Flawed Self-Advertisement (AKA, You're Just Begging)

Discussion in 'Art and Illustration' started by estiniens, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. estiniens

    estiniens stargazer

    I might not be the greatest example of a person who advertises themselves. Or really of even an artist in general. And especially of someone in the furry community - I've been on this forum for, what, a week? Less?

    Yet, I've still noticed an odd trend in the art channel, in terms of people selling their work and the way they're going about it, and I'm wondering if it's just me.

    That is to say, I'm noticing a lot of flawed self-advertisement. Any thread with "Commission (Hiring)" has the same four or five people spamming the same works with the same impersonal message. Don't get me wrong; their art is nice! But there's something so counterproductive about this for all of you - and I'm willing to tell you why.

    You're coming off as... well, desperate. You need to eat, you've got bills to pay. I get that, I know that. I've nearly lost my house before, and I went to every thread I could possibly go to, lowered my prices drastically to try to net more people in, and kept showing the same few pieces wherever I went. And you know what happened?

    I actually LOST buyers, I lost interest in my work, and people kept unfollowing me. It baffled me! I thought it was unfair, and people were just hating me for no reason. I didn't even realize at the time that I was killing my own market by not giving myself the self-respect I would want from my buyers. Nobody likes being begged for art, and it works exactly in reverse. When you're selling to a market as adult as the furry community (both in terms of budget and content) then you can't afford to put the more adolescent, less-professional dA spin on it. You're killing a business you aren't letting have the chance to even start.

    First and foremost, you should focus on self-improvement. Make works you've never been more proud of before and keep pushing yourself. Post all kinds of personal pieces. Eventually, the art you keep spamming will be outdated. Post your freshest works, don't just copy and paste the same few images. If you continuously self-improve, you'll have more watchers. I promise. Keep uploading polished works even when your commissions are closed. Get people to notice you.

    Secondly, not every single commission people want is something you're gonna like drawing! One person wants a piece with a background and huge scene and multiple characters interacting. One person wants a piece that's just a headshot. One person wants NSFW. One person wants gore. These are drastically different things, and, even if you have the talent to pull it off, are you really doing it because you love art, or because you love money? It comes off as insanely impersonal when you just copy and paste the same message for all the same requests, even if you think you're being open. The pieces you don't have inspiration for? They're not going to look as good, I swear.

    Lastly, have examples. This falls very heavily in line with the first point I made, but I'll separate it nonetheless. Focus on having a wide array of poses in your gallery. Give yourself a massive library of things for people to browse by just working on the stuff you would normally work on, and have commissions separated in another folder so people can be sure your quality never fluctuates. Link to your FA, either in your signature or in the post. Nobody wants to see the same examples over and over again, because the glamour that art worth money should have dies very quickly when you look at the same exact thing by the same exact artist repetitively. It helps you immensely to show people multitudinous things you've done so that they have a good idea of if your work is consistent enough to be worth their wallet.

    You all have talent, so pull that talent with you when you show it off. Don't try to pander to everybody, don't try to pick up whatever you can because 'well, it's a commission!'. Work within your specialties and self-interests, and it will pay off in the end.​
  2. GReiser

    GReiser none

    I'm so surprised to see someone had spoken out how I feel when I see it happening over and over.
    Though, I thought it is a normal practice and again, I was wrong. Just like when I watched one really nice artist and she kept spamming reminders, this made me feel so sick of her, but I was trying to be nice and tolerant, abiding this because her art is really really great... it felt horribly desperate like she's been torturing me personally despite even that I knew every her watcher was treated the same way. In fact, the realization that every one her watcher has probably been experiencing exactly the same, made the feeling much worse. And then good news hit me in the face: reminders are forbidden!

    Thank you for your post, this literally gives more motivation for working on self-improvement because there are people who see how unattractive the lazy way really is.
  3. Zeitzbach

    Zeitzbach Taste purple

    There will be good months and there will be bad months. While it may not seem like they are not controllable, they actually somewhat are. You are right about people disliking piece that seem to lack inspiration and confidence. People like it when an artist show signs of improvement. People like it when they know the artists they are hiring are having fun making the piece for them. As long as the artists can convery these feelings into their recent pieces, people will actually feel more comfortable hiring them. If the artists are including "VERY BEAUTIFUL!" or such line when they are advertising and describing their examples, they are already standing on shaky ground and will likely not get a single job. If the piece is impressive, it will convey that by itself without any additional description.

    One of the golden rule I have for setting up commission is to never make it seems like I'm desperate or vulnerable. Those sob journals? Those "Why does nobody likes my stuffs"? Those are something that you should never show to the public. Just like crocodile tears, some people will want to help but more will be annoyed although they are not saying anything about it. While it looks like it's helping in the short run, it hurts more in the long run.

    Even in their weakest, if the artists can pretend to be in their strongest, they will make it. I had some artists told me that I wouldn''t understand because I received decent amount of orders every month but there were time where I was really struggling because my art quality was lower with much smaller fanbase. While some would start making journals going all "I am struggling please support me!", I looked at the calendar to see if something was in season or was popular and drew a few pieces of that. Afterward, I came up with a sheet saying "Sale!" instead of "Emergency!". People couldn't tell that I was struggling. Some thought I was just being artsy and was in the best mood to commission pieces from. Everything added up and convinced them to do it.

    And I still repeat such a method to this day whenever I struggle. Some sales are legit special thing. Some are actually emergency sale. People can't really tell. Keep all the emergency issues and crisis private. As long as people can feel that artist is radiating an air of confidence and that he/she can tackle their orders and come up with awesome pieces in return for their money, they will contact the artist.
  4. estiniens

    estiniens stargazer

    Honestly, I'm still learning the ropes of advertisement and self-improvement. But eventually, not underselling and not begging will pay off - for both of us!
    I've had similar experiences, too, as with that story. I ended up just unwatching people and I felt so bad, but... If you beg for commissions, it annoys me just as much as people begging for art.
  5. estiniens

    estiniens stargazer

    I'll admit, I used to do this stuff out of desperation (I was around 16 and we were being threatened with eviction from a house we own because we couldn't afford taxes. I was scared!) but I'm now realizing just how annoying it is. It's so important to keep up a professional attitude. You wouldn't want to see a restaurant with 'EMERGENCY - CHEAP FOOD (please help)!!' because they're going bankrupt, so why with art?

    Very glad you liked the post - and that tip with 'sales!'. I never thought of doing it that way.
  6. Sergei Sóhomo

    Sergei Sóhomo Well-Known Member

    Some people just don't understand the need to tailor their ads to suit the potential customer's needs. Advertising your art is essentially like a resume

    You'll do leagues better if you tailor it to the company you're applying to and, if you throw in a cover letter, you'll be greatly ahead of the curve and likely to be more successful
  7. Mandragoras

    Mandragoras Inept Abecedarian

    I feel like it can be worth being honest about being in a bad financial situation with people who know and enjoy your work, but framing is always important, and sharply separating the explanation of your reasons for opening commissions from the actual announcement thereof seems prudent to me. This is not because the people who like your work won't care, but because that's not why they're commissioning you; they are commissioning you because they like your work, and while supporting you is no doubt a bonus for this reason, the potential guilt-tripping element is really not necessary. Be candid, not passive-aggressive.
  8. estiniens

    estiniens stargazer

    The thing is, people know you're asking for money because you need money. It's self-evident. Everybody has bills and groceries and medical expenses. There is not a person on the planet who doesn't; so making journal after journal saying 'I NEED BILLS PAY ME' is so common nowadays. We know you need help, most of us do. Most artists are starving, too. We don't pay you because you're starving, we pay you because we want the product you produce. It's a bit cold, but it's true.
  9. estiniens

    estiniens stargazer

    Exactly! I hate seeing people just post their work on every single thing they see just because 'well they might pay me, who knows!', or going outside of their boundaries just to try to pander to get money.
    You won't produce the same quality piece if it's not within your interests, because you'll quickly tire of working on it.
  10. Sergei Sóhomo

    Sergei Sóhomo Well-Known Member

    It's not respectable in any profession to play the sympathy card because it's seen as being manipulative. Doesn't matter if you don't intend it to seem like you want sympathy, the simple act of saying "my dog died and I'm very tight on cash" is enough.
  11. Mandragoras

    Mandragoras Inept Abecedarian

    I mean, there's a difference between regular expenses and crises. Some are a given, and some violently blind-side you. However, I do agree that one's professional platforms should be kept relatively clean of personal drama for the exact reason that you mention. My point is more that if part of how you interact with your fans outside of direct business transactions is one of personal rapport, and you do bring up real life stuff in that rapport, don't be manipulative or melodramatic about it. If you have a personal blog that fans of yours follow and something shitty happens that makes you need money, don't use it as a bully pulpit.
  12. Doodle Bunny

    Doodle Bunny Frequently says stupid things.

    I might be one of those people you're talking about. Granted, I don't post on everything (I only do SFW), but I definitely didn't mean to be so annoying. For that, I apologize.

    The way I see it is that the Commission (Hiring) posts are a bit of a rarity as far as I've seen, especially in the realm of SFW. I get a lot of conflicting advice between "only do what you like" and "HUSTLE, HUSTLE, HUSTLE!!!", so I'm kind of left confused. Not trying to get sympathy, just trying to give my perspective.

    At the very least, I haven't made any personal "I need money now!!!" type posts. I know I just post a lot on the Commission (Hiring) pages and I probably need fresher material.
  13. msgrandpabacon

    msgrandpabacon Active Member

    If I recall correctly, posting personal reasons as to why you want commissions; "I am almost out of food!", "I need to pay my bills!", "My pet needs medicine!" aren't even allowed in the threads. Not to mean that it isn't allowed on their journals, but I do agree it is very unprofessional.
    Also, I frequent the threads mostly to see what everyone else is offering, but I see a ton of threads with the standard "this is my commission prices, blahblahblah, here are examples." And after that there are replies... but it is just the artist bumping their stuff day after day. On some level this annoys me, but I have no idea how to suggest getting around it... and I don't do it to myself, but does anyone else know how to get around this? (Sorry if this is off topic.)
  14. estiniens

    estiniens stargazer

    It isn't really posting a lot, it's posting in everything you possibly can, even when none of your commission examples involve anything remotely correlated to the art the person's looking for, yet just because it's a commision, you want it. That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about. Sympathy garnering isn't really too common here, because of the rules, but poor business definitely is, especially when they start undercutting everybody else to try to get their art to sell.
  15. estiniens

    estiniens stargazer

    This is true, but I'm more speaking about advertisement on a wider scale. The whole package. Journals, other sites, forums, etc. Garnering for sympathy is a manipulative tactic of getting people to give you money and thus overlook whether they actually want your work, even if it's not meant to be that way.

    Well, the thing is, commissions should be handled as a business. A business needs to be up front, show you what they're selling, give you a price range, and tell you why you'd want it. The bumps are the only way to keep your advertisement on the 'front page' of the flyer, so to speak, and the "here's this, here's my info, blah blah" is the easiest way to be up front and professional. Being a little carefree is fine, but some people take it way too far and come off as irresponsible. On the other hand, if you act too cold and aloof and robotic, then you come off as unpleasant to work with. It's a careful balance, and I think reading through them shows you what kind of person it is, even if it's something as simple as an exclamation mark vs a period.

    As for the bumps, it's necessary in order for people to see what it is you're selling, even if it does get redundant. Because of how forums work, posts will get pushed back very far in a very short amount of time, which means they're easily overlooked and even forgotten about. To keep this from happening, we have to constantly push them up so people get a chance to see something they may have otherwise missed and end up really wanting. It can get annoying, yes, but forum formatting more or less calls for it.
    msgrandpabacon likes this.
  16. Zeitzbach

    Zeitzbach Taste purple

    If bumping is involved, I just make sure there's a whole new picture involved. No "bump bump bump" but instead, something like

    "Here's a recently completed piece for blahblahlbah" or a completely new piece that fits one of the category being sold. Sure that does take a lot of work and you might go a day or two without bumping at all but it helps to show you are active not only on your forum post but also your gallery and every other places you advertise on.
    msgrandpabacon likes this.

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