A you a Dali or a Van Gogh? Selling yourself as an author or artist

There are two types of people in the world, and only one of them are successful.

The Dalis are brazen self-promoters and headline grabbers. They are invincible in their self-confidence, creative and crazy in their media-friendliness, daring in their publicity stunts.

The Van Goghs are quietly reflective, they ask people for favors, they are patient and sensitive, they trust other people to do things for them.

Artists and authors have a lot in common – both Dali and Van Gogh were visionary geniuses, had painting skills, had a strong body of work. But whether or not anybody paid money for that work depended on how each represented themselves. The same is true for you.

Are you newsworthy enough?

You are probably not as bold and insane as Dali, check out some of the stunts he pulled:

Salvador Dali was perhaps one of the greatest false-hype men in history. His stunts are too numerous to count, running the gamut from employing topless models during gallery showings, to trashing his own art displays to create buzz for his upcoming play. There wasn’t a Dali-related event that Dali wasn’t out doing something ridiculous to promote.

The thing is, Dali was so crazy that it was hard to tell when he was acting, and when he was near death. In one stunt, he entered a lecture flanked by white hounds while dressed in a full old-fashioned diver’s suit. Apparently deciding that oxygen was soooo blase, Dali neglected to make sure there was a way for air to get in to the air-tight suit. As the ambient oxygen in the helmet began to dwindle, Dali started frantically pulling at the helmet which was, at that time, affixed with metal bolts. No one helped him because no one wanted to be the square who fell for Dali’s latest stunt.

Nevertheless, whether promoting your paintings or your books you need to know how to make YOURSELF news worthy. Paintings and books are not news, in themselves, no matter how good they are. What can YOU do that is exciting, daring, bold, new to attract attention? If, like most authors and artists, you don’t really want any attention and hope people will interact with your work, rather than you, keep in mind that you may end up like Van Gogh; depressed, poor, drunk and spurned.

About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me

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