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Food for thought.
According to deviant DamaiMikaz, who went from having 500 to 20,000 watchers in one year, becoming popular on Deviant Art is a matter of good marketing -- not necessarily exceptional art skills -- and can be achieved by anyone who puts in the social effort.
As a social media experiment, she went about doing her best to be seen.
Strategies for being seen include: commenting extensively on others' artwork and providing in-depth critiques, being present in the forums and chat rooms, and writing lots of journal entries with thoughtful content that people will want to read again and again.
There's also the tried-and-true strategy of posting new artwork several times a week... though, the aforementioned artist admitted that she didn't do that. Most people find it difficult to produce quality pieces one after another, quickly, and continually. She's no exception. You can read her article about her popularity boom here.
So, it's been said. The DA popularity hack is doable. Are you ready to do it?
I'm not sure, myself. Part of me likes living in my own little bubble, doing my own thing. The outside world is a scary place. It's full of people who will judge you. But... there are also people who could love you. We all crave some recognition for our hard work. There's also great allure in the idea of having a fan base so large that you could possibly make some money for doing what you do. -Gasp!-
It all comes down to how you define what it means to be successful.
Would having more viewers make you feel more successful and confident? How many would you hope for? Enough to support you?
A fairy once told me about an article called 1,000 True Fans, that states how you can make a living for yourself with this sweet, magical number of fans. I think it's a beautiful thing to strive for. True fans are the ones that truly love what you do and will be happy to buy your artwork and support you. Ah... Dreamland, right? I love this idea, because it goes to show that you don't need to be the most famous artist ever in order to support yourself. Also, it's a mutually beneficial relationship between creator and fans!
In conclusion, I say yes, a degree of popularity would help me feel successful. My number one concern , however, is to produce quality artwork... to enjoy making it... and enjoy sharing it. With commitment to your craft, the rest follows.
...Which is not to say that self-promotion should be an afterthought. I think that marketing yourself is very important if you dream of making a living as an artist. So... Would you try these marketing techniques? Do you have other cool ways of reaching out and connecting with fans and potential fans?