I’ve never met an artist – including me in the beginning – who on some level didn’t buy into the philosophy of Emerson’s theory:
In other words, a great product (and thinking of your art as actually being your product is part of this switch in thinking) is all one needs to succeed.
“My art should sell itself”. Uh huh. How’s that been working so far?
It’d be real nice, wouldn’t it? I work dashed hard at making my pencil art the very best anywhere – and any artist with any degree of self-esteem should be striving to do the same…but that certainly doesn’t guarantee sales.
Let’s face it, Emerson was pretty much a hermit and a recluse who, while a successful lecturer at one time, couldn’t be called an entrepreneurial authority. It sounds good, the “best product wins” line of thought, but it virtually ignores human nature.
Then we got that line from Field of Dreams “build it and they will come”. I’d wager that the number of people who’ve been left shattered, disillusioned and bankrupted vs those who’ve wholeheartedly bought into that premise and have actually succeeded is 10,000 to one.
The world just doesn’t work that way. Sure, it should, but it doesn’t.
The way the world works is “If you build it…no one cares.”
Harsh? Yup. And far too many of us take that as a cue to quit – or – to begin spewing negativity about the futility of it all.
Yup again…it IS frustrating. But not insurmountable. You just have to be willing to open up to new lines of thought and retrain yourself into at least considering possibilities again.
A little hard work’ll come in handy too.
I personally think that most artists – and almost every entrepreneur for that matter – grasp on to this watery philosophy because it absolves them from having to accept the fact that they really don’t know anything about sales and marketing
- Or they honestly don’t know where to turn to learn (Congratulations! You’re in the right place!)
- Or they don’t want to admit otherwise due to a vague and misguided sense of propriety
- Or they’re just too dashed lazy
Don’t worry if this is new to you; marketing is a skill set that’s learnable and not overly complicated…but it IS counter-intuitive a lot of the time…and that’s where most artists and businesspeople stumble.
The stuff that seems to make sense doesn’t usually work!
We’ve all seen the example of a great chef who lights out on his own and opens his own restaurant, only to go broke in a surprisingly short period of time.
Why is that? It would seem that being able to produce terrific food would be the key to success in the restaurant game, wouldn’t it?
But the reality is that being able to cook is completely unrelated to running a successful restaurant. It’s a completely different set of skills.
Check it the opposite way: have you ever seen a restaurant with crappy food flourish? Of course you have.
Because the owners of the restaurant have figured out how to run a successful restaurant. Good food is a separate – albeit related – skill set, and only ONE of the reasons people go out to eat in a restaurant.
Stop right there. I know there’s a whole lot of you just leapt up in your seats ready to pounce on me for claiming that we should all toss quality to the curb, sell crap, and sell out to the lowest common denominator.
That’s not it at all.
Ideally, of course, you’d want to have great food AND the skill set to run a successful restaurant.
This also explains that infuriating phenomenon of lesser artists outselling better ones.
The lesser artists are doing correct marketing things that the superior artists aren’t. It’s a different skill set.
Marketing isn’t about selling out either. It’s perfectly possible to do the type of art that moves you and develop a solid, profitable and rewarding career doing what you love.
Marketing is about communication and education. That’s it. No tricks or fibs or sleight of hand.
Stop lamenting about lesser artists who’re selling more, and acquire your own skills and knowledge so that your art has every chance of success!
And check out The Fast Start Art Marketing Primer!
Check out the Fast Start Art Marketing Primer!
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