Yeah, we know we suck!
How many times have you decided to get serious about marketing and selling your art only to become quickly confused by all of the conflicting information out there? Everywhere you go online these days there are books, websites, videos, forums, and webinars all telling you what you should and should not be doing (not to mention all of the well-meaning but questionable advice from your friends and family). So how do you know who or what to listen to without getting completely overwhelmed by the fifty-three things you should be doing right now instead of reading another stupid blog article about getting off your butt and doing something (wait, don’t leave yet!)
It was bad enough ten years ago to be a poor starving artist, but at least back then you didn’t have to read everyday about the mom from North Dakota making $1,000 a week selling ceramic cows on eBay. In fact, you can’t open a magazine or newspaper anymore without reading about some fifteen year-old artist who’s making a fortune from their photography or their jewelry designs online, but for whatever reason you can’t seem to sell a twenty dollar necklace on Etsy.
Why does it seem sometimes that every other artist in the world has discovered this secret magic formula for making money with their art online without spending their entire day . . . selling their art? Why can’t someone just tell us what we really need to know without trying to sell us a bunch of crap we don’t need?
We know what you’re going through.
We know what it’s like to work like hell trying to become the best artist we can be and still have virtually nothing to show for it. This is one of the reasons that we came up with the idea of creating a website like Skinny Artist in the first place. We know what a struggle it is to get your work noticed among the ten thousand other Etsy sellers out there. We know what it’s like to put your music out there online and not have more than a handful of people show up and download your songs even when they are FREE!
I know because I’ve personally written dozens of stories, articles, novels, picture books that nobody wants to publish. One of our other fellow Skinny Artists Dax Stevens (who has somehow yet to post a thing here at SA) is a guitarist who has written and recorded a ton of really good music that for whatever reason no record company wants to put out. Elise is a painter who has basically stopped painting because she had to recently get a second job to support herself and she just can’t seem to sell enough of her work to pay for her supplies.
Our point here is — you’re not alone.
Now of course at some point you have to ask yourself — believe me, we have — if this is because we all completely suck as artists or is it because we just don’t know how to effectively market ourselves. This remains to be seen, but one way or another, we plan to find out. As we’ve said before, we’re not proclaiming ourselves to be experts or pretending to be wealthy and successful artists who can show (or sell) you the promised land. If that was the case, we probably would have called this site “Fat and Wealthy Artists” instead.
If you guys suck so bad, why should I listen to what you have to say?
The answer, of course, is you shouldn’t. In fact we don’t want you to listen to us, we want you to share your experiences with us. Look, I’ve already spent far too many years already listening to myself talk. I don’t want to listen to more of me, instead I want to hear what you have to say. In fact, one of our goals here is to create an online community of struggling artists here who can help each other out, and who knows, maybe together we can figure something out.
Here are a few of the questions that we are going to explore in the upcoming weeks. . .
What do we really need to know to start marketing ourselves as artists online?
Where’s the best place to get started?
What are my options and how much is all of this going to cost?
Where am I going to find the time to do all of this stuff?
If there are any other topics or questions that you would like us to address in this continuing series, please send them to us or better yet, we would love to have you introduce yourself and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Photo courtesy of Fran Flores
About the Author
Writer, teacher, and head custodian of the Skinny Artist community. His book "Getting Creative: Developing Creative Habits that Work" is all about finding the time (and energy) to live a more creative life.