Top Ten Ways to Get People Interested in Your Work
Can’t tell you why this is on my mind this morning, but it is. And now it’s also on my blog.
10. Have a personality. Do you have opinions? Are you funny? Do you hand out the virtual ((((((((hugs))))))))))) like free candy? Let your light shine, and you’ll attract other people. Note: if you’re a dick, be a dick. But do realize your newfound friends will also be dicks.
9. Put your work where like-minded people will find it. Flickr is a great place for photos. Wattpad for stories. Blogger for blogs. Pinterest for arts and crafts. Twitter for one-liner put-downs. Facebook for…hell, what exactly is Facebook good for? I guess reaching out to people you already know. Anyway, sensing a pattern here yet?
8. Don’t be a spammer. When you join in the like-minded conversation with your personality showing and your work all shiny, clean, and ready to be discovered, don’t push it on people. Allow them to become interested in you, and discover your work. People love to feel like they’ve found something new, something rare, something underappreciated, so they can fall in love with it and shout it from the rooftops. Let them feel like you are their discovery, even if you’re #1 on the Amazon charts, or outselling the best of etsy, or you’ve just opened a little site called Pottermore.
7. Help other people. Have a blog? Feature your new friends on it. Know something about how to fix a problem someone else is facing? Take a few minutes and send a helpful email, or maybe just pass out those virtual hugs.
6. Find a support group. Okay, I know that sounds like I’m advising you how to overcome alcoholism or something, but the truth is, we all need a group of supportive cohorts who can listen without judging, provide feedback, and who are willing to share their struggles with us, as well. Maybe that is a group of artists all contributing to an art show. Maybe it’s a bunch of writers of the same literary genre, all working together to cross-promote their work during a certain month of the year. Maybe it’s crafters united against leprosy (I don’t know, man, I’m not crafty!)
5. Don’t be shy about what you’ve learned, and what you want to improve about your work. Let’s say you get a bad or even a lukewarm review. It’s one thing to beat yourself about the head crying about how much you suck, bitch about the reviewer to your friends, etc….and it’s another to honestly take the reader’s feedback into consideration, and thank him/her for sending it. I mean, they read your book/viewed your art/followed your YouTube instructional for doing the Macarena…thank them for their time, and if they raised a valid point about how you left out a step, confused them with a plot hole, or your paintings are somewhat derivative, then…okay. Make the changes, and thank them. Instead of turning them off your work, they’ll see you as a professional, and they’ll feel personally invested in your work. (If they aren’t the friendly sort, then okay, but you can often make genuine cohorts in this manner, if you’re truly receptive.)
4. Focus honestly on your successes. Did you make the best-seller list on Amazon? Awesome! Was it for a year, or for a week? Oh. And you say it was for a week on the free chart? Well, okay. That’s still cool, but it’s not as cool as selling so many books your child can now afford to attend Harvard instead of State U. When you crow about your achievements, please maintain some perspective, and crow honestly. Remember, your new friends and fans might not just be consumers—they may be contemporaries in your field. Everyone can spot a phony.
3. Don’t let your success go to your head. Realize that as you do work hard, make friends, and influence people, you will climb the ladder of success, eventually. When that happens, those who haven’t experienced the same dynamite combination of hardwork and zeitgeist can either choose to learn from your success, or take you apart at the seams. I see more of the latter than the former. One way to really turn people off quickly is the humblebrag. For instance, “Oh, my. I don’t know how I’ll ever meet my deadlines now that I’ve got to help my son choose a stylish designer wardrobe for his first semester at Harvard!” Trust me, your struggling artist friends just put you on the DickList for that one. Another time-tested fave: “What’s the difference between being #1 on the Kindle Store Overall list, and being #1 in Books Overall, on Amazon?” The author whose book is at 5000, or 50,000, or at #262,569 as of this writing really appreciates the way you toss that question around. Did your husband also get promoted to President of the company this year? And how’s your little girl enjoying her duties as Miss America? Thanks for coming by. My point is, there’s a time and place and a way to celebrate your fantastic success once you’ve reached the point of having these experiences, legitimately. Don’t turn off the “Get New People Interested in Your Work” machine by shitting where you eat.
2. Forget about trends. I know, I know, everyone who’s everyone is writing a literary YA graphic novel about a self-actualized heroine of Latino descent who fights fairy aliens even though she, herself, is a zombie/werewolf hybrid. I get it. I do. But if you love Agatha Christie, you hear the voice of Sherlock Holmes in your head congratulating you on every brilliant deduction, and your every dream vacation pin on Pinterest points you to soggy London, then for all that’s holy, write a British mystery, won’t you? Follow your heart. Write what lives there. Or paint it, sculpt it, etc.
1. Create something authentic. You’re on the internet, you’ve clicked around. You realize you’re not special just because you’re creative. The world is full of creative people making incredibly unique works of amazement. You also realize the world is full of copycats. There’s no point copying other successful people, looking for trends, recycling their opinions, slants, looks, ideology, etc. Just be your interesting self, and be true to yourself, and let your message come through your work. You really can do this. Authenticity is sexy as hell, so get out your idea journal, and start scribbling away.
Have more ideas or tried & true methods to get people interested in your work? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
Take in my authentically original, awesome, likable prose at http://RedTash.com/Stories, if you’re so inclined.