Readers know that I regularly read and refer to Alyson B. Stanfield's advice on this blog. I have taken her e-courses and found them to be among the best going for great interaction, for useful and accessible information and for meeting new artists on-line. And yes, I have this book and keep it by my desk as a ready reference.
Thus, you will know how thrilled I am to be hosting Alyson on the blog tour for her book: I'd Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist's No Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion. In addition to the tour, Alyson is giving away a free copy of her book, and any one of you lucky readers could be the happy winner!
At each stop along the tour, Alyson takes one question from the host and answers it (free coaching!). Needless to say I had many, some of which have already been answered at other tour stops, but we finally narrowed the left overs down to one:
Alyson, I have not been able to find anyone to write an article with me for a trade magazine like Ceramics Monthly. I would like to do a PR piece, somehow, including one of my own authorship. I've tried the interview route (pretend you're interviewing someone and do yourself). For whatever reason that doesn't work. When it comes to writing formally about my own work, I get tongue-tied and the writing comes out stilted (I can't even get past journaling and then taking something from that).
What are 3 baby step suggestions you have for someone who can blog regularly about art but is totally intimidated about putting together an article for a magazine?
1. Look at your goals for the article in relation to your long-term goals. What do you want the article to accomplish? I understand that sometimes you just want an article to have an article - to see your name and images in print. But maybe it's more than that. Maybe you want more students in your workshops, comments on your blog, queries from galleries, or sales. Knowing what you want will help you put together the content.
2. Figure out your hook. Why should people be interested in hearing your story? What makes you fascinating? And don't say you're not. Everyone can be fascinating! Consider the artists you enjoy reading about. What draws you in? What makes you remember their stories? Bottom line: Know why people should read your article. And know the audience you're writing for.
3. Go through your blog posts and group them. Fortunately you have them already kind of grouped under your Categories. It's helpful to look through these from time to time in order to find common threads that you could make into an article. Once you have these all in one place, you can spend time with them. Maybe just an hour a week or 15 minutes a day. Spending time with them will force you to get to know them with new eyes. Who knows? You might even fall in love with your works all over again.
And that, dear readers, is why I stay tuned when Alyson writes. She is the master of "3 baby steps" toward any goal and I am reminded over and over that breaking things down can make them much more manageable. Also, having more than one head working on an opportunity can really open it up!
"You asked for 3 baby steps," Alyson continues, "but I would add a fourth and very important step. That is to research potential places for your articles. Magazines are great, but it might be a nice baby step to post articles online. maybe you could offer your articles to other artists for their blogs or Web sites. Or to an avenue in your niche market. You can also post at places like http://www.ezinearticles.com."
Ok, everyone, don't just take my word for how great Alyson's book is. Reader Sue, from Artful Adventures, bought the book and says this on her blog: "My copy of [I'd Rather Be In the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion] arrived last week..There's something magical about it, seems to work by osmosis! Seriously, just having it in the house makes me feel accountable for some strange reason. I won't lie & tell you that I've read it all the way through, because I haven't. But what I have done is to keep it handy, pick it up a dozen times a day, page through, read a little here & there...Some new habits are being established..."
Don't forget! You can get a free copy of I'd Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion. Just visit this site, read the instructions, and enter. Increase your odds of winning by visiting the other blog tour stops and entering on those sites as well.
thought for the day: It always helps me overcome overwhelm when I have a good plan that reveals my priorities. Big abstract ideas are broken down into manageable action steps on a business roadmap. Suddenly, it all seems to make sense. Something magical happens when a plan is on paper. Written words seem official and carry a lot more weight than those floating around in our heads. We're often more committed to our intentions when we take the time to put them in writing. Alyson B. Stanfield,I'd Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion.