Friday, May 11, 2012

In Love With Linda Chorney

Linda Chorney
Yesterday I attended the TEDx Grand Rapids event. If you've ever seen a TED talk, you know they present stimulating ideas and I derive the most value from a talk when agree-or-disagree I get some new idea from it.

The talk I loved the most was given by a delightful woman named Linda Chorney. Her incandescent personality filled the auditorium and I was smitten. She is a musician who does not have a Record Deal.

She says, "she's so indie, she's an outie."

Just as there are zillions of writers toiling in obscurity, there are zillions of musicians nobody's ever heard of. But just because you've never heard of Linda Chorney does not means she's not insanely great.

There's an entire ecosystem of lampreys, remoras, and pilot fish swimming alongside the sharks of the Record Companies whose job is to make you hear of the artists they promote. They serve as gatekeepers keeping the riff-raff out. You want to stay on their good side, because they'll make or break your career. (Does this sound familiar to any of you writers out there?)

An Army Of Davids
She described how she used just a little bit of social media savvy to wage a successful Internet campaign to win a Grammy Nomination for her last album. (She played for the TEDx crowd and she sounded great.)

The main reason why I love Linda Chorney is that she demonstrated that someone that nobody's ever heard of can upset the apple cart. She managed to disintermediate all those middle-men by going directly to the members of the Academy and requesting their consideration.

But because she did so without the lampreys, remoras or pilot fish, they were not amused when she was nominated. In the words of Governor William J. Le Petomaine, "We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen!"

Then they launched a campaign of hate.  (I think that the bipartisan effort to utterly destroy Sarah Palin was similarly motivated by her ability to disintermediate the legacy media and GOP apparatchiks, but I digress.) Ms. Chorney showed the TEDx audience some of the nasty things written about her.
She showed us the T-shirt she made and sells quoting the hate and turning it against itself.

I was primed for Linday Chorney's talk by a recent blog post by Sarah Hoyt describing the publishing industry going about its own process of destroying writers' careers to vindicate the opinions of traditional publishing's lampreys, remoras, and pilot fish.

If you've followed the writing careers of John Locke or Amanda Hocking, you know they've had good success through non-traditional publishing and they've also endured a lot of hateful "hrumphing" from traditional lampreys, remoras and pilot fish.

The bottom line is that the world is changing. If you listen to a lot of people saying, "hrumph" it is the end of the world as we know it. But if you're willing to be so indie that you're outie, you'll feel fine.

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