If You Know An Artist

by sjbgilmour

We’ve all seen the memes.  They drive us nuts.  Insipid little “inspirational” postcards get plastered all over social media so constantly our eyes glaze over every time we see them.  They might as well not even exist.  Whatever message their creators are trying to get across disappears into obscurity because they’ve put it into a meme, which means the vast majority of the people for whom the message is intended just skip past it as if it’s an annoying insurance commercial.  I’m one of those people.

But there are some doing the rounds that actually do strike a chord with me, and make me wish their creators had the time to spread their message in a more creative or articulate form than a fucking meme.  They are the “If You Know A Writer/Artist” memes.

The message is pretty simple.  For this I’ll use writers as examples, but the same applies to musicians, artists and just about any other creative type trying to make a buck out of their skull-sweat.

Writers don’t care about the money they get from the books they sell to their friends.  Seriously.  It’s not about the money – it’s about the numbers.  We need those sales to boost our rankings on best-seller charts.

My latest book is $4.99 – that’s less than a coffee and a doughnut, but some people close to me seem to think I ought to give it to them for free.  Fuck me, I’ll happily give each and every one of them 5 bucks (keep the change!) if they’d just buy the fucking thing.  They don’t have to read it.  I just need the numbers to go up.

We need reviews.  Not just “It was okay” kind of bullshit.  We need our those all-important stars which will let others know we’ve penned something worth reading.  They can do it anonymously – in fact it’s usually better if they do.

We need our nearest and dearest to mention our work to others.  Shit, we all gossip about what film we just saw or what article we just read.  Why the fuck is it so hard for them to recommend a book by someone they know?

That’s what we need.  Supportive sales.  Supportive reviews.  Supportive word of mouth.  Spotting a theme here?  S U P P O R T.  Support your artist friend or relative.  Not by patting them on the head and telling them how wonderful they are.  Jesus, they’re not fucking four year-olds.  Support them by buying, reviewing and talking about their work.

And you know what?  Artists tend to pay it forward.  We give money to buskers and street performers.  We buy other artists’ stuff even if we think it’s crap.  We know they don’t care about the $2.36 they might get from Amazon in three months.  We know they do care about seeing their ranking go up, and that review we leave telling other potential customers what great work they’ve produced.

That kind of thing spreads not just goodwill, but encourages other artists to make, create and share their work.  That my friends, is a very good thing.  It’s good for the individuals specifically, and society in general.

There.  Rant over.  Move along.  Move along.