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I have found it highly beneficial when other artists and illustrators talk about their tips, tricks, and experiences. My hope for this new year is that I could add to that sharing of knowledge. I thought I’d start with how I used social media to get my first publishing contract (and more!).

First off – raise your hand if you’re here after following a link from a social media website (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc.).

Ok, that’s most of you (you can put your hand down now).

To say “social media has changed the landscape of how people interact and conduct business” would be an understatement (and old hat by now – it’s [insert whatever year you’re reading this]!). If you’re not using these tools to your advantage, there’s a possibility that you’re missing out.

If you are not using these tools to their full potential, there’s another possibility that you’re missing out.

I used Twitter to earn the majority of my clients and projects last year – including my first children’s book illustrating contract!

It started with using TweetDeck. This twitter app gives you the ability to set up twitter searches and gives you the results in a real-time feed.

It’s easy.

For demonstration purposes I’ll be using the Tweetdeck app for Google Chrome. Once you have it installed, click the “add column” button:

That will bring up a dialog box with a few options – click the “search” button.

In the new window that pops up – type  “looking for illustrator” (hit enter) and “add column”!

Wa-la! You will now have a column populated by tweets about folks looking for an illustrator!

One of the things to note is that a majority of it is populated by automatic accounts tweeting links to illustration job boards. If you want to look into those, follow the links, don’t reply to them on twitter.

When you do find a company/individual looking for an illustrator – just reply to their tweet with something like “I’m an illustrator interested in learning more about your project! Samples of my work:”

This is how I got into contact with the art director that chose me for “Zeke Meeks”, the agency that hired me to create a coloring book for Energizer, and work for clients around the globe (mostly England).

Now if you think this is the silver bullet to get work – I’ve got a friend in Nigeria who needs help moving a large sum of money and will reward you generously for your help (did I mention he’s the prince’s cousin? Twice removed.)

There are other variables and things to consider (like your website or how to qualify your leads so your don’t waste your time on dead ends) which would make a good post for another time.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more info about using social media for marketing – check out THUMBONOMICS. I’m no expert, but the woman who wrote that book is  (I provided the cover design and illustrations – the link is an affiliate link).

Do you have tips on how you have used Twitter to get work? Please comment or drop me a note.

If you haven’t liked me on facebook yet, do it here .

UPDATE: You can read this account from the perspective of my art director by clicking here.


Comments for this article (4)

  • Fascinating Josh! I never thought to put “looking for … ” as a search term in Twitter. Wonder if anyone looks for authors that way? :-)

    • josh says:

      Thanks, Julie! You have to think about what words someone might use – like “Looking for writer” (or “writers”)

  • LOVED this post Josh! Jess and I just started seeing how much we’re underutilizing Twitter. This was really helpful. Thanks!

  • josh says:

    Thanks, Monica! Glad it could help!

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