The world of professional art can be a cold shoulder on a winter's night. After we pour our life itself into our latest creation, it can sometimes feel like our project has become one of those aliens in Toy Story, rammed together in a lucky dip machine. We know it's worthwhile, we know what we're doing is good work and yet we are left to our own devices when it comes to putting it on the shelves.
With any kind of end product, promotion is paramount to even having it heard about. In this world of glossy magazines and shouty television marketeers, a humble work of art can be misconceived as a pamphlet, propaganda or some other time wasting piece of nonsense that we don't really need. And this, ladies and gentleman, is a real shame. Those of us who are generally awake half of the time notice bits and bobs around us that are inspiring and we make an effort to follow them through. We notice nuggets of wisdom and we pick them up along the way. This is how anyone gets anywhere, by making use of and remaining focused on what is directly around them. Speculations of 'over the hill' are not going to provide provable information for anyone.
On the ladder to personal success (what ever your goals may be), the rungs are in random order. No path is the same as another as we are all on our own unique journeys. I won't profess to have a miracle method that you all must follow in order to get somewhere with life but if you're an artist and you want to get your work onto a new level, another rung on your own slippery ladder to the top of the mountain, then here are some suggestions you may wish to follow. These are in no particular order!
Self Publishing Online
More and more writers and artists are using online publishing tools to get their work into major channels. By producing a document at home on the computer, comprised of images, words, or a mixture of the two, artists can put their hard work into print and have it purchased anywhere in the world. The revenues are fair and for the most, works are manufactured on a print to order basis so there's no concern about wasting trees. Blurb are a great company with many ways of helping authors and aspiring writers alike to put their work on the shelf without having to brown nose their way into mainstream publishing. Everything is done for you apart from the art, and if you want more control, you've got it. With free ISBNs and direct access to major book stores, it's a one way ticket to authorship. Many photographers and artists have images uploaded to their social networks. Blurb understand this and so have integrated a Facebook and Instagram photo book making tool on their site, making it easy to move images across and have them printed professionally in perfect bound books. Of course, it doesn't have to be art. Many people use Blurb to make a keepsake book of memories, like travel, wedding or baby photos.
Get A Free Blog
Many websites offer free blog hosting and yet I continually find Weebly to be the best. Their platform is simple, streamlined, mobile friendly and allows bloggers total freedom. There are no upload limits to posts, pictures or anything even with the free plan. When customers commit to a professional site, they're given a free domain name for a year of their choosing, web commerce, extra support and a lot more bandwidth. It's really worth taking some time to see what this powerful web designing site can offer. It doesn't just stop at blogging, their pages are fully customisable and the platform speaks the majority of international languages so it's not just reserved for English speakers. Some of us don't need a wizard website for making a website, and a domain name will do. 1-2-3 Reg will do a great deal on any kind of website domain.
Invest in Better Tools
A good tradesman never blames their tools (in public). We all know a cheap tool or piece of equipment is about as good for a career as a natural fur coat yet sometimes, its not that our tools are bad but they could be better. To run with the fastest horses, we need a good horse. It's that simple. So try to find the best deals for the best stuff that is available at the time. CreateforLess will help artists in the USA get the proper stuff while saving them money. For UK artists, GreatArt is one of the places to go to get any kind of artist material or range of stock. Cameras and peripherals are probably the one thing that quality makes the most difference with. The image capture and quality is instantly recognisable by anyone with an eye for photography. Investing in proper lenses and devices is seriously important. On the other side of the equation, many creatives are now finding uses for the so called 'flaws' of older technology. Utilising them to produce unique and inspiring images, quality vintage cameras are still worth the effort. For artists who use Windows software, try going straight to the source, and for the professional edge on creative software, try Sony. And then of course, not to forget them, musicians. Hyson Music specialise in quality instruments and first time customers get 10% off with the code: CJAF2016FTC
Educate Yourself at Home
The internet is jam packed with self help educational resources. Sometimes, it's hard to tell which is helpful information and which is just grooming the reader into sharing the page. It's therefore sometimes wiser to go where the professionals are. Learn and Master for example are one company that specialise in empowering artists with real life applicable wisdom, focusing on music, that actually benefits them. They're very generous and provide excellent skills based courses for extremely low costs which are designed and administered by people with professional experience, qualifications and care for artists. Shaw Academy also offer many skills courses, particularly for those of us who work with computers and run small businesses.
List Yourself on Databases
If you have a skill and you want people to know about it, then putting your name down on the list is the first step to getting seen. Make an appointment with your next client, sign up to client databases so that employers can find you in the first place! It may feel like your twitter page is doing well but even with thousands of contacts, it's unlikely the right person will find you. Sign up and sell yourself all over the web. Whether it's fashion, advertising, PR, music or something else entirely, Creative Jobs Central is a great place to start. Fivrr is a database of skilled individuals who sell small services for £5 (or $5 etc.) and it's a wonderful way to get talents on the market, and also locate them. Many people sell multiple rounds of the same service there, to fulfil a larger request so sell your segments carefully, bearing this in mind. I suppose the ultimate goal for any entrepreneurship is to become a proper company, where the work is making real profits and requires extra legislation to protect the artist's interests. If you feel you're ready, or will be at some point, take a look here.
Monetise Your Website
So you're already online and you get hits, people like what you do but the product sales don't match up to the hard work you're putting in. Welcome to the world of being an artist! Unless you're popular, well known and also have a large following then it will be an uphill struggle to sell single units let alone thousands. Fear not, it's the same for all of us. Persevere and always relearn your basics then your art will take off in the end. It may not be the next world wide phenomenon however with hard work, continual self criticism and confidence to carry on, art will get noticed. In the mean time, art can be used to attract attention to things that people want. If your fans look at your work and they tend to drink tea, then why not sell tea by your work? You don't even have to be a tea shop, just link to one. To get in touch with companies who want to pay artists for shared websales via simple links, sign up for free with Rakuten
Tell The Media
Sometimes, a letter or two from an individual will get read and followed up on, artists get lucky all the time, but also it's wise to remember there are services out there to help. With a bit of funding, a project can reach levels that shoe string work just wont touch without divine intervention. To get the best in current and up to date media attention for art, press release and SEO services are a must.