On a plane ride across the country, I just devoured Jeff Goins’ new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, set to be published in early June of this year.
This book was extremely well written, filled with numerous stories from both historical and modern artists.
The premise is simple: A myth has been perpetuated for generations that artists must starve. This myth has stopped countless people from thriving as artists.
We’ve all been fed this lie since we were children. Hence, so many kids grow up to pursue “safe” college degrees and safe careers because being an artist of some form is perceived in our culture as “risky.” Only the “lucky” make it we’re taught.
Goins’ entire book is a strategy guide about how to thrive as an artist in the digital age.
As one who has personally been mentored by Goins, I can attest to his principles. In January of 2016, I reached out to Goins. Actually, I purchased 20 copies of his book, The Art of Work, as part of a promotion he was running. By purchasing those 20 copies, I was afforded a 30 minute phone call with the man. He generously gave me closer to an hour.
At the time of that call, I had approximately 10,000 email subscribers to my blog. I was very anxious to get a traditional book deal, as most young writers are. However, Goins told me to wait. Here’s almost word-for-word what he said (I was taking notes):
If you wait a year or two, you’ll get a 10x bigger advance, which will change the trajectory of your whole career. With 20K email subscribers, a writer can get around a $20–40K book advance. But with 100–200K email subscribers, a writer can get around a $150–500K book advance. Wait a year or two and change the trajectory of your career (and life).
I followed his advice and waited the duration of 2016, during which time I went from 10,000 to over 100,000 email subscribers. In February of 2017, I signed a $220,000 book contract with Hachette Book Group.
Had I not had that conversation with Goins, I may have jumped the gun and gotten a substantially lower deal, and been less mature as a writer. A concept Goins conveys in the book is the importance of knowing your value, and charging that value, for your work.
The entire book is filled with numerous strategies embedded within three sections:
In the first section on mindset, Goins walks the reader through the mindsets needed to shed the false belief of the starving artist.
In the second section on marketing, Goins walks the reader through the development of a platform and key relationships that make a creative career possible.
In the third section on money, Goins teaches how to build a portfolio and diversify your income streams so you have the freedom to develop a long-term career as an artist.
If you want a motivational punch in the face coupled with a buffet of practical strategies, pre-order a copy of Real Artists Don’t Starve. Your future self will thank you when you read the book this summer.