We had a great time in Red River this weekend for the first annual Red River Songwriters’ Summer Camp. We had 17 brave campers (no tents, real beds…for the creative spirit) and 7 teachers (that is a good ratio, right?). I got to nerd out on social media and talk to a bunch of folks about how to not be afraid of the social part of social media. I made a lot of notes:

Workshop - Red River, NM

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Me trying to be teacherly.

We had class in the bar at the Motherlode Saloon – we joked that you can learn all day and forget it that night all in the same room.

Workshop - Red River, NM

We apparently exhausted our campers (in a good way). As one of them put it, my 90 minute session was a “firehose of information.” I think that’s a good thing.

Workshop - Red River, NM

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Brandy, Kelley, and moi learning while Susan talks.

Head over to our Facebook page to get updates on dates for next year!

Flood Relief

30 May
2015

It’s been an intense week in Central Texas…if you’ve watched the news you know. I’ll spare the recap because it’s available elsewhere. HOW TO HELP.

Tonight we are doing a benefit to help out, because musicians gonna music and we give back when we can.

Wimberley

It’s amazing to see all the people who live here rally together in a time like this…puts a little plus mark in the “hope” column for the human race.

San Marcos
Fundraiser Shirt Design by Tour San Marcos, Texas

I’ll Be Kindled

18 May
2015

I am pleased to announce that my eBook “Money & Heart” is available exclusively on Kindle for a limited time promotion…and it’s heavily discounted! That’s how you roll on Amazon and I’m just happy to be in the massive behemoth of a store and available on your iPad or Fire or Galaxy or giant face phone or whatever you have.

Get it here.

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I am also offering a new service on Social Thinkery called “Pick My Brain.” You get my brain for a long chat AND you get some follow up notes from me after out meeting. This is exciting, and if you feel like you’re sitting on a big pile of potential (that’s you) but you’re not sure on your next step…I can help with that. If you just need some clarity on your web presence or social media strategy, I can help with that, too. Stuck on how to book better and more gigs? Guess what? Yeah! Click here to pick it.

Los Angeles Recap

3 May
2015

I had a really great time in Los Angeles…learned a lot about the city, played some music, heard lots more music, and met some really awesome folks! Grandmaster tour leader and connector of all things LA, Toni Koch from The Talent Tree Presents, was my hostess and chauffeur. I played an open mic at Kulak’s Woodshed on Monday night and met Kerrie Garside, a lovely and talented Australian songwriter in L.A. for the month. Jimi Yamagishi from SongNet loaned me a guitar for my stay because flying with guitars is, still in this advanced age of 2015, not very advisable. Yay Jimi!

The next night we played the Talent Tree night at 55 Degree Wine, and Kerrie and I had a great time joined by Teresa Crespo Hartendorp. Great venue and nice folks!

Wednesday I got to EAT LUNCH IN BEVERLY HILLS, Y’ALL (and take a bathroom selfie) at an AIMP luncheon about music in video games. Networking…it’s how we do.

I also got to have a chat with Kyler England, a songwriter I have been a fan of for a while and who is just…really amazing. It’s great when people let you pick their brains. I promise to only always pick brains for good, not for evil. (That sounds like a zombie thing). Anyway, listen to Kyler here.

Overall, great connections were made and I can’t wait to go back!

Mary Chapin Carpenter

15 Apr
2015

We all know where I stand on the topic of Mary Chapin Carpenter. She’s only one of the greatest American songwriters ever. I am fortunate sometimes when the Greatest comes to my neighborhood, and I get to see a show! My friend Heidi rolled into town from California – we’ve seen about 45 million MCC shows together (or like…8? A lot), and we road tripped down to Galveston for a night at The Grand Opera House. Amazing space, and it’s survived a couple of hurricanes.

I was scared to take photos because I don’t like getting kicked out of things I paid to see, but I did snag a set list.

Then, in a ridiculous twist of fate…MCC played 20 minutes from my house, but I could not go that night because I had a gig. A really cool gig…my friend Noelle Hampton and I organized a night called Popped! A Folk Tribute to Pop Music. We asked all our friends to come play one song each, and we gave all the money to Austin Pets Alive…it was pretty epic. Look at THIS set list:

We raised $1300! Here’s Noelle and Emily being awesome on a Hall & Oates cover:

Then Heidi and I took off to Oklahoma City because through some insane miracle of the internet (and the fact that I am always on it), I got front row seats for this show. See?

I had never sat that close before – I was studying, literally, at the feet of my hero. I got to see all the cool guitar stuff and that was worth the ticket price alone. Another crazy great show complete with a Q&A in which I asked what book MCC was reading. She replied with this suggestion, and I suggest you take it.

Then it was back to real life for about 2 says…then on to Los Angeles! That’s the next post.

A New Tattoo

11 Apr
2015

I’ve had this idea for several years now (because that’s my rule with a tattoo) and I finally had it come to fruition. I like seeing my New Mexico state outline and Zia sun on my arm when I play guitar, and so I thought…why not add a little more of home to the mix? The thing you think about when you think about New Mexico is adobe and blue sky. We’re really good at that. I wanted to have a little bit transferred to my arm, so even when I’m walking around big scary Los Angeles, I know where I come from.

I knew the color work had to be stunning to pull this off, since we’re dealing with two main colors and one is similar to my skin tone. After hunting for months, I finally found Zulu. Interestingly, he is based in L.A. but is moving his business to Austin, so he spends a lot of time here now. His portfolio is amazing, and I knew he was The Dude. (Also, his life story is fascinating…read this NPR article about him!)

I took my friend Katie along for moral support and documentation, and it took about 2.5 hours from start to finish.

The outline and placement test:

Zulu used a few photos I had taken but adapted the buildings into something that doesn’t exist in real life, so I didn’t get an actual landmark tattooed on my arm.

The finished work:

The artist and the recipient!

Well, on Monday…that’s when I actually leave on a jet plane. This happens Tuesday! I hope to meet everyone in Los Angeles. All 64 billion of you (rough estimate).

Hey folks! I have been working on this project for…um…a while. It’s hard to press “launch” on a thing sometimes. I wrote this book because oftentimes on the road people will ask, “I like what you do for Susan Gibson…how do you do it?” It would take a LOT of explaining, like a whole lot. Like’s a book’s worth. So here we go!

BUY THE EBOOK HERE. (That’s called direct marketing).

“Money & Heart” – named after my folk-rap – covers a lot of topics. The importance of a great online presence for artists, booking, touring, social media, handling it all while STILL being an artist, publicity, and whatever else came out of my head. I intend for it to be a good guide for the beginner and a great check in for people who have been doing the musician thing a while.

Check it out
or send it to your musician friends and loved ones. It’s discounted right now, because I like discounts. Eventually I will like full-priced things, so um…get on it. (Direct marketing again!).

Thanks to Susan Gibson for listening to the drafts in the van for the last year and for helping me launch it, and to Carrie Ann and my mom for proofreading it with their smart eyes.

SXSW 2015 Quotes

22 Mar
2015

I love learning, and I feel so lucky to be able to immerse myself in it for 5 days at SXSW Interactive. Overall, I left with my brain buzzing and awake, which is exactly what I was hoping to accomplish. Yes, the tech part is just as full of people hoping to land a big gig as the music part, but being around 30,000 having ideas and DOING STUFF cannot help but rub off on me. Here are some good quotes I wrote down through my week at SXSW Interactive. (Most of these were scrawled during panels and I don’t always attribute when I’m scrawling, so…no attribution sometimes).

“Stop trying to be amazing.” – Oracle panelist quoting Jay Baer on content. Amazing is not scalable and repeatable. Useful is.

“The most important context is the context you don’t have.” – what is keeping your potential clients from finding you? Figure that out.

“Ambivalence and ambiguity can sharpen communication.”Paola Antonelli keynote

“I stop shooting when I am no longer getting deeper, I am just getting more.” Filmmaker Jay Oppenheimer

“Taste is globalizing and homogenizing.” – Todd Yellin from Netflix. There’s no predicting what people will watch as a generalization. We’re all snowflakes!

“Emotional connection is the new definition of quality.” – Cubby Graham from Charity Water. If a 2 minute Youtube video hits you harder than a 2 hour movie, well…welcome to 2015.

“The future of marketing is philanthropy.”


“Work on the women first, then the business.”
Princess Reema on bringing women into the workforce in the Middle East.

“Mastery is not about the arriving, it’s about the reach.”Sarah Lewis

“63% of consumers trust user generated content over brand generated content.”
– Let your customer base evangelize.

“The internet is written in pen, not pencil.”Lizzie Velasquez

“We on one hand like to be autonomous but we also like to be connected.” – Martine Rothblatt

“GIFs are the headlines of video.”
Short form content rules.

“Tech advancement does not decrease the number of jobs, it dislocates them.”
U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith

“To say women should have equal pay shouldn’t make you a feminist, it should make you normal.”Gina Prince-Bythewood (director)

“I love playing the worst idiot I can think of.”Amy Schumer

“We are living in a content blizzard.”Hugh Mcleod

“Tell your story more succinctly, and tell it native to each platform.” – Pete Cashmore, Mashable

SXSW 2015 Day 5

21 Mar
2015

Apparently I had to take a bit of a break to work up the energy to blog the last day of SXSW, but I am a completist so no fear, fellow completists.

Day 5 had downtown Austin threatening rain but mostly just a lot of humidity. The routine is to park, walk across the river, stop at the Radisson for coffee, and rule the world. The last day was no different, and my SXSW buddy Chad and I met for one last Starbucks chat.

First panel up was L+3: Social TV Matters. Panelists were from Tumblr, Comedy Central, and NBC Late Night. L+3 is TV industry lingo for “Live Plus 3 Days,” meaning TV viewership is not measured by people watching the shows, it’s measured by who sees the ads. So watching a show within 3 days of airing (say you recorded it for later) still gives the ads their impact. Anything after that and the advertising is viewed as ineffective. Social media has obviously changed how people interact during shows, and things like Tumblr, where TV can live and GIFed for eternity, change this a bit to an L+365 equation. Fans become content creators, and shows are learning to re-purpose that UGC (user generated content!) to promote the show. Metrics are now long term instead of 3 days out. Comedy Central’s main platform is Tumblr now. Fascinating stuff.

Up next: New Ways for Artists to Make Money. Panelists were from Pandora and Jukely, a concert streaming subscription service. Basically…artists need to put aside that whole “streaming pays not much” thing and find things that actually generate revenue. I tend to agree. At some point, even if you think it’s not cool, you have to accept what the standard is and MAKE SOME LEMONADE. Do things like sell unique items in your store, embrace online shows, all of that stuff. There is money in music, and the smart artists will tap their community the right way so it’s an even exchange.

Lastly, we gathered in the giant Exhibit Hall 5 where the put the Big Deals and Pete Cashmore from Mashable was supposed to talk about “What’s Next in Tech?” except he most talked about…Mashable. At that point I was donezo and left happy but full of buzzwords. We all probably now have a “multiplatform content marketing tool that accesses communities and leverages big data to foster authenticity and actionable insights.” Yep.

A quote-fest is coming up next…stay tuned!

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