Don’t wait until they’re ready

I was talking with a successful artist the other day. She’s been working her niche market–doing a fantastic job at talking with decision-makers and making sure they know who she is. A recent conversation to get a commission ended with the decision-maker saying something like this to her: “We’re about a year away from bringing art into this project, but you can bet that you’re at the top of our list.”

Cool! She put it on her calendar to contact them again in a year (Yea! good so far) and seemed quite proud to tell me about this. I responded . . .

“You’re not going to wait a whole year to contact them, are you?!!!”

(I think I scared her and she knows me quite well. She kind of replied, “No, I guess I’m not”–waiting to hear from me why I thought she shouldn't be waiting a year.)

Helen Saunders, The Purple Ghost. Gyotaku print on rice paper, 22 x 16 inches. ©The Artist
Helen Saunders, The Purple Ghost. Gyotaku print, 15 x 22 inches. ©The Artist

I suggested she plan on sending at least four mailings to this particular person throughout the next 12 months. They could be one-sided newsletters, articles about her, or anything else that will promote her work and make her look like the busy, successful artist she is. Her first one should be sent by the end of October. Clarification: This is real, put-a-stamp-on-it mail–the stuff you take to the Post Office. Don't add these people to your email newsletter list unless they have requested it. You want to personalize these mailings!

A lot can happen in a year

She should be doing this for all of the contacts in her niche. Hey, as long as you put together one mailing, you might as well send it to as many people as you need to.

You never know what will take place over the course of a year. You never know how many other artists that person is going to run into in the months to come or how many other portfolios he’ll look through. You have to keep your name in front of people.


Check out I'd Rather Be in the Studio! for more about artist newsletters, mailings, and following up (pages 115-159)

Share this post

Does your digital presence do justice to the quality of your art?

A comprehensive checklist to do a quick review of everywhere you show up online. FREE with opt-in.

8 thoughts on “Don’t wait until they’re ready”

  1. While I agree she shouldn’t wait a whole year I also think there should be some communication up front that she will be in touch in what way. I find it really disrepectful when people add me to their mailing list for a newsletter assuming that I would want to receive those mailings when I didn’t give them permission to contact me in that way.

    I would suggest a more personalized email or other as a way of keeping in touch – it can be a “standard” email that is customized in the introduction.

  2. Amrita: Just to clarify, I’m talking about REAL mail–not email. I agree with you about the latter! This needs to be sent through snail mail. I say “one-sided” above, but I’m going to go back in and make clear that I’m talking about snail mail.

  3. I love this post because it speaks to why so many people are as successful as they are. It’s that personalized persistence that makes us recognizable but not annoying. *laughs* It’s amazing what persistence, self-belief and self-promotion can do!

  4. I’m enjoying this post also, especially the part that speaks to self-confidence. . Not having that confidence would definitely make me back away from the four times a year newsletter , for eg. But acting on the assumption that people who have expressed an interest in my work would actually like to receive updates from me !, is a river to cross that speaks more about how I feel about myself than how they might feel about me. Thanks for the encouragement !

  5. I will definitely get back to “snailmail” contacts (I used to before email). I was also taken with your idea in a post from last year about making up a notebook to keep articles, statements, exhibition postcards, etc., as well as photos. I do have a photo book of my work and have noticed that people love looking through it (most are full colour 8×10) – adding the other information on my “career” highlights is a great idea.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

Are you presenting yourself in the most professional manner online?

Get The Artist’s
Online Presence Audit

48 places to check to make sure you are ready when someone runs into you online. Free with optin.

*You will also receive updates about new podcasts, blog posts, and programs. You can opt out at any time.

Privacy + Terms