A Chink Of Light?

This email came in today, and I wondered if anyone might like to help answer it?

hi tom
this is probably your four hundreth request to listen my words lyrics poems this week, so hi my name’s john veasay i write poems and short stories anything really  at the moment im putting my poems etc to music samples, so i have attached some to this email. i would be pleased if you could listen to them,i know time is precious,i just would like some advice any help on how to get my work heard. thanks tom for your time, you may ask why did i email you id love to lie and say because your tom robinson but my first point of entry was i’m two years older than you so if this guy is doing it maybe be theres a glimmer of hope for me a chink of light there.
thanks tom

If you have any advice or suggestions for John, you can email him via this temporary address: johnveasay@cockerel.net. He did send me a fourth track, but it sampled “Morning Has Broken” so I can’t legally include it here for your listening pleasure. My own reply to his email is below:

Hi John

Publishing your spoken word pieces on this blog is the best and quickest way I can think of to help with your request. It may sound blindingly obvious, but if you want to get your work heard, the first thing is to put it somewhere people can hear it.

It cost nothing to set up the above Soundcloud page and took moments. The same is true of Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter and pretty much every other social networking platform. At the moment the only trace of you when googling the name “John Veasay” is this page – but at least that’s a start.

Age is no excuse. Take an independent artist like “Dogman” David Sands – he may be a middle-aged family man with grown-up children, but he’s constantly writing, recording and sharing his music with anyone who wants to listen. And a good many do: he collaborates on musical projects with other writers and musicians from all over the world.

Dave didn’t sit around wishing someone else would wave a magic wand or give him a break – he just rolled up his sleeves, learned how to network, collaborate and publish his music online – and got on with it.

Why not do the same ?


Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More...


  1. Al

    How do I get my work heard?

    Well I’d have to agree with Tom here. Sounds obvious but you have to tell as many people about your work as possible. This starts with all your friends and family. What you want is for them to like it and tell as many other people as possible and for this you need a platform from which to broadcast your voice. Aside from live which is the most direct we obviously turn to social networks here and for you I would suggest a facebook profile, facebook page and a twitter account. However a twitter account does not a PR campaign make. It is what you put on it that counts. Twitter followers and Facebook page likes are pretty honest indicators of whether people are interested in what you have to say.

    I would also run a website which publishes your work. Social networks come and go but your domain URL will stay with you forever (or as long as you pay for it). For this definitely WordPress. http://www.wordpress.org is free to use but you need to host the site yourself. http://www.wordpress.com can also be free and you don’t have to host it. Should you want a server host I use http://www.nethosted.co.uk. They’re based in the UK and are lightening fast on support.

    In addition good social tools are Soundcloud, YouTube and Mailchimp (for mailing lists)

    So you have all your ducks in a row on the presentation front. However a lot of people have a lot to say and we as listeners have less and less time to listen. Who do we trust for recommendations of what to listen to? Well other than Freshnet of course it is people we know that we trust. So when you hear ‘Social Network’ it is entirely that, a ‘social’ ‘network’. You need to be social and to participate and create small communities. Think about how you consume art and what makes you enjoy things more. It is probably like minded souls that will like your work so have a good look at your own habits.

    One thing I should also mention is tracking your progress. You need to know if what you are doing is working and for this I would suggest Google Alerts, Google Analytics, MailChimp statistics and all the indicators of follows/likes etc from social media. You will come across such words as Edgerank and other such excitements! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Optimise!

    Everything I’ve talked about above is free. Create, collaborate, communicate and work bloody hard. That tends to work.


  2. Beefcake

    Great advice… Join social networks/ get a WordPress blog. FFS

  3. Tom

    Key point is that it hasn’t occurred to John to even upload his tracks to MySpace, let alone join a modern social network. For him the key advice is a) get your work out there b) find out if people are interested in what you have to say and c) work bloody hard.

    Yes that’s stating the obvious, but most would-be songwriters spend a pathetically low number of hours a week actually writing. And if John did have a WordPress blog – packed with poems and stories going back many months – then “getting his work heard” wouldn’t be such a problem now.

  4. sylicon

    How do i send my music to u guys… Silvester a.k.a Sylicon – Hold My Hand ft. Galaxy Girl | Igbokwenu Radio http://wp.me/p1Dcys-r8

  5. Hey John, why not go along to some open mic nights or poetry slams? some of them welcome poems/stories as well as music. Even ones you might not think of eg, I go to a few singer-songwritery ones and the odd time someone has asked if they can perform a poem instead, they generally go down quite well as folk like the fact it’s something different. If there’s nothing like that in your area why not find a local cafe/pub/hall/library and organise one yourself? Maybe scary at first but it gets easier, is a great outlet for your creativity, and a way of meeting like-minded people too. I’ve met people all ages at open mics, from 16 to 60 odd and over. very best of luck with your art, jill

  6. Tom

    These are wise words: a further, more practical way of “getting on with it”. I didn’t even know about poetry slams. Thanks for this Jill… [Some of Jill’s own tunes can be heard on her website at jillhepburn.com]

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