I just couldn’t do it anymore … pump out art as if it were some kind of factory-made, purely serendipitous thing. I was doing something wrong, I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it. But after the failure of my second novel in a series in which the first was an Amazon #1 bestseller, in which the book launch was no different than the launch of the bestseller, I was going to find the answer. One way or another.
I had always believed in organic reach, I’m just not sure it believed in me. Even worse, I’m not sure many people believe in it, including publishers, agents, etc. (Though I’ve heard agents speak of the whiff of a bestseller before). But without it, what is art? I’m afraid it gets reduced to a matter of opinion or luck. Is that the kind of art you want?
Organic reach exists; I recently proved it. But more on that later.
Let’s start by defining organic reach. Organic reach is the ability of a work of art to spread on its own, statistically more through word of mouth and historical endorsement than anything else. Without it, all art disappears without a legacy … and us unknown artists have to just sit back and watch a talented, informed minority bask in all the glory while we sit pale-skinned in the basement of obscurity. What do the greats know that we don’t?
Think about any work of art that you absolutely treasure. Let’s take a book, for example, since we both love them so much. Any book. Do you have one in your mind? Okay, I guarantee you that whatever book it is, either during or after its release, it was recommended via word of mouth to you, then endorsed (or will soon be) through history (re-published, given awards, talked about in other books, schools, etc.).
That is organic reach.
Okay, so we’ve recognized its existence. We’ve defined it. But I know what you’re thinking: what good is organic reach if we can’t achieve it?
Oh, my dear readers, but we can! I did recently. For the first time in my life, I created a work of art that has moved all on its own. I can’t begin to explain the excitement. Sure, I gave it a decent launch (there’s no reason to throw out your marketing principles; after all, without a good launch, who’s going to even know you’re there?). Oh, but the thrill of watching something move organically; I wish this for each and everyone one of you, no matter what your product is.
But how did I do it? Keep in mind, I didn’t create something viral, unfortunately (most disappointing for Leonard Nimoy, who, despite the decent number of views so far, I still have let down … much of this owning to the ASAP nature of a tribute, and to my own ignorance; sorry, Leonard). But I did have organic reach. (The viral phenomenon is simply organic reach taking to its full fruition).
It is possible.
I can’t tell you everything here, nor do I know everything. But I will tell you the things that I think gave my song, “Live Long and Prosper in the Sky” at least some organic reach … things that I plan to apply to my new Titanic-based book coming out probably in 2017, maybe 2016, literary gods willing.
1. I did something that was worth talking about.
2. I infused my song with deep, awe-invoking emotions that moved some people.
3. I tied my art to something important and meaningful.
4. I showed my cause in a very human, public way in my movie.
5. I provided practical value to other fans of Leonard Nimoy.
6. And I told a story … not just the embedded story of a great man, but the story of what
he was beyond just what most people know.
When I achieve my first viral work of art, I’ll write a book about it. There’s so much more to learn. But if you’re as fascinated by organic reach as I am, there are a couple of bestselling books you’ll want to start with. THE TIPPING POINT by Malcolm Gladwell and CONTAGIOUS by Jonah Berger.
Well, maybe you still don’t believe in organic reach. Perhaps you think art is no better than its advertisement. I happen to disagree. I can’t think of living in a world without some means of evaluating and perpetuating what I love, a way to not only niche myself, but to leave a legacy beyond some massive and forgotten inorganic library.