I'm a published novelist and freelance writer, editor, and audio tech. Check out my journal for creative writing tips, short stories, and news. To learn more about my books or my services, navigate using the links above. 

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Entries in arts (1)

Wednesday
Mar092016

Building an Arts Community Using 3-for-1

 

image via www.freevintageillustrations.com

 

It's all over our social media feeds: please like, please share, please rate and review, please sign up, please come, please make my artistic dreams come true.

I love it, but I can also get discouraged when I see so much asking. I want my friends and acquaintances and the wide circle of artists I know to succeed, but sometimes I wonder, "Who's listening? Are we reaching the elusive New Audience Member, or are we all just talking at each other?" Especially when I see an artist I love with a Facebook post that only has one or two likes, or a great book on Amazon with a single-digit number of reviews.

Like my friends, and thousands of aspiring artists online, I've spent plenty of time wondering how to make my own "ask" more appealing. But lately, I've been trying something different; instead of focusing on what I'm asking for, I'm challenging myself to answer others' calls more often.

It's a very simple system: every time I ask something of my audience, I take that moment, while it's fresh on my mind, to check in on some of my favorite emerging artists, and answer their latest call. Whenever I urge my readers to leave an Amazon review for one of my books, I'll take a moment to rate & review the latest things I've read. Whenever I post something to my Facebook page, I'll hop on my friends' pages and like or share their latest posts about their creations. Every time I seek new followers/subscribers, I'll make sure I'm following the latest artists I've discovered, so their numbers swell too. I try to do three-for-one: at least three "answers" for every "ask" I make. I'm not trying to create a sense of pressure or obligation; I'm just trying to practice what I preach about supporting each other.

I know I'm not alone; here in DC, I've enjoyed the vibrant community of writers, small businesses, musicians, and visual artists who all support each other. But it can be overwhelming to try and support our friends. In the midst of all the content they share, it's hard to know where to start--and, lacking a starting point, all too often we can find ourselves getting distracted before we actually follow through on our resolutions to help out other artists. It's hard to keep up with a busy feed and manage our own pages, too. The three-for-one system makes it part of my existing routine; whenever I make time to post something online, I add in five minutes to do a quick sweep through the artists I follow, and find something to like or read or rate or share.

Three-for-one is just one way that artists can support each other and expand everybody's audience. In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing more tips and ideas on community-building in the arts every Wednesday. Next up: the thorny issue of how to encourage Amazon reviews. Stay tuned, and read all the blog posts on building artistic communities here.