This morning I served on a panel, along with Meg Nordmann of NashvilleArts Magazine, Beth Inglish of Binglish Art, and Cathleen Windham of the Chestnut Group. My contribution mostly had to do with how to make ourselves do the necessary self promotion! Here is what I said:
The biggest problem I have had with self promotion (and I think this is true for many artists) is my own reticence. I'm a private person, my art is close to my heart, and I'm not inclined to blow my own horn.
Yet how can anyone know about our beautiful art if we don't tell them? For years, I used to go about my painting and then work myself up to a big, heart-racing, adrenaline-filled promotional effort like putting a stamp on the application to a juried show. A few weeks later the rejection notice would arrive, I would be despondent, and it would be a LONG time before I could work up the courage to do that again! I've concluded that the best way for me to deal with self-promotion is to think of it as just another chore, like mowing the lawn or cleaning the toilet, and put self-promotional chores on the calendar so they will get done regularly. Once every quarter, I send out my workshop information, since I teach on a quarterly basis. That gets sent to my snail mail and email lists, and published online on my website and Facebook. Plaza also sends it out to their mailing list. My own mailing list started with six people. Every time anyone expresses interest in my workshops, I add their name. Once a month I enter a juried exhibit (receiving the rejection slips happens about once a month too!) Once a month I spend some time researching advertising venues and working with those costs. Once a month I send out something to a magazine for free submission. Once a month I feature the work of one of my students on Facebook. Several times a week I post something on Facebook or my blog. My gallery relationships are like friendships. These are people I keep up with casually, calling on the phone, sending an email or dropping by. When I have new work, I send an email to the out of town galleries, or I bring it in to Richland. Sometimes I will have a nice bound printed book made up to send to my out of town galleries so they have something to show their clients. I'm about to expand to some more galleries, now that the recession is easing up. To do this, I will first research galleries which carry work that may be complemented by what I do, but not quite like what I do.Then I'll send some samples, either in a printed book or by email. To find new galleries will take the same kind of persistence that the other promotion takes, as most galleries will tell me they are “not taking on new artists just now.” Self promotion can be difficult for us sensetive artist types, and to grit my teeth, close my eyes and just make it a regular chore seems to work for me better than anything else I've tried. Hope this helps!