When I first started this creative business 101 journey, I wrote a mega outline of “things to do.” Many of the items are straightforward tasks from writing a business plan to getting my website launched. Others however, are much more general such as “marketing and promotion.” It’s easy to say that we need to promote ourselves and get our work out there…but exactly how does one go about it? It’s no surprise that these particular items on my list seem super difficult to approach. I realized that I needed to break out my bullet point of “marketing and promotion” into concrete actionable steps.

So I started to write specific action items that would result in marketing and promotion for me as an artist. I want to introduce myself to design blogs and art blogs, approaching one a week sounds pretty doable. I also have the goal of being published in art magazines, so I decided to submit my work to art calls. I actually scheduled in the due dates for the ones I’m truly interested in. So my efforts are focused on publications and blogs that I read, follow and want to be involved with…not to mention those that would fit my style of artwork. Then there’s the notion of advertising…

Suddenly, I realized I was missing an important tool…where’s my media kit? What exactly am I going to send to people? If you stop and think…just a link to your website or blog makes it extremely difficult for someone new to your work to find focus. They might want a headshot or specifically photos of your most popular or recent collection only. If you customize your materials every single time, this marketing thing is going to swallow up all your time. So it makes sense to have an official kit of materials. Photos, work to promote, blurbs about me…that kind of thing. Simply put, all the materials that might be used to promote you!

Without materials prepared, you run the risk of finding yourself scrambling for materials when there’s a deadline and possibly presenting yourself in a sloppy fashion. I actually experienced something similar in the past, when I bought advertising for my Etsy shop before having an ad. Yeah, it sounds silly but it happens. You finally get attention… but there’s nothing to back it up, so they simply move on. Urgh! What a waste!

So my actionable task item is to create a media kit…although I haven’t decided yet if I want to package it up into a formal Press Kit PDF. Either way, I need to create the parts first. With these thoughts swirling in my head, I then got an email announcing a new ebook by Tara Reed, How to Be a Press Friendly Artist. It’s funny how things seem to coincide miraculously in life. I bought it right away and have spent the last two weeks digesting the material and putting the advice to action. She also just posted on her blog about prepping your press kit.

The ebook goes into a lot of details that I am still thinking through, but it has also triggered a few overarching realizations about presenting my work and myself as an artist. First and foremost, it’s all about making it easy for people to promote you – whether it’s the official press, a fellow blogger, a magazine or an art gallery. When you make things easy for people, they are also more likely to run with it…just the honest truth. Even when I love someone to death, having to jump through lots of hoops when life is crazy busy…just turns me off and I probably won’t get to it in the end. Second realization is that you have to think of what’s of interest to your audience when promoting yourself or your product. What’s the benefit…not just what is it and what does it do. There’s usually always something cool or unique to talk about, a certain angle that makes it more interesting. Not to mean that you should be a poser, but that you have to find the gem that is already there and polish it up. I find it helps to actually ask someone else, because they usually see it differently than you do personally. I realized that my story of moving from California to Italy…really excites people! And it is true that living here in a new culture that is so drastically different from Los Angeles lifestyle…totally changed my outlook on life. My lifestyle certainly inspires my artwork…so I think I should play that up – because it’s inspiring. If I could change my life so drastically, so can you…and I honestly truly wish that we could all live blissfully. Ultimately it is a state of mind…not how many cars you have or how much money is in the bank…or where you live…all those details… anyway… I’m getting off topic now – LOL!

So as I read through the ebook, I realized there’s so much to create and writing does freak me out a bit. It also just feels weird to examine yourself and write about yourself in the third person. At times I feel like I’m tooting my own horn and wondering if I’m doing it all wrong. As with everything in life, new things are scary but we all live and learn, right? I tried to stop fussing over little details and get something done instead. I started writing a press release about my new website and along the way, created a lot of material that can be used for my bio and fact sheet as well. I set up a free newsroom with PRLog.org and put up my first press release. Whew! Less than perfect, but it’s a start and I’m happy to have taken the first step in getting myself out there. I’m learning as I go, by taking action and whether you are just starting or already a pro… there’s always something new to learn and lots of room to grow…

I’m going to take the weekend to finish compiling my bio and faq sheet, which gets me ready to introduce myself to bloggers. So I will be putting my weekly promotion tasks into action after Easter. Finally, there are the photos. I actually have some photos already, those you see in my online profiles. But they work only because they are tiny…I don’t have it for print quality  purposes. And even though I really love to take photos, self portraits have never turned out right because my face just doesn’t seem to co-operate at times (see above? that is freakish me!) 🙂 I probably should have asked my photographer friends to help me out when still living in the States! Guess, I’ll have to go at it alone with my trusty Nikon D60. Coincidentally this weekend is Easter. Which means I can kill two birds with one stone…dressing up a bit before our big family luncheon to do a fancy photoshoot for myself. Taking all the tips from the ebook with me, hopefully I’ll have at least one suitable photo next week!

Hope everyone has a lovely Easter holiday and lovely weekend in general. I hope that in sharing my experience, I can inspire others to go chase their creative dreams! It’s taken me some time to get to this point, but I’m so proud of myself for taking action and moving ahead. A little at a time…it works!