Monday, August 05, 2019

Making vs. Marketing

How do you balance being creative, with the business of marketing your creations? It’s especially difficult when marketing your art can be just as creative and artistic (not to mention as frustrating, time consuming, and expensive) a process as making it.

When do you know when to do one, and when to do the other? Can they be done simultaneously? And how in the world do you find and cultivate an audience for your art when you’d really rather be making it?

The reason this occurred to me is that not only have my creative clients dealt with this, but as a busy creative I deal with this too every day. I’ve been in a heavy marketing phase for months now, but see a creative phase coming. Does that mean I stop marketing and building audiences?

How in the world does this work? Let’s break it down.


This is the fun part, right? The art. The creating. Writing the song, painting, playing, inventing, writing…these are all things that drive artistic people like us.

It comes naturally, if not all the time. But it does come.

If we are smart, we will make time for it each day, or each week. Purposely putting time away to create. Sometimes these creative times last for weeks or months. Maybe it’s in the writing and production phases of a music project or book. Sometimes it’s just time in your particular studio (recording, dance, art) to play, move, think, draw, or type.

Whatever the time, this is when the magic part of you comes alive and creation happens. Then another thing is birthed that will hopefully outlast you; a work to send out into the world; part of your legacy, right?

But in order to get it to the world…


This is the hard part, and potentially the most devastating to our creative hearts and souls for several reasons.

Some artists are born showoffs. These people were born to take a stage be it open mic, record a live video talking to the world, or share everything online with the world. But many of us do not find sharing our art (or especially trying to sell it) to the world that easy, and those who do may have trouble finding stages to get on these days.

Even if we do want to get the art out there, it’s getting harder and harder to use the tools we always have in the past, even relatively new ones like social media.

The other way it can be damaging is if we put it out there and there is little response. Usually the reason for this is that we have not taken the time to build an audience for our artistic creations, or we are depending on friends and family to like it, or for it to go "viral" or magically make it big!

But marketing is more than people “liking” something. It’s actually getting our art in front of strangers and convincing them to become an audience for it…which takes money and time.

Large companies like Disney and Universal spend millions if not hundreds of millions getting their brands in front of audiences, from online ads, to Burger King cups, to billboards, to theme parks, to movies, to endless TV commercials. Most of us don’t even consider ANY budget to do marketing. We may spend to make a product (an album, a book), but we don’t spend anything to market it, then wonder why no one is hearing or reacting to our art.

Yes, social media once made it easy to share your music, your art, your dance videos, your books to the world for free. But the rest of the world has caught on and now EVERYBODY is doing it, and the social networks now know how much they can hold you over a barrel to let you serve your "friends". It’s a war of who is shouting the loudest. You know who is shouting the loudest? Marvel, Sony, Star Wars, Sports, News, TV, Netflix, Hulu…and you know this because you likely consume these brands all the time.

Now, I’m not saying you have to spend millions…although if you had millions you know you would, and guess what, you’d reach millions!

When to Do What

I have always found that the seasons for making and marketing will come naturally. Making season leads to marketing season, which wears you out and leads you back to making season. But likely there should be some of each happening all the time. If you work on your new opus for two years (or six!), you may lose the audience you built marketing your last creation.

There are whole books written on marketing, and though I could probably write one, I think I feel a creative phase coming on…

Have a great week!

Eric Copeland is currently wrapping up the marketing phase of creative products for PlayerAJazz and Positive Spin Songs, with new classical, piano, jazz, and other works including novels and non-fiction books on their way. Find out more at


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  2. Thanks for another great post. Yep - it's a struggle to find that balance AND the courage to have to market your own stuff once you make it. But it helps you become more clear about what it is you're really trying to do with your art when you have to market it. It's a good refining process, even though I hate it sometimes. Thanks for taking the time to write about it!

  3. Just thinking about marketing gives me a headache! But I know it's necessary if I want my work to be out there and be successful. What I do is, as I create, I also read on how to market my work. It's tasking. But for me it has become part of the creative process. Thanks for the blog!

    1. That's good advice and sounds like a great system!

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About the Author

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Eric Copeland is an author, producer, keyboardist, songwriter, and president of Creative Soul Companies. What is Creative Soul? Our main goals are to inform, encourage, and assist Christian creative folks in ministry, no matter where they are in their journey. Thanks for reading! Find out more about us at