Want to Sell Your Art? Invest in Yourself!

Like many artists, I am revamping my approach to getting my work out into the world. This is a multifaceted problem that seems to get bigger every day. Each facet has its own set of decisions to be made and then it has to be reconciled with the overall program.

My previous approach was to do things on the cheap and piecemeal. Each part was considered separately.  I would search for the online outlet with the lowest commissions or fees. I would do the coding for the website myself. This, of course, left me with very high-maintenance venues and very few sales.

This time out it’s different. I am determined that all of the elements should work together, so I have spent many hours researching, reading reviews and opinions, trying things out in my head and on paper.

During this research phase, I had a friend ask, “Are you interested in getting your stuff out there, or in making money?” I did not initially understand implications of the question. He said that if a financial return was the most important and immediate concern, I had the wrong product.  However, if I wanted to establish myself in the art marketplace, I should probably plan on losing money to begin with, while I made my presence known.

I listened. Even with all the commodification of art, it is hardly an impulse buy. Most people who are interested in purchasing a piece of original art are not going to drop that amount of money whimsically. They are going to look, take a business card, bookmark a web site, consider, weigh, come back, look again, talk, then purchase—much as my friend who was buying the sculpture did. (She did get the piece, by the way.)

Art has to be presented. To do that requires a continuing presence and some level of reputation; that’s really what sells art (again, we are not talking about those who are purchasing investments so much as those who are purchasing art to enjoy).

Now there are numerous ways to establish a presence and build a reputation, but one of the ways is to present your work in a way that lets your potential patrons know that your work is desirable and available. This means an easily-navigable, attractive web site. It means representation that is reliable and reputable (even if you are representing yourself). It means building a public profile that will (hopefully) precede sales. It means being willing to lose a little money at the front end in order to establish yourself. It means investing.

So this time I am not doing things on the cheap. Instead of coding myself, I have obtained some professional help. It costs more money, but the result is far easier to maintain, so the cost in terms of time and effort is actually less. I am evaluating online outlets, not so much on the basis of fees and commissions, but on the balance of those fees against probable sales, given the sites’ traffic and sales figures. I am also examining possibilities of brick-and-mortar venues. I am listening to the advice of others.

I don’t know yet that this will work, but I have learned from my past mistakes and have a much higher level of confidence in this approach than I have had in any of my other attempts.

And while I would not necessarily recommend my plan for all artists, I would recommend the approach. The art that you create comes from the most intimate part of you; you want others to see and understand your vision. You have to put some time and effort, and, yes, money, into making that happen. You have to invest in yourself.





Date: Monday, 11. July 2011 0:19
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Audience, Marketing, Presentation

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