I’ve been looking forward to sharing this post for a longer time than I expected (because of my crazy life–it’s not Lara’s fault!). I went to her presentation at MALCon/Westercon in Denver last July and immediately knew I wanted to share it on this blog.
She’s created an 11-minute video that covers most of this information, so if you prefer to get your information that way, check it out at the link above.
In her presentation, as in the video, she outlined seven excellent ways to help small artists thrive. Her advice goes for all sorts of creative types. She herself is a musician, but her advice applies for artists in many fields. That includes musicians, actors, dancers, crafters, visual artists, comics-creators, and writers.
How to Support Small Artists!
by Losing Lara
In this day and age with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so much more, it is incredibly easy to create art and put it up online. Whether you are a musician, writer, or traditional artist the world is your oyster as long as you have a stable internet connection. What seems to be increasingly difficult is being a consumer of said art.
Day after day we are inundated with some new piece of entertainment and it can be hard to know what’s the best way to really support the people and art that we love. As a YouTuber, writer, and musician, I have found that my friends and family are surprised when I tell them even the simplest (and free) ways that they can support me.
Because of this I have made a YouTube video, a convention panel that I have presented multiple times, and now a blog post. With the help of artists in several different mediums, we have seven tips that you can help support the small artist in your life.
1 – Participation
This is the easiest step of them all. Even better, it’s free! If you see a post online that is some sort of interest to you, whether you know the artist or like the subject, then click on it!
Whether it’s a YouTube video, a Soundcloud link, or takes you to a personal website, click on it. That is one more number added to an artist’s closely-studied metrics. The higher the numbers are, the more successful an artist. It starts with you!
You might think that your one view doesn’t matter. But in the grand scheme, every little bit counts!
2 – Go to Shows!
This feeds into participation. Because without an audience, it wouldn’t be much of a show. A lot of times, this can be free too!
If your writer friend has a book reading at a local bookstore? Your friend is performing in an open mic? Free art gallery exhibit? Check them all out!
Even if you can’t buy anything from the artist/bookstore/gallery, just be there. Seeing your face in the crowd is a show of support that means the world to artists! Also, if your friend is in theater, ask when the show’s industry night will be. You can usually get discounted tickets!
3 – Share the Thing!
This is one of the most important ways to support! Small artists don’t have a huge marketing team working behind the scenes to get their art in front of as many people as possible. We have you and your pointer finger.
When you see them post about their new book, their new album, video, show, artwork whatever it might be, hit that share button! Memes are great. If you are like me, you share about 200 in one day. Sharing work from a small artist is just as easy, not to mention, more important.
4 – Reviews
Now it’s time to add your voice into the mix! The comment section is a magical (though sometimes scary) place. It can be almost more important than views alone.
All these social media sites run on algorithms. If a post has a lot of views but no interaction its respective website won’t promote it. Especially if your friend is selling a book on Amazon, the more reviews, the more Amazon will showcase the book. Even bad reviews, but of course, good ones are always better. This is also very important on Etsy.
5 – Buy the Thing!
The majority of these tips are things you can do for free. But we live in a capitalist society. Unfortunately, being alive is expensive. An artist creates for the love of creation, but at some point we need to eat. That’s where buying our art goes a long way!
Spotify is great. But it takes 1,000 streams of just one album for the artist to make the equivalent of ONE sale.
Most importantly, exposure does not buy food! Exposure is great for an artist. But art takes a lot of time and work. It should be valued in the same way as spending time working inside of an office building.
6 – Tipping and Reward Sites
There are also sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo where someone can propose a project and you can invest in it. On these sites and Patreon you can either donate or you can get something from the artist in return, while Ko-Fi is only donations.
7 – Don’t copy/illegally download
Yes, we are happy when people like our art, but not enough to completely give up credit. Please don’t repost art without an artist’s name. That is literally taking money away from them. If you see art without credit you can report it and do a Google Image Search (Jan’s addition: or use TinEye) to find the original post.
As you can see, supporting small artists can be easy! I know every time one of my videos or songs gets a like or a share it feels so wonderful and encouraging.
IMAGES: The video and all the illustrated headers, as well as the text for today’s post, are all courtesy of Losing Lara. I found the cover image for her song I Said No on her Bandcamp site. Please share this post, and give her full credit!