Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How Much Control Do You Need?

An important ingredient of any artrepreneur's business plan is promotion. If you don't get the word out in some way about what you are doing, you reduce your chance of success. How can someone buy that amazing creation of your's, or sign up for your classes, if they don't even know you exist, let alone know about your work??
There are a few basic ways to go about this. One is advertising, another is publicity. The third is creating buzz....the internet is the main hive for buzz these days.....blogs, forums, etc. The differences between the options come down to two main things. Price and control. If you are willing to work a bit, and let go of some of the control, you can get exposure you could not otherwise afford.
This month I have had an abundance of publicity, from a variety of sources. Contests, magazine submission, and articles. Some of it expected, some of it a surprise. I found my inner control freak starting to peek out a bit, before I quickly reminded myself, it was mostly free! Here is a partial run down:
I just received my copy of The Buyer's Guide on Monday, and ...Woohoo!!!....there was a picture of one of my cranes on the cover. It was the same crane that came in third place in the National Polymer Clay Guild Progress and Possibilities 2007 exhibit in the alternative use category. The Buyer's Guide features advertisements from artists who have their work available on Wholesalecrafts.com. It is mailed to artists and galleries across the U.S. and Canada. It is the main place I spend my advertising dollars. I am paying for my ad space, so I can decide which picture I will use, and how big the ad will be. I can't control placement, but this time I had a great spot....centerfold....top, right-hand page. And then the crane on the front. Woohoo!! Thank you Wholesalecrafts!
Last week, the July issue of Mothertown Monthly, a free feature magazine in my area came out. It had a profile of me and my work. A local gallery owner had suggested me for the article to the editor. The first paragraph was one I would love to live up to:
"There are some people who truly love their jobs. Easy to spot, they’re always smiling and eager to talk about their craft. They tackle each new project with a zest that most don’t recognize.
Judy Dunn is one of those people."
As I read further through the article, there were details that were off a bit. But with a start like that, who really cares??? It is the control thing. If you are not writing it, and having final control over every word, then guess what....you have to let it go.
I have never had an article that someone else has written about me or my work, going all the way back to college, that has not had some minor details that I flinch a bit as I read them. In the end, those details really do not matter. They happen with everyone. The only way to make sure that it does not happen is to make sure no one ever writes about you or your work. That is a pretty steep price to pay for control.
Last week I also had a blurb in the Crafts Report Insight section which highlighted polymer clay. (page 67) I was happy that the submission was accepted, and they used the picture and text I sent them.....but I was disappointed by the picture. I was surprised that a magazine focused on such a visual subject matter would have such an itsy bitsy image. It was barely over one inch square. The picture I sent in was more than 1600 by 1400 pixels....not microscopic. Oh well. They spelled my name and contact information correctly. :-) Sometimes that has to be enough! Here is the picture in a larger format....in case you didn't have a magnifying glass....just kidding Crafts Report!

All this publicity I was so fortunate to receive has more to do with taking chances, and submitting work to people, than any talent or success on my part. Doing your best work is important. But getting it out there for others to see matters to your success as well. Whether you want to sell your work, teach classes, write articles....whatever your goals are with your craft, promotion is something that you need to work at, from time to time, if you want to move towards those goals.

If you were brought up like I was, to not draw too much attention to yourself, it is hard to get comfortable with the idea of publicity at first. Just look at it as drawing attention to your work....not you. It is about the business, not about your ego. It is trying to get the advertising you could not otherwise afford, stretching those tight funds.

Accept the so-so publicity, and embrace the "wow!" And be willing to accept that sometimes you get nothing at all from your submissions. It is a bit of a crap shoot. Sometimes you get the perfect storm effect of lots of things happening at once. You cannot control when or if this will happen. The wave will pass, and life will go on as before. But do be sure to save the clippings....they can be used in your press kit!


Janice said...

I had just gotten my Buyer's Guide in the mail - I think you had some great coverage and an impressive ad. They've posted the winner's photographs on npcg. Your cranes are stunning. I enjoyed reading the article in Mothertown Monthly. Thanks for the links. Congratulations on all your "good stuff".


Judy said...

Thank you Janice. It really is sort of a perfect storm right now of lots of things coming together at once....like all storms, it will pass. The calm is good!

I hope you have gotten, or will get, a press release out with your great news with Bead Dreams. At least to the local papers, and be sure to send copies of the B&B article when it comes out to any shops or galleries selling your work. You know what they say...Make hay while the sun shines!

Anonymous said...

You have voiced every writer's nightmare, the misquote. Sometimes it is the editor and sometimes a gremlin. Unfortunately the writer often thinks, "it sounds better this way". When I was doing artist profiles for Polyzine I stuck to people I knew or had met and that worked well for me. Congrats on the publicity. One of our guild members did a Crane Folding demo and introduced us to your site.

Judy said...

Anon...Thanks for the feedback. I am not so sure I was misquoted as much as details slightly altered. Nothing major, and few would know or care. And they really do not effect the intent of the article. I guess I wanted to say, it happens, and it is important not to get upset about it, or to right the wrong. The intent is what is important. And the overall picture painted by the writer is indeed accurate. Letting go of the control to reach the outcome....
So, how did the demo go??