What can writers learn about success from a band?
USA Today quotes band member Sam Harris as attributing their progress to "perseverance (playing any and all gigs available), connections (people who like you may help you later) and remembering who's really important" (the fans).
The writers' version would be taking any and all writing gigs available, networking with a variety of people connected to publishing or film or TV production, and remembering we are writing for an audience, not for ourselves.
Harris added the important proviso, "Obviously the music [or the writing] has to come from a personal place...but at the end of the day, these fans are the ones that are doing everything for you."
Writers don't have the same relationship with fans until their writing is published or produced, but we can substitute whoever is our primary audience--which, in the first instance, could be agents, producers, or publishers.
Think outside the box to get attention for your writing
Harris also revealed that when the band kept getting rejections from venues, he made up a fake manager named Paul Lewis. The clubs were more responsive to a manager than to a band member and eventually they were able to get a real manager.
Obviously, you have to be careful with things like this--sometimes the line between a prank and fraud is a thin one. But it certainly demonstrates creativity in marketing.
They also went $30,000 in debt to produce their second self-funded EP. A great example of self-belief because it paid off. Naturally, if it had failed we'd be calling it delusion.
Hang in there past the "no"
One final useful comment from Harris: "The business is built on no. That's the sad part. It's just the land of discouragement. But there's that amazing feeling when you get that yes...If you want it easy, go work at a library and just shelve books."
The way libraries are going, that may not be a great career choice, but if Harris ever gets tired of music, he should apply for a job teaching at Harvard Business School.