- Orbital Operations
- Never Rest, Do It Right
Never Rest, Do It Right
Orbital Operations for 26 November 2023
I’ve dabbled in self-publishing of various kinds in the past, and have been thinking about it again on and off for the last while. But I keep putting it off or getting distracted by other things. Either it’s the wrong time, or the wrong piece of work, or I tell myself I don’t have enough slack in my schedule, or whatever. End result is, I do nothing about it, and the stuff all turns to ashes in my notebook.
Musician Laura Cannell, from her newsletter:
She does do a lot. She self-releases several records a year, does gigs and podcasts and sound installations and all kinds of other stuff. And it’s all self-starting:
She operates her own small record label, Brawl Records. She puts out a fun little magazine with her sister, MARSHLORE. She’s recently made pieces recorded inside empty shipping containers and in a two-hour slot within an empty cathedral. She goes wherever the mood and the availability and opportunity move her, to make new things:
Because why not?
There’s a point here, and it’s this: waiting for permission doesn’t work. Sometimes you just have to sit down and do the thing before the idea turns to ashes inside you.
It hasn’t been this hard to draw attention to things in quite a while. But it’s still probably never been easier to get the idea out there.
Brawl Records lives on the Bandcamp service, although the very fine Bleep and a few others also carry their releases. MARSHLORE runs off BigCartel, and there are other services from Shopify to Gumroad to running it all off PayPal like wonderful Panel Syndicate.
You may not have Xitter or a non-algo IG or FB to use to tell people about your stuff effectively any more. But they’re still there, broken or not, and there are newsletters, podcasts, websites hungry for things to make clicks out of. Word of mouth is probably more important than it’s been in some time. Sometimes you just have to make the thing and put it out there to be discovered in its own time.
Something like four dozen people saw the Sex Pistols play in Manchester in 1976, but that one inspiring gig produced, from its audience, Joy Division/New Order, The Fall, The Smiths, John Cooper Clarke and Factory Records. Oh, and a band formed, after seeing the Pistols in London, to support them in Manchester - The Buzzcocks. You never know what your work will do to and for even the tiniest of audiences.
So maybe you and me just need to stop waiting for the things behind the scenes, put our arses in the chair and make stuff and release it out into the world.
Perhaps you will recognise “I simply have to do and make.” For some of it, it’s the defining compulsion of our lives.
Relatedly: Craig Mod has a new book coming out. Craig is an American author and photographer living in Japan, and has self published several beautiful volumes as well as remaining one of the long-time shining lights of the Republic of Newsletters.
You can read all about it at this link here.
He has self-published so many of these beautiful books, so successfully, that, this time, things are happening a bit differently:
Because when you put your work out into the world, over and over again, with all the love you can muster, new things can and will happen.
My name is Warren Ellis, and I’m a writer from England. These newsletters are about the work I do and the creative life I try to lead. I send them every Sunday to subscribers. Feel free to send your friends to orbitaloperations.beehiiv.com , where they can read the most recent letters and subscribe for their own.
I’m represented by Angela Cheng Caplan at the Cheng Caplan Company and David Hale Smith at Inkwell Management and Joel VanderKloot at VanderKloot Law. Please add [email protected] to your email system’s address book or contacts or move this email to primary in your inbox!
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