Too Many Artists are (Still) Not Promoting Themselves

This post was inspired by a post about a video series I worked on. For that project, I promoted six local poets and was shocked to see how few of them had any kind of online presence to go with the videos.

Unfortunately, artists of all types have a real problem promoting their own work. I talk to a lot of different artist as part of my work with Another Passion, but even as a kid, I saw the same pattern with my dad and some of his artist pals. There seems to be a mental block, preventing many creatives from promoting their work, or thinking of it as a product to sell.

With all the tools available online, there really is no excuse for not using at least one of them to get more eyeballs on your work.

Some turn up their noses at self promotion, claiming that a real artist won’t need to sell themselves because quality work will attract attention automagically. Nothing could be more wrong. No one is going to “discover” you, unless you put yourself out there to be discovered.

Then there are those who are simply overwhelmed, not knowing where to begin. That I can at least understand. The options are many and you can spend all your time fiddling here and there, not really accomplishing anything. Or you can lose yourself reading books, posts and articles, trying to figure out whether it’s better to take up tweeting or blogging, videos or podcasting, Google+ or Facebook — if you even get that far.

The answer is simple: pick something that suits your personality, stop procrastinating and use it! The thing is, they are all good tools if you use them consistently and well.

Choosing the right tools is a personal matter more than anything else. If you hate being in front of a camera, YouTube is not for you. If you are dyslexic, perhaps talking is better than writing. The point is, there are options for everyone.

Being overwhelmed by the choices is a matter of eliminating the ones you don’t like and making an executive decision. With a day of research, anyone can learn the differences between the available tools and decide on one or two to go with. Learn the ins and out of your chosen tools, the basics first, the details can come as you go. With someone guiding you, you can get started within a day.

You have to see self-promotion as part of the creation process, just like putting the milk back in the fridge is part of eating a bowl of corn flakes. It’s not the most fun part, but it’s necessary. It should never be an afterthought, or something you’ll do when you get around to it, maybe next weekend or when the kids are asleep. If you leave the milk out all day, chances are you’ll be eating dry cereal tomorrow morning.

It pains me to see so much wasted talent, so I have started taking on artists who need a helping hand. Right now, I’m helping my neighbor who’s a working musician with a degree, massive skills and a great personality. He is not computer illiterate either, just overwhelmed and somewhat easily distracted. I’m giving him weekly assignments along with encouragement to explore further. You can follow his efforts here.

I very much enjoy coaching artists, helping them build confidence, aim higher and get a wider reach. If you’re an artist struggling with self promotion, you are welcome to contact me.

3 Replies to “Too Many Artists are (Still) Not Promoting Themselves”

  1. I have to admit that I am one of those who are way behind, when it comes to promoting myself on the net. Not because I think my work will sell by itself, or because I think it’s somehow below me or to prostitute myself by trying to promote my work. I always thought the internet is maybe the most important invention since the wheel. Nothing has speed up the possibilities of communications like that, and that has left me among those who has been intimidated and overwhelmed by the seemingly endless ways of going about it. I have had help getting started a few times, but I never really understood how things actually worked, and I was afraid of screwing things up when trying to do stuff. Well now I’m not that intimidated anymore, I think I’m ready to go for it this time. This time I will do it all myself ( Oh yeah, I will still need some help), so that I understand what is going on, and I will be able to do all the steps without having to call for help, first I get going.
    I’ve been looking around on other peoples sites, not only looking at the structure or looks of the site, but also the stuff that irritates me ( like when you are trying to see the bigger version of a stamp sized picture, you get a matchbox sized pic instead). I think if it irritates me, it properly doesn’t sit well with the rest of the world either, so I will avoid those kind of things. There is plenty for me to learn still. Knowing how to go about it was always my biggest problem, but now with all them templates out there, it’s just to choose and throw your stuff in there, at least in principle.
    So I must conclude, that us that have been a little slow to get on the net, is running out of excuses for not being out there. If you want the word out, don’t sit on it!!

  2. As I see it, your problem is two-fold. First, you usually approach things with an I’ll-figure-it-out-as-I-go approach. That doesn’t always work for learning how to use a web tool, so things don’t work right, you get overwhelmed and give up. The second part is prioritizing promotion and making it part of the creative process.

    Read a tutorial, watch a video or two, take notes if it helps you remember – just to learn the basics before you start. The blunt version: Don’t half-ass it. The Yoda version: Do or do not, there is no try.

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