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Selling and Self Promotion

Do Titles of Your Work Matter?

1/25/2016 - Is coming up with a good title part of your creative process? You may be like me and have found that coming up with a title is an afterthought or something you simply attache to the finished work at the end of the creative process. Years ago when I was more active in the art world from the creative perspective I used to run a simple e-mail newsletter with over 20 thousand subscribers. This was back in the day when people read most or at least more of their emails. It was also before Facebook, Twitter and no one had yet heard of MySpace. As a result email was the best way to connect with fans of my work and it led to a moderate amount of success in selling my prints.

Making Buyers Happy

11/18/2015 - Making buyers of your giclee prints happy is all about communication. The other day a photographer stopped in to pickup a print. During his visit he mentioned how one of his very demanding clients had been testing his patience. Specifically for the print which he was picking up, it was the third attempt of a 16x20 portrait on canvas. He said first the client had waited forever in making a decision on the photo to be printed. And when it finally was turned into a print she noticed it had an error in the actual image which he had forgotten to remove. After making the correction and reprinting it, the customer decided she wanted a different photo from the photo shoot to be used. Because the new shot she had decided on was a little out of focus he suspected she would not be happy with that one either even after he had warned her of the potential problem. He had spent quite a bit of time correcting it the best he could, submitted it to be printed but as he was on his way to pick it up, she called him and said she was thinking about switching to a different image. His frustration with the client was obvious but fortunately this photographer is really good at putting on a good facade in front of his clients and he bends over backwards to satisfy them with the appearance of both grace and professionalism without a hint of his personal feelings being known. I knew that eventually this client would be a happy client as a result even if in the end the barely broke even as a result of the time and effort he had placed on this particular portrait session.

How Much is Your Time Worth

11/9/2015 - One of the beauties of prints versus originals works of art is the simple fact it has the potential to pay dividends in the form of ongoing revenue that only stops when you decide it has to stop. If you sold a painting that took you 50 hours to complete and then turned around and sold it for for $1000, later prints have the potential to allow you to continue to resell the concept behind that original work over and over again. Let us assume that over the course of a few years you sold a hundred prints at $100 each, your total gross from that one painting would be $11,000. That is $220 per hour. Not bad! But in the real world it is not quite so simple. It may have taken you 50 hours to complete the painting but what about all the time devoted to placing those prints for sale, not to mention time it takes to fulfill or have the orders fulfilled.

Reviews and the Importance of Soliciting Followup

10/19/2015 - For many of our customers, we are getting into the season where print sales start to take off. This is true for those that create commissioned one of a kind prints for their clients just as much as for artists selling open edition prints online or even at various art festivals. For some of us, this is their first time around the block when it comes to making some substantial sales during the holidays. It can even be intimidating at first because we as artists want everything to run smoothly. And if we are not new to this maybe we are trying to coordinate a number of different orders. What also happens to some of us is the realization that our creations, whether it be photography or something else, actually has potential to be collected outside our immediate circle of friends and family. Real buyers want to buy our work! But while that may be so, its not uncommon for us to loose focus on on the big picture and ignore some new opportunities in front of us that will promote more sales later on.

What Etsy Sellers Need to Know

8/30/2015 - So you sell canvas or giclee prints on Etsy right? Or maybe you are thinking of doing so or just got started. Well, this post is for you. People fitting this profile come to us all the time with questions since they want to use FinerWorks to process and ship many of their print orders. Usually the questions center around such things as how many of our own customers use Etsy as their Manufacturing Partner and what info can we provide them to be sure they are abiding by Etsy's policies. They also wonder how successful are the current Etsy users who use us. And, some even ask us if we know what sells best when it comes to artwork.

Promoting Your Art with YouTube

6/2/2015 - Producing a video on YouTube has never been easier. Create a YouTube account, upload your video and even use the YouTube video editor to publish it. That's all there is too it at it's most basic level. I know for some of you producing a video, if you have not done so before, sounds kind of intimidating. The reality is it is quite simple to do as long as you have a good outline to follow.

5 Business Essentials if Selling Prints

5/18/2015 - Occasionally we are asked what is our advice on how to find some success as a print seller. A print seller can entail anything from an artist selling on Etsy to a web based art gallery with an online store. One thing that they have in common if they come to FinerWorks is they are usually working hard to increase the number of prints they sell. I would love to tell them how to wave a magick wand which will create immediate sales. But most successful businesses get to where they are by engaging in tactics that are slow and steady. In the case of print sales I would like to discuss 5 business essentials which will improve the chances of success in the long term. They are having a clear vision of how you are going to scale your business, keep a positive outlook as the challenges increase, stay in communication with your customer base, know what you are selling, and don't overstate and under-deliver.

Photography as Art Debate

3/15/2015 - In the art world there are always going to be those that seem to disparage photography by implying it is not art. Some of those would instead label it more as a technology to capture imagery. Case in point is an article that recently posted to the Guardian in which Jonathan Jones an art critic made the statement that a photograph which sold for 6.5 million was merely like a “posh poster you might find framed in a pretentious hotel room”. His premise stems from a reaction to a previous article he wrote in which he implied that photography does not belong in galleries. To be fair he does not exactly state that photography is not something to be appreciated, but he definately does not appear as if he holds if to the same esteem. His implication is that photography is lifeless and flat as an art form. While I don't agree with his premise, after speaking with photographers over the years I believe he is not alone in his sentiment. Professional critics rarely set the standard in my book, but I suspect the mainstream art market tends to lean in his direction. I base this from talking with photographers who tell me it seems to be challenging to locate galleries willing to carry their work even when they know from their successes that their work does sell. I tell them, its not easy for traditional artists either. Far be it for me to not encourage any photographer working toward entering into the art market but be prepared to knock on the doors of a few more galleries until you find those that do see photography as art.

Providing Good Customer Service as Artists

1/28/2015 - Providing good customer service is an integral part of any business. This includes small single person art and photography based businesses. If you fit within one of these categories like most of our own customers, then consider taking advantage of ways that can help you improve your relationships with your own art buyers both offline or online.

The Importance of Fans

9/3/2014 - Are you keeping track of your fans. I am not simply talking about general social media type friends, fans or whatever they will be called next. I am talking about creating a list of people who are excited about you as an artist and your work. As artists we should have two primary goals. One is to create art and the other is to acquire fans of our art. I have talked previously about the importance of finding buyers but one important step in creating buyers is to turn those people into fans of your art.

Make Your Buyers Happy

3/5/2014 - Having your orders drop shipped makes the process of printing and shipping your art to your customers easier than before. It eliminates some of the time and stress associated with doing it all yourself. When you consider the expense of materials to make a print, cost of shipping, shipping supplies, not to mention the time spent actually making the order and possibly time waiting in line at the post office to ship it, a service like ours is perfect if you are getting started in the art print market. With your printing and shipping infrastructure taken care you can spend more time on your art and your customers. Attracting new buyers and making them happy customers should be a top priority. Making them happy buyers is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you are building a successful art based business.

Protecting Your Image Files

2/5/2014 - Just the other day we had a new customer inquire about the safety of her images which she has loaded in her account. While I did not talk to her direct I saw the transcript from her live chat session with one of our customer service people and I thought that this is a topic worth bringing up, especially for those a little tentative about uploading their artwork to a website which they may not be familiar with.

Competing in the Mainstream Art Market

1/23/2014 - How are you supposed to be able to sell prints when you have to compete against low cost substandard sources of prints outside of your own country? I was talking to a business owner who is also an artist and hoping to retire soon. As a supplemental income source he wants to have some of his original paintings reproduced as giclee prints. He is very new to the concept of selling prints of his work and actually is new to the concept of selling his artwork altogether. He has always painted as a hobby for his friends and family but based on his talent and subject matter I told him I could easily see a market for his work. As we got to talking about prints, I defined for him what a giclee print was and some of the advantages, especially for someone trying to generate a demand. He was very interested in getting started but he did have some concerns about how easy or challenging it would be to compete with art prints mass produced in other countries, mainly China.

Setting 3 Goals for the Year

1/1/2014 - What are your plans for 2014. With the entrance into January many people like to start their new year with resolutions. For artists I think it is a good time to set goals rather than resolutions. I like the term goals because it implies you have set a finish line that must be crossed to complete. And in many cases you might have a larger goal in mind that may consists of smaller goals. At FinerWorks we always set goals thought the year but January is especially important. The final months of the year are so busy that implementing new solutions seamlessly can be challenging but with the holiday season behind us we have a chance to evaluate ourselves and come up with ideas with the idea of becoming more capable in meeting our customers' expectations. So what are some ideas that we can offer artists who want to set new goals for themselves? I will name a few that you can either take with you or expand on yourself.

Targeting Your Audience as an Artist

11/13/2013 - An artist can be like an entertainer. Like someone who performs for a living, they want to enable an emotional yet thoughtful response by the people viewing their work.

What to Charge Your Customers for Shipping

11/6/2013 - I have put together 3 different ways to help you decide how to charge your customers shipping. If you have your own system and you find it works, by no means do I recommend you change. These are just suggestions you might want to consider, especially if you are just getting started.

What Size Should You Print

7/30/2013 - A few weeks ago I was meeting with some artists and photographers and the topic came up as how to choose print sizes. What is better, printing your images large or small and how do you know what sizes are in demand by your customers. One young lady there was an artist who initially wasn’t selling her work at shows in the numbers she had expected. She had printed almost everything as an 8x10 or slightly smaller. Many of the other artists at the show were successful at selling smaller sizes so she knew it had to be something she was doing wrong. After trying a larger size instead of what she was offering she found buyers were purchasing prints at a higher rate. When she asked some of the other artists at the show what they thought about this she was told very frankly that the style of the artwork needed to sync up with the sizes she was printing. Unfortunately she had done her initial sizes based on what a friend who was not an experienced artist had suggested rather than what her work called for. Her artwork had so much more appeal and interest than what the small 8x10s could reflect.

Adding Value to Your Prints

11/1/2012 - Presentation: If you are selling your work direct (face to face) then coming up with a successful presentation should be your first priority.

Mobilizing Your Art

10/5/2012 - Getting your work in front of a mobile audience is more crucial then before. More people will be viewing your site on a mobile device as people use their iPhones, iPads and Android powered tablets so why not make their experience as enjoyable and easy as possible. While it may seem easier to pack in more content in a standard website, what good is it if many of your mobile visitors decide it's too difficult to navigate or view.

What's Up with Your Website

9/26/2012 - If you have a website then it may not be enough. How long has it been since it was designed. Does meet today's standards? And if you don't have a website to promote yourself or your work, what's the deal? Read more about where you need to start if you are serious about getting exposure for you and your work on the web.

Promoting Your Art on Facebook

6/21/2012 - Many artists want to sell their work and are looking for ways to promote with little to no budget for marketing. Facebook has a great feature which is independent of member's profile page. If you are using Facebook, why not create a Facebook fan page devoted to your work.

Printing Old Vintage Photos

6/9/2012 - Did you know you can print high resolution images posted on the Library of Congress website? Not only can you do this but it is free and you can make money from the prints you produce too.

Where to Sign and Number Your Prints

6/3/2012 - If it is important the print number and signature be visible on your giclee print, placing it on the actual artwork in the right or left corner will probably be the best option. Read this post to learn why.

Pricing Your Prints as an Artist

5/26/2012 - Have you wondered what to charge for your prints. A few artists share with us how they decide on pricing prints they sell online and offline.

3 Step Process to Successful Selling at Art Shows

2/3/2012 - Present yourself in a neat manner, force yourself to wear a genuine 10 hour smile, and meet your customers as they approach or pass. Whether you are successful or not, you must portray that you are.

Choosing Giclee Prints or Lithographs

9/2/2011 - Way before starting FinerWorks, one of the areas of printing I researched for myself for my digital artwork was different ways to offer prints to my buyers. Which should I offer: giclee or lithograph prints?

Three Tips to Selling Your Prints

8/17/2011 - Check out these tips to improve your sales and exposure of your art and photography prints online.

How to Create a Certificate of Authenticity

8/7/2011 - Artists and fine art photographers frequently asked me what should go on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) for the prints we produce for them or is there a set format for the COA.

Protecting Your Paper Prints for Shows

7/31/2011 - If you have spent much time in shows displaying your photography or art prints you may have had the occasional customer pick one up and damage it. If you are new to participating in shows, here I provide some basic tips on protecting your work.
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