Selling your work

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WHAT GENRE IS YOUR ART?

Published July 23, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

I was always a little confused as to how certain types of art are placed into certain genres at art shows. For one thing, it seemed to be purely subjective, depending on each artist’s concept of what that Genre was, and some art didn’t seem to fit into any division at all! I did find a definition on the internet:  “Genre is the general classification of your image.” One of the best examples of saying nothing while seeming to say everything I’ve ever found! Most artists I know seem to classify their art first by the media used to create it and then by the subject matter. For instance, many artists will describe their work as a “watercolor landscape” or an “oil still life”. From the internet, I also got a list of what was considered genre classifications. In many cases, the definition of a Genre was very narrow. Obviously, not all images fit into the Genre categories and I found myself taking issue with the clearness of the description of some them as well, so I went looking for comparisons of the definitions and sure enough, everyone has a different opinion! Like many fields, the definition of a Genre seems to depend on which expert you consult. I also found about 30 different genres described, with many of them having sub-genres. For this blog, I will confine myself to the genres and sub-genres of interest in the one-dimensional Fine art shown at art shows: Abstract/non-objective, Botanical & Still Life, Contemporary, Drawing, Landscape, Portrait, Realism, and Representational.

Abstract/non-objective art seemed to be images, which did not reflect pictorial reality as opposed to Realism, which tries to show exactly what is seen. On About.com, I found this 1“In its purest form in Western art, an abstract art is one without a recognizable subject, one which doesn’t relate to anything external or try to “look like” something. Instead, the colour and form (and often the materials and support) are the subject of the abstract painting. It’s completely non-objective or non-representational.” I also found sub-genres in abstract art as well: geometric, figurative, etc. In other words, it did seem to me that anything they couldn’t find a Genre for at art shows got stuck here. Occasionally, I found this category confused with Contemporary art at art shows, which as I later discovered was not the same thing at all!

Botanical & Still Lifeis usually art about flowers and plants. However many different objects other than plants and flowers have been used in still life art. I placed Still Life with Botanical because so much still life art does use botanical subjects. Wikipedia defines botanical art as “the art of depicting the form, colour, and details of plant species, frequently in watercolourpaintings. Historically, these paintings were often printed with a botanical description in books, magazines, and other media. Art of this type required an understanding of plant biologyand access to specimens and references. These works were often composed in consultation with a scientific author.”3Currently, Photographs have replaced most botanical art in textbooks or other pharmacopoeia (medical textbook). The second most common subject matter found in Still Life is food and the third is the décor stuff my mother called “dust-catchers”. Still Life in art is all about lighting and composition; keeping a painting of inanimate objects interesting is much harder than it looks, and I have nothing but respect for those who paint this type of art successfully.

Contemporaryart was defined on the internet as “Artwork that has been produced employing techniques made popular after World War II”. This was interesting because it certainly didn’t agree with what I have seen in the “Contemporary” categories at art shows! In fact using this definition, most painting materials available are made using modern techniques all artwork painted by living artists could be considered contemporary. At art shows put on by local art groups, I have generally found art depicting abstracts, non-representational art, expressionism, etc., all in this category. It seems to me that oftentimes the subject matter was being used to define the category.

Drawingis defined as images created with conventional drawing materials – pen and ink, pencil, chalk, charcoal…  “Drawing is often exploratory, with considerable emphasis on observation. Drawing is regularly used in preparation for a painting, further confusing the distinction between drawing and painting. Drawings created for these purposes are called studies. There are several categories of drawing: figure drawing, cartooning, doodlingand shading(cartooning and doodling are not usually considered to be fine art). There are also many drawing methods, such as line drawing, stippling or shading. A quick, unrefined drawing may be called a sketch. In fields outside art, technical drawingsor plans of buildings, machinery, circuitry and other things are often called “drawings” even when they have been transferred to another medium by printing.”3 Upon review, I found that although drawing is often considered a Genre at art shows and competitions the internet doesn’t consider it a genre at all. According to Wikipedia “Drawingis a form of visual artthat makes use of any number of drawing tools to mark a two-dimensional medium. Tools can include graphitepencils, pen and ink, inkedbrushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, various kinds of erasers, markers, styluses, and metals (such as silverpoint). A small amount of material is put on a surface or support, leaving a visible mark. The most common support for drawing is paper, although other materials, cardboard, plastic, leather, canvas, and board, may be used. The readiness of drawing tools makes drawing more common than other art media. Drawing is one of the major forms within the visual arts. Old-style drawings were monochrome, or at least had little colour, while modern colored-pencil drawings may cross the boundary between drawing and painting. In Western vocabulary, drawing is distinct from painting, even though similar mediais often used in both. Dry media, normally associated with drawing, such as chalk may be used inpastelpaintings. Drawing may also be done with a liquid medium applied with brushes or pens (Chinese art). Similar supports can serve both: painting generally involves the application of liquid paint onto prepared canvas or panels, but sometimes an under-drawingis first drawn on that same support.”3 For the purpose of an art show, the Drawing category is often divided by medium, with Pastels most frequently considered a separate category all others lumped into “Graphics”.

Landscapeas a Genre was defined as images of landscapes, real or imaginary. This is a category where I wanted to place several “sub-genres”: Seascapes, Cityscapes, interior scenes, etc. I once asked a master artist her definition of a landscape and she told me “anything with a horizon”. Obviously, a street scene might or might not have a horizon line, but a painting of the inside of a house sure wouldn’t have a horizon although I suppose the floor line might be considered in the same definition. This raises another question: does a painting of say a group people on a city street come under the sub-genre cityscapes or portrait/figurative? And what about an indoor scene of a party or a scene in a restaurant that looks out the window to the landscape? Where does this go? Does a scene inside a house or other building come under landscape? If there are people in the scene, does it then become a portrait painting?

Portraitsare images that focus on the personality and representation of a person or animal. This is another category where I wanted to put sub-genres. Portrait implies a single subject, group or object for which that person(s) posed so the art could be created, even if it is a group being painted. Into what Genre then, does a group of people, who are incidental to the painting (there by happenstance) go? For instance into what genre would you place a painting of a street scene or a party or a family dinner where the subjects are imagined? Categorize this for me and put it in the proper Genre:imaginary people, imaginary house, imaginary scene of a modern family on Christmas morning (Mom and Dad in the kitchen making coffee or whatever, a young girl curled up in a chair with an I-Pod or phone, two teenage boys playing a video game on the wide-screen TV and grandparents coming in the kitchen door with packages). It’s not a portrait because the people aren’t real, yes or no?

Realism Artis artwork that focuses on portraying subjects and objects accurately, as they really are. Wikipedia defines this genre as “the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without changingitand avoiding artistic principles, implausible, exotic or supernatural elements.”3Another source, absolutearts.com, says, “Realism is defined by the accurate, unembellished, and detailed depiction of nature or contemporary life. The movement prefers an observation of physical appearance rather than imagination or idealization.” There isa type of art called Photorealism, defined as “the Genre of painting based on using cameras and photographs to gather visual information and then from this creating a painting that appears to be photographic.” I have most commonly seen this art done with either graphite or colored pencil and it allows for more detail. However, some master artists do not consider photorealism to be art at all since the image reproduced on paper or canvas is usually copied exactlyfrom a single photograph. However, I have also seen this done purely from imagination of the artist. If several photos are used as reference material and elements from them combined into a painting, then you have produced Representational art rather than Realism art.

Representational Art in the dictionarymeans to symbolize or to stand for. According to Wikipedia, all art is representational if it shows a recognizable object. “The degree to which an artistic representation resemblesthe object it represents is a function of resolution and does not bear on the denotation of the word. For example, both the Mona Lisaand a child’s crayon drawing of Lisa del Giocondowould be considered representational, and any preference for one over the other would need to be understood as a matter of preferences.”3So if you paint a landscape and leave out elements  that are actually in the scene, shift things around or add in things, to make the painting look better then you have created a piece of representational art. Humbling, isn’t it?

 

WHAT IS NETWORK MARKETING

Published July 16, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

There is a lot of talk these days out there about using social networks to market your art. You can certainly reach a lot of people with your message, but simply reaching them isn’t good enough. You must convince them  to buy your stuff. A  key ingredient in successful social media marketing is creating “social authority”. Once established as an “expert” in your given field you become an authority (someone others listen to). You can establish yourself by writing on-line about stuff you know about. It doesn’t  have to be art because if you want to sell your art, its necessary to reach outside the sphere of artists you know to your target audience. It’s a funny thing, but having social authority in one sphere will give you authority other places; just witness all those celebrities who endorse presidential candidates!

Because of social media—and the direct/indirect effect of these marketers, the buying public is more likely to make decisions using what they read and see in social networks, but only if they hear about it from someone they trust. This is the reason a focused, carefully designed social media strategy needs to be a basic part of your marketing plan.

Social Networking sites allow internet users to connect with each other. Most people using social networking sites join a group: former school classmates, a means to connect with friends (like Facebook and Twitter), etc.; most  of these sites also feature a recommendation system linked to trust. Social Network sites are web-based   r allowing users to connect over the internet via e-mail or instant messaging. It can be difficult to create a network of buyers if you are not already acquainted with them most of these networking services do run on “friend recommendations”. If you want your message about your work to be picked up and sent “viral”, you must create a message that is both interesting and attention grabbing.

Viral marketingviral advertising, or marketing buzz refersto practices thatuse pre-existing social networks. The goal is to create viral messages thatattract people with high social networking potential(SNP) so that these people will tell everyone about the message. It’s like a game of gossip.

Generally three basic conditions must be met for your communication to go viral. 1) A “go-between” or “dispatch rider” must pick up the message. There are three types of “dispatch riders” required to change an ordinary message into a viral one: market devotees, social hubs, and salespeople. Market devotees are among the first to get exposed to the message and transmit it to their immediate social network. Social hubs are people with many connections; they often know hundreds of people and can serve as tie-ins between groups with different interests. Salespeople receive the message from the market devotee, amplify it by making it more relevant and persuasive, and then send it on. 2) The message must be memorable and interesting. Only messages that are both will be passed on to others and spur viral marketing. Making your message more memorable and interesting (or more infectious) can be a matter of minor adjustments. 3) the environment needs to be favorable: The timing and context of your promotion takeoff must be right too. If there is something much more interesting going on like the Japanese earthquake, your chances of getting a competing message out are not very good.

Question: how do you find these people? Well, you must put in your time developing on-line relationships. It will be necessary for you to express some type of interest in what they are doing so that they will reciprocate. I am not advocating spending hours on the net; in fact, just the opposite. However, you will needto be able to make a connection with them on some level. Keep your communications short and only respond to stuff that interests you because a phony interest can be easily spotted.

Want to know how effective you are? Here are a few free social media monitoring and measurement programs and tools:

  • How Sociable? A simple, free tool that measures the visibility of your brand across the web.
  • Addict-o-matic A nice search engine that aggregates rss feeds, allowing you to see where your brand is lacking presence.
  • Social mention: A social media search engine offering searches across blogs, and microblogs with a social rank score.

Defining Your Artistic Genre

Published June 25, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Abstract/Non-Objective

I was always a little confused as to how certain types of art are placed into certain genres at art shows. For one thing, it seemed to be purely subjective, depending on each artist’s concept of that particular Genre and some art didn’t seem to fit into any division at all! I did find a definition on the internet: “Genre is the general classification of your image.” One of the best examples of saying nothing while seeming to say everything I’ve ever found! Most artists I know seem to classify their art first by the media used to create it and then by the subject matter. For instance, many artists will describe their work as a “watercolor landscape” or an “oil still life”. From the internet, I also got a list of what was considered genre classifications. In many cases, the definition of a Genre was very narrow. Obviously, not all images fit into the Genre categories and I found myself taking issue with the clearness of the description of some them as well so I went looking for comparisons of the definitions and sure enough, everyone has a different opinion! Like many fields, the definition of a Genre seems to depend on which expert you consult. I also found about 30 different genres described, with many of them having sub-genres.

Abstract/Non-Objective Art seemed to be images not reflecting pictorial reality as opposed to Realism, which tries to show exactly what is seen. On About.com, I found this 1“In its purest form in Western art, an abstract art is one without a recognizable subject, one which doesn’t relate to anything external or try to “look like” something. Instead, the colour and form (and often the materials and support) are the subject of the abstract painting. It’s completely non-objective or non-representational.” I also found sub-genres in abstract art as well: geometric, figurative, etc. In other words, it did seem to me that anything they couldn’t find a Genre for at art shows got stuck here. Occasionally, I found this category confused with Contemporary art at art shows, which as I later discovered was not the same thing at all! 

A truly abstract work of art is derived from an actual object or things in the real world, something found in nature that the artist has ‘abstracted’.  Abstract art can include abstractions of real-life objects such as trees or it can be non-representational. A non objectivework of art has no ties to any real world objects or things and so it is not an abstraction of anything, it is aptly named, non objective.Non-objective art is a type of abstract or non-representational art. It tends to be geometric and does not represent specific objects, people, or other subjects found in the natural world.

100 Best Blogs for Book Reviews

Published January 1, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Update: 2017 12 10 -THIS WAS FREE TO Share this page with your friends, and still is, however, since it was done in 2009, I can’t swear that all the blogs are active now. FYI: most of these bloggers do have specific formats for review submissions. Please be courteous and obey the rules. Gail

It seems that a large number of book fanatics love to write about what they’ve read almost as much as doing the actual reading. That’s a good thing for the rest of the readers out there, because blogs about books are an excellent way to discover great books without wasting your valuable time on the bad ones. Along with reading top book review blogs, students are exposed to excellent classic and contemporary books through traditional and online master’s degrees in English literature. Check out these blogs that are all dedicated to reviewing books.

September 15th, 2009 written by

Staff Writers

General Fiction Reviews

These blogs feature book reviews across many different fiction categories such as classics, world literature, literary fiction, mystery, young adult, and more. The books read by these bloggers go beyond what you’d come across in typical English degree programs.

  1. Becky’s Book Reviews. Becky reviews all sorts of fiction ranging from classics to science fiction to young adult fiction.
  2. books i done read. Get plenty of witty humor with the book reviews on this blog.
  3. bookshelves of doom. This prolific reader reviews books of all kinds and includes the source of her books as well.
  4. Absorbed in Words. The reviews here have an emphasis on books translated from Japanese, but include many other fiction books too.
  5. Bookdwarf. A frontlist buyer at the Harvard Book Store, this book lover writes reviews on literature, book covers, and much more on her blog.
  6. Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?. Check out the literary fiction reviews here that come with ratings from 1-100.
  7. Here There be Books. Anastasia blogs mostly about fiction in young adult, fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure. BLOG HAS GONE PRIVATE – DON’T BOTHER
  8. Books and Musings from Downunder. The reviews here include tons of helpful information such as genre, opening sentence, and rating (A+, A, B, C, D).
  9. It’s all about me (time). These books cross genres ranging from chick lit to classics to world literature.
  10. Lynda’s Book Blog. This Welsh blogger reviews all types of books including thrillers, world literature, mysteries, classics, and even some non-fiction.
  11. Peachybooks. Blogging from Britain, many of the books Jo writes about here are from or about the UK.
  12. Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-holic. Stephanie participates in many book challenges and posts about them all on her blog.
  13. The Book Nest. The books here tend to more young adult and fantasy, but a wide range of other genres are also covered due to the many challenges and book tours in which Corinne participates. The Book Nest Review Policy I do occasionally read review copies.  I am much more prone to accept your book if it is in the young adult genre.  I will give every book I read 50 pages to catch my attention.  I don’t review books that I put down at 50 pages but I review every book I finish and always give a fair and balanced review here on my blog.  I also post all my reviews on Goodreads, Facebook and Shelfari.  Feel free to submit to booknestreviews at gmail dot com.
  14. The Boston Bibliophile. Literary fiction, Jewish fiction and non-fiction, and graphic novels are all reviewed here.
  15. Caribousmom. The books reviewed here are generally literary fiction, mystery, and historical novels.
  16. Rhapsodyinbooks’s Weblog. Written by a husband and wife team, this blog covers all sorts of fiction.
  17. Whimpulsive. Mystery, young adult, memoirs, and historical fiction are just a few of the genres represented among these reviews.
  18. Rose City Reader. This prolific reviewer also includes links to other reviews–providing you with lots of information about books.
  19. Worducopia. Books and writing both get billing on this blog that features lots of fiction with some non-fiction also included.
  20. We Be Reading. K and Z are a mom and son team (with mom doing most of the actual writing) that cover both adult and children’s literature.
  21. A Work in Progress. Biographies, historical fiction, mysteries, and more show up on this blog.
  22. things mean a lot. The books reviewed here include historical fiction, general fiction, YA, graphic novels, and more.
  23. Books on the Nightstand. This blog features not only a variety of genres from graphic novels to “bathroom reading” to classics, it also offers options for how to get the book reviews with both written reviews and podcasts.

Children and Young Adult Reviews

Children’s literature and young adult literature are the focus of these blogs.

  1. Guys Lit Wire. This blog features books that are of interest to teenage boys.
  2. a wrung sponge. Get reviews of children and young adult literature and poetry as well as books for parents here.
  3. Book Nut. Melissa reviews adult fiction as well here, but the bulk of her posts are on children’s and young adult literature. She includes age ranges on each, too.
  4. Bookworm 4 Life. Written by a librarian at a public library, the books here focus mostly on teen literature.
  5. SherMeree’s Musings. This children’s and teen’s librarian reviews books from these categories. Reviews include number of pages, appropriate age range, and publishing information.
  6. Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. While not following the traditional book review format, this blog gives the low-down on authors, illustrators, and the books themselves from this genre.
  7. A Fuse #8 Production. Check out this blog for in-depth reviews of kid lit.
  8. Jen Robinson’s Book Page. Jen writes reviews about kid lit and includes age ranges, publication information, and sources of her books.
  9. Maw Books Blog. YA fiction, kid lit, and even a bit of historical fiction and author interviews end up on this blog.
  10. Shelf Elf: read, write, rave. Children’s and young adult’s books are featured on this blog as well as news and updates about books and authors in this field.
  11. GreenBeanTeenQueen. If you are looking for reviews on teen and tween literature, then let this librarian guide you with her reviews.
  12. The Book Cellar. The reviews of YA literature here are done by the 16 year-old blogger who posts a short excerpt from the book along with her review and a rating based on a 5-star system.
  13. Pop Culture Junkie. While most of the books here are YA, there are also reviews on other types of fiction as well.
  14. The Story Siren. The YA reviews here include a star rating system for separate components of each book, including overall, plot, characters, ending, writing, and cover.
  15. Tempting Persephone…. Written by a young adult librarian, the books here have a decidedly fantasy/alternate reality bent to them.

Collaborative Blogs

These blogs share the reviewing work with some blogs having many reviewers and others only a few. The differing perspectives from them offer a wider range of opinion.

  1. 26 books. What started as one reader reviewing 26 books in one year has grown to multiple reviewers and hundreds of books.
  2. BookFetish. This collaborative blog features reviews on mysteries and thrillers, young adult, fantasy, and more.
  3. Omnivoracious’ Amazon Blog. A collaborative effort from Amazon.com, this blog covers everything from cook books to fiction.
  4. The New Book Review. Readers, reviewers, and authors can submit their reviews here which cover a wide variety of genres.
  5. Book Nook Club. These 13 book reviewers cover many different genres and encourage their readers to leave comments to for further discussion.
  6. Five Borough Book Review. A group of 20-something New Yorkers, they review books as varied as they are.
  7. Shelf Love. Jenny and Teresa review everything from classics to contemporary fiction to children’s literature.

Industry and Professional Reviewers

From national newspapers to web magazines, these blogs provide reviews from professionals.

  1. ArtsBeat. This blog from the New York Times looks at books, their authors, and news surrounding both.
  2. Book Soup Blog. Book Soup is a book store in Los Angeles and they include reviews of new literature on this blog.
  3. New York Review of Books. The reviews here focus on non-fiction books covering topics such as health care, politics, and more.
  4. A Different Stripe. These reviews are from The New York Review of Books Classics.
  5. Blog of a Bookslut. The blog from this popular web magazine covers book reviews and book news.
  6. Critical Mass. From National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors, this blog not only features a wide variety of book reviews, but also news from the publishing industry.
  7. Jacket Copy. This blog from the LA Times features book reviews and other publishing and book news.

History and Historical Fiction

Fans of history and historical fiction will love these blogs, which provide a great diversion for those pursuing graduate degrees in history.

  1. Carla Nayland Historical Fiction. Carla writes about her favorite genre, historical fiction, on her blog.
  2. Age 30+…A Lifetime of Books. Memoirs and historical fiction both feature on this mom’s blog, with the occasional kid lit, too.
  3. A Reader’s Respite. Don’t expect any kind of dry account of historical fiction on this blog where high camp is king.
  4. Steven Till. Historical fiction, medieval history terms of the week, and a good dose of fantasy are all included on this blog.
  5. TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog. This blog is all about the Civil War and reviews mostly non-fiction works.
  6. News and Random Musings about Historical Novels. This blog from HistoricalNovels.info includes plenty of book reviews.
  7. Historical Tapestry. This collaborative blog features historical novels from several different eras.
  8. Julie K. Rose. Written by a historical novelist, this blog shares book reviews, definitions of obscure words, and sneak peeks at books-in-progress.
  9. Writing the Renaissance. While writing her own historical fiction novel, this blogger also reviews books and talks about renaissance history.
  10. The Biblio Blogazine. Historical fiction is this blogger’s book of choice, but you may see other types of books reviewed here too.
  11. Bookfoolery and Babble. Lots of different types of books are reviewed here, but historical fiction and history books tend to surface the most.

Mystery and Thriller

Whether mystery, crime, or thrillers are your thing, these blogs will offer plenty of great suggestions for you.

  1. Kittling: Book. Mysteries and thrillers feature highly here, but you can also find a smattering of historical fiction and biographies too.
  2. Bookgasm. Crime, mystery, thrillers, and even a bit of non-fiction turn up on this blog.
  3. Jen’s Book Thoughts. Jen reviews mystery novels and also includes author interviews.
  4. The Drowning Machine. Mystery and crime novels are the focus of this blog. Recent posts have featured a short story contest they’ve been running, but the book reviews should be back soon.

Romance

Romance novels seem to beckon a variety of different review styles and these blogs highlight some of the best.

  1. The Book Smugglers. Romance and fantasy books are both featured on this blog–and bonus points for romance fantasy books.
  2. Book Binge. These three women blog about their passion for romance novels.
  3. RipMyBodice.com. The three women here write reviews of romance novels and don’t take themselves too seriously.
  4. Babbling About Books, and More. Not only does KB babble about romance novels, she also has fun with words and silly photos.
  5. Gossamer Obsessions. This blogger offers an enjoyable breakdown of the cast of characters and the traditional romance novel devices used in the reviews here.
  6. Racy Romance Reviews. Here you’ll find a philosophy professor who reads romance novels and blog about the books themselves and the genre.
  7. ReadingAdventures. Romance and historical fiction are found on this blog.
  8. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. These two smart women review romance novels and give them a grade from A+ to F.

Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure

If you like your books a little out of this world, then check out these blogs that feature science fiction, fantasy, and adventure.

  1. BestScienceFictionStories.com. Science fiction short stories and novelettes are reviewed on this blog.
  2. Exclusively Books. Written by a group of Latter-day Saint women, these books are mostly fantasy and adventure. The ladies warn of bad language and adult content, too.
  3. Stuff as Dreams are Made On…. Chris enjoys reading and reviewing fantasy, sci-fi, YA, and even a bit of general fiction.
  4. Bold. Blue. Adventure.. Sci-fi and fantasy are the favorites here, along with a good dose of YA and graphic novels.
  5. The Book Pirate. While not all the books reviewed here are about pirates, it doesn’t hurt if they feature zombies, fantasy, or sea monsters.
  6. The Book Zombie. Eerie seems to be the tone of most of these books, which may include young adult and adult literature.
  7. bombastic bagman. These book reviews tend to fantasy and alternate realities. Comics and mysteries that overlap with fantasy are also represented.
  8. Bibliophile Stalker. This blog looks at books from the speculative fiction and fantasy genre.
  9. SciFiGuy.ca. SciFiGuy reviews focus on urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and speculative fiction and fantasy.
  10. The Galaxy Express. Science fiction romance is the genre de jour at this blog.

Graphic Novels and Comic Books

It’s time to take this genre seriously, and these blogs are a great way to learn about it.

  1. Jog – The Blog. Manga, old-fashioned comics, and graphic novels are just a few of the genres reviewed here.
  2. The Weekly Crisis. Get comic book reviews here from four reviewers that include Moments of the Week, Cover of the Week, manga, and more.
  3. Warren Peace Sings the Blues. Comics of all varieties, including manga, are reviewed here.

Unique Genres

From book covers to regional authors to terrible books, these blogs offer a perspective that’s a bit different from the rest.

  1. The Book Design Review. This blog proves you can judge a book by its cover. This blog is all about the design of books.
  2. Reading Local: Portland. Focusing on the literary world in Portland, Oregon, this blog features reviews of books by Portland authors as well as other news and events in the area.
  3. In Spring it is the Dawn. This Canadian blogger has been living in Japan for about 8 years and reviews a steady stream of books from Japanese writers or set in Japan.
  4. YA Fabulous. This blog reviews and discusses young adult books with GLBT themes.
  5. Awful Library Books. Two librarians have made it their mission to weed out terrible books that are actually on library shelves. See which ones they select on this blog.
  6. Judge a Book by its Cover. In the vein of awful books, this blog features books with really bad covers. Beware of some adult content.

Mixed Bag of Genres

These blogs cover a wide variety of genres and even stretch out into reviews of other mediums such as movies.

  1. Blog | Book Dads. This blog highlights books about dads and their relationships with their children. Adult, young adult, and children’s literature are all reviewed.
  2. Books, Movies and Chinese Food. Most of the books reviewed by this grad student are Christian fiction.
  3. it’s dark in the dark. This blog features scary books and rates them on creepy factor, suspense factor, weird erotic tension factor, and funny and/or strange factor.
  4. Dreadlock Girl Reads. Dreadlock Girl reviews everything from literary fiction to non-fiction to movies.
  5. S. Krishna’s Books. World literature book reviews are featured along with music and photography on this blog.
  6. The Bottom of Heaven. While book reviews are a large part of this blog, it also shares plenty of information and insight about black culture in America.

CHOOSING A GALLERY

Published December 25, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Choosing a gallery is NOT a matter of taking the first offer you get from a gallery, or taking a recommendation from your Uncle’s cousin. It is also not about showing trust in humanity. Choosing a Gallery to represent art can be one of the most important decisions an artist can make. This decision will affect who sees the art, and consequently who buys it. An artist is an equal partner with the Gallery: The artist supplies the product sold and the Gallery in turn supplies the selling venue. Neither party can exist without the other. If an artist chooses poorly, it reflects on both the artist and on the art. Art is a business as well as a creative endeavor.  If an artist is pursuing art as a career and not as a hobby artists need to be aware of legal issues that can affect them. Most artists benefit from showing their art at Commercial Galleries (nuts and bolts). Unfortunately, not all commercial galleries are created equal. Some are aboveboard and have excellent reputations and ethics. Others do not. Commercial art galleries derive their profit from sales of artwork, and thus take great care to select art and artists that they believe will sell and enhance their gallery’s reputation. They spend time and money cultivating collectors. If the artwork sells, the gallery makes a profit and the artist is then paid. It is not unusual for a commercial art gallery to charge a 50% commission on sales. Before entering into partnership with a new gallery, the artist should do what any responsible person would do before entering into a contract: check it out with the local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. Ask to speak to other artists who are under contract. Do they make sales? Does the gallery pay on time when a sale is made? Does the gallery make sales of an artist’s work and not tell artists about it? What about advertising and publicity, how much does the gallery does and who pays for it? Artists should also attend a few of their receptions or events and see who is attending. If it is mostly other artists under contract, very few sales will be made. A successful commercial gallery will be in a location where there is a high volume of foot traffic and visited by a lot of art fans is ideal. A location such as this may be pricey, but if an audience is already there and primed to visit the gallery with the intent to buy, less can be spent on advertising to drive buyers to see the work.

NUTS & BOLTS VS. ON-LINE GALLEIRES

Surprisingly there are a number of on-line and nuts and bolts alternatives for choosing where you will show your art. The words “on-line art gallery” can mean different things, however; an online art gallery most likely will be a website to display and sell art. For example: 1) An on-line art gallery can be displaying art work from their current, future, or past exhibitions, and be set up to promote the exhibition rather than to sell the work via the website.  2)  An artist presenting his/her own gallery, either on his own website and 3) Multi-Artist Sites or shared websites (ArtId, Fine Art America, Etsy, etc.), representing many artists working in different medias and genres. On a multi-artist site the artist either pays a monthly fee or agrees to a commission paid when the work is sold. These are usually non-exclusive and are a risk free opportunity for the artist to sell art worldwide. Search for them using “original art” or “online art gallery”. The advantage of Online Galleries is that while the art buying public is growing, many people are still intimidated by walk-in commercial Art Galleries. If a potential buyer has access to a wide range of art viewed in the comfort and safety of their own home, they may relax and make a purchase. A lot of artists now have an online Gallery as well as a walk-in commercial Gallery, which means that an artist can present a lot more art to a lot more people.

Beginning artists can be confused by Vanity Galleries because Vanity Galleries are not the only type of gallery that charges a fee to the artist; a vanity gallery charges artists fees to exhibit their work and makes most of its money from the artists rather than from sales to the public. Some vanity galleries charge a lump sum to arrange an exhibition, while others ask artists to pay regular membership fees and then promise to organize an exhibition with a certain period. Occasionally a vanity gallery will appear to have a selection process because the number of artists on the membership roster cannot exceed the available time slots for shows. Vanity galleries have no incentive to sell art, as they have already been paid by the artist. They are not selective because they don’t have to be. Most Professional critics and reviewers tend to avoid them.

Cooperative galleries (sometimes called artist-run initiatives), are galleries operated by groups of artists who pool their resources to staff the gallery, pay for gallery space, exhibits and publicity. Most cooperative galleries carefully jury their members. Also, most, galleries of this type do require membership fees. Sometimes members must share the overhead cost of operating the gallery.

Before joining a gallery or on-line site, it is a good idea to check out their sales record. Talk or e-mail artists using the site and ask their opinion of the Gallery.

 

CHOOSING A SOFTWARE PROGRAM

Published December 18, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Art is a business, and like any business, it is necessary to keep track of expenses as well as income. While you can do this by hand, nothing beats a computer program to track stuff!  I have been searching for a comprehensive program for my art business for years. While there are some all-inclusive programs beginning to be developed, I have usually found some flaw in the program; either they were hard to use, or had an incompatible photo program for thumbnails of my art, etc. There are a couple of new companies with programs designed for artists out on the internet (see links below).  DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that I have no practical experience with any of these programs except Working Artist. It is up to you to check them out and decide if you want to use them. Here are some links to potential art software sites along with what information I have on them:

http://www.artlooksoftware.com/Downloads/Introduction.pdf  (Free evaluation copy available) Current pricing is £150.00 (I assume this is British pounds or some type of Euro symbol).

http://www.gyst-ink.com/  Retails for either $59.00 or $129.00 depending on whether you want just the basic system or their Pro program.

http://www.artsystems.com/products/system.htm  this system says it will link to QuickBooks, web manager and has a system for I-Pad. It is also VERY expensive; licensing for this puppy runs anywhere from $5,000 down to $795.00.

http://workingartist.com/   Retails out for between $139 — $154 with upgrades for $59. This one comes in 4 separate editions 1) a studio edition designed for agents representing several artists, 2) The artist edition, designed the single artist to manager their business. The site also claims to have an edition for Art Fairs and for Galleries, but I wasn’t able to access them by clicking on them. This is the only one of these software programs I have any actual working knowledge of, and it was about 10 years ago that I tried to use a free trial download. At that time, I experienced considerable difficulty in uploading photos of my work into the program, as it would not accept jpeg versions for some reason. I assume they would have corrected this issue in the intervening time.

http://www.masterpiecemanager.com/artistfnb.html  this one says it will manage inventory, contact, point of sale, has art web site templates, e-mail marketing and is available for MAC & PC. This is not that unusual as ALL of the software programs say they have both MAC & PC versions. Pricing for individual artists is $29/month, which works out to about $348 a year. Like Working Artist, this set up also has different programs for Galleries, stores consignment stores, museums, etc.

If you don’t want to purchase an expensive program, you can simply use an excel spreadsheet to track income and expenses but it is very time consuming. For expense tracking, I would recommend QuickBooks to track your expenses and income. QuickBooks, while a little on the expensive side is pretty user friendly and easily transitions into tax software programs such as Turbo Tax when it comes time to file your income tax. Unfortunately, I have heard rumors that it doesn’t mesh as well with Apple products as it does PCs. If you simply want to go the excel program route and manually track stuff, you can access copies of my system at http://www.thepracticalartist.com.

Yes, Virginia, I am actually using three programs to track my art and my expenses. QuickBooks for income and expenses, two spreadsheets that tell me where my art is at any given time; (Current Location Report and Painting Information Sheets) to track awards, income from each painting or prints made from it. I also use a photo file  with different sized images of my art for various uses (webpage, large-sized prints, and specific sizes for on-line show entries).

For Photo Editing I use Photoshop Elements because it is less pricey than the full Adobe editing program and as a painter, I really don’t need the maximum amount of bells and whistles you get with the full Adobe Suite.

I can’t say this often enough; back up your data!

You should keep at least two types of photo records:

A photo log with both high- and low- resolution photos of your work, kept separately from your desktop computer. A working copy can be kept on the desktop, but be sure and back up your files each month onto a separate disc or jump drive.

To keep track of your business and be able to recover your files in a disaster, you will need:

A program or system to track income and expenses;

A record that includes an image of each piece of art created and its disposition or current location.

Keep back-up copies of these items in a separate place, And up-date your back-ups monthly. Once your records are lost due to computer crashes, natural disaster or any other reason they are gone. For this, you can purchase separate auxiliary drives that have as much memory as a desktop, or you can back your stuff up into a version of the cloud. There are a LOT of cloud backup systems out there now. Automatic systems such as I-Cloud, and manual systems like Dropbox. None of these are free and if you can’t keep up the payments, I don’t know how recoverable your records might be. Check them out.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO PROMOTE YOUR WORK!

Published November 27, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Some of you may feel guilty about promoting sales of your work. For those of you who do feel guilty about telling friends, past customers, family and acquaintances “Hey, consider buying from me when selecting art for your home or office or buying a book as a gift, let’s consider a few things. Do you know what the 80/20 Rule is? Well it says that 80% of money spent locally stays in circulation locally. By promoting the idea of buying your art, you are contributing to the health of your neighborhood! When someone buys art from you, they provide you with money, which you in return spend on groceries, rent, clothing and other stuff (which hopefully you also bought in a local business!)

Sales tax spent with you supports local infrastructure, police, fire and schools. Money stays with the community when spent in local businesses. The Tax Policy Center: (click here for the entire article), says, “Local governments received transfers from both the federal and state governments equal to about one-seventh of total revenue. From their own sources, they collected about $700 billion, or 17 percent of all government revenue.” When your friends and family buy from you, they are helping to return money to their local economy, so you should feel no hesitation in pointing out to them that your work can be a resource for their decorating projects!

Spending money locally shows pride in their community culture and local products. As a person who lives in the area you are more apt to locally recirculate money your friends’ family and acquaintances spent with you on your art in the form of purchases from other local business, thus supporting the local work force. When you give some of that money to local charities, even if it is just the local boy or Girl Scout troop, or maybe the local food bank, you are keeping money spent with you in movement. It’s a fiscal circle that keeps people working to make the stuff they and others buy.

“I’m an artist/writer, not a business person”, you shout. Well, I hate to break this to you, but anyone who wants to sell his or her art or books is in business. According to Wikipedia, “a business (also known as enterprise or firm) is an organization or person engaged in the trade or sale of goods, services, or both to consumers”. Q.E.D. Business is NOT a dirty word. Businesses allow us as consumers to buy food, clothes, and gas. It allows us to find a place to live (real estate sales and rentals), and most likely it employs a lot of us who are not fortunate enough to be able to make a living selling our work. OOPS! There is that word “sell” again.

Local Business Can Support Local Artists and Writers

  • Local business can provide a mutual support base by being willing to allow artists and writers to display their work for sale in their stores and offices. The artist or writer will come in to see their art and most likely buy something from the business. They will also promote the business by telling their sphere of friends and family about having art or books on display in the business and urging them to come and see it.
  • Allowing creative people to promote shows, book signings, sales and event by displaying flyers in local business helps develop a mutual dependency.

Local Artists Offer

1 on 1 personal contact with artist/writer
Cachet to

Home/office

Unique Versatile gifts for each individual
Mutual

Support Base

Buy Art

or Books From Local Writers  & Artists

and artists

What value does the community receive when they purchase art from a local artist rather than from a national chain store?

  • Well-made handcrafted items give a cachet to their office, home and gift giving. When giving gifts it shows the buyer not only thought enough of the person receiving the gift to take into account that person’s personal tastes, but also took the time to check the gift out carefully.
  • Buying art and books from local artists and writers gives the opportunity for a one-on-one personal experience and gives buyers an opportunity to develop a personal and professional relationship with the artist or writer.
  • Books and Art are individually created unique, versatile items. Why buy something indistinguishable from what everyone else is buying?

What YOU As The Artist Or Writer Can Do To Promote Sales In Your Neighborhood This Holiday Season:

  • Remind past clients, friends, and family, church and organization members that you are a resource for buying holiday gifts or décor items.
  • Offer items for sale as “Sales specials”.
  • Offer a bonus or discount off a future purchase if the buyer refers another buyer who actually purchases your work. This type of promotion is done all the time in other industries; it is sometimes called a “referral commission’. No money is actually paid until the other buyer makes his/her purchase and mentions the name (or brings in a coupon) of the referring buyer.
  • Artists can adapt some art into small affordable reproductions (cards, small prints, puzzles, ornaments, cups, etc.) for sale at a holiday boutique or Studio Open House.
  • Writers can arrange book signings at local boutiques, stores or other holiday events.
  • Send past clients, friends and neighboring businesses postcards showing your work and invite them to view it in person at a local book signing, show or gallery.
  • Take advantage of the local Art Scene by inviting a selected few to come with you on Art Hop nights and show them to galleries where your work is being sold.
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