A lot of creative types have an antagonistic relationship with their audience, or at least with what they perceive it would take to have an audience large enough to make money from. There’s this idea that just creating great stuff is fulfilling but won’t sell, yet marketing yourself to earn more money is selling out your true artistry.
Paul Cantor does a phenomenal job showing the complex, cooperative relationship between artists and the marketplace in his books and lectures.
My friend TK Coleman said something really profound in an email exchange we had with a frustrated creator recently.
“As artists, we not only need to be creative in our work, but also create in how we generate opportunities to do the work. If I’m a painter, then that makes me an artist in two ways: firstly, I have to create paintings. Secondly, I have to create the time, space, and energy to create paintings in a way that’s profitable for me.”
That mindset is powerful, and I think can relieve some of the tension between creating and selling. It also reminds to be true not only in your creating, but in your marketing. How you feel about your sales tactics will bleed through, so keep it genuine.