Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Marketing: Emerging Artist Tips 8.0

Continuing to respond to the series of questions I recently received from a new art school grad who needs marketing help, this Q and A or FAQ touches on a common stereotype for artists: being reclusive, quiet, socially inept, weird, anxious, reticent - you get the idea.

Part 2 of the original question: I'll go right out and say it -- I feel as if my networking skills are completely awful. I'm very shy and I feel uncomfortable approaching people, especially in business situations. I'm at a dramatic disadvantage here. I need to work on this. Overcoming these fears is the area where I feel I could use the most help, I think.

When I started I was very shy; in both business and social situations I was as quiet as a mouse and rarely spoke up let alone be assertive about my skills. No one knew how I was suffering, mainly because I was so quiet and shy that I never could talk about it!!

However, there was a spark inside me that pushed me, over time, to learn about and get over that fear. It took effort, practice and motivation to do this. It still pops up now and again, mainly because it's hard wired into my particular artistic temperament. However, it is VERY treatable and very common. Many people experience anxiety, but only about a third of those who do actually do anything about it.

Today, my clients, friends and family would laugh if I told them I was shy and retiring. I find that a wonderful compliment!

Right now I'm reading:

The Mindful Way through Anxiety: Break Free from Chronic Worry and Reclaim Your Life by Lizabeth Roemer andSusan M. Orsillo (Jan 18, 2011)

which yet again gives me the confidence and strength to have a great life. There are a lot of "spiritual" and "touch-feely" types of books out there, but that's not me. I'm practical and want to know how to guide myself through life.

Some more business tips:

Tad Crawford is considered a strong, artist-oriented leader for the business side of the arts. Here's a link to where you can find all sorts of his books. Back in my day, he only had this one book:

which was invaluable. It's probably dated now, but it looks like he has many other newer guides that are specific to various industries:

Another older but well-referenced book that taught me more than I'll ever appreciate:

2012 Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market [Paperback]

Mary Burzlaff Bostic

The publishers also now have a website: 

I used to buy these books every year, read the relevant parts for my field, and then make the cold calls. A huge help that motivated me as well as led me to a lot of contacts and work.

One more piece of experience:

When you make cold calls and you finally get a human, they may attempt to just push you away. If you can tell that's what's going to happen, ask them if they're not buying at the time, could they (please) recommend someone who might be? They just might give you the name of someone else in their company/ad agency, or someone outside their business that will open up a whole new set of doors. Try to get something out of every call.

Cathy, Steve and Ann
My artistic influences growing up. That's me on the left, Steve then Ann. Take careful note of the pajamas with feet; must have lost mine that day. We were trouble, with a capital "T". In the living room at our house in Naperville, Illinois. Probably planning an evil deed.

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