Few things are harder than launching an art career by yourself. It’s an exhausting, nerve-wracking, rejection filled amusement park ride, regardless the type of artist. From my experience as an independent writer, I’ve assembled the following tips that will smooth out the experience:
1) Don’t launch yourself to the public too early.
You’ve written a great short story, painted your first show ready piece, or written an amazing song. Fantastic! Keep away from you-tube and do a few more!
When I hear a great song from a musician I’m unfamiliar with, the first thing I do is look for more. You want those pieces available so you can make someone a fan of you, not your song. In the case of series (comic books, podcasts, writing) you need to release right away, but wait until you have developed at least four in the series before you begin the serious marketing.
2) You will fail,a lot; that’s a good thing.
Learn to use criticism to your advantage. Writers specifically get rejected on a regular basis. It’s part of the job. Good editors will tell you why they rejected your piece. All artists receive criticism. You’ll get two types of useful criticism; constructive and destructive. Constructive criticism helps the story, destructive does not.
Ignore constructive criticism and your story may never be published. Your story may have a serious problem. Follow destructive criticism and you may destroy a good piece of art. Be honest with yourself and then follow your instincts. If it’s true, fix it. If it’s not, find a new market to submit to. If you’re not sure, show the piece to someone who’s taste you trust, then tell them the critique you’ve received and ask them if they agree.
3) Most people who enjoy your work won’t tell you.
Many talented artists grow frustrated because they feel like they’re screaming into the void. They put out a song, or post a blog, and see that it’s been viewed a hundred times, but no one has said a word.
The strange truth is that no news is good news for a new artist. People have no trouble contacting someone who’s work they hate, but when they respect your work it becomes awkward to approach you. A good pod-caster, for example, may get one comment for every three hundred or so listens. But the audience will tell their friends. It may take months of steady work before you start getting regular feedback.
The struggle of a new artist is a roller-coaster ride. There will be highs and lows. You’ll be terrified and exhilarated. But if you utilize the above tips, the ride will be smoother, but no less fun.
The silver lining is the general public has to pay for that sort of emotional ride. You get it for free just by doing what you love!