Before I get into this week’s lesson regarding networking, I want to back track and reflect on a few other lessons. While my intentions were good to write out my 5 successes on my computer each night before bed, I found it a task. I am a technical writer by day, and the last thing I want to do is spend more time writing on the computer during the week. So, I say the five successes before bed while meditating and began writing them in an old-fashioned journal. I hope if others are reading this, they realize Ariel’s suggestion are indeed flexible and adaptable to your needs. I personally have had enough of people who just whine and make excuses for not doing things. If they could only put their energy into something productive instead of their excuses. Anyway, I also worked on building my mailing list by sending out invites to 800 “friends” on Facebook. I set up an automatic response when people sign up on my web site that can access a free downloaded MP3 from Reverbnation. My hard worked bombed. To paraphrase p. 82 of the book, trying to network with musicians is not going to make you money. And that has been a big mistake for me. I am a very shy person, but I have made it a point to attend almost every local music event including songwriting gatherings, folk festivals, NARIP and NSAI meetings, etc. I even attended the International Folk Alliance Festival in Memphis. And yes, while I made some friends, found musicians for my CD, and reaped a few other small benefits, I did not sell CDs. The reality all those folks at these gatherings and social network sites are trying to make money and sell CDs—and not give of themselves. Nonetheless, I have business cards made with my name, picture and web site. The cards state I am folk rock artist and I branded to match my CD and former web site. I spent about $35 for 500 cards at staples. When I print the next order, I am going to add my tag of “raw and intelligent folk rock” plus for “a free Mp3, go to www.patriciasilverberg.com/.” I also not only plan to try raffle as suggest in last week’s lesson, at my next coffee house and bar gigs, but also have some sort of fish bowl so people can drop their names and win a free CD at my “muzak” gigs. As far as me networking, I am an not sure what to do next. It is a hard thing for me as I am shy, and not only that, I tend to open myself up to people wanting things from me like gigs. They never return the favor. There is no business like show business. Sorry it is sort of making me cry. I am a very humble and honest person, and is seems at least once a week someone asks me for industry help or when they find out that I know very famous artists, they ask me for stuff. I guess this was a good reflection on setting boundaries. So, I didn’t sell any CDs this week, but I hopefully learned how to maintain some balance.
Wow, I really was amazed by the simple ideas in this week’s Music Success Challenge. I have had a mailing list for a few years and have added a number of people, such as co-workers and friends. Yet, it is relatively small (as of now 178). I have been the good ol’ freebie Reverbnation Fanreach, which has been a blessing. I ask for emails all the time and have gathered a lot more than 178, but they unsubscribed. My favorites are the guys who hit on me. They go to my web site and realize I am a Lesbian; needless to say they unsubscribe. In last week’s reading, one point that stood out for me regarding newsletters, if people unsubscribe, they aren’t going to buy CDs. I tend to take it personally when some one unsubscribes, but that thought has turned things around—the heck with them—especially the guys who wanted something else—LOL!! Anyway, at every show, I bring a mailing list and cards. I offer free MP3s and sometimes have free home made CD singles to give away. The results have been minimal as the economy is so poor. I play a lot at shopping malls, farmer’s markets, and restaurants where I am the live “muzak.” The folks are not there to buy CDs but food or drink. The ones who stop to talk to me and leave a tip are older folks who aren’t part of the computer generation, or toddlers with their moms. I think I got to start targeting those moms—hey if you sign up, I’ll give you a free sample CD kind of thing. I am also thinking of getting drop cards as it will be a lot simpler than burning CDs. Anyway, in two weeks, I am playing an acoustic listening room, where people actually listen. I am going to try a free raffle for a CD. The folks in attendance would be my ideal audience. I can’t wait to try it as it means moving from people a passive person to a more aggressive person. I am also going to try the swapping mailing list. As I type, I am thinking who to ask. I am fortunate my BFF is on a label and is currently on tour. She will probably be open to it. Then some of the musicians who are my album may be open to it, too. There are a few Facebook buddies now that I think of it. Wow, just in 2 minutes I thought of at least 10 people. This could work. I am pumped now. It is not a good time to perform in AZ as it is about 110 degrees in the shade—if you find any—cactus don’t give a lot of shade. So, now I got me a nice project!! I’ll report back as to what happens!! Hmm, another thought—inviting people to my website via FB invites to get a Free MP3—Whoo—who—lots of great ideas!!! I love this book!!
I have been using Reverbnation’s free Fanreach newsletter, and I love it. I used to format everything by hand and just use my regular email account. Fanreach gives you a lovely pre-formatted HTML based newsletter that pulls information from your artist page. It lists my gigs, links to buy CDs and MP3s, lets people hear my songs and all kinds of goodies. I sent out a newsletter yesterday to find out they have a great new feature. I can have the newsletter link to my My Space, Twitter and Facebook pages, so those not on my mailing list can view the announcement—super cool. What is also cool, it keeps tabs of demographics for me. My biggest audience seems to be females over the age of 46. My biggest groups of fans are of course here in Arizona and then secondarily in NY. I also have a group in Texas. I know that I appeal to the GBLT audience and then intellectual types—those who hang out at bookstores, coffee houses , art galleries, etc. I can’t draw a crowd at a bar even though I tried. LOL!! Gosh, this is so funny as think about that. Last weekend, I met with publishers and agents from L.A.—the “Simon Cowell” types—big disaster—I was ripped to shreds. I was devastated. Looking back, it was major mistake as I now see that my music will never appeal to the pop culture as it is intellectual and about real life. My songs don’t portrait a glossy picture perfect world, and I don’t look like a bargain basement Barbie Doll. As the saying goes, you can’t stick a square peg in as round hole. So yeah, thanks Ariel for making me think about that–wish I read that chapter before meeting with the industry idiots—would have saved some tears.
Anyway, back to my newsletter. I added a few personal tidbits to my newsletter and a simple call to action. In the past, I tried to cram all events in as I have fans around the world. This time, I simply asked to them to check out my new web site with my new songs. I asked them to give me feedback to draw them in and let them know I care about what they think. On a personal level, I told them about new cat. Meow. And that’s the cat’s pajamas.
Deep breaths for sure!!! I never knew that was so much to Blogging!! Yikes!!! Anyway, I have been working tried and true on my web site that I got up and running last week. I added numerous pages and stepped forward to add Blogger as suggested in this week’s lesson. I chose Blogger over Wordpress as it is a free Google tool. As I am building my site with the free Google sites builder, I thought it would be a piece of cake to add—ha-ha on me. It wasn’t easy as my domain is being forwarded. I then took the easy way out and skipped Flickr and just added Google’s Picasa for my photo page for now—it worked like a charm with minor frustrations. Yeah, taking lots of deep breaths and learning lots of patients. The deep breaths remind me to be gentle with myself—one of my personal goals. . As I mentioned, I work full time, in the middle of recording, in the middle of doing my own bookings, etc, etc. But this is a great reminder to slow down and that I don’t have to be good at everything. And to be honest, I am so busy, I don’t have the time to search out, read, or comment on people’s blogs. Sorry , Ariel—good suggestion and I am sure it works—but I need to sleep!! Anyway, I can’t stress enough how valuable writing the 5 successes are. Even though I am a little frustrated at myself for not having the perfect web site or the time to follow blogs, writing out the 5 successes makes me feel at peace with myself. I do them every night before going to bed. My day job is very energy consuming, and I don’t get to spend a lot of time working on my music projects during the week. But writing out the successes shows me that I am doing great things in all areas of my life. In the past I would get so wrapped up in the music, I forget to eat, drink water ( a must here in the desert), exercise, etc. or even get upset with myself for not working hard enough. The 5 successes is showing me I am working and to remind myself to be balanced. Time for meditation and bed. This little folk singer is tired!!!
Music Success Blog #3 Completing the exercises in Ariel’s book is sincerely helping me get my career back in gear and helping me see my self-worth by over coming personal obstacles. I dreaded doing this week’s exercise as it had to do with building a web site. My full web site has been down for a while, mostly because working on it gives me both figurative and literal nightmares. I used to work for a very well know Internet company based here in Scottsdale, AZ. By far, it was the worse job in my life. I was constantly subjected to sexual harassment and micromanagement. I was faced with constant negative criticism and even yelled at ( for those of you outside of Arizona—this is a right to work state which translates to put up with things or leave). I am no longer there as I learned I deserved at lot better. Furthermore, I am learning to believe in myself and be gentle with myself. People who are that mean-spirited are truly sad in side and hurting. This enlightened I received while doing this exercise has also lead me to realize that I am grateful to be away from my music agent and promoter as they were not much better. Last week I mentioned that one of the people I compared myself to has taken a personal interest in me. And her words are hitting home—I deserve to be working with better people. And yes, there are wonderful people in the industry. Anyway, so I began behind the scenes re-building my website. I switched my domain to Gandi.net (as recommended by non-other than Derek Sivers--about a year and half ago--that is how long I have been putting this off). Got to love the name Gandi. I am experimenting with using Google’s free web site tool instead of using a raw HTML site as I did in the past (big time commitment). I am also adding the free widgets from ReverbNation to add my mp3s, show listings, and mailing list. I added the mailing list on the home page with the offer of a free Mp3. Next, I will add my blog, photos, and other extras like lyrics and links. Once I get it all spiffed up, I will point my domain to it, so the world can see it. And of course, my elevator pitch and tag line are on the front page!! So, my personal goals are manifesting along with my music goals. A booking agent/manager based in L.A wants to help set me up with shows . We are meeting next week here in Phoenix. I applied for a music festival in Las Vegas and got a lead on a Live 365 station. I also just finished the recording the lyrics and worked on the mixing a song for a publishing song pitch next week. Gosh, this little folk singer has done a lot. Remember, I work full time, too!! It is understatement that these exercises work!!!
Well, here it is week #2 of the challenge. I have been continuing to writing out my 5 success for each day, and it has turned out to be a valuable exercise. It is not only giving me focus for my music goals, but also it is helping me with my overall self worth as I am hard on myself mainly because people in my life have been hard on me (yeah, I am working on this—no worries). Nonetheless, even on the days when I felt unproductive with my music and had strife at my day job, the exercise helped me focus on all that I have done. It helped me see what I did accomplish, even it was something as “small” as getting my hair cut to show I am taking care of myself. I also worked towards my music goals this week by contacting booking agents outside of Phoenix, contacting a radio station in Lincoln, NE and contacting artists for my upcoming EP. Writing the goals out last week truly helped me kick start what I needed to do to get my career back in gear and to move forward to the next level. Now on to the elevator pitch. I completed the exercise last year when I first purchased the book. I found the exercise thought provoking. I placed the pitch on my web sites and social network sites. The pitch helped me reach out to one of the people I believe I sound. She has been kind enough to offer industry advice and has taken an interest as me as a person. Furthermore, branding myself as a raw and intelligent folk rock artist seems to right on target. When I played a large outdoor festival in San Diego a year ago, a guy came up to me and said, “wow that was so raw.” Just last week, when a new co-worker heard my music, he said something similar. I actually got the tag line from a fan who found me on Amazon. Anyway, here is my pitch let me know what you think: Patricia Silverberg is a raw intelligent powerful diverse folk rock artist with the voice and vision of Natalie Merchant and the guitar styling of Ani DiFranco with a little Lisa Loeb and Suzanne Vega thrown in.
I have decided to take up Ariel Hyatt’s blog challenge and write about my experience working through her book Music Success in Nine Weeks—a great resource if you are serious about your music career. I purchased it last year and used mainly as a reference book. I intended to work through the whole book when I purchased it, but after having one negative experience after another with music industry people, I just put it aside except when to pull out a tidbit of information here and there. The drama and selfishness of the music industry left a bitter taste in my mouth, and I became jaded. I also had immediate survival concerns to deal with: a head injury (hit my head on music stand while picking up a guitar pick—for reals) and a year of being unemployed from my day job. Anyway, it is evident as I blogging, I am back on track and working towards having a drama free and peaceful music career. (Note: With that said, I have chosen to not list my personal and money goals as I need to keep aspects of my private life personal as part of my no drama plan).
Upon opening the book, I was reminded of Ariel’s words that musicians are very hard on themselves. I would say that is very true of me (hmm, I guess one of my personal goals would be to stop doing that—LOL). Anyway, so I took up the challenge to start a journal. Using my computer as my journal, I set up a folder structure to begin week 1’s exercises. The first part is to celebrate 5 successes each day. The second part is writing out goals. Here ‘s what I wrote:
5 Successes 7/10/2010 1. Had a great shared birthday party with lots of friends (I didn’t want to go—turned out it was fun) 2. Practiced the guitar parts for my recording session 3. Started Week One of Nine Week (actually restarted –LOL) 4. Talked to a booking agent about setting up a benefit for Society of Singers (SOS) and emailed SOS for the go ahead—got the go ahead—who-hoo! 5. Didn’t scream at my obnoxious east coast friends for criticizing my driving (reflected on how I changed and mellowed out a lot since moving to AZ and even more so in the last year as I refuse to get sucked into people’s drama).
5 Successes 7/11/2010 1. Nailed the guitar parts for two songs in the recording studio 2. Completed the vocal track and harmonies for one song and got a rough scratch track for the other. 3. Bought yummy healthy groceries which meant going out in 110 degree weather—not a small accomplishment-found some amazing deals at the local Fresh and Easy. 4. Contacted two local folk singers to see if they were interested in the benefit show 5. Wished one of my musical inspiration a happy birthday on her Facebook wall—she wrote back asking how I was—so cool.
And here are my music goals: Music Goals next 12 months 1. Finish my EP, including finish recording, mixing, and the artwork by 10/1/10 2. Hire a PR person (Ariel is #1 on my list) by 12/1/10 3. Re-build my web site—by 8/15/10 4. Start reaching out for more gigs locally by 9/01/10—national by 3/15/10 5. Continue reaching out to radio stations—on going weekly 6. Finish the lyrics for two new songs by–9/15/10
Music Goals Life Time 1. Go on a major national tour 2012 2. Retire from the day job by 2014 (hopefully sooner) 3. Own my own record label by 2016
The time is almost here for you to hear my new tunes and help vote me on to the Phoenix Lilith Fair 2010 Stage !! For those who don't know what Lilith Fair is about, it is an international celebration of female musicians headed by Sarah McLachlan. By voting for me, you can help put me on stage with Sarah and Cheryl Crow and other fantastic artists Here's the link for more info: www.lilithfair.com. Voting begins on May 1st and ends on May 30. You can register now to vote at
For everyone who votes, I will send you a copy of my upcoming release for free!!!
My profile is www.ourstage.com/profile/patriciasilverberg
I have started to lay down tracks for my new EP. I am working very hard to get into Lilith Fair in the process, so I hope when the time comes, y'all will vote for me to get in--pretty please.
Anyway, as I sit here typing with my new special edition Fender Tele in my lap, the recordings are a go! I have narrowed the EP down to 5 songs:
A remix of When I am with You, Always There, Tell Me Again, You Should Now and the title track, Hear My Song.
There have been a few changes in the line up of musicians as well. As of now, I Mary Manini is adding piano and keyboards, Carol Dierking drums, Patti Arnold flute, David Searle lead guitar and some bass (he is also the engineer), Manda Mosher harmonies and harmonica, Sule Greg Wilson some more harmonies. I am obviously doing lead vocals rhythm guitar (both acoustic and electric). A few other musicians maybe joining the mix.
So there you have it!
What a whacky year!! All of us have had our challenges this year, and I have learned to wisely dance with the changes -- not without effort. I can go on about all of the tragedies, but as my song As Simple as it Seems states, I prefer to the beauty. So I am choosing to write about 10 good things that happened this year.(In no particular order).
1. I began performing outside of Arizona!!! Who--hoo!! 2. I won my first "Vote for me" honors. 3. I ranked #30 on NYC's Radio Crystal Blue top 100 for 2009. 4. More songs were picked up on radio stations. 5. I completed writing several songs for my new CD including arrangements. 6. I made connections with many great musicians from around the state and country including my new BFF Manda Mosher who is scheduled to appear on my CD! (super excited--what can I say--I am a Manda groupie--check out her music). 7. I acquired a special edition Fender Telecaster. 8. I went to Sea World and hung out with Shamu 9. I went to Memphis and hung out with Elvis. 10.I found a working keyboard and in the process of teaching myself how to play piano.