I am about to give you a lot of hard truths, ugly truths, truths that you might not want to hear but that you need to hear if you’re going to change your life and accomplish your mission of bringing your work to the world. It’s also the truth you need to hear if you ever want to actually make enough money off your work that you can build a life, not just settle for a living or for paying back the costs of what it took you to produce the work in the first place. I’m going to tell you the real reasons that authors & artists starve. Then I’m going to tell you what you can do about that.
We Don’t Believe In Ourselves
This is the biggest reason we starve. We ask other people to believe in a product we don’t believe has value. Then we wonder why we end up giving our work away because nobody is willing to pay. If you don’t believe in it, if you can’t stand firmly on the value that what you have to offer will bring to the person who buys it, don’t expect them to either see the value or believe in it, either. Don’t ask them to give you more than you can give yourself.
Believe that what you have to offer adds value to the lives of the people who take it view it, but it adds more value to the person who takes it home with them. Until you believe that it offers value you won’t be ready for the next step.
We Can’t Explain the Value
If you’re going to ask someone to give up several thousand dollars of their hard earned money, you need to be ready to explain the return-on-investment to them. What are they going to get out of your work that is going to change their lives enough to make that money worth it? If you’re selling a book, that doesn’t apply to your book, but it does apply to any upper end products that you might offer to go with that book.
What will your work do for them physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Spiritually? What will it save them? What will it make them? Approach your work from every angle you can. Go out and do the research. How does reading affect the reader mentally? Emotionally? Physically? Put a price tag on it. Show your customers how what they are buying is a BARGAIN compared to the cost of therapy or pill popping needed to achieve the same results…and it doesn’t carry all the nasty side effects, either.
We Don’t Put Ourselves Out There
You’re worried that nobody will like your work. You aren’t sure about the value you have to offer. You’re scared you’re going to get negative reviews or criticisms. So you hide your work. If you do show it, you don’t show it in its best light. You apologize for it. Stop doing that. Stop hiding yourself away. Get yourself out there. Get seen, get noticed, get known. Learn to talk to people about what you do and why it matters to them.
Yes, you will face criticism. So what? Learn from it. Every piece of criticism will ultimately make you a better author or a better artist. If you don’t like what the critic has to say, don’t turn away from it. Listen and grow.
We Don’t Know How To Market Ourselves
For many authors and artists, they loathe the word marketing. They think it smacks of selling out, of big timing it, and they avoid doing it. They associate marketing with cheezy advertisements and big corporations and they shy away from it. Marketing doesn’t need to be sleazy. The best marketing isn’t. The best marketing is just a conversation between you and the prospect that explains what you have to offer in words they can understand and relate to. That’s it.
We Wait for Perfection
We keep waiting for the perfect time or the perfect opportunity or the perfect work to put ourselves out there, and we miss every opportunity because we aren’t willing to take the risk. It’s never going to be perfect. You’re never going to have it all together or know all the things you need to know. Do it anyway. Get out there and do some stuff with your art.
We Stop with the Art or the Book
Here’s the biggest reason we don’t succeed. We make the book or the work of art we produce be the end of the service we provide to our client base. That is a HUGE missed opportunity. To do the hard work of bringing to the table someone who sees, likes, and values your work and then to let them go without capitalizing on it and following up? That is like letting money walk out the door.
A customer who buys from you once and is satisfied with the service they receive is more likely to buy from you again, especially if you can provide a service that complements or adds value to what they received with the first purchase. So do what you do best. Get creative. Think of ways you can add value to your customer and reach out to them and offer those products or services. If you’re an artist, can you help with creating fabrics to complement your work? Can you create other works of art that go with that first work? Build a product line, not just a single product and start working smarter rather than harder.
If you have $100, I can show you how to do it. Whether you are an artist or an author, I can help you get more and do more out of the work you’ve already done. I went from making $0 one month to signing a $3200 commission the next. Because I figured out how to take a work of mine that wasn’t even finished yet and turn it into a product that added value and created opportunity for someone else. The value wasn’t in the work that I was creating. It was in the knowledge I gained from that work. If I can do it, you can do it, too.