I recently had the pleasure of serving on two panels at the Self-employment in the Arts Conference, hosted by North Central College. The conference is primarily for college students, but adult artists were in attendance and there was lots for adults to learn too.

One panel that I was on was on the basics of starting your business, the other was on social media.

A few books came up that I recommended, especially in the social media session, and I wanted to list those here, both for anyone who was in the session, and just as reminders of what great books they are.

The first two are books for better understanding the online world and your place in it.

Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody is great for that.

Here’s my review of it from 2008:

I’m reading Here Comes Everybody: the Power of Organizing without Organizations by Clay Shirky. I’m about half-way through, but I’m so excited about it I want to talk about it now.

It’s about social media online, basically, and explains the real world effects of social media such as MeetUp, Flickr, blogs and more. One of the things blogging has done for me is that it’s gotten me into social media stuff I might not have done otherwise.

The book explains a lot of things that you sort of knew, or had a gut feeling about, but he explains the how and why of it. I was a communications major in college, so this is right up my alley.

This book probably isn’t of interest to all my readers, but if you’re into blogging, photo sharing and in general life online, or if you’re in an organization and want to know how to grow your group using online tools, then you will enjoy this book. You will find yourself saying, “Oh! I thought so!”

One student asked about blogging and how do you know how to be authentic but not reveal too much, and stay safe?

For that I recommended the book Say Everything by Scott Rosenburg. Here’s my review from 2010:

I really enjoyed Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why It Matters by Scott Rosenberg. There was a lot I didn’t know about the earliest days of blogging, and since this is something I do on a weekly basis, I’m glad to know the history of it.

The author tells the story compellingly, and he covers the “how much to share” issue for bloggers very thoughtfully.

In these times of sending status updates from your phone, it’s nice to read a book by someone who’s put so much thought into those issues.

If you’re an artist blogger and really into it, I think you’ll enjoy this book.

The other part of the answer to that question is: read blogs by folks who do a great job of that. I recommend Luann Udell’s blog as an example of someone who is very honest and sharing about her art.

Another author who came up again and again at the conference was Seth Godin, whose blog you can find here.

Ah, and one more book to make three: Do the Work by Steven Pressfield, which I mentioned in the starting your business session. You can read my review here. I called it my favorite book of 2011 in my year in review post, and it’s still my favorite book so far this year.

Here are links to the books for you on amazon:

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why It Matters

Do the Work

and here a link to the conference:

Self-employment in the Arts Conference

Photo by stock exchange user Pear83.

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