This weekend I began a six week arts entrepreneurship and business development course through the local arts board. As we worked on our business plans, we talked about the idea of the front and back stage of your business.
The front stage is the relationship between you and your audience. It is about figuring out who they are, what you are offering them, and how you communicate what you offer in order to sell to them.
The back stage is the guts of your business. The manufacturing, the accounting, the marketing, and the nitty gritty of producing the work. This is all inside baseball, and a part of the writing which Ang and I have actively chosen not to bother you with. In our mind, you mostly likely want to read the books Ang and I write, but you don’t really care how the books get printed and into your hand.
When I talk about Front/Back Stage, I can’t help but think of the classic scene from The Simpsons when Lisa struggles with others over her choice to be a vegetarian. After being labelled an “agitator” at school, Lisa and her class are forced to watch a film from the Meat Council on how meat gets from the ranch to her stomach.
My favourite moment is when Troy McLure shows the little boy Jimmy the killing floor. Sure enough, Jimmy emerges, shaken and traumatized by what he’s seen.
Some people like meat-but it doesn’t mean they want to see how it ends up in the grocery store.
It’s been over a year now since I started Swift, Flowing, the little company I use to help with the production, distribution, and marketing of our books. The company bears the brunt of the costs that comes with it.
Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to figure out how to keep it going. I’ve been looking at ways to lower costs, get into more stores, as well as hiring an accountant.
It’s all rather boring but it takes time and energy and is rather distracting. However, it also helps me see the possibility in this venture. It reduces the fear that I’m pursuing a crazy whim and it makes manageable because I see the the concrete numbers. It also helps to implant a vision of a reasonable, profitable career.
So, please excuse my absence as of late but know we are hard at work behind the curtain to continue writing the next adventure for Shepherd and Wolfe.