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Show Your Work! Paperback – March 6, 2014
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Forget the lone genius myth, says Kleon, author of the best-seller, Steal like an Artist (2012). His 10-step journey in this beginner’s guide to self-promotion emphasizes audience building and explains the how and why of such approaches as thinking about process rather than product, sharing something each day, teaching what you know, learning to take a punch, and developing staying power. Kleon’s use of artists’ quotes, photographs, and organizational diagrams enhances the text as he reminds readers of how interested people are in the creative process. Become a documentarian . . . start a journal . . . keep a scrapbook . . . see the work you’re doing more clearly and feel . . . progress. When you’re ready to share, you’ll have a surplus of material. Put work out there and let people take their best shot. Then make even more work and keep sharing it until you learn that criticism can’t hurt and may help you. And stick with it. Kleon’s powerful advice makes this small-format book not-at-all little. --Whitney Scott
"[Show Your Work is] timeless; readers can return to it repeatedly throughout life and still glean useful ideas and tips... Anyone starting out (or starting over)...will find upbeat encouragement here."
“Some people are natural self-promoters. For others, it’s painfully difficult to put their work out there. In this creatively designed pocket-sized book, Kleon offers the latter group effective strategies that allow them to share their work without leaving their comfort zone…. Kleon’s advice is sassy and spot-on.”
“[The] subtitle could just as easily be, ‘How to Self-promote Without Being a Jerkface.’ It’s an incredibly useful and compulsively readable short book.”
“Kleon addresses with equal parts humility, honesty, and humor one of the quintessential questions of the creative life: How do you get ‘discovered’? In some ways, the book is the mirror-image of Kleon’s debut ― rather than encouraging you to ‘steal’ from others… it offers a blueprint to making your work influential enough to be theft-worthy.”
“A must-read for anyone involved in the creative process.”
“Kleon’s powerful advice makes this small-format book not-at-all little.”
“In this motivating book, packed with smart approaches, ideas and quotes, Kleon teaches you how best to navigate through creative work in the present day. . . . A certain and deserved bestseller.”
“It’s not often that I find myself reviewing a book that I can say has already changed my life. . . . At a crucial turn in this fabulous little wallop of a book comes the simple directive, ‘Share something small every day.’ That ‘something’ oughtn’t be your Instagrammed latte or a selfie, but something ‘useful or interesting’ about your work. Put enough somethings out there, and a lone artist or entrepreneur can soon be a productive part of a creative community.”
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- Put your work out there, share it with others regularly
- Meet up with people in real life, not just on the Internet
- Don't be afraid to make money off your creative work
- Keep going
- Maintain an e-mail list
- Give proper credit when you refer to other people's work
I won't spoil the rest--if you do read the book, you'll see that I'm not simplifying anything in that list. He goes into zero detail about *how* you should do any of those things, which leads me to believe that he considers the suggestions themselves as worthy of paid publication. Even as free blog posts, most of these chapters would leave me asking, "And...?" This is a catchy write-up of the most banal common knowledge on the topic.
I loved Steal Like An Artist (and still do), but this book was not worth the money or the time I spent on it. Big disappointment. I will probably still buy his next book, but I hope I won't have to return it like this one.
Kleon encourages you not only to create, but to constantly share your work with others.
The reasons for this are many: you gain followers, you build a portfolio of sorts, you find like-minded artists, and you establish a presence.
Anyone can write, but Kleon argues that, by putting your work out into the world, you take the first steps in becoming the writer that you envision for yourself.
Just like Steal like and Artist, Show Your Work contains many graphics that help convey the concepts that Kleon is discussing. It’s almost a little too hard to classify this work as a book, but there are enough words here to satisfy any reader.
Even if you aren’t planning on becoming a writer, there is enough good advice in here to help any sort of career — musicians, content creators, photographers, journalists, all, I believe, will find something helpful in these pages.
There is no doubt that many artists today are practicing the techniques that Kleon describes in this book. You have nothing to lose but, possibly, everything to gain with this short work.
Plus, it’s fun read too.
But there is something different and unique about his discussion. In his own way, he’s coming at the subject from new angles. His way resonates with me much more than others. There’s actually no comparing at all.
Austin’s approach makes me leave my hesitations behind and act, by convincing me that making mistakes is ok, as long as I make something. He then proceeds to frame those possible mistakes in manageable ways of thinking.
He gives me the simple and pure feeling that there is an abundance of possibilities, and I can deep into them. that it’s actually no big deal to deep into them.
Austin has a way of showing what to do and how to do it, without a boring To-do list. Through examples, inspiring quotes, and his own experience, he is SHOWING us, but not telling us. He is bringing it all down to earth, and very convincingly.
Some examples to the uniqueness of the book: It’s giving good advice about the need to compromise between perfectionism and neglecting quality or over-sharing. I find that very useful advice as I engage in social media everyday-sharing.
The atmosphere in this book brings the power to YOUR hands:
“Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine. Online, you can become the person you really want to be.”
For me personally, this book has been a real creative thinking teaser. In direct ways, and some indirect ones, it made me jump out my seat with new ideas, or sometimes, a new angle of an idea I was already working on, and feeling stuck.
Coming to the end of the book, though, I seem to be running into problems with chapter 10: “Stick around”. Mostly, I don’t think this chapter belongs in this book, because mostly it’s not about “SHOW your work” but about DO your work. It gives fantastic advice, but I think it belongs in a separate book.
I am feeling enthused, excited and exhilarated to implement his recommendations and advice. The book is artistic in every way, has the friendly and easy style of passing a load of information lightly, and has the humour that brings a smile on your face!
Thank you so much, Mr. Kleon! You are the best teacher ever, for me.