If you intend to remain in this art game for a long time, you have to be disciplined. You’re not only an artist, you’re a businessperson. You have to be devoted to both creating your art with tremendous passion and to promoting it with equal enthusiasm.
You must make self-promotion a part of your routine.
If art is your career, you don’t have promotional “campaigns” that can be marked by a beginning and an end. Rather, you have promotional habits and promotional practices. Promoting your art means time away from your art and things you might enjoy more. But no one–least of all successful artists–ever said being an artist was easy.
How much time should you devote to promoting your art? It depends. It depends on how much time you have for your art career. First, the art has to be the #1 priority. Then, with a strong commitment to building a reputation as a fine artist, you have to put yourself out there. And you have to do it frequently.
To what extent will you use regular mail? How many postcards will go out each year? Paper newsletters? Gallery submissions? When is the last time you sent a handwritten note in the mail that said “Thank you” or “It was nice to meet you” ?
What is the breakdown of email messages you send to your contact list? How often will you send out email newsletters? Short blasts? Save-the-date announcements?
Are you attending art openings, artist meetings, and networking events? Do you go to artist lectures and workshops? Are the right people seeing you as an active member of the artists’ community?
Do you have a holiday greeting planned for your contact list? It doesn’t have to be Christmas or Hanukkah. Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner!
Finally, are you adding names and addresses to your mailing list as you come across them or are you waiting until the last minute–until you have many other things that demand your attention? The need to promote your art consistently is good enough reason to maintain your contact list–to keep it continually updated so that it’s at the ready. Everything must be in place when you need it. And you never know when you’re going to need it.
Related: For help with routines and your mailing list, check out the Get Organized class that begins this week.
KNOW THIS———-~> Self-promotion is not a campaign. It’s part of your career.
THINK ABOUT THIS—~> Recall five people you’ve come across in the last month that should be on your mailing list.
DO THIS————~> Promote your art consistently. Create a routine that encompasses the various types of self-promotion and includes online, in-person, and printed components. If you have a certain amount of time for your art each week, figure out a hefty percentage (40-50%) that will be reserved for your promotional efforts. If you think that’s a lot, you need to be aware that some advisors recommend about 70-80% of time be spent on marketing in the first three years of a business.
Tell us about your self-promotion routine (and the struggles you have maintaining it) and listen to the podcast on the Art Biz Blog.