Step 13

The Dreamer’s Manual:
Sixteen Steps to Achieve Your Creative Goals

Step 13: Be Direct

The Internet allows artists to directly engage with their fans, but aggressive media companies have found ways to insert themselves into this relationship.

Selling and distributing artwork at scale usually requires the services of one or more of the “Big Five” media companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google). These businesses make huge profits by acting as middlemen, but the current model is not the only way to move large quantities of artwork.

Enterprising artists can develop their own Internet-based sales and distribution systems and cut out the middlemen. Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Indie Go-Go, and Patreon are examples of how artists are bypassing the Big Five (but not completely: for example, Amazon receives a fee for processing credit cards through Kickstarter).

Be Direct

Artists can also build websites with e-commerce stores to sell their work. The popular WordPress content management system (website design software), used in conjunction with the WooCommerce e-commerce plugin, has allowed countless artists to share and sell work directly to fans.

Another way to sell work is via Gumroad, a company which allows you to turn hyperlinks into sellable products. This means every e-mail and social media share you create has the potential to bring you income.

Utilizing the Big Five media companies to sell and distribute work is perceived by many as a necessary evil, but it is not the only way to fly. When possible, it is best to interact directly with your fans, whether discussing your work or selling your products. Fans with whom you have a direct connection will want you to receive the lion’s share of the profits for your work. After all, if you are successful, you will be able to create more for them to enjoy.

Sell your products and services directly to your customers

Step 13: Be Direct