It’s that time of the year again where I start feeling antsy. My biggest con is just around the bend, the book is almost here, and I’ve got so many things on the horizon that I’m unsure about. Plus a nice bout of insomnia while the gears turn and turn each night trying to plan how things are going to go down. I warn you that this is going to be a candid entry, as I’ve always meant for the point of this journal to be an honest look at my venture into being a fantasy artist.
It’s time to start planning the promotion of the book. Will the book do well? Will I make enough from royalties to help pay for rent on a bigger place? Will it flop? Am I going to sell well at the next convention? I just have no clear idea right now what being published by a major publisher will even mean, how it will effect my plans, and that is driving me a little batty. I’m sure things will become clearer as I work with the company to learn what their promotional procedures are like, but right now waiting for things to come together is absolutely maddening. But the publishing wheels turn, turn, turn and that is just the nature of things. I wonder if this is how all debut authors feel when they’re in that limbo time between the finished manuscript and the publication date?
I’ve had a rocky start this year as far as convention sales, though they’ve been great for meeting other artists and not feeling like I’m trapped in a dark cave somewhere gnawing on raw fish a la Gollum and wasting my life away chained to my art desk. Am I making a living out of this yet? Sadly, the answer right now for my first year doing this is no, not yet. I am surviving thanks to the loving support of family…which makes me feel somewhat guilty. Next year, there will be art fairs to help supplement online sales (and HOPEFULLY licensing revenue..but still working on a portfolio for that and researching the ins and outs).
And of course questions always lead to other questions. What do I work on next? What will bring in money (but also not make me feel like I’m selling my soul?) Will my portfolio be good enough for the companies I’m looking at? I’ve had a very strong urge to try to get back to writing and illustrating my own stories, but is this a gamble I can afford right now? It’s where my heart is and all the universal signs are telling me character driven art is where I want to be, but there is still an aura of guilt that such ventures take time, even moreso than other things, and that it would be irresponsible of me to not make money now now now drawing things that take less time.
By the same token, good art should take awhile, it should be something we spend a piece with so we realize it to its full potential. Oh how I envy the speed of other artists! It’s something I’ve yet to achieve. The luxury of being able to simmer overlong on ideas until they’re brought to me in a shining stork basket by the Muse is not mine anymore. It’s been really hard adjusting to this fact too now that art is a job and not a past-time. I feel an insane pressure to produce portfolio quality things all of the time, or I am wasting my time. This has really put me in art block mode because I can’t lighten up and have fun with my work. IT MUST ALL BE A MASTERPIECE or DEATH!
In a surprising twist of events, my new leathercrafting hobby has saved my butt as far as making up for table fees this year (and saving sanity as well!). People seem more interested in it than my art, which is slightly annoying, but what good does it do me to be jealous of myself? Sales are sales and at least I can have a little justifiable fun filling my table with a variety of things beyond prints, yet another by-product of being an experimental artist overburdened with too many hobbies and interests!
The only solution I can think of right to sew all of this chaos up is to find a way to hyper-charge my brain so I don’t need to sleep OR can somehow manage to work WHILE sleeping. So while I ponder on that, I leave you with a laugh, for what lightens the soul better than a smile?
(Crazy optimistic OVERLOAD or ELSE!)