The pandemic has affected many industries, especially the creative ones–some of which were already challenged. Being a writer takes a daily dose of magic: from toiling through the habit of consistency, writer’s block, finding representation, and shuttered bookstores, all of which existed before the pandemic. Can you imagine what life is like for a writer today? In the face of the global Coronavirus Pandemic and all the other grueling challenges that haunt the book industry, writers are taking a creative approach to creating opportunities for themselves.
The book publishing industry has declined tremendously. They have experienced radical changes and face a slue of challenges in our technologically advanced and savvy era. Over a decade or more, some considerable changes include the conversion of paperbacks and hardbound to ebooks and kindle. To the raising appreciation for audiobooks, the industry has held on for dear life to prevent from becoming obsolete. In addition, there are other issues to contend with, such as piracy, finding the right demographics, extreme competition, production problems, fake reviews, and compromised quality.
While the industry struggles to slowly reinvent itself a new wave authors are emerging.
Meet Rick Moss, a multi-disciplinary artist, who resides in Brooklyn, NY. Moss is a published author, indie author, and painter. Who studied painting and printmaking at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. And he later earned his degree at California College of Arts. A creative soul who has devoted much of his time to design, including print, video, and web. Also, he is the founding principle of Retail Wire, where he oversees editorial and marketing content.
With a new book “Impossible Figures,” Mr. Moss draws inspiration from indie bands to create a cross-merchandising strategy to navigate the publishing industry. Moss, a two-time published author of Ebocloud (2013) and Tellers (2016), is taking matters into his own hands with his third book and newest project.
An Indie Band or Brand
Indie which, comes from “Independent.” Describes a smaller and lower budget, music label, or brand. With its limited resources, an indie band or brand must be creative in its marketing efforts. Often armed with do-it-yourself attitude indie bands and brands are able to stay afloat by independently building a network, selling merchandise, marketing in niche communities, creating a YOUTUBE channel or website, etc..
Impossible Figures is a hybrid project. The novel/art concept created as a way to finance Mr. Moss’s third novel. A Bold and Innovative move that will no doubt serve as inspiration for other authors who are looking for ways to earn a living from their creations.
In his new book, the author makes use of multiple, looping narratives to tell the tale of a once-celebrated conceptual artist making a desperate comeback attempt. Ranger recruits Oscar Hiller, a self-destructive young physicist on the verge of a quantum theory breakthrough, to stage the most consequential art performance of all time — one that may unravel time and existence in the process.
From Rick Moss’s Website
“There are a lot of twists — some disorienting by design — but my goal is to lead you along in entertaining, darkly humorous fashion. If you enjoy laughing at deviant takes on our human condition, give Impossible Figures a try.”
This project promises readers a “more enriching experience to reading a novel.” With a new platform. Rick Moss’s new website rickmoss.art, “average readers and entry-level art collectors” can access the total experience. With a purchase of Moss’s original artwork (limited edition prints) and collages–the new, readers will receive a free copy of the self-illustrated novel “Impossible Figures” as part of the package. All collages are inspired by the artwork of his story’s main character.
Why a cross-merchandising strategy
“I see the effort as analogous to what has come to pass in indie music,” Moss says of his cross-merchandising strategy. “Bands are lucky if they can break even on album sales and performances. But if they’re clever they can do well adding in sales of related merch. It’s a branding strategy, sure, but it’s also a way to build a more meaningful artistic experience, which in a band’s case, would be an album — and in mine, a novel.”
As a published author, Moss has experienced the challenges of the traditional publishing model. And that has inspired him to find new avenues to showcase and market his work. He says the publishing industry “tolerates the artistic ambition of the author only to the extent that it serves profit objectives.” An industry that is slowly declining is increasingly risk-averse and the biggest loser is the reader according to Moss.
Moss further explains “I’ve found myself thrust into the role of “rogue author.” “Arguing to publishers that the art form will die if not allowed to grow through new narratives forms.” “With bookstores shuttered and authors quarantined, the last thing a publisher is looking for is a new challenge. I know it was time to take matters into my own hands.”
Books and art have always co-existed in a single medium. In many writing projects, the works of an author and an illustrator come together. As a way to bring life to an adventure for the reader to experience. All while creating something that exceeds each expectation. Therefore this isn’t a new concept and in many cases, some authors create experiences with images and texts that take the readers to magical heights. In this case, however, I love Moss’s ingenuity to give his readers an experience that merges text and image, bringing us along for the journey with the character. An experience that would have possibly been lost without the images.
I was not familiar with Rick Moss as a reader and I ventured to Amazon to do my research. With the content I share here I hope to always add value to your lives in some way by providing information that is honest and authentic. And that is what lead me to read Moss’s book “Tellers.” A very unique book that provided an unusual and enjoyable experience. A good read.
As a reader, my habits have changed to adjust with the times, and sadly so have the quality I’ve come to expect from publishers. With readers drifting to other sources for entertainment so are writers. Writers are moving away from the Prestige of being published by a traditional publishing house. Many writers are going the route of indie publishing. It’s a way to be more in control of their destiny. Higher financial gains and holding the rights to their work are just two of the major benefits. Although research had shown that indie authors see little to no financial success there are many success stories.
I have not read Impossible Figures however I’m patiently awaiting my copy. In the meanwhile head over to Rick Moss’s website and support a local artist and author. You will find the website to be a refreshing experience. And don’t forget to download the author’s playlist.
I will update this article once I’ve read the Impossible Figures. Share your thoughts with me I’d like to know what you think.
Cheers to a good read