Books + Magazines

Creative Inc. Book Tour: 8 Tips For Promoting Your Work

September 3, 2010

I’m happy to be part of the Creative Inc. blog tour organized by Chronicle Books and would like to welcome both authors to decor8 today! Co-written by Joy Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco, Creative Inc. is a helpful, supportive and compact guide (great to carry around!) for those who are looking to either go freelance or who have recently jumped into a freelance career in a creative field. It’s also helpful for the seasoned pros out there who think they know it all – surprise – I’m sure you’ll find many helpful tips in Creative Inc. that had not crossed your mind before!

Creative Inc. Book Tour: 8 Tips For Promoting Your Work

Today, these lovely ladies want to share 8 tips for promoting your work and networking. The plan was for them to talk about how bloggers and crafters can build community and be supportive but I’m ever happier to have them speak on this topic because it is one of THE most important parts of building, and maintaining, your freelance career. Plus, if you apply these tips you are building community and being supportive to others because that’s how the whole creative networking thing works — successful creatives learn early on that we’re all part of a great big (always expanding!) circle that gives and receives, so it’s somewhat impossible to successfully promote your work without helping others in the process.

Creative Inc. Book Tour: 8 Tips For Promoting Your Work

Without further ado, let’s invite Joy and Meg on the stage to hear what they have to say…

– – – –

Hi decor8 readers! Thanks for having us. This is Joy Cho and Meg Ilasco, we’ve recently joined forces to write Creative, Inc. and we wanted to prepare a special post for decor8 readers that covered one of the most asked about topics by freelancers…how do I get my work out there? So today, we’re sharing with you our tips on that very topic.

We’re in a golden age of creativity–and largely because of the Internet, it’s made becoming a professional creative more accessible than ever. These days creative fields are cross-pollinating and blurring–it’s hard to be just one type of creative in a single medium. Many creatives, like us, are “slashies” (i.e., illustrator/designer, photographer/director/stylist), so we wanted to create a book that encompasses different kinds of creative freelancing. There is a lot of overlap across fields as well as differences you can learn from and apply to your own practice. Overall the book also discusses how to be a successful freelance creative and covers everything from creating a standout portfolio to working with clients to navigating the legal issues of starting a business.


1. Perfect your elevator pitch.
While the “elevator pitch” may seem like a cheesy, old-fashioned term, it is an important way to tell people what you do. Can you paint a picture of the work you do (with words) in a few minutes? You never know who you’ll meet and if they or someone they know needs your creative skills. So think about and practice what you might say to complete strangers about your creative work.

2. Maintain an on-line portfolio.
Your website will be your #1 marketing tool. It’s out there making connections with people near and far and working around the clock, even while you sleep. Use this work horse to it’s full potential by keeping it up-to-date with your recent projects.

3. Be proactive! Approach people and clients you’d love to work with. Especially in the beginning of a freelance career, clients won’t just come a-knockin’ at your door. In addition to telling your friends, family, and past co-workers that you’re pursuing freelance work, feel free to do the same with people and companies whose aesthetic matches yours. Simply email or mail them a short and genuine note about what you do and how you’d love to work with them in the future should they have the need for someone with your expertise. Be sure to include images of your work that best fits their aesthetic and the type of work you do.

4. Stay in touch with your mailing list. Create, maintain, and keep reaching out to your mailing list. If you don’t already have a link to a mailing list on your website, add one. It’s a great way for people to know what’s going on with you and projects you are working on. They may not need your products or services now, but if you keep updating them, they’re sure to remember you down the road when they are ready for your work. (Note: Do not add people to your mailing list unless they have signed up on their own or if you have asked their permission to be added.)

5. Reach out to press, both print and on-line. It’s not always about getting into every magazine or blog. You should really find one that best fits you. Do your research and get an idea of the things they post/write about and aesthetic they’re interested in. Create a list and start contacting them. In your correspondence, make sure you include good photographs or images of your work.

6. Keep a blog. A blog can be a great way to introduce people to your work and aesthetic, as well as give insight into your thought or creative process. It can be an effective way to get feedback on your work, attract fans, and keep people returning to you often (even daily). Whether you create a blog with original content to attracts readers or simply create one to keep track of your ideas or work–try to update your blog at least one a week, if not daily. Even if you update once a week on Wednesdays, readers will know that they can come back to find something new that day every week.

7. Engage in social networking. Social media like Facebook and Twitter are also other effective ways to stay in touch with your clients and admirers of your work. Use the tools that you enjoy most and can commit too. People always ask: what should I tweet about or post on my fan page? Think about what you like when you read other’s you follow. Do you like it when they mix in bits of their personal life? Do you like seeing little snippets they come across in their travels? Since these tools share bits of information and less content than a blog post, most people will follow you on Twitter or Facebook to get glimpses into your business, your life, and what you do in your spare time.

8. Make genuine connections with people. As a freelancer, the relationships you make can often determine how successful you become. Even though many opportunities happen through word of mouth and through the connections you make, it doesn’t mean you should approach everyone with a salesperson mentality. Focus on building real and genuine relationships with people. The best way to network and make friends, whether real or virtual, is to also take an interest in what they do.

Creative Inc. Book Tour: 8 Tips For Promoting Your Work

Thank you for visiting Joy and Meg!

If anyone has questions for them on this topic, please feel free to ask them in the comments space below.

(Images: Creative Inc. book cover: Joy Cho, All others Holly Becker for decor8.)

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  • Reply juliette September 3, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Fantastic post, thanks ladies! I’m forwarding the link to 2 friends just starting out on their freelance careers (illustrator and graphic designer). Thanks for hosting Holly!

  • Reply kt September 3, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I loved this list! Especially number three, Be proactive! Everything the authors said made me nod my head and feel encouraged. This book looks like it is going to be filled with tons of useful info, thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Reply anastasia September 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Awesome!! thanks for this – im also going to forward to some blogging friends!

  • Reply Brianna September 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I want
    Im such a book worm
    and i just love a book that has COLOR to it

  • Reply Julie September 3, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks, I just began a twitter acount, next to 3 blogs and facebook :-) ppfff but it’s great!

  • Reply michelle September 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    First, I have to say I’m in love with the term “slashies”. It’s so funny how many people I know that fall under that umbrella.

    I’m really looking forward to reading this book and am enjoying this blog book tour. I have to second how important it is to make genuine personal cnnections. We get all consumed in our web based world which is great because it allows us to make connections with people that have otherwise not been possible but nothing beats sitting down with someone for a cup of coffee. Blogs, twitter, and facebook are great becuase they make the intial connection sooo muc easier so when are finally able to connect in person much of the awkwardness of an initial meeting is removed. And even is a business relationship never develops from it you could end making a really great friend.

    And now I feel like I just wrote a book. :)

  • Reply laura trevey September 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Wonderful post with great tips!!! Thank you ladies ~~

    xoxo Laura

  • Reply Herbstkind September 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing that! These tipps are really helpful. I am at the beginning at my career as a freelance illustrator or commercial artist and I will keep in mind especially No. 4! It is a perfect possibility to reach former clients or contacts who do not have the time to visit my blog every now and then! Thanky again!

  • Reply Lenore @ Lather. Write. Repeat. September 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for this – I just happened to order your book yesterday (plus Craft Inc.) so this is quite timely! I can’t wait to get it and devour it, I think it will be a great resource for my business.


  • Reply European Chic September 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Useful tips in a beautiful package.
    I totally dig your promotional video for the book, too.

  • Reply Glenda Childers September 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I loved this practical list of tips.


  • Reply meg September 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    thanks for being on the blog tour holly! love the pictures.:)

  • Reply simone September 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Love these tips- I think I”ll have to buy the book to rad on my upcoming trip to The Creative Connection. Thanks for more great info!

  • Reply Made in Persbo...Carina September 3, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks for a lovely post! Useful tips! Several of the tips are things I think about almost every day, since I just one year ago started my freelance careear as a photographer/stylist/designer (double slashie I am ;))…and if I´m gonna be able to have this job for a living I have to improve my networking and skills.

    I´d like to share this post with the readers on my blog, is it ok if I use one of the pictures in this blog and link to your post?

    Where can I buy this book?

    Thanks again ladies!
    Hugs, Carina

    • Reply decor8 September 3, 2010 at 10:31 pm

      @Carina – Yes, no problem – you can use any of the photos that you like, just credit decor8 and link to — I’m happy you like it and want to share with your audience too!

  • Reply Ashley September 3, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks for the concise information. I’m an actress, and the product I’m selling is me. The business ideas you gave were sound and logical. I’m definitely going to translate the advice to boost my career.

    Thank you kindly,


  • Reply ashley September 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    This is great advice!! I have been looking at buying this book!!!!

  • Reply Katie September 3, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I went to the bookstore a couple days ago in search of your book and it was out of stock! Sad day, but I’ll be ordering it soon, because I’ve finally got the courage to start trying to sell my cards and stationery.
    Also, I love the bookends in your pictures–where are they from?

  • Reply Michelle Salz-Smith September 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    I just started the book and I am really looking forward to digging into it. Thanks for sharing the interview today! It’s a much needed boost to stay on track!

  • Reply Laurie September 3, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing these great ideas for those of us just beginning a new career as a business owner of a retail website. It is definitely a good idea to network in these different ways i.e. facebook, etc. I have reconnected with many of my friends all the way back to Kindergarten and I’m in my 50’s. I really understand how important it is to use all these tools to contact and build a business like a garden. It has to be cared for daily.

  • Reply Agustina September 3, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Fantastic post, thank you!!

  • Reply Mayi Carles September 3, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    totally awesome post. thank you so so much for all the helpful tips. i’ve added this link to my blog’s weekly link because i think my readers would really benefit from the points mentioned here. these tips are not only helpful for beginners but all indie business owners alike. so practical + relevant!

  • Reply Simon September 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    What a wonderfull article ,Exactly what i need to improve my little shop.
    So much work to do …
    Thank you

  • Reply Torrie @ a place to share... September 4, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Honestly, the past few years, I’ve been resistant to jumping into the world of social media/technology.

    But now- a completely different story…

    I am truly amazed at the community/power of advertising/fountain of inspiration. Truly life changing.

  • Reply jennifer ramos September 4, 2010 at 12:28 am

    I have this book…! :))))
    Have a great long weekend ! OXOXO

  • Reply brigid September 4, 2010 at 2:52 am

    yay! what a helpful post. i’m just beginning my journey in selling handknits and i appreciate all of these helpful and productive tips!

  • Reply Tezgah September 4, 2010 at 5:05 am

    Great post. I enjoyed a lot. Thank you.

  • Reply Bianca September 4, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Adoro seu site! É direto, é prático, fácil de entender e com ideias fantásticas!

    I <3 decor8

  • Reply Nancy Pfeifer September 4, 2010 at 7:34 am

    WOW!! This is a fabulous post!!! Very helpful…THANK YOU!!!!!

  • Reply Juana @ SweetVisualAids September 4, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Great advice!!! :)

  • Reply emeeme September 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Great list of tips!
    Thank you very much

  • Reply Charlotte September 4, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Wow – I love the pictures (and the PAUMES books) I’m still waiting for my copy of Creative, Inc. I can’t wait to read it.

  • Reply Dawn September 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Love it…will order the book TODAY! Thanks for summarizing it–can’t wait to get all the CREATIVE details!

  • Reply Ashley @ Indie Pretty Projects September 4, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing these tips. I think an elevator pitch is something that I need to work on, as well as further developing an online portfolio. Happy Weekend!

  • Reply Kaye Rachelle Designs September 4, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    We have already learned so much from Joy. As a new business, tips like these are essential. Thanks for sharing. We are looking forward to the NYC book party.

  • Reply Paola Zakimi September 4, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    so good refresh and have a new point of view!
    have a great weekend!

  • Reply Mariah DeMarco September 5, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Great advice! Can’t wait to read the book, thank you!

  • Reply Adam Fuller Design September 5, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Love this! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Susanne September 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Yes, Thanks for sharing!


  • Reply Jutta September 6, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    i have started quite recently as a freelancer, and the Creative Inc. blog tour has been incredibly helpful. Thank you so much for sharing! I guess next I have to try and see if I can get it ordered in my country :)

  • Reply janis - pinecone camp September 7, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Very no nonsense – great tips! I thought I new it all – ha, ha.
    Thanks for sharing, Joy and Meg!

  • Reply Diana September 7, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Sounds like a very interesting book. I’ll have to look for it. Thanks for all the tips.

  • Reply moose & bird September 7, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Fabulous…..thanks for sharing. These all sound like things that I could do. xo

  • Reply Lynne September 7, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I’ve gotten lots of press for my small business by doing the PR myself, so I’d like to add these tips for approaching press; professional photographs (if you can afford them) really make a difference, a proper press release, and for press you always need high-res images (300dpi) on a white background. And, embed the photos in the body of the email – my journalist friends say they don’t even open attachments. And send out samples if you can afford to. I buy quite a lot of stock from small designers and it’s been generally a very trying experience – so much so that my preference now is larger wholesalers, so I would say that the best thing you can do for your business is act professional… you’d be surprised how many people are not.

  • Reply Antje September 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

    When I read those tips I often think “Oh I know about that”. But then I start thinking and I realize I will never know everything about something. There is always something to learn, always something I just forgot or put aside. Thank you, for keep my mind and my thoughts vivid and active, ;-))
    all the best, Antje

  • Reply Casa e Cose September 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you!!!! I really want to go freelance or at least somehow have more time for what i love to do and more freedom to organize my time to be more with my son. I just need to …. have faith and learn learn learn!

  • Reply Andreia September 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks for these very helpful tips. I’ll try to implement the ones that I haven’t done yet and improve the others.

  • Reply Purnima September 7, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing these awesome tips!! I have bookmarked them all and will definitely remember them .. I totally believe in being proactive and connecting with other bloggers.. Earlier I never did it but when I did I got featured in many incredible and popular blogs:) just like real life virtual life too we need to be social and network!!

  • Reply Kimberly September 7, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Great post! So informative. I posted about it on my blog! :) These are great tips and came at an opportune moment in my freelance career. I just had a baby and I’m looking for ways to stay afloat and maintain the clients I have so far. Thanks so much for all this great information!



  • Reply Julien Chung September 7, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    This blog tour works – I got the word through at least three sources. I’ll have to check out the book! I’m interested in learning how to use blogs and social media to reach fans and clients. I work internationally and I wonder if anyone has experience in doing bilingual or trilingual posts, i.e. english/japanese/german.

  • Reply RadArta September 7, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    It is great idea to share this with us…I have very much to learn and this tips are helpfull !!! Thanks…sory about my english : )

  • Reply Jessica Coello September 8, 2010 at 3:44 am

    Thanks so much for sharing these great tips! I am currently reading Craft, Inc and I can’t wait to read this book. These tips are great for launching my new illustration and design business, Kiddins.

    Thanks again!

  • Reply April~Living The Sweet Life September 8, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Wonderful and helpful tips. A supportive community is so important.

  • Reply Small Sweet Steps September 8, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Thanks for the great tips! I will be purchasing the book very soon!

  • Reply jacqueline September 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    These are really wonderful tips! Thanks so much for sharing and i will be purchasing that book too!! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!

  • Reply Laurie Jones September 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    What a great article! I love so many blogs of all different types and what amazes me the most is the amount of talented women there are out there in the world! I love that it seems like we all seem to be taking a chance and going after what truly makes us happy!!

  • Reply Thea S September 8, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    These are great tips! Your post motivated me to send out my long overdue newsletter and as a result, I got a booking for one of the classes I teach, the same day. Now, on to being more proactive about contacting press.

  • Reply The Ink House September 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks for a great article! I found it helpful and motivating. After reading it I realised I need to be more proactive! Thanks :D

  • Reply Charlotte September 10, 2010 at 2:15 am

    There are some great words of advice in this post–thanks so much for sharing this with us! I’m trying to be a lot more proactive in getting freelance work but there are definitely things I need to work on which I realize now after reading this. I also need to focus on my “elevator pitch” and learn how to effectively market myself. I am also starting to realize the importance of Facebook and Twitter for getting the word out.

    Thanks for a great post!

  • Reply Laura K. Aiken January 14, 2011 at 3:05 am

    Holy thanks for the repost of this article. I am always needing a reminder to better market myself. Now I need to invest in Joy and Meg’s book!

    • Reply decor8 January 14, 2011 at 11:55 am

      @Laura – Hi Laura! :) Yes, it is a great book. By the way, I’m not sure I know what you mean by repost – the ladies wrote this for their book tour to appear here on my site. Just so you know. :)

  • Reply R. Joyce January 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    I recently starting following your blog so I am playing catch up. This was VERY good advice. Thanks for sharing.

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