New Services and Ways to get the Word out.

Being an independent Artist is a challenge. The big question is always where or how do you sell your work.  The Gallery has the same challenges.  I noticed a friend trying a new service, Thumbtack,  that just happened to be one I heard someone mention reading about. Is this the new “big” thing, or is it just another want to be.  I guess you never really know until you try, so I added a listing for Custom Art and Design Work on the Thumbtack service.

I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Speaking of trying new things, I have been having fun playing with a new online drawing progam on DeviantArt 

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Making a Buck or Making a Book.

Yesterday I was looking into some course being offered through one of the local colleges.  I live in New England so within a 30 minute drive of me, I can think of 10 right off the top of my head, and I know there are more.  What got me was the number of classes that were “selling a dream.” How to market yourself using social media, Your own craft business, and my favorite, Publish your book, guaranteed. I can take each of these community education classes for just under $50.00 each, plus fees and materials.

I so I looked further for classes.  I found someone else who was teaching a How to Get Published, who listed themselves as an Author and Publisher.  They had published a spiral bound 15 page book.  I was not impressed.

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My daughter’s school started a literary magazine. Over the course of a year the kids learned how to put out a call for submissions. Review the submissions for content. Make the editorial choice of which content went into the book.  The difficult process of editing and layout.  I was amazed at the seriousness with which the kids considered issues such as font,  the negative space on a page, how each piece would look individually as well as in the book as a whole.

The font discussion  took an hour. They considered the author’s choice on the submissions, the visual impact of fonts.  How legible various fonts were at what type size. How each font would impact the negative space on the pages.  

 

Amazon.com has this neat feature that lets you take a sneak peek into the books they offer for sale.  These sneak peeks let me know that a lot of the authors telling you how to self publish need to go back and take a few courses themselves.  I do not hide the face that I want to be an author. At the top of my blog there is a tag line “Rennata Tropeano- Artist, writer and designer” that tells the world what I do.  I do not mean this to be a slam against self publishing, but rather a warning about those who are more interested in making a buck, than a book. 

It is also why prefer to use the term coined by Author Bob Vardeman while in discussion with Author Mike A. Stackpole, Vertically Integrated Publishing. Both of these men are authors with impressive records, both have freely given of their time to discuss their thoughts are views on writing.  I have also attended classes by Mike A Stackpole and highly recommend them. This is not say that they are opposed to making a buck, I certainly have sent a few of mine their way, but they are selling content and entertainment, not taking advantage of my dream.

Building a Business

Untitled My last couple of posts have been sparse.  The lack of any immediate creative result to show left me a little less than inspired.

I feel caught in a conflicting set of expectations. In the business world there is an expectation that artists are a bit flaky, not practical and temperamental.  I can certainly list any number of artists who have created this image.  Yet at the same time, there is the starving artist expectation, that it is somehow important to suffer for your art.  I find that there is this subtle snobbery in the art world, the I create art for the sake of art and you just want to sell it.

Yes, I want to be able to sell my creations.  I am too fond of eating to be a starving artist.  This does not change the fact that I still create art for the sake of art, but that is not all I do.

Author Michael A. Stackpole, had a wonderful post on his blog  called What’s Next.  It touches on the “popular image of writers is that we’re urbane and live lives of leisure; but really we’re word-farmers.”    It rang very true, and clarified the stumbling block that I had come across.  Michael’s blog  is a must read for any aspiring writers, and is full of practical advise to anyone who is creating and marketing there work.

It dawned on me that I was spending a lot of time thinking about how to get people to make the jumps from by blog  to my online art gallery to where my work was actually for sale.   I have been participating in a number of discussions on the subject of  “Vertically Integrated Publishing.” The goal being to cut out the middleman to lower our prices to consumers while increasing our own profits.

Putting all these things together meant one thing.  It was time to add a shopping cart to my web presence.  I have been working on that, a process that has required me to learn more about creating web content and coding.  There are still a few kinks to be worked out,  so I do not have  a live link yet, but I will soon.  For now though, I am off to clear the driveway. The weather finally remembered that it is winter in New England.