Show Your Work! // Austin Kleon // Excellent

2014 // Nonfiction // Promotion // Marketing for Creatives


When I have the privilege of talking to my readers, the most common questions they ask me are about self-promotion.


A book for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion … In ten tight chapters, I lay out ways to think about your work as a never-ending process, how to build an audience by sharing that process, and how to deal with the ups and downs of putting yourself and your work out in the world.



Stock and flow.

Flow is the feed. Stock is the durable stuff. Maintain your flow while working on your stock in the background.

Flow is social media, scrapbooks, notebooks and conversations. The flow turns into blog posts, which turn into books.

As Robin Sloan wrote seven years ago: flow is the feed (“It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that reminds people you exist.”) and stock is the durable stuff (“It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.”)
Austin Kleon: A few notes on daily blogging


Don't think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine. … Fill your website with your work and your ideas and the stuff you care about.


Pitches are stories with the endings chopped off.
Act 1: Past. Act 2: Present. Act 3: Future?
The listener becomes a hero who gets to decide how it ends.


Louis CK and George Carlin throw away their comedy material every year. This forces you to dig deeper and

push yourself further and come up with something better.


Instead of taking a break in between projects, waiting for feedback, and worrying about what's next, use the end of one project to light up the next one.
Just do the work that's in front of you, and when it's finished, ask yourself what you missed, what you could've done better , or what you couldn't get to, and jump right into the next project.


This book is filled with great quotes from famous people. Here are three examples:

[Good nonfiction is a great opportunity to] watch somebody reasonably bright, but also reasonably average, pay far closer attention and think at far more length about all sorts of different stuff than most of us have a chance to in our daily lives.
David Foster Wallace

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
Steve Jobs

Books are made of books.
Cormac McCarthy


215 pages
Read: 5 August to 6 August 2017 (2 days)