to step away, this could help to build a core group that’s invested in ensuring success long term.
    Nanette Levin recently posted..Humility helps with marketing strategiesMy Profile

  8. Alan Miles

    Andrea – Not so much my experiences, Andrea, as that of other colleagues and friends – writers, musicians and artists. In particular, I spent 6 months a couple of years ago working with writers on a web forum (The Next Big Writer), as I took a novel towards publication. Some of those posting there had quite extraordinary talent; most were looking for agents and publishers. What I heard there convinced me to steer well clear of traditional publishers: getting accepted was a hit and miss affair, much more miss than hit.

    Subsequently, a few did manage to get published. But their experience was generally worse than those who went it alone. They were still expected to do all the marketing, AND now they had given away 90% of the income generated. There has to be a better way.

  9. Alan Miles

    William. Perceptive. Yes, it wouldn’t be a bad mantra for business in general, would it? And I agree, there’s an artist hiding away somewhere in all of us. It’s whether we ever find it or not.

  10. Alan Miles

    And the list will develop further, Kellee, as we continue to learn how best to support artists. I like Nanette’s comment, suggesting that artists themselves help to flesh out the ideas.

  11. Alan Miles

    Well, a story anyway, Joyce. But we’ll have to see how the story develops, and then find out whether it wants to be a guide-book, or a novel, or a play, or a song …

  12. Alan Miles

    A ‘mastermind group’, for sure, Nanette, and in a way, that’s what this forum is – and it’s one of the ‘playgrounds’ I’m trying to put in place. The whole enterprise is based very much on the experiences of writers, musicians and artists I’m close to, listening to their experiences with publishers, agents and marketing, and trying to find a different, better way. I’m in daily contact with the people I’m already featuring, and their ideas have already helped to shape the site as much as mine.

    I’m not sure about a formal structure for the group at this stage. That might lead towards the kind of formality I want to avoid – meetings, elections, reports, all the paraphernalia of business. At this early stage, ideas are still molten, half-formed, finding their shape – structure will come as they cool and take on a more permanent form.

    But I could be wrong! :)

  13. Cathy

    I like your list within the list. It offers interesting insight and seems to slow it all down. I am publishing my first guest next week, so this is a very meaningful.
    Cathy recently posted..Back to School With More Nutritious Food …Finally!My Profile

  14. Alan Miles

    Do you mean the subheadings, Cathy? It’s not difficult in html, using a combination of ul, ol and li. Happy to explain in more detail to anyone who wants to know more.