Review of Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

Show your work

Are you a creative who hates marketing? Or perhaps a writer or artist who has no idea how to get noticed above all the online noise?

I recently discovered a book entitled Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon that might help. It’s a book that not only provides ideas, tips and tricks on how to get your work out into the world, but gives you the motivation to do so.

I personally hate self-promotion and have never felt that I was all that good at it. I find marketing even more challenging these days when everyone vying (some of them quite loudly) for people to pay attention to their work. What Kleon does is provide practical, useable advice – action steps that are not only fun to take but can help to get you and your work noticed.

I remember a fellow author friend of mine once told me: “If nobody reads your work, then you haven’t written it.” Kleon’s motivational push seems to be along these same lines. He tells us not to sit on and hide our work, but rather, put it out there. If you want your creative work to be known and discovered, you have to share it with the world. You have to get your stuff seen – and in this book, Kleon shows us how to.

Kleon provides examples, quotes, illustrations and anecdotes in each chapter that bring his advice to life. The book is broken down into 10 chapters, with each focusing on a specific method for showing your work. The chapters are further broken in subchapters, providing several different ways of approaching the method as well as concrete actions that you can take.

The chapters are:

  1. You Don’t Have To Be A Genius
  2. Think Process, Not Product
  3. Share Something Small Every Day
  4. Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities
  5. Tell Good Stories
  6. Teach What You Know
  7. Don’t Turn Into Human Spam
  8. Learn To Take A Punch
  9. Sell Out
  10. Stick Around

He starts out the book with a quote by John Cleese:

“Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.”

Indeed, Kleon has introduced an entirely new way of operating in Show Your Work!. Rather than simply put our work out there and pray it gets noticed, Kleon recommends instead that we share our process with our audience. People don’t want to buy simply a book – they want to connect with you as the author. They want the a human experience. They want to be involved in the creation of a work. In other words, as he states in chapter 2 *”Think Process, Not Product.”

Show Your Work! may be small, but it packs a serious punch! This engaging book is chock full of his stories and inspiring stories of other creatives who have decided to step back and see the bigger picture – people who have chosen to show and share their work.

I recommend this easy-to-read book for anyone who could use a little help in getting the word out about their art or simply for anyone ready to share their work, their creativity and their passion with the world.

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