I've often thought about how I could start to promote myself as an artist. I've read different ways in those "Things an artist needs to do to be successful" type of books and talking to other artists helps as well. But here are 5 idea's I've heard works and seen other artists do.
1. Post Cards/brochures
Both would be mailable. Send out post cards to galleries and publishers. The post cards or brochures would have my work on them and a simple way to get someone interested and keep them updated on my work. I want to keep a record of people who have purchased work from me and keep them updated, something I need to start doing.
Juried shows and competitions seem to be a way to get your name out to the public. They also usually are tied into money, which is nice.
3. Business Cards
I think these are very important pieces paper to have. People seem to think I am more professional when I have a card with my name and email on it. I think it just makes the artist seem more serious about making pictures rather then the friend everyone has that use to draw badass doodles in high school. I've realized the key is to keep them on you whenever you go in public, you never know when someone important will appear.
I've seen artists who take their drawings or paintings and print them on t-shirts. I've always thought it was a smart idea, except the artist's name is rarely on the shirt, or website or anything. This wouldn't be a problem if the work is instantly recognizable but I figure when one is just starting out their work generally is not. But people love shirts with cool drawings on them and it turns them into a walking logo. People willing to pay you to advertise for you, perfect.
Internet, facebook, a blog, word of mouth, putting work in charity auctions, etc. Letting people know you are an artist and you are willing to work seems to be the most important aspect of self promotion.