I have hit on all the facets of creating but not touched yet on another important issue that often is difficult for creative people and that is marketing your work.
In the beginning I joined the local art association, helped with two shows a year and began showing locally. At this point all artist should have business cards, one side a photo of your best work and the other contact information. You will also need an artist statement, biography and mission statement (this last is for your benefit, everyone has to have goals and something to progress towards.)
The demands of a show throw you into keeping a calendar of deadlines for entries, dates of delivery and receptions. One of the things you have to do is keep track of exactly which works you entered where and not to double enter during the same or overlapping time slot. You always want to stay honest and realize shows only accept so many artist and if you are accepted then have to pull out because of double booking yourself it hurts the organization and adds to their work. (Besides the fact that they will not trust you ever again to enter their show). Fees vary from 10.00 to 35.00 to enter regardless of whether you are chosen or not.
A show entry usually requires, besides the fee, pictures of your work either photos, slides or cd and a stamped self addressed envelope (this will contain your returned slides etc and your acceptance or denial). Now days though much is done online so you may get an email also. Some shows require your bio, statement etc. and some do not. Always read the rules for each show and abide by them, some do not take certain mediums and others weight or size.
Later I began to get a larger body of work and developed a circle around how far I was willing to drive and haul work, taking into consideration gas and motel expenses. Hauling could almost be another book, there is such an issue on how to haul carefully, not to injure work before it is even viewed.
Note: This is a good place to add that you need to keep good records and large envelope comes in handy for keeping travel expenses, meals, parking, motels and mileage.
When you are accepted you will usually have a delivery date and an opening night reception for the show. Don't every fail to go and take a pocket full of business cards. Be brave and verbal about your work, show your knowledge and also your pride. Most patrons really want to get involved with your piece that way they feel a connection. Listen for their connection. Be attentive to their input not just your ego.
You may also have the opportunity to show in a tent situation and it can either make you provide your own 10 x 10 or supply one large tent with space.
Note: This is a good place to put how you should be in your booth (which is usually 10 x 10 area.) I have seen everything imaginable - artist sitting outside the tent reading a book, artist talking with their mouth full and empty booth's with no live body at all.
The best experience I have had with responses from patrons is to be attentive, knowledgeable and polite. I have a studio chair that puts me up high on the same level with the person speaking to me. I ask them questions, they do the same and we find a common ground. I love people so I could talk to a knot on a log. I always feel after a show I have gained a wealth of friendships and given them a memory as well to carry home with them.
There are great shows and poorly prepared shows, I have even had work damaged because of mishandling. Always ask what kind of set up they have, grid space, wall space or if you are a sculptor inquire as to pedestals. I have gone to receptions and found art on the floor or leaning against wall. I have also hauled a trailer loaded with pedestals because they had none.
I have reduced down now where I just have a few shows a year. My largest (just sculpture) show is Loveland Sculpture Invitational, the second weekend in Loveland, Colorado. I love this show because it lets me interact for three days with not only people but people that enjoy sculpture.
One last thing is I try to give back in some way. Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Station, Denver Audubon, Raptor Centers, Cancer Society, these groups can all benefit in some way to your participation or donation of a piece of work.