Sticky Notes - Shots fired.

Drop the Guillotine on me.


While we're three days into Don't Break The Chainit's certainly not too late for you to enroll. And, since you'll be arriving at the party a bit behind schedule, I'm gonna let you in at a prorated rate by using the discount code "tardy" at checkout. I'll explain everything in the next section. But, before we get to that, allow me to rant for a few minutes.


Let's cut the shit.

You all don't give a flying fuck about my poetry. You just care about how I've managed to sell my poetry.

While I've been denying this truth harder than a conservative Baptist Preacher denies the possibility of his college-aged kids not saving themselves for marriage... sooner or later both myself and Father John must recognize that denial isn't just a river in Egypt. 

So, this is me giving you what you want. 

Moving $35,000 worth of poetry & prose as an independent writer is harder than moving $3.5 million worth of software at a start-up.

Mark my words, if you can figure out a way to break even and maybe even earn some beer money as an independent artist, you can out-market 90% of the greasy, grinning marketing "thought-leaders" who'd push their wives into a woodchipper if it meant they could become Linkedin famous. 

(These asshats might have 50,000 connections but I'd bet my bottom dollar they haven't given their spouses an orgasm since '88 and that ain't no shit..)

Besides, the sharpest CMO I know doesn't even post on Linkedin. He's too busy marketing his goddamn company. It's a fella named Dave Peterson over at Celonis. They've valued at about $11 Billion (and that's Billion with a "B"). 

One of the best marketing hires he's made is an English gent by the name of Max Pepe who serves as the VP of Marketing & Content over there.

Several months ago Dave and I were having dinner at a steakhouse in New York called Keens. I asked him what his secret was. He pointed at Max across the table, "I hire pirates".

While Max kind of resembles a pirate, Dave was hinting at the fact that Max wasn't born a marketer nor went to school to become a marketer not constantly posts about being a marketer on Linkedin; that Max is a musician and an artist that later fell in love with marketing and, because of this, he had something the vast majority of marketers don't have: Original fucking thinking. 

All that to say, if I were building out a marketing A-team, I would ask every candidate that walked through the door the following question: "What's the most creative thing you've ever done to pay the bills?"

Then, I'd shut the fuck up. 

If I were ever asked this question, I'd explain how I've managed to move a few thousand copies of my poetry books. 

I'd tell them that I marketed One Minute, Please? by writing it in public, sharing every single piece on Instagram and that, once the book was finished, I dedicated it to the hundred or so people who rooted me on by tattooing their names to the inside of the cover. 

I'd tell them that I marketed After Her by remembering Don Draper's fictional "It's Toasted" advertisement for Lucky Strikes and that I took matches to the cover of After Her to "toast" my own literature, and then I downed four or five shots of bourbon and talked of my heartbreak in a 3-minute-long spoken word poem

I'd tell them that I marketed Guillotine with a tub of red paint, a flailing paintbrush and a miniature film documenting this entire process of "bleeding" on my covers from start to finish. 

All that to say, advertising is dancing with the devil and if you're going to sell off part of your soul to dance with the sonofabitch, don't waste the sale on pay-per-click ads, Linkedin Broety, performance marketing and inside-the-box thinking. 

If you're going to dance with the devil, be creative and have some goddamn fun while the two of you tango.

But, I digress. 

Cole Schafer.

P.S. If this newsletter made you weak in the knees, give me some love over o
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Down for a weekend writing bender?

We're three days into Don't Break The Chain and there's so much magic being slung, that it's enough to give Harry Potter a hard-on. 

The fourth lesson (and writing prompt) goes out later this afternoon and it's not too late for you to receive it. 

If you're a glutton for punishment and want to go on a full-blown caffeine-fueled writing bender over the weekend, you can enroll in Don't Break The Chain and you'll receive all previous and future issues. 

Better yet, I'm going to grant you entry at a prorated rate of $266. Just use the discount code "tardy" at checkout. 

Glad you finally showed up.
I wanted to give up last week.
I wrote this instead. 

You give it all you got.

More times than not, it won’t be enough.

When it's not, you sulk a bit.

You blot the sweat from your brow.

You knock the dust from your trousers.

You wipe the blood from your nose.

You lick your wounds like a dog not yet dead.

You pour yourself a glass of something strong.

You get yourself some dinner.

It never tastes as good as the days you’ve won.

But, that’s to be expected.

You get yourself some rest.

You shut your eyes.

You wake up the next day.

You give it all you got, again.

Not because you think you’ll win.

More times than not, you know you won’t.

You give it all you got, again…

Because this is all you know.

Tattoo it.
Wow. Wow. Wow. Let's not confuse "content" with "art". 

There’s a fundamental difference between “content” and “art”.

“Art” is a visual, audible or written form of expression that is created for its own sake.

“Content” is the creation of a material with the very specific intention of promoting a brand.

Frank Ocean is an artist.

Gary Vaynerchuk is a content creator.

Neil Gaiman is an artist.

James Clear is a content creator.

While there’s nothing at all wrong with making a living creating “content”, where it gets messy is when one says they are an “artist” but is actually a “content creator” and vice versa.

The reason being is because “content” and “art” must be measured in different ways.

If “content” is created with the intention of promoting a brand or driving attention to the creator, then we must judge it solely on its success in promoting and driving attention.

If “art” is created with the intention of expressing oneself through a visual, audible or written medium, then we must judge it solely on its success in leaving us feeling expressed.

Where I’ve gotten in trouble in the past is creating “art” and measuring it the same way I would measure “content”; and creating “content” and pretentiously calling it “art”.

They’re different and we must treat them as such.

You're no Monet, buddy.

P.s. Once again, if something I ever write resonates with you, please share it via the icons down below and encourage others to subscribe here

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