Improving Your Online Presence

Thoughts from NESCBWI 2010

Last week at the New England SCBWI conference, I taught a workshop called 10 Ways Artists Can Improve Their Online Presence. During the class, I talked about various ways and methods that I have used to market myself on the internet. As some of you might know, I have a blog, a Twitter account, a Ustream show, and a smattering of other online profiles in various places across the web. They have all helped me network with industry people, improve my artwork, learn about the business, and sell stuff.

In my workshop, I did my best to share some of the lessons I have learned along the way. These are some of the more important points I brought up during the conference:

    Be Proactive

    Putting up a website and then not promoting it is like going to a party and standing in a corner by yourself. No one will know you exist unless you tell them.

    Leave comments on blogs, join communities, participate in discussions, and contribute to online projects. Get your name and artwork in front of as many eyes as possible.

    Help Others

    This is the number one strategy that has gotten me the most returns in my career. I never imagined anyone would care about my tutorials, videos, or various advice I post here on this blog, but every day I get comments and emails from people who have been affected by them. Those same people have given me help, advice, and work in return.

    When you’re out on the web, don’t do so solely with the attitude of promoting yourself or seeking favors from others. Actively seek ways to contribute to the community, and I promise you your efforts will come back to you in the end.


    Twitter has been one of my top promotional tools I have ever used on the internet, yet many artists still don’t understand it or refuse to use it.

    Think of it this way – Twitter is like a party (it is after all, a large chat room essentially). There are many artists, writers, and industry pros at this party. Some people are promoting their latest projects, while some artists are sharing their painting process. One group is in the corner having a huge discussion about the publishing industry, while another group is just chatting about the movie they saw last night. There are both veterans and newbies hanging around. Anyone can talk to anyone else. Admission is free.

    You would want to attend this party, right? All I’m saying is, give Twitter a try.


    When you’re doing all this online stuff and trying to keep up with all your accounts, it’s easy to lose track of time. Don’t forget that you’re an artist!

    Spend most of your time offline, not online. If you’re frustrated and don’t know what to post or talk about, turn your computer off and go draw something. Start off each day with one goal in mind: What am I going to MAKE today?

    If you are always producing work, you will never be at a loss for what to blog, Twitter, or Facebook about. Remember, you should be using the web to promote your artwork, not creating artwork to promote your websites.

    Don’t Give Up

    Simple to say, difficult to do. Success as an artist and on the web will not depend solely on talent; it also depends on the artist’s determination.

    If something’s not working you’re either 1) not doing/using it right, 2) not promoting it right, or 3) not giving it enough time. You will not get immediate returns on anything. No one is going to see your website. No one is going to read your blog, or talk to you on Twitter. At first. That stuff takes time. Be patient.

Download the Full Lecture

The post above is a very general overview of just a few of the topics I talked about at the workshop. If you would like to read all of my notes and tips that I outlined in my presentation, I am making it available as a PDF download. The PDF contains all ten sections and explains each one in-depth. It also includes links and examples for all the topics I discuss, and lists specific tasks you can do to improve in each section.

The PDF is 8 pages total and is available for $2.99. I have decided to charge a fee to make it fair for those who paid and made the effort to come attend the workshop in person, and to help offset the time and effort it took to write and gather all the info.

You can buy/download it here:

(Note to workshop attendees: You have already received the info included in the PDF via the class handout and webpage. If you would like the PDF version too, I have posted it up on the class webpage.)