I didn't buy this book for myself, it was a gift from my lovely husband. I am not one to buy things I want for myself, except for splurging on food (sushi). And thank god that beautiful man got this book for me, because as I have battled dry spells where I can't write and feel artistically dead, and have wallowed in some hardcore depression without trying to fight it, this book has been the thing to raise me back up. Which is why, even though it was published in 2014 I am just now finishing it.
I let myself have snippets at a time and then let the creativity and positivity lead me back. This last slump I've been in has been one of my worst, I have not created much of anything new in the last year and a half since I moved. I went from playing 1-2 shows a month (which is pretty good for the kind of music I create) to being lucky if I have 1 every 6 months. It has been culture shock and quite the adjustment, and I have let it beat me for too long. So, I finally dove in and let myself finish the book.
This is a must read. Not just for musicians, although I do recommend it to them. It won't teach you the secrets of how to raise a million dollars in a kickstarter, other than being real and connecting with your fans on a human level. But it will inspire, again not just creatively but also emotionally. She puts it all out there.
I don't want to give any spoilers, I'll try my best. She talks about the Fraud police, who I know we have all feared. I often think i should get a real job because i love what i do too much for it to be work. I get to talk about music everyday and have conversations with people about their lives! i get to play duets and watch as the lights go on and different things click. And I get to be a friend to all my students as well, I'm so grateful that someone else collects the money because it is so hard to do when you feel so emotionally invested in someone's life! But even Amanda Palmer fears the Fraud Police.
She talks about her relationship with her sexy, older, successful, British , author husband Neil Gaiman. And to give away one specific, how hard it was to accept financial help from him. I get this! At the beginning of my relationship with my husband I was the one making the most money and when I paid for things and he protested I always told him not to worry about it and just to let me because I liked being able to. I have always thought of myself as a fiercely independent woman who needed no help from anyone! I even felt guilty the one year my mom bought my place ticket home for Christmas and I insisted that be my only gift! But now the role is reversed and my husband is making more money then me, and rather than get another job so I can contribute more I want to stay home to practice and write songs. Which makes me feel so guilty, but Amanda helped me feel less guilty. Accept help where it is given.
She talks about some of the internet scandals and hate that has gone her way and I feel for her. In particular, the tour shortly after her kickstarter where she had volunteer musicians play with her even though she "made" 1 million dollars. I had a roommate at the time who is also a musician who told me he hated her and couldn't believe I liked her (he used stronger words than that but we'll leave it there). As someone who has done a kickstarter (not even close to as successful as hers but we still made it!) I know that there isn't much padding in those numbers. You're really just hoping to make back your expenses. Also, those musicians VOLUNTEERED. She didn't seek them out and ask them to play for no pay. IF you're a musician, think about the ones who have influenced you the most and shaped who you have become and what you do with your life, the ones who made you passionate about music in the first place. If they offered you a place on their stage but weren't paying you, are you really going to tell me you wouldn't take it? I would. She is hands down one of the top 5 most influential musicians in my life and it would be an honor to take the stage with her or busk before a show.
I believe there are different kinds of gigs, ones you play to pay the bills and ones you do for personal fulfillment. Yes, I think in an ideal world all musicians and artists would always get paid what they deserve for their craft and all the hard work that went into developing it. But that's not always the case. I play some gigs for money and some for me. If I had the chance to play with Amanda Palmer that would be for me, and it probably was for those musicians as well. Also, she is such a giving person that if you want to think about it from a business perspective (as we often have to) I bet if they asked her to blurb about their band or CD online to her many fans she would be more than happy to put that out there to her fanbase and give them a little exposure.
Amanda Palmer works her ass off and gives so much of her heart to complete strangers. She wasn't born into the world of famous people, she worked her way up and worked very hard. She is trusting and loving and I'm sorry so many people misunderstand her. She is also loud and brash but still very fragile on the inside like all the rest of us. I do recommend you read her book. It made me cry, more than once, and to me that is a sign of good art.