A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jen Cushman about the ongoing debate of whether artists need websites or blogs, or if they should have both. She had asked my opinion, and until I began talking, I didn’t realize I really even had one. I thought I’d share my thoughts here. I’m in favor of having both.
As I’ve mentioned before, when editors are recruiting artwork we do so in a variety of ways. We check blogs. We look on Etsy. We search Flickr. We exhaust every outlet possible. Sometimes we’re searching with something specific, like a holiday, in mind. Other times, we just have a particular magazine in mind and just start clicking away until something catches our eye.
I’m a huge fan of blogs. I love grabbing a cup of coffee and plopping myself down in front of my computer to blog hop. One blog leads to another, and before you know it the day is over. I’ve found a lot of artwork for my magazines this way. I’ve found a few problems with trying to use only blogs as a way to recruit artwork. Often, blogs are about more than just an artist’s artwork; they’re about their lives too. Trust me, I love reading all of the personal stories and seeing pictures of your grandbabies and puppies (I’ll never tire of baby and puppy pictures. Or pictures of food.), but that’s a quick way for me to lose a day’s worth of work. And sometimes, blogs have so many fancy doo-dads on them that they take forever to load, or don’t load completely.
Here are a couple of recommendations I have for your blogs so that editors can easily find your current artwork. First, link to a personal website. Having your own website is a great place to put up a gallery of your current work. In just a few minutes, an editor can see what type of work you create, and if you have a link to contact you, we’ll be able to do just that. I know that website maintenance isn’t always the easiest of things, so my other recommendation is to set up a Flickr account and link to it on your blog. That’s one of the first things I look for when I find a blog I like. With its easy-to-upload format, I’ve found that people update their Flickr regularly. It always has a simple email function, so I can contact you directly on Flickr. Another reason I urge all artists to set up a Flickr account is that it’s so simple for editors to search. If I’m looking for a certain type of artwork, I can simply put that in the search field and instantly find hundreds of pieces that fit that criteria, all arranged by date.
What it all really comes down to is this: If you want your artwork to be found by an editor, make it easy for us to find. Post your work on all the different sites we use to recruit from. The more places your work is, the more likely we’ll find it. And always, always make it easy to find your contact information. You never know who’s trying to email you.
Christen Olivarez is Director of Publishing for Stampington & Company and Editor-in-Chief of Somerset Studio, the top-ranked magazine for mixed-media and paper artists. Her blog posts appear on CreateMixedMedia.com every other Tuesday.
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