Rockfolk & Businessfolk

October 21, 2008

Paraphrasing a recent conversation about publishing, I often find it helpful to think about independent publishing in terms of “rockfolk” and “businessfolk.” Individual publishers don’t always fall cleanly into one of these categories — Luke, for example, seems to be both — so it’s really a question of priorities.

Folks who approach independent publishing like a business, making deals based on sales, the market, profits and losses, have a pretty different perspective than folks who approach publishing as if they were members of a rock band. While rockfolk keep an eye on the money, for sure, their primary motivations are pretty different: creating an experience or connection with their audience, expressing something, sticking it to The Man, rocking the fuck out, etc. Businessfolk, in all likelihood, care about those things too, so it’s about emphasis, along a continuum.

Me, I’m pretty firmly in the rockfolk side of things and, as I basically said a couple of posts back, I’m interested in working with other rockfolk on the creative side of things, but when it comes to business, I only want to work with businessfolk, assuming I even get involved in business at all. One moody artist prone to dramatic decisions is enough, thanks, when money and creative rights are on the line. That’s why collaborative projects like Push or Secret Wars have to be purely creative, non-business-related exercises. But, if I eventually have something I want to sell, I’m going to shop it around to people who are more businessfolk-y, like Justin or Fred or Chris Pramas, someone who gets excited about dealing with markets and sales.

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