Artists’ agony: product versus promotion

We ‘artists’ – anyone engaged in what Robert Pirsig defined as ‘any High Quality Endeavour’ – tend to love the product and hate the promoting of it. Our ‘Home zone’ in the tree of life (see my tree of life expounded in the free pdf at http://www.mapofeutopia.com ) is the Green Zone, that is where inspirations spark and new things are imagined and old things re-imagined. We retreat there and put up a ‘busy creating leave me alone!’ against the demands of the big unfriendly commercial world in the red zone.  We tinker endlessly with our creations rather than actually finish them and bring them out. We suppress the awful knowledge that by this avoidance we will eventually starve, or be evicted, or divorced, or worse still (!) completely fail to be noticed by the world – even by those whose notice means everything to us – our potential ‘fans’.

I have realized that because of my own fear and loathing of promotion and ‘exposure’ I have suffered and caused much misery. So i am now more than ever working at ways of ‘coming out’ as a creator, especially as a writer, and ‘promoting’ the product as well as producing it. What has helped me most to take down my ‘busy creating leave me alone’  sign for some of the time was not the financial visegrip painful though that is, but the realisation that my ‘fans’ – readers who actually love what I love, and how I’ve written about it – are actually out there waiting to be contacted and become friends, AND solve my financial problems too, if enough of them discover my creations! And the only path to that wonderful outcome is via the bridge of promotion – exposure – putting it out there – packaging it – waving a ‘here’s what i’ve created’ sign somewhere that they can actually see it and check out the product.

Self publishing is not easy but it’s way better than sitting gathering rejections. Or imagining rejections. And as mark coker, founder of Smashwords.com (am checking it out – seems a fantastic service – free too!) says, with the digital revolution, publishing, via ebooks, is no longer a privilege, it is a right. Why? because it always was a right – the right to free speech – but formerly the actual publishing cost lots of money and therefore a risk, which the funders had a right to manage by restricting access to it. Now being essentially free, it is a right. so i plan to use smashwords to put all my own writing up as ebooks, free and for sale. (The writing done with my brother – we are negotiating how and when to promote that!)

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