Bob Baker's Artist Empowerment Blog

Self-Promotion for Introverts

According to Charles D. Hayes of Autodidactic Press, "The sad truth is not all of us are born promoters. I would even argue that the tendencies for introversion are more prevalent among writers than for most other occupations."

Many people would insist that the same thing applies to artists, musicians and more. Creative people are often at peace with the creation process, but when it comes to marketing, they feel as comfortable as Michael Moore at a Republican fundraiser.

Hayes has written a fantastic article on the Midwest Book Review site. Even though it's geared for authors, the principles he covers are useful for creative people of all kinds. Here are my favorite sections:

"In my view, the most important thing to remember is that you don't have to be naturally good at self-promotion in this business to succeed, but you do have to learn to 'value' the process with enough enthusiasm to see that it gets done."

Promotion usually takes artists outside their comfort zone. And like anything you engage in for the first time, you may feel awkward at first, as if you don't know exactly what you're doing. But Hayes learned an important lesson when he took a publishing course at Stanford University ...

"One of the most useful things I learned ... is that everyone is in the same boat in the promotion department. The folks at Random House and Simon & Schuster are feeling their way along just like the single book publisher, although they do have a decided advantage.

"I went to Stanford thinking that ... someone had the answers, and I was ... disappointed to find out most of the people there were just as confused as I was. But, in a way it's a relief to know that no one has all of the answers in this business and that everyone, including the seasoned veterans, are groping their way along to find something that works."

That's a great perspective. Which means trusting yourself and "knowing" that you have as much right as anyone to pursue exposure will make the self-promotion journey much easier.

Here's another great concept from the article:

"These are truly paradoxical times in publishing. It has never been harder to promote a book than it is today. But the opposite is also true: It's never been easier to promote a book than it is today. The reason it's so hard is that so many people are doing it. The reason it's so easy is that there has never been so much uncertainty about how to get people's attention and there's never been so many ways to go about it."

Again, this also applies to music, art, photography and more. Anyone with a computer and a bit of technical savvy can create something and attempt to reach the masses. That can be viewed as both a blessing and a curse. The thing is, much of what is being created is inferior and simply won't connect with an audience. That means if you have a quality creative offering and can find an audience of enthusiastic fans, the Internet allows you to make a much bigger impact than was ever possible in the past.

"Another benefit in book publishing for introverts is longevity. If you are in this business long enough, particularly on the web, you will leave a long trail of material. You will be easy to track for anyone interested in your subject matter."

Also be sure to read Hayes's comments on the importance of reaching a self-sustaining critical mass without national media coverage:

"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and scores of books like it are self-sustaining. They make their own waves. My point ... is that you can create a tsunami without anyone seeing the rock that set it in motion. Connect with enough connectors and you can still make waves without being in the media limelight."

Read the entire article here. It's filled with great advice.


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