Marketing. This is without a doubt the most dreaded part of any artist or writer's trade. You spend hours, days, months creating something that moves you on a soul level, in the hopes it will inspire others. You are physically, emotionally and mentally spent. You stand back to admire or critique your labour of love, and then it hits you, "How am I going to sell this? Where, and for how much?"
Thankfully, in this Age of Internet, promoting yourself is much easier than it used to be. In the past, it took a lot of door-knocking on the steps of galleries or publishing houses, as well as hand-written letters, a professional portfolio with actual prints, hiring an agent, and rubbing shoulders with people you hoped would drop a good word for you at every art event you could waggle an invite to.
All of the above still apply, but emails have replaced stamped letters, websites and blogs have taken the place of physical portfolios, and most popular galleries have an online presence where you can submit your work. Virtual art shows allow you to hob nob with the rich and/or famous without actually traveling to the big centers in Rome, Paris and New York. Print on Demand services are also replacing a lot of the work that used to be done manually.
The beauty of Print on Demand is that it does so much of the marketing for you. Sign up, upload your images, and they take care of the printing, shipping and sales. The downside is, your cut is considerably reduced compared to if you had done the work yourself. The plus side is it frees up your time to actually create, study and research your craft.
It's still up to you to create a personal website, join forums, groups and art sites to promote your work in tandem with a Print on Demand service. But with some good time management, there is still plenty of time to work on what you love, while hopefully generating a modest to successful residual income.
So self-promotion is still necessary, but thanks to modern methods, not so evil.