The internet and social media have allowed authors to hit the bestseller list without signing a publishing deal. Words Rated reports show that over 1,000 self-published authors earned over $100,000 on Amazon in 2021. Musicians can have a hit song without a record deal, and painters can display their art online and make sales without ever entering a gallery. Although traditional routes can still bring success, getting discovered and having success now happens in many ways. Here are four tips from the Aurora Chamber of Commerce for getting discovered and finding success on your terms.
1. Ditch the Traditional Deal
Many creatives want traditional agents, publishers, and managers because of the conventional stamp of approval it signifies. But this matters much less to consumers than people think. In fact, self-published books on Amazon had a higher average star rating than traditionally published books. Often, potential customers feel closer to you and your work without a middleman and love to support independent artists.
Consider dropping the idea of spending all your time pursuing traditional representation and putting that energy into creating and selling your work. You can always go the conventional route later, like author Hugh Howey, whose book became a movie and lucrative publishing deal after a self-release.
2. Connect with Your Audience
Without someone mandating what you should and shouldn’t post on social media, you can express yourself authentically and attract an audience that is a genuine fit. When you do this, you are more likely to retain them so they can discover future work. While paying attention to trends may give you ideas of what to post, remember to be yourself and post things you would be interested to see. Copying what others are doing might bring you quicker success, but it is less likely to last as it is hard to maintain a sincerely interested audience, explains Black Enterprise. Slow and steady can still win the race.
3. Be Your Own Administrator
If you’re selling your work, you will also need to be familiar with finance and business. While you build your creative business, you might want to keep your resume updated for any freelancing work that can earn you extra cash. A PDF editor (try this tool) will allow you to upload your resume, modify it with current skills and experience, and download it to share. You can even ask a friend or colleague to provide comments using the editing tool before you post or share it so you ensure things are clear and complementary.
You may also want to consider forming an LLC, which offers numerous benefits for the self-employed. An LLC will limit your legal liability, give you tax advantages, and reduce your paperwork load. While hiring a lawyer can be expensive, it’s not the only way to file. Formation services are available to help you set up and are generally more affordable. When choosing a company, you should read reviews to find the best match for your needs.
4. Minimize Financial Stress
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller, Big Magic, she discusses not relying on your creative output for your income, at least at first. Doing so can take the joy out of creating and push you to make choices that sacrifice the integrity of your work for money. Bustle suggests considering holding onto your job or taking extra work a little longer than you might have considered initially. This will give you more time to create your best work, and that enjoyment will translate to those who may discover and love it.
Finalize the Details in Your Own Time
Going or staying independent as a creative has many benefits and gives you many ways to be discovered. Taking care of details, like forming an LLC or keeping your day job, can help support your work and keep stress at bay. And getting feedback on your resume by using a PDF editor can help you find new creative work, too. In the end, don’t rush yourself. Take your time so that you can continue creating things you are proud of.