This blog is a little different, as it is primarily to commend the blog of a colleague, and to expand on to a point Selina Fenech makes in respect to marketing your work, and self education in particular.
Firstly though I want to make it known that although Selina and I were classmates in a university course a few years back, which was the beginning of a very successful career for her; that I am twice her age, and have over forty years experience in the same general field as a freelancer…in photography, writing and illustrating with varying degrees of success. As any long term freelancer knows, and anyone contemplating the freelance life needs to know…you can be outrageously successful one day, and scraping up coins to buy instant noodles the next.
As a strong advocate of lifetime self education, I have read widely and attended courses on, not only my branches of the arts, but on art in general, as well as marketing, management and running a business; I also learn a lot from colleagues, art practitioners, and others through personal interaction (schmoozing and networking if you like), following peoples careers and reading their blogs. Selina is one person I follow with genuine interest, and learn a great deal from.
Apparently now, most people access their self education through the internet, predominantly via blogs, forums, YouTube and similar tutorials, and online courses. I have studied all these avenues, and as a result must sound a note of caution…none of these should be taken at face value, and no assumptions made of them being useful, so be wary before you start quoting them as gospel, as the greatest experience you have ever had, or plonking your money down before careful evaluation.
And needless to say, those ever-growing numbers of ‘photographers’ especially, who actually trumpet loudly to anyone who will listen (does anyone?) that even reading their camera manual is too much knowledge and will lead inevitably to them selling out their creativity and their ‘art’….well …there is nothing to see here, move along, please.
I have observed that their are several styles of providers of knowledge or education on the Internet:
1. the provider who actually has knowledge and experience, and has researched widely, and who writes to communicate it to others ethically, and accurately through lucid, well developed and structured arguments, points and illustrations.
(this is the only form which is not only useful, but also valuable…those that follow below…well?, and those I have left out, are not mentioned for a reason you can surmise)
2. the I’ve just found this out, and am desperate to pass it on...prominent on the YouTube circuit…usually poorly researched, arrogantly, and falteringly presented, superficial, and of next to no use.
3. simplistic regurgitation of other people’s work, and increasingly based on second, third, fourth and even more hand versions of a long passed original, which many times is out-dated, forgotten as inconsequential, or worse still the rebirth of refuted inaccuracies or ‘off the wall’ theories…for example many writers on photography seem to believe that the mere mention of the name Ansel Adams will add credibility to what they are saying, and like many artists of the past (Leonardo da Vinci springs to mind) have been credited for a great deal that frankly never entered their minds, and also much they wouldn’t want to be associated with…basically useless.
4. written and presented by a person who merely wants to add credibility to his life, or to achieve some kind of recognition or reputation in his chosen field…particularly strong amongst the writers of self published eBooks, which while being an extension of number three above, are usually even more oversimplified, and difficult to read due to the largely patronising and condescending styles of writing, and the apparent lack of any grasp on the use of any form of lucid argument, indeed of language, grammar, spelling, sentence structure or punctuation….useless.
5. this deals specifically with marketing and business practices…written by an ‘expert’ who presents a very much simplified précis of a very overpriced ‘must have’ course he is offering…usually from absolutely no experience in the arts he claims his course will benefit, and very often no practical experience in his discipline, quite often making his money from selling the course, rather than doing the work he professes to be an expert in…the old adage ‘if he has all the answers to getting rich, why is he telling everyone else, instead of practising what he preaches’ is very true in this case…and therefore all these gurus can be lumped in with astrologers, crystal worshipers, ghost hunters, and scam artists and are totally useless.
6. anyone who claims that you can develop a thriving business, become wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, support yourself in the lifestyle you so richly deserve based solely on developing a Facebook business page, or a ‘you beaut’ website,( build it and they will come); buying into a pyramid scheme; contributing your art to microstock picture libraries, where you can earn about .22c per picture sale (but you one picture can be bought hundreds of time…yeah right, try it and see); writing articles for ‘off the rack’ distribution websites which on closer examination offer the princely sum of $3 per 1000 words, (completed from research to finished, publishable work in less than three hours of course); these are simply laughable, and many should be done for false advertising…but still people fall for their shtick!
7. all those who simply rehash the ‘Internet mantra of marketing, i.e. effective website, contribute to forums, Facebook presence, lots of testimonials etc…same old same old….proven to be far out-dated, ineffective even when it was new, and now rendered virtually useless, stale, unimaginative, and ignored by the majority you may be trying to reach due to being identical to what every man and his dog are doing, and have done, time immemorial ( well since Internet time began at least)
Check out Selina Fenech’s blog:
Become a Successful Author in 4 Easy Steps
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