62: A Self Marketing Ramble
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Howdy! I've had this blog for about a year, my writing & art Twitter for maybe 2 years, my art Instagram & art Facebook since 2013, and now I have a TikTok. It's a lot. And regarding my art, I don't think it has boosted my sales much, ever. I sell better through a gallery, to local or visiting buyers.
Back when I had an Etsy, between 2013-2016, shipping costs were all over the place, so after a long span of barely any sales, I closed the store. It wasn't worth the headache of very sporadic notifications when I finally made a sale, and the rush to ship out prints in a timely fashion. I also have Redbubble, Amazon, and a Fine Art of America store. Redbubble's been best at selling my designs as stickers. Amazon's limited to shirts for now, and my Fine Art of America store is new but basically meant to sell prints. Should I be advertising these more directly over my social media accounts? Yes. But, I keep putting off paid advertising until I have a book to promote (since I’m selling art locally), and simply posting links without paying to promote them ultimately cuts who the various algorithms allow me to be seen by.
Somedays all the effort going into maintaining these several different content feeds, feels like a waste. And others, like an investment. Twitter was very intimidating at first, but now, I think I've got the hang of the content I'm comfortable sharing there. Instagram has fallen to the wayside a bit. Without paid advertising, it's super hard to get new followers (which wasn’t the case between 2013-2016, but has been a problem since 2018ish), and I won't spend the money unless I have a product I mean to sell abroad. My Instagram followers are from all over the world, and while an English reading person in Russia might be able to buy an ebook easily over their version of Amazon, it's not worth their money or my headache to mail a full scale painting overseas. I get anxiety just thinking about a painting being lost in the mail.
Once I have a book release date, whether I traditionally or self publish, then I can justify dropping money to promote my accounts. Because even if I traditionally publish, I’ll be largely responsible for the marketing of my books. Right now, I'm just trying to get a handle on expanding my TikTok audience so I have a following there at all when I'm ready to start dropping book links. The only social media that I feel comfortable with, at the moment, is Twitter, mostly because it's written content, and I have a folder of jokes or shower thoughts ready to go at least twice a day for the foreseeable future. While I wish I was an art machine and I could maintain the motivation to be super productive everyday, I just don't paint fast enough to be super active on Instagram or my art Facebook page.
It's like the ADHD paralyzation. Should I be writing new stories, editing manuscripts that aren’t anywhere near ready for querying, or revising those currently out based off of what feedback I’ve received, this round? Do I focus on creating fan-art and character designs, or book covers, for manuscripts that are still out (and that I'm waiting to hear back on)? Is my time spent better on paintings that ultimately, might not be the best fit for my usual gallery? I recently began looking into local galleries to expand my audience and to get to know my local art community better, and the gallery I was set on submitting to next actually closed a year ago. They still have their web store up and a bunch of social media pages, so at first, I didn't realize their last post was in like August or July of 2021.
I'm going to sign up for September or October’s first Friday art festival where I live now. That means redesigning business cards to include my active social media pages. Last time I had cards printed, everything was off center somehow and looked really unprofessional. Instead of returning them like a rational human, I just hoarded them away as a source of shame. I probably still have them. So now I've got to figure out where I printed them last time, obviously print them elsewhere, and hopefully have them come out the way they were designed. Speaking of design, I nolonger have InDesign, because it's too expensive to justify for how rarely I use it. Which means I've got to design cards without it. Not even sure where to begin, there.
I guess I'm just in a slump. My current writing project has stagnated and I'm going to print it so I have the current draft easily accessible for review, while rewriting. And so I can edit it without being on a super-distracting screen. It's been rainy lately and maybe the lack of sunshine is messing with my mood. I'm not depressed. Just frustrated and less motivated than I'd like to be. All of this marketing stuff feels like a waste of time compared to the art and writing but I'm struggling to focus on those.
Just got to keep chugging along, making lists, and getting my prioritization in order. At the end of the day, I'm an artist and a writer. The social media stuff is and should be secondary or even tertiary to my actual passion and general life stuff.
So yeah. That's where I'm at right now. This isn't a helpful post so I won't share it and I doubt many will read it. If you do, maybe you'll find that you share these frustrations and experience a catharsis in empathy. Anyway, I drop a new blog post every Monday. Hopefully I've got tools to share or anything at all useful to my creative peers, then. Toodles!