- "I don't mean to sound conceited but I'm a much better writer than so and so..."
- "I hate promoting myself on social media, I feel like I'm bothering my friends"
- "I know this sounds vain but my work is so good that it needs to get published"
- "I have nothing important or innovative to say so why bother contacting a promoter?"
- "I believe in my abilities as a performer but when I know I'm the center of the attention I start to freeze"
Some artists may have no problem doing so. The process may seem effortless and natural to a subgroup of creative individuals, in part, due to the following reasons:
a. personality traits such as extroversion or narcissistic characteristics
b. a very supportive environment
c. the overlap between a personal identity and the professional identity of an artist
d. an understanding and acceptance of the necessity of self-promotion in order to achieve goals
e. a solid feeling of confidence and belief in the work's worth
However, other artists struggle with the idea of attention. Perhaps it's discomfort with the attention-seeking process itself, or the anxiety associated with standing out. Some artists may feel unworthy of being set apart from peers and may feel that they are imposing or displeasing others. The result being the hindrance of advancement opportunities. I once worked with an actor who happened to be in the presence of an accomplished director yet refused to talk to him about her career because, according to my client, "it should not have to be this way."
Here are some tips to help embrace the process of self-promotion:
1. If you don't do it, others will: Learning to be ok with promoting yourself is most likely a lengthy process and you are bound to be somewhere on the continuum. While you may find yourself being on the more reserved side of the spectrum, somebody who has benefited from sharing their accomplishments will most likely be further along. By keeping yourself "hidden", you are just making space for someone else to reveal himself. If you believe in your work, why them and not you?
2. It works: Despite all the stories about being "discovered" by someone in the industry, if you appear hesitant or ambivalent about your work, it will most likely be perceived this way. Talking often and with certainty about what you do will increase the chances of someone noticing. You don't need to sound conceited or make boastful comments. But merely being eager and sounding enthusiastic about what you do will make others want to share your enthusiasm and jump on the bandwagon.
3. Others are bothered significantly less than what you might think: Sure, there will be the occasional negative reaction from someone, and in more rare cases an outward expression of irritation towards your posts etc, but in most cases, people will either be supportive, accepting, or simply, will not care. It ultimately comes down to a choice: pleasing others (or at least believing you are doing so) or taking steps to achieve your goals.
4. Ask for permission: Some artists feel more comfortable asking a simple question such as "Is it ok if I talk to you about my latest poem?" or creating separate online profiles for their artist versus personal pages. That way, friends and followers are being invited to be included in the updates or newsletters.
5. Give the option of opting out: Similarly, ending your newsletters with the options to be removed, or periodically checking in with social networking site connections to ask if someone would rather be omitted from updates, can be a good way to remain aware of others' reactions without making assumptions that could potentially harm you.
6. Think of it as "doing your job": One of the tasks associated with the role of a professional artist is promoting the work. As was mentioned previously, unless someone has hired someone else to do this, they will need to do it themselves. Thinking of the process as "part of the job" and a work-related obligation, may help smooth out the conflicting emotions about doing so.
If you are internally clear about the benefits of being open and expressive about your work, initiating informational dialogue and inviting others to see what you do, it will slowly become easier to overcome hesitations and inhibitions. Most importantly, if your work is valuable to YOU, it has got to be valuable to someone else! So, why deprive them of that opportunity?