Show your work by Austin Kleon

In  a world where people love to show everything in their lives, especially on social media- including what they eat, the kids, the vacations, the new buys and the stuff, there still exist some who abhor doing that. This book is for those artists and creative people who actually ‘need’ to show their work to the world. How else would others know about them and their work? It follows the earlier book by the same author, Austin Kleon- Steal like an Artist.



Author: Austin Kleon
Originally Published: 2014 
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Pages: 224
Genre(s): Non-Fiction, Self Help, Career

Artists, creative people in cinema, music, art, literature or dance need to get noticed and mind you, not all know how to do it (well). It’s not enough to “be so good that they cannot ignore you”. The medium are many and worse still, audience have to deal with an avalanche of information, so pretty soon, it will be ‘out of sight is out of mind’. Kleon, in just 10 simple steps, shows how one can stay relevant by being visible.
  1. You don’t have to be a genius- be a scenius instead: Which literally translates to ‘being seen’. Network, connect with people who know more people. So more people know what you do without you doing much effort. Be an amateur- who isn’t trying to be or to be seen as an expert but is trying to become one. They’re not afraid to lose anything or to make a mistake. Find your voice, for you may lose it if you don’t use it. Post something relevant, comment, ask questions and make suggestions on platforms like the social media or real time meet ups.
  2. Think process, not product: The product is just the result, the outcome. The real fun is in the process, the whole journey of creation. Document what you do. Many writers start sharing chapters of their books even before the whole thing is completely written. That piques peoples’ interest in the book. Sharing pictures of your work in progress keeps the spark alive.
  3. Share something small everyday: Show the progress of your work every day. That way, your audiences know what you’re up to. It’s not what you eat and where you that they’re interested in, it’s all about what your work speaks and how far it has come. But remember, it’s not your diary where you chronicle everything you think. It’s a curated show. Before you hit the ‘Share’ button, ask yourself one pertinent question – Is it useful or entertaining? If you, go ahead. If no, trash it.
  4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities: Remember those days when people had ‘showcases’ at home that showed their collection of curios- from their travels and expeditions? Today we do it online with nuggets of our finds. Share what you found interesting, that which people would feel ‘wow’ about. It is a glimpse of your personality that spots and finds things others may miss. But remember to credit people when you share something that you haven’t created and the one who did is known.
  5. Tell good stories: People love to connect and stories do just that. Share the back-story to pieces of art. When your shares have a piece of narrative attached to it, it becomes all the more alluring. Make a logical story with a good structure. Keep it real and use plain language.
  6. Teach what you know: Share the tricks of the trade. Not everyone who learns becomes your immediate competition. As you share freely, you build credibility and more and more people turn to you because they know they can learn something from you.
  7. Don’t turn into human spam: Listen to people, for only then will they open up and speak about themselves. If you want followers, you must first become someone worth following. Do the vampire test- know when you feel drained and spent when you hang out with someone or when you feel energized and full. Use discretion wisely.
  8. Learn to take a punch: Whenever you create something new and show it to others, you’re bound to receive feedback. Some of that could be negative. Never take criticism in a negative way but learn from it and better yourself. Care for what people say only if you feel they matter. Trolls are those who themselves have nothing better to do. It’s our response to them that matters.
  9. Sell out: Every artist’s work needs to sell and make money for him/her. Sharing your process and your best work strengthens you to ask for funding or charge for what you feel your work is worth. There’s nothing to feel ashamed or shy in asking your due. You need to make a living too and an artist cannot survive merely on praise and appreciation. Support other artists as well whenever possible.
  10. Stick around: Work is never finished, it’s only abandoned. Never quit, take a break, a sabbatical if needed so you feel re-energized. You get your ideas from nature or meeting people. Run, exercise, travel, watch something interesting. You may feel stuck, choked and spent, but never quit.

Key takeaways
  1. Every work needs to be seen to stay relevant and in the eyes of others.
  2. Know how to show your work, it isn’t just click and post.
  3. Think how to keep your audiences about what you do.
  4. People love to know how you’re progressing on your project rather than the completed work.
  5. Use means to encash on your work.
  6. Come what may, never quit
Why I recommend this book Because it invigorates creative people who want to show others what they’re doing but feel scared fearing they would be too early. The book is a very practical guide about how to make use of social media platforms to showcase your unique works. It also helps people understand hat and when to show, to whom, where and how. I bet you wouldn’t get someone teach you this stuff easily. The book is a new age take on being open about what you’re creating and let the world know. It changes several of your prejudices about showing and allows you to be comfortable in doing just that. Did you notice any corrections to be made on this page? Submit your feedback here. We will take the necessary action.