The illusion of patronage

- - The Future

Along the lines of my “Camera Operators Wanted” post, Seth Godin tackles the idea that a writers job is no longer just to write:

Many successful, serious authors are in love with the notion that they get to be serious and successful merely by writing.

There was a brief interlude, perhaps 50 years in all post-Gutenberg, in which it was possible for a talented writer to be chosen, anointed, edited, promoted and paid for her work. Where the ‘work’ refers to the writing.

This idea that JD Salinger could hide out in his cabin, write, and periodically cash royalty checks is now dying.

Authors of the future are small enterprises, just one person or perhaps two or three. But they include fan engagement specialists, licensors, new media development managers, public speakers, endorsement and bizdev VPs, and more.

No one has your back.

Sad but true. The author of today (and tomorrow) is either going to build and maintain and work with his tribe or someone is going to take it away.

That whole thing with the Medicis didn’t last forever either.

via The illusion of patronage.

There Are 6 Comments On This Article.

  1. Many successful, serious marketers are in love with the notion that artists depend on them for success.

  2. In the dark ages (pre mid 80’s) prior to the advent of home and small business technology (I’m not talking about when the abacus was invented pre 1387), jobs were very specific. You didn’t worry about marketing there was a full story of people who would do that job, and you could get Jimmy Olsen from the mail room to run errands for you.

    Today, a small business owner does the marketing, phone solicitation,advertising materials design, building maintenance (janitor), errand boy and book keeper to protect his margin. The more technology advances the more we do, especially if you run a one or two deep business. The number of things outsourced, (lab services, retouching, printing, business development) is kept to a minimum to protect time and the margin. The busier the business the longer the hours worked, effectively reducing the goal earnings per hour desired.

    A speculative thought maybe marketers today are verbose extroverted graphic designer.

  3. Since when could writers simply sit in a cabin and wait for the check to come?

    I followed the link to the original article and was surprised: these few, shallow lines were all there was.

    Not worth publishing, not worth reading. Typical random noise of the internet.

      • Of course, but first he had to write “The Catcher in the Rye”. It’s that easy: All you have to do is write a bestseller that has legs (sells year after year), and have a cult following…

        The point is: this can’t be planned. Some artists always had the success come to them, at all times. And the others had to fight for it, at all times. And for many, it came posthumously. The whole spectrum has always been there, and will always be there.

        The shallowness of the article by Seth Godin consists in dropping a few commonplace phrases with the attitude of saying something new.

    • Donnor Party

      Thomas Pynchon, Don Delillo. Pynchon may sit in an apartment on the east side and not a cabin, and Delillo has a Westchester pad, but they don’t do marketing. They write and occasionaly cash checks. Pynchon used to have a cabin at one point, while he wrote Vineland. Mailer marketed himself, or maybe he was such an egomaniacal dick that he couldn’t stop getting press.