Thanks for sharing your regrettably too common story. That, of course, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t still be told. But don’t give up on your marketing gambit. Try to flip them!
Look at it this way Matthew; you’ve already succeeded in getting their attention. That means your marketing is working. Now, you have to switch to selling. You’ve already put them on notice that they can’t get your good work for free. Show them how they can continue to solve their visual problems with your help. Don’t let the bastards off the hook!