Tuesday, February 15, 2000

An open letter to Jeri Goldstein, author of "Be Your Own Booking Agent and Save Thousands of Dollars"

Dear Jeri, your book has been a real eye-opener and has inspired me to start tracking my own progress in the music business. Maybe it will help me deal with the obstacles and opportunities that present themselves. In the past, I've often confronted the obstacles and bypassed the opportunities instead of doing it the other way round! I am forwarding copies of Downtown Jazz and Maple Blues with reviews of your new book Thanks very much for all that information - the "hot tips" are especially relevant. I plan to offer a few tips of my own (for what they're worth).
I've been advised (by this mysterious tall guy) that I should de-lurk and get some "profile" so I'm starting now by posting this message and maybe I'm over-reacting but from now on, I'll be chronicling all my performing-career foibles and triumphs on this website. My life is an open book - "Colorblind Brian's Toronto Blues Diary" and it will feature my (mis)adventures on the music scene along with some occasional useful information.

Here's my occasional useful information on promo photos, the topic of the last few days:
How many times will a photo be used in the same publication? Usually, once. (keep fresh photos coming or consider two 5x7 poses on the same 8x10)
What's the difference between a good photo and a great photo? A good photo gets printed in the magazine. A great photo gets the cover. (a dark, moody art photo gets diddly)
Is there an easy way to provide a reproducible photo on my website? One quick and dirty way is to create an oversize version of it (ex: 10 inches wide at 72 dpi) on a separate page and create a link with some instruction like "click here to view/save a larger version." Once downloaded, the photo can be reduced in size which will increase the resolution proportionally (5 inches would be 144 dpi, 2.5 inches would be 288 dpi, etc.) and it may be suitable for some (but not all) publications.
Is there any acceptable substitute for a traditional glossy? Not really. Laserprinted photos and pseudo-glossies (photos printed on photo paper but with a fine screen of tiny dots) do not scan well. The newer high-quality ink-jet photo prints are pretty damn close to the real deal but I'm a little gun-shy ever since I used one of those, only to have it looking awful because the ink I thought was black was actually blue - and blue doesn't register when the printer is making his plates (they don't call me 'colorblind' for nothing!)

Now that I'm de-lurked, let me tell you a bit more about myself: Besides my publishing life, I am also a songwriter/performer working mostly on the blues scene, though I just got this fabulous little Guild acoustic and have been doing more folky/solo/duo gigs. My roots are actually in folk music and I made my first recording in 1963 with a folk trio that included Allan Fraser (of Fraser & DeBolt - whom I later played with and produced). I also played bass and toured with two early Canadian folksters, Dave Nicol and Tom Kelly, in the 70s (anybody know whatever happened to those guys?)