Backwards and baby steps can help us move forward in everything.

I now look HISTORICALLY old!

Last week, I raved about the powerful insights I’ve gained already from watching just two AMP webinars (Art Marketing Playbook), a series created by FASO’s marketing guru, Dave Geada of Big Purple Fish..

Great marketing insights often mean revamping, not just our approach, but also our website, our email newsletters, our social media accounts. And with great revamping can come great overwhelming-ness. (I just made that word up.) Big projects can be daunting, especially if they aren’t in our ‘primary’ skill-set. (I’m comfortable with social media, but changes in my approach were needed.)

I’m happy to find that I’m doing a lot of things right: Knowing my ‘creation story’, using the best social media platforms (Facebook biz page, Instagram account, a lively email newsletter, the “new artwork alert”, etc.)

I was sad to learn all the things I’m doing wrong. And devastated to learn how many things I’m doing wrong. A lot of work lies ahead….

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by big multi-step processes. And when I’m overwhelmed, my lizard brain instantly leaps in to protect me.

“You’re doing it wrong! It’s too hard! Just stop, crawl away, give up, hide in a hole somewhere!! Make it go awaaaaaaaay!!”

You probably already know that doesn’t work. And yet, being overwhelmed can mean we put off the repairs, edits, restructuring efforts so necessary for doing better.

So I sat with all this new knowledge, wondering how the heck to get it all in place in a timely fashion.

Today I had a brainstorm.

I remembered what’s worked for me in the past when dealing with uncertainty. Here’s the way I’m thinking about this that might help you, too.

The power of this strategy is to think about your desired end results, you goal. Then think what has to happen to achieve that goal…backwards.

Yes, you read that right! What has to happen before you have another great painting in your inventory? Finishing a painting. Painting. Time to paint. The right paint, for the surface. Figuring out the palette. The right surface. Composition. A subject. An idea.

So maybe we: Recognize we want to paint. List ideas for a subject. Find that subject to create. Maybe take a picture of it, or find the perfect plein air site. Check our supplies to make sure we have the right size canvas, and the right paints, and paint colors. Set aside time to paint. Etc., etc. until we finally have the triumph of a new work of art in hand.

Breaking down these steps is powerful. And breaking them down into tiny steps is even more powerful.

So, baby steps.

First tiny step: Update my profile portrait image. Further step back: Find/make a new portrait image.

“Making a new image” was hard. I’ve been struggling to make a new profile portrait for months. Since I haven’t had a haircut in months, it’s a lit-tul hard getting even a somewhat flattering selfie, and selfies tend to distort our faces too much. Older pics are pretty discouraging, too.

But then I remembered a set of portraits my partner and I had done a few years ago, to celebrate our wedding anniversary. They’re tintypes, black and white, and we love them!

So my first baby step was: Find those pictures. It took awhile to find them, but I did.

I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate them into my social media, though. Until, doh! I realized I could photograph the photographs. Baby step!

Once that was done, my next baby step was easier: Update one social media site.

I started with my Google accounts: Google (Gmail, etc.) On Dave’s suggestion, I also added a small pic of me in my email signature. Done!

Encouraged by this, I decided to update more sites. FASO. I added the tintype image to my “not artwork images” section, then swapped out my old profile portrait. Done! Hey, I’ll write a little newsletter about my new portrait. Done!

I was on a roll. I quickly updated my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Done! What about my WordPress blog? Done! With editing, cropping, updating, etc., it took few hours to get it all in place.

But I’m feeling much better about everything now.

The feeling of accomplishment is palpable. And knowing that’s one item I can scratch off the to-do list? Huge.

I know those other things on the list will also feel like too much. As I work my way through them, I’ll continue to share what I’ve learned.

But I’m grateful I remembered that going backwards can actually be a powerful way of moving forward, with everything in life.

Let me know if this helps YOU move forward today. And if you’ve found powerful ways to incorporate those new AMP strategies, share them here! Someone maybe be very grateful you did. (Me!)

If you know someone who would find this article helpful, pass it on to them! And if someone sent you this, and you liked it, you can find more of my Fine Art Views articles here, and more great marketing advice at, or subscribe to my blog at too.

Remember: We’re all in this together!*

*And nobody gets out alive. But whatever makes it better, is a gift!

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

5 thoughts on “AMPING UP YOUR ART MARKETING: Baby Steps!”

  1. Planning backwards happens in other areas too. I’m currently working on an anthology for a writing group. I’ve done this before and it’s a classic example of planning backwards.

    When do we want the book launch? What event is coming up that will bring in potential sales and perhaps new members to the writing group?

    With a date for launch, that means we plan to have the books in our hot little hands two weeks before. I’ve been to too many book launches where the books arrived late the night before, or not at all. When planning a book launch, the last thing you need is worry about whether you have a book to launch.

    Allow two weeks at the printer. So final layout work has to be done a month before. That means final copy two weeks before that (I work fast!). With final copy I complete the back cover blurb component of the cover, put in the ISBN and barcode and submit the book’s details to the national data collection for published works. That information also has to go on the imprint page.

    Getting final copy is challenging. What people submit to begin with will need work, as sure as night is day. And you don’t know how difficult some people may be, about the need to accept that some more work is necessary. I allow a minimum of three months to edit work. This involves multiple back and forth steps, often some phone calls and in some cases, sitting down beside the author and discussing what they are prepared to change.

    It takes people time to write something. Before they sit down to write, we have a planning session. What do they want to write? A theme? Or open topic? Often a theme can still leave a lot of scope for creativity.

    And now a step back in the other direction – with a theme, I develop some cover art ideas and invite submissions for cover design from the group. I do this step while waiting for submissions to start coming in. Getting the cover art done early is the best option. I leave a space for the back cover blurb because until the pieces have been written, I won’t know how to promote the book on the back cover. I often find I need to do a dozen or more versions of the cover before the group decides on one.

    For a book in a hurry, it takes at least eight months if I’m working with other people. The more people I’m working with, the more time I allow.

    For a single author book, it can be a much quicker proposition, but we still have to develop a similar timeline. While I have published a book in six weeks (I don’t recommend it) it was MY book and a lot of the steps had already been done, as it happened. Because I owned the process, I was able to skip a lot of steps. I also knew what I was doing at each step.

    Other tasks also benefit from working backwards. Let’s say I want to cook a roast chicken dinner. I think, when do I want to serve it? How many people for dinner? Then I think about roasting time, preparation time before that and then what shopping I need to do for ingredients. Planning takes at least four hours, even if I can cook a chicken in an hour.

    I think this process, Luann, is valuable for giving a stronger sense of direction to one’s art. There’s nothing so demoralising as standing in front of a blank canvas (or staring at a blank page, pen in hand) feeling inadequate when inspiration seems lacking.


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