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Boxed Sets For Authors May Be A Hard Sell

With the Holidays fast approaching, many bands and solo artists want to get their music to the masses. What better time to enjoy music than during the Holidays where one has enough time to really rediscover why he first began listening to the band’s or artist’s music in the first place.

Box sets are popular because they encompass an entire canon of the band or artist. Usually included with box sets are rare, alternate, unfinished or demo songs that were recorded in some form, but different versions made the final vinyl or digital project. Also included are pictures spanning the years from beginning to the band in its current lineup. The pictures may include handwritten lyrics on a sheet of paper or notebooks full of pages of handwritten lyrics. Also included may be pictures of members both in the studio and out or any artwork a band member may have doodled, scribbled or precisely drawn to match the mood he was in at the time. The box set also may include reflections written individually by each member or a collective written by someone to spin the band in a certain image. The point is one pays for the extra material, but it’s worth it because now one has a piece of history that he helped make by purchasing the boxed set.

With some bands, all of their songs may be re-released with a different sonic quality. I remember when the music of The Beatles was released. Early versions The White Album came with serial numbers and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came with the booklet explanation of the cover and what famous figures were left out of the final picture. At the time of Sgt. Pepper’s release, some compact disc players could be programmed to play songs in a different order — kind of like a set list. In the booklet, it was suggested to place the songs in a different order. The song order or running list was not the same as the final running list, and the reason for the new order was so one could gain a whole new experience — cheeky — maybe.

So musicians are known to do this, but how about authors?

Not really.

A reader would be lucky to get an alternate ending or a new chapter or a revamped cover. In either situation, one doesn’t get to experience how the author went from A to B. With the a band’s demo, one could hear how a section may have been left out or new lyrics added or maybe the tempo was sped up or slowed down.

Wouldn’t it be neat if one could see the manuscript that was returned to the author from the editor replete with comments and editing marks. Then one could see both the editor’s thought process as well as the writer’s thought process. One also could see what words, sentences, and paragraphs that made the final edit.

Remember the stages of the writing process — brainstorming, rough draft (sloppy copy), revision, editing, and publication. Here the only section left out is brainstorming because that happened prior to the author submitting his manuscript to his editor.

So there are some similarities, but for the most part, in my opinion, musicians have more material that may interest their listeners, so boxed sets for authors may be a hard sell.

As always, I enjoy your feedback. If you agree or disagree, then please feel free to email me your comments.

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