How to price your art

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HOW DO YOU LET BUYERS KNOW WHO YOU ARE?

Published December 9, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Promoting yourself as an artist or a writer is hard work. Don’t expect someone else to look out for your interests. Does this promotion time take time away from creating your work? Yes, it does. unless you are very, very lucky if you don’t spend at least some time per week marketing yourself and your work, you will make very few sales.

What methods can be used to promote your art?

There are nuts and bolts types of promotion, flyers, advertising on TV/Radio, etc. And there is the Internet. Flyers and advertising are more time consuming and they cost more money that using the internet. A 1% return response to a typical mail campaign is considered a good response.

Most of the internet is free but typically, a pay-per-click ad on Google or Facebook (an ad where you pay only when a viewer clicks on the ad) is usually around 2 cents a click. The ads run automatically until you run out of the money you allocated. If you are doing your own promoting, to better utilize the time spent on social networks, make a list of what you expect to accomplish to promote your art that day, and then strictly compartmentalize what to do there.

For myself, I schedule 2 hours per week for business. At the end of the two hours I am done, whether or not I actually accomplished everything on my list. The 2ndthing is not to do purely social things while promoting your business. Schedule a different time to catch up with friends and family on your social networking site.

In this day and age, the internet is an essential tool for Artists. Art buyers will often first check out an artist’s website for information before picking up the phone to call directly. A website is also useful because it should show how to contact you. Since the general public now spends an average of 4 hours online daily, why shouldn’t they spend it with your art or your books?

Social networking sites like Pinterest and Facebook now have Business pages you can add to your regular networking sites. There are also plenty of free build-your-own-website hosting sites out there now. Because these sites are supported by the ads they run, ads will appear on your site also. Play around until you find a user friendly one that includes optimizing your site for mobile searches. I recommend Yola.com.

Many authors cross-promote each other’s books to gain visibility with a relevant new audience of readers. It’s a mutually beneficial way to inexpensively boost book sales and word-of-mouth buzz — and to make new friends and build relationships in the publishing community. You can also reach out to other authors in your area and join with them in group book signings. Go to the Local Writer section of your local library and see who has book there. You can then search out their social media sites and their web site to get in touch with them.

There are also sites set up for writers such as www.Bookfunnel.comwhere writers can join with other writers who produce books in the same genre to promote their books. These promotions are usually no charge, but they do require a writer to share the promotion on both social media and with their e-mail list. The site has two distinct type of promotions; one is a newsletter builder (readers sign up to join your list) and the other is a sales promotional page for e-books. FYI the newsletter page involves giving away a free e-book. This is an inexpensive way to encourage readers to join your e-mail list.

 

 

Earning Residual Income With Your Work

Published December 2, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

We may as well admit it: all of us secretly want to not only create fabulous art but want the public to appreciate it so much they pay us fabulous prices for it. The wonderful thing about making prints of our work is it a way to earn residual income on our art. If an artist sells a painting for $500 that is a one-time fee; if that same artist also sells 20 prints for $15 each then they have earned a total of $800 on that same painting. Naturally as an artist, you want any reproductions of your art to reflect the quality of the art itself, which means you want to make the best quality reproductions you can find. I have had several artists ask me where they can get good quality prints made at a reasonable price. It’s a good question. There are two ways to go with this: make the prints yourself or get them made professionally.

If you are planning to make them yourself, besides the printer, you will need a good quality camera that takes high-resolution photos (Canon Rebel is excellent but there are others out there). I don’t recommend a point-and-shoot camera or your cell phone if you intend to make professional looking reproductions; although the smart phone photo quality is improving, I did notice that quality seemed to suffer with larger size prints. I would also recommend a good photo-editing program such as Photoshop Elements. I chose Elements because it will service either Apple or PC computers, the basic editing techniques are simple and it does have tutorials.

A printer that prints on a variety of paper products is essential if you are making your own prints. What brand of printer makes the best prints? Well, there are a lot of differing opinions on this, all having to do with what kind of ink will give you the truest colors, how easy they are to use, whether to use ink jet or laser printers, etc. Making the prints yourself does mean that you are probably going to be limited to paper and the sizes you can make; most home printers will only take legal or letter size paper. The printer that gave me the very best prints I ever made at home was an inexpensive Kodak printer. Unfortunately it proved too fragile to last long. Epson, Brother and HP all make good machines that will give you nice paper prints. You can even obtain letter size “canvas paper’ for printing on the internet, although I wasn’t really happy with the quality of the prints I made with it on my home printer. If you are going to make prints yourself, you should consider the cost of the ink. Many ink jet printers devour ink pods like a T-Rex. If you make a lot of reproductions, Ink jet refills can be so expensive that you might find it less costly to get your prints made by a print shop. Laser printers also make good quality prints, but a color laser printer and the toner to go with it can also break your budget. You will need to decide if the cost of the printing will allow you to still make sales at a profit.

The next option is to have your prints made by a professional printer. I am speaking here of commercial printers such as Kinkos or CopyMax’s Impress. The photo departments of Costco, Walgreens, Wal-Mart etc. may not give you a professional quality print because their print programs are designed to “flatten or homogenize” color to an “average” standard, however they also will work with you on this issue because they want your return business. Most of them can also do a canvas print mounted on stretcher bars. Again, ask for a proof because if you have vibrant, saturated or delicate shades you may find your print simply doesn’t reflect these qualities.

To use an outside printer you need a high-resolution jpeg or other type of photo of your work. If you are not a photographer, I suggest you arrange to have a professional take the photo in order to ensure that the photo has no distortions and that the color is true to the original art. You can have the photo transferred to either a jump drive or disc. An issue with having your prints made by someone else that doesn’t come up with DIY (Do It Yourself) printing: calibrating their printer to your photos. Calibrating a printer has nothing to do with the printer type; it has to do with communication between the computer and the printer. Even if the photo from your thumb disc looks okay on their computer screen, the print may still come out darker or lighter than your art. Always ask for a proof before accepting the print because it may be necessary for you to take your disc or jump drive home so that you can adjust the lighting or color of the photo in order to make the print “true” to the original when using an outside printer. If you do this, always save the “adjusted” photo as a separate file and leave the original alone. Making these changes is much easier if you are dealing with a local printer.

The other option for having your prints made is to find a local professional who specializes in making art prints. Here in Fresno we have several but Mullins Photography is the one most favored by local artists. If you bring in your art, they make their own scan and reproduce a print that is virtually identical to the original. Ask other local artists in your area where they get their prints made. Be prepared to open your wallet for this option though; because the cost of the initial set up fee will be more expensive than say Kinkos or Impress. On the other hand, it probably will be a one-time fee for that particular piece of art and the quality will be the best.

You can also order prints from the internet; a number of Internet sites do on-line printing. These sites are sometimes referred to as POD (Print On Demand) sites, and most of them do an excellent job. Fine Art America for instance will not only make your prints on a variety of paper, metal, cards and canvas, but also sell matting and framing and ship to your customer. With on-line printers however, you will have the same difficulties with the calibration as with your local outside printer. Since you can’t demand a proof from this type of site, I would suggest you get a small print made for yourself and adjust the photo. Keep notes on what you did so that you can use them when sending in later prints. The nice thing about most POD sites is your customer may order directly from the site without you having to deal with nasty stuff like figuring out shipping costs.

TIPS ON PRICING YOUR ART

Published September 16, 2019 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

I tried the free art price calculator on the web, and found it interesting, although pricing art is so idiosyncratic that it wasn’t really useful. In my work as a Director of Art-Tique, I am often asked how much they should charge for their work by artists who are just starting out. I always tell beginning artists that art pricing is personal (meaning every artist pretty much makes up their own rules!). However, there are some guidelines:

Make sure the price of the art first covers the cost of your time and materials.

If you want to use the “per square inch” approach, you can emulate the Printing companies who do price by the square inch. Take a survey (get prices) locally from both a high-end printer of Giclee and your local print shop (Kinkos, Office Impress) and check out the pricing on the on-line printer Fine Art America. Compare the prices.

If you don’t want to use that approach, go to a local art show, compare your art to the winning art, and check out other artists’ prices. This will give you a ballpark figure on how much other artists in your area are charging. Where prospective buyers will see the art does make a difference. I live in a large city surrounded by farming and agriculture that is not considered an art mecca for California. If I sell a painting in my area I will get less for it than if I had marketed on the Coast because for some reason, buyers think that there is more ‘cachet’ from art bought in Carmel or San Francisco than that bought in Fresno. The same painting by the same artist will earn more if marketed in a pricey gallery in New York than it will in New Jersey.

When checking pricing at an art show, you should be looking for the following criteria: Artists who paint the same or similar subject matter (abstracts, still lifes, portraits, landscapes, etc.) Be honest: is your art as good as theirs is? If you don’t know, ask a more experienced artist to critique your work. Please be careful with this; the person who does the critiquing should be a more experienced artist with some knowledge of technique and the principles of art. We love them, but the opinions of our friends and family who don’t know any more than we do about art really aren’t useful as critiques.

Enter some art shows and have a professional (a paid judge) give you an honest opinion.

Lastly, how much do you like the art? If you really like it, don’t give it away. Price it so that you will be happy if it sells, not regret that you gave it away. If it doesn’t sell, you can enjoy looking at it!

If you are still interested in using the art price calculator, here a couple of links to free art pricing sites.

http://www.artscope.net/artworth.html

Or

http://www.artpricecalculator.com/

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