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LIVE Wednesdays on G+ Hangouts & available archived on YouTube. A panel of professional artists discuss hot topics such as art marketing, social media, creativity, process & the business side of art. Tune in and ask a question at


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Why Twitter is more awesome than Facebook.

Okay I am going to admit right off the bat that I am horribly biased in this review. You see I Heart Twitter hardcore. Like almost as much as I love Willie Nelson’s Limited edition Ben and Jerry’s Peach Cobbler ice cream - yeah, that much. And I hate Facebook with a passion that can only be described by the late great Madeline Kahn

MySpace used to be in the top position of my worst social networking sites list. But really well, it’s been a while since MySpace has been relevant to anyone looking to do anything other then market sexy Vampires to 11 year olds. But at the height of my annoyance with MySpace it never ever pissed me off as much as Facebook does.

See I use social networking as a marketing tool. I use it to connect with fans of my art and share my art with new people who might become fans. My ultimate goal is to build my fanbase and have this translate into sales. It has. It does. Social Marketing is very effective. And done right it feels much more honest than traditional marketing techniques. (More on that in another post.)

I have made friends via social networking too. And these sites do come in handy for keeping up with friends and acquaintances who I might not know enough to jingle on the phone regularly but who I nevertheless enjoy as a human beings and don’t mind one little bit hearing what they named their new cat. I work from home - it gets lonely during the day. It’s nice to have a little human connection over lunch.

But I’m sick to death of Facebook. Facebook is a free for all of false intimacy, and even forced intimacy with people that aren’t even on my @#$ing friends list. Almost everyone there is just gorging themselves on empty calories - scooping giant handfuls out of the same big bowl filled with all the worst sugary neon colored cereals that have ever been pushed on you. None of them wash their hands either. And they chew with their mouths open.

This is kind of behavior would not translate into successful REAL WORLD interactions. Anyone behaving this way in REAL LIFE would quickly have NO FRIENDS - certainly not a Facebook count of 563. Whenever I’m in doubt as to how to act on the internet I just put it in REAL WORLD TERMS. (More on Social Networking Etiquette in another post.  In a nutshell if you wouldn’t do it in REAL LIFE - don’t do it on the internet. )

So let me see if I can put this in real world terms. Twitter is like a cube farm in an office building. You are surrounded by co-workers that are there more or less for the same purpose - you know some better then others - and some you are even good friends with. During the course of your day something funny/irritating/interesting/informative/geeky happens and you mumble about it to yourself in your cube. But you mumble it audibly enough that the others around you in the cube farm can hear. You do this on purpose to add interest to your boring day. Your fellow cube mates that are within earshot comment back to you with a variety of things.

Perhaps another person in the farm who is out of earshot of your original mumble hears one of your friends responding to you and asks what that was all about (clicking the "in reply to link") and then having been filled in - (following the tweet thread to see what the hubbub was all about) they then feel free to comment to you as well. Perhaps you have a witty exchange and build a little connection and then feel free to count them as another workplace friend. Lovely.

Facebook is not like this. Facebook is the obnoxious co-worker who accosts you as you come in the office in the morning. They hover over you as you get your desk ready for the day eating some kind of trendy muffin spilling crumbs all over you and your workspace. They comment on the photo on your desk of your niece and call over their Buddy from billing to come take a look. Before you know it the Buddy from billing is snapping a shot of your nieces embarrassing 2nd grade toothless grin with his phone and sending it to his brother in law who sees it and makes some messed up comment about knowing a good Orthodontist. Buddy from billing then shares the comment with you and the entire cube farm and you are forced to put your niece’s picture in your desk to stave off a 2 days worth of working slobs who totter up to your floor during their break for a moment of workplace levity at your family’s expense.

As far as just straight up marketing and brand building - Twitter has gotten me really valuable connections personal and professional. I've sold a ton of art because of Twitter - including some pricey originals. I've gotten opportunities and set up artistic collaborations. Facebook has given me nothing but grief and given people with no professionalism far to much access to my time.

I said the following on my Facebook status yesterday. "On Twitter when someone spews at me it’s happening across the street. On Facebook it feels like they took a crap on my living room floor. I can handle across the street - I can’t handle my living room floor."

Yeah I know I could make two accounts. One personal and one public. No thanks I’m not trying to spend more time there. And I know I don’t have to use it and many people like it and it works well for them. Yep - happy for the people who like it. Yep I don’t have to use it. So I pretty much don’t anymore.

But it’s still out there.
And that frightens me.

More thoughts on Licensing

Since my last post regarding licensing I've had quite a few people email me with more questions. (I would encourage people to ask questions here on the blog so we might all benefit from the discussion.)

One thing I liked to reiterate is that if you have any questions about licensing and the business of art especially in the fantasy genre go buy Jessica Galbreth's book - RIGHT NOW. Seriously - Jess is a MASTER at the business of art and like E.F. Hutton when she talks we all should listen so if you haven't bought it already just go do it. Go on. I'll wait. Here's the link: Buy Jess's Book

Okay moving on. There is no right approach. You have to figure out for yourself what your particular formula for succes is going to be. And while I know its scary and confusing and overwhelming. None of the artists you perceive as having more experience or expertise then you are going to be able to give you a guidebook to assured success. You will make mistakes - there will be deals you aren't happy with. Promise.

Licensings is difficult to get into. It's very competitive and I feel personally its overrated. Most of the artists I know make far more income selling directly to their fans then they do off of licensing.

But I think it's important to understand one thing. And I wrote this in an email today and I really think it's valuable so I'm sharing it here.

Far to many artists hold licensing up as the Holy Grail of success - which it is not. Perfecting your craft, your techinque, your style, your vision and your connection to your fanbase should be - and is - the holy grail.

Most licensing for most artists results in small paychecks that trickle in every quarter. Some licensors never pay you. Some sign you up and never make your products (potentially keeping you tied up and unavailable for other opportunities).

Yes some licensing can be very lucrative. Some artists make quite a bit of money at it. But like any field the people at the top making the most money are just a handful of people. They work very very very hard and there is always something "special" about these people. Something that sets them apart. (And just for the record whatever your impressions I am NOT one of the people at the top of the licensing ladder - I make very little of my income off of licensing).

The artists at the top work hard, they are prolific, they are unique while at the same time staying on top of trends. They diversify their subjects while never straying from their particular style. The quality of their work is top notch and improving all the time. They are unfailingly professional. Did I mention hard working?

To get to the top of the licensing game you not only have to be all these things - you have to be better. Because you need to make room for one more. Yourself.

This is not meant as discouragement. But rather a reality check. Knowledge is power. You need to know what you are in for.

If all you want to do is license your art with your friend who makes handmade journals and sells them at the local fair (and I'm not knocking that) then go for it. Ignore this advice - as it has little bearing on smaller ventures.

But if what you want to do is license your work to a major clothing manufacturer and see your art in every Hot Topic from here to Timbuktu - then bring your A game and cross your fingers.

I'll be cheering for you!