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For people who hate the idea of self promotion

July 21, 2014

Show Your Work book coverIt’s been awhile since I posted here. I have been writing- the intended outcome is a book, but I can’t quite get the words, ‘I’m writing a book’, out of my mouth at the moment. It sounds too pretentious and it scares me a bit.

A lot.
Considering how many times I’ve started and stopped work on this project in the past decade or so.

I will finish the manuscript this time, because I promised a friend I would. But whether it will be anything worth sharing at the end, I don’t know. Anyway, it is keeping me occupied, a recent task being going through every one of the almost 400 posts on this blog, printing the relevant ones out and categorising them. More on all that another time.

Anyway, back to the topic of this post which is a book review.

Anyone who has been reading my posts over the past 7 years will know my anti-marketing stance when it comes to art, so surprise surprise, I am about to sing the praises of a book that could be seen as a book on promoting your art, but which is SO not an art marketing book.

I was cruising Amazon and this title was on the recommendations for me. I immediately liked the format and cover and took a ‘look inside’. I was sold from page one. This was an author who understood my reluctance to make self promotion the ultimate goal for my life on Earth, and who has written a kind, heart-filled guide on how to not hoard your creativity, how to not give up, how to keep your integrity while getting your work out there, how to not turn into ‘human spam’ (loved that), and have a great and fulfilling time doing it.

This book is so lovely in every aspect. It has a smooth cover, silky to the touch, the small square format appeals, it simply exudes friendliness and encouragement. There are loads of keri smith style handwritten pages and illustrations by the author, Austin Kleon (who wrote ‘How to steal like an artist’ which I didn’t read because I already know how and am already an artist).

Almost all the people I look up to and try to steal from today, regardless of their profession, have built sharing into their routine.  These people aren’t schmoozing at cocktail parties, they’re too busy for that. (paraphrased):They are working in their studios, getting good at what they do, and sharing their process.

‘By generously sharing their ideas and their knowledge, they often gain an audience that they can then leverage when they need it- for fellowship, feedback or patronage. (personally, I’ve never had any luck with the last one, SZ).

I wanted to create a kind of beginner’s manual for this way of operating, so here’s what I came up with, a book for people who hate the very idea of self promotion. An alternative, if you will to self promotion…Imagine if your next boss didn’t have to read your resume because he already reads your blog. Imagine being a student and getting your first gig based on a school project you posted on line… Imagine turning a side project or hobby into your profession because you had a following that could support you.

Or imagine something simpler and just as satisfying: spending the majority of your time, energy,and attention practising a craft, learning a trade, or running a business, while also allowing for the possibility that your work might attract a group of people who share your interest….

This little book is full of original, funny, insightful, wise advice that can help anyone gather the courage and get organised to share their work more. And who knows where that could lead!  Whether you are a writer, crafter, artist, or hobbyist in anything at all, give yourself a present and go buy it.( And, no, I’m not being paid to say this!)

 

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11 Responses to “For people who hate the idea of self promotion”


  1. Yet another good book recommendation thanks Sarah. I look forward to hearing more about your book project. Good luck with it all. Best Wishes Sonia.

  2. velcherup Says:

    I look forward to reading this book. I started blogging to have a collection of my art work in one place, promotion is something I want to do but dont know how or feel silly doing.


  3. Sarah ~ thank you so much. Well-written and well liked!

  4. decorartuk Says:

    I wondered where you’ve gone… I’m glad that the reason is positive – writing a book is always a challenge, but as you already have some experience, I’m sure you’ll manage to achieve this lovely goal! Fingers crossed, of course.

    As for the little yellow book – sounds really interesting. Especially as I’ve reached my 3rd year of blogging and sort of showing what I’m creating and also knowing that I still haven’t found the best way to do this… I’d certainly would love to be involved in some art project or find a buyer who’d value my artwork, maybe even find a teeny tiny gallery who’d like to give me some space, yet the whole process has to be “intimate”, I wouldn’t want anyone to take over and turn this into yet another mass produced stuff. So what this means is that I’d like to be seen, yet not in a very strong light, that I still have time and private space to continue what I’m doing.

    Oh well, I guess I’ll need to find this book then!

    K.

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      K, I think this book would be very helpful for the kinds of things you’d like to do and without the pressure. Thnks for your kind words about my future book. Fingers crossed sounds good. Please keep them crossed for me, I can use all the luck I can get with finishing this.


  5. […] and Get Discovered by the same author. By the way, you can find a brilliant review of the latter on Sarah’s blog). In a minute you’ll find out what made me think of it. Lets get back to that project, that […]

  6. Evet van dijk Says:

    Sarah, thank you so much for asking attention for show your work. I bought also the book Steal like an artist. Marvellous books. In other words several of my idea s on creativity i read confirmed in these books.Thanks dear friend,Evert van Dijk


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