Only thing is: where are they?
People like Joan Beiriger and Tara Reed have lots of incredible information to offer on this front, as far as how to find manufacturers that jibe with your kind of artwork.
But what if you don't consider yourself a marketer?
What if the thought of doing this just makes you tired, and puts you at risk of just giving up? The way it often has affected me...
Well, it's back to the beginning. Anytime we feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed, it's back to the beginning, back to the art that filled us with passion to begin with. Drop the effort for a day, or two, and just create. But is that enough? Over time, no. But we start with going back to what we love, and then we have to figure out how to love the next step - even the marketing one.
I have discovered that Attitude and Outlook is king - or "queen" in this case, thank you! :-)
I've tried many things over the years that I simply couldn't maintain and bring to fruition - my attitude flagged, my outlook became jaded and frightened, and then - boom - I was done.
So I'm doing things differently now.
For one thing I'm exercising patience - the view of the long-distance runner. If I could introduce you to the people who know me best, you would know that this is a seismic shift of an attitude. I had simply heard too many stories of people who made tons of money in one industry or another simply by being focused and working hard and all of that. You know: the Great American Success Story. I compared myself to them, and always came up short, in my mind. Even when I felt focused enough, I had no patience to wait to see what would come along to help me on the next step of my journey. No way I was going to invest my passion in this thing (whatever it was at the time) if it wasn't going to prove to me pretty darn quickly that at least something was going to happen.
Patience. A novel concept. And being me, I've found a way around patience, by looking at my art licensing career as the long-distance run. Seeing it that way, there's no patience necessary - there's just a far away finish line which I haven't set up, and which might even be moved closer if the judges choose to [God, luck, karma, however that works for you]. But having no immediate control over whether that line moves, I just keep on jogging along!
But what keeps me peacefully jogging along, rather than anxiously hunting under every bush along the way?
Attitude. I hate to say it, in a way, because in the past I heard that word and thought, "Yeah, that would be nice. How exactly do I change that???" But here's how it goes when it comes to art licensing, for me:
I'm looking for my people - those marketers who will look at my work and say, "Oh my God, where have you been??? I've been hoping to see something like this!!!" I could think to myself, "Who's going to want my stuff? There are so many talented people out there who are already licensed. Why would they want me?"
Attitude Police calling! Rather than bum out, I look to where the next small step might come from. "Small" is a HUGE key here, at least for me. Where once I thought I had to go out and become a marketing genius, now I simply turn to my friends and say, "Where do you see my work?" And then I turn to those who have gone before - Joan Beiriger "coincidentally" posted an article that addressed something I need to know for my current next step - and I start learning, I start asking questions (LinkedIn), and I start toning my mind to receive new ideas, new thoughts, directions I would have never thought of. And I develop the attitude of willingness - willingness to follow an idea, an instinct.
When I take an attuitde of willingness to follow and add it to the long-distance runner mentality, now I'm cookin' with gas!
Now I look at the researching as being a Sherlock Holmesian process that is proof of my incredible resourcefulness and curiosity and humility (to the process), and I start to have fun, rather than push myself so hard against the concrete wall of MAKE IT HAPPEN that I break my skull, and my artistic spirit.
Where are my people?
They're out there. And along the way, as I do my run, they'll turn up along the side of the road with cups of water, and start to run alongside me.
We can do it. And it's best when we do it together.
See you on the road!