Never blame your fans
I know many of you artists - whether you draw, write, or compose - are frustrated that your original work, especially your dream projects, aren’t getting the responses you were hoping for.
I feel the same way.
But some of you express your frustrations completely destructively and blame the world for not giving you the spotlight.
When you do that, you’re blaming your problems for existing rather than adjusting and compromising to solve them. You’re making excuses for your mistakes. You’re demanding the world to change but you are not willing to change with it.
This is the perfect mindset to NEVER succeed in anything, ever.
You need to accept some basic truths of art before you can go any further:
- Your art should teach you as much as or more than it teaches others: If you claim your art opens horizons and widens minds, yours should be the first priority. You cannot speak without listening. You are not a righteous prophet enlightening the heathens with the true word. You are one humble person and your art is one humble person’s story.
- There are no new stories, but there are always new storytellers. That amazing idea you have that nobody’s ever thought of before? Someone has. But nobody has told the story your way, or drawn the character your way, or sung the song your way. Art is not about being new. It is about being you.
- Popular art is all about the beholder. All these shows and games with so much fan art? They got to that level because they command a personal investment from and serve the viewer - they have worlds their fans want to be part of, and your canon will be swept aside along the way. You the artist are not a god or a wise sage. You are a guide and a footman. To be an artist is to be humanity’s servant, not its lord - and there’s no shame in that.
- Most of your fans are not artists or art critics. While there will be a good number of them in your fanbase, the vast majority are not going to be super-open-minded creative thinkers who value every single opinion, outlook, and story just because it’s done technically well. They will be ordinary people with ordinary, selfish interests, and they will care about your content more than your talent. You have to balance what you want to draw with what everyone wants to see.
But the most important part of being an artist or really a person at all is to understand this:
Nobody owes you success.
Nobody is under any obligation to pay anything you produce a second glance or support or promote it in any way.
Nobody is spiting or robbing you by not giving you a like or a reblog or a follow.
Every single gesture of appreciation you receive from someone is a courtesy - a gift that you earn, not a right you’re entitled to.
It is not the job of your audience to love your work. It is your job to make it lovable. And just because you are working really hard does not mean you are working in the right direction.
I know that thousands upon thousands of artists put hours or months or years into a project and feel like they get nothing in return. Sometimes it is not how hard you’re working but what you’re working for that is the problem.
Sometimes you need to slow down and think, “Do I have to have this just so? What would the kind of person interested in my work be looking for, and where can I address it? Am I maybe taking myself and my work a little too seriously?”
And a lot of artists don’t realize that as an amateur, you are the sole proprietor - you are your art. Whether people like you determines whether they like your art.
And that’s why when you blame everybody else and post ungrateful, catty garbage like this:
… you don’t subsequently become the next Toby Fox.
The simple fact is that people will pay you attention if they think your offering + your hassle are worth their attention.
You need to create a world that someone other than you will have fun in and you need to be a good host to everyone who visits.
You need a world that will welcome your fans with open arms.
You need to build a world people can live & play in.
And you and your world need to appreciate your fans just for showing up.
Because this is exactly what the big fish do.
because they spread your work around to more people without shanking you on credit and who gets the likes
because they make your work show up sooner & more often on searches and are simply a nice gesture
because they take time out and pay good money to listen to your story and make you from a pauper into a prince
because if you appreciate no one, no one will appreciate you, nor should they