Selling your work

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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.
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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.

MURALISTS NOW NEED CONTRACTOR’S LICENSE

Published November 13, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Most states regulate construction contractors. In California, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) was created to protect consumers by licensing and regulating California’s construction industry. Visual Artists and visual art does not usually come under construction laws, however there is one facet of the visual art world that does: Murals. Wikipedia defines murals as any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall ceiling or other large permanent surface. For instance if you are invited to paint a mural on the wall of your doctor’s office and you were paid more than $500,  under California construction laws, you might need a Contractor’s License. Artists may not be aware that they could be violating California state licensing laws if they were paid more than $500 to paint a mural on a permanent structure i.e. a house or office wall, outside building, etc… The C-33 Painting and Decorating license section covers painting a mural on a permanent structure. Individuals who limit their practice to that of an artist could also be covered under either D-64 (non-specialized contractor designation) or C-61 (Limited Specialty contractor classification).  If an artist is paid more than $500 (labor and materials) to paint a mural on a permanent structure, they are subject to state contractor licensing laws under the Business and Professions Code Section 7026. As of this year, there still is no license classification for specifically for an artist painting art on walls or buildings, so artists are forced to apply for the general painting contractor’s license.

Requirements for C-33 licensing can be pretty stiff (and expensive); you must pass the state law and business exam in addition to the trade exam related to painting. Cost:  Initial app fee $300, App to add a supplemental Classification $75, Home improvement salesperson (HIS) registration fee $75, etc… Then it has to be renewed each year.  In addition to the license itself, CSLB always requires worker’s comp insurance on most projects if anyone but you do any part of the work. Then there are the bond requirements for a General License;  “D” class licenses on the other hand may be less expensive to obtain since potential contactors are only required to pass the law and business exams. However, the tests themselves are quite complicated and most potential contractors actually take courses designed to help them pass the tests (this is not free either).

I don’t know if this could affect you if you merely provided the design for a mural and didn’t actually paint it or otherwise install it. I also don’t know if this covers the donated designs.

According to the latest CSLB newsletter, an increased number of inquiries and complaints from consumers about licensing requirements for artists creating murals have caused the CSLB to tighten up on enforcement in this area so watch out for stings!

For More info: California State Licensing Board    Contractors State License Board Protecting and informing consumers and contractors about proper contracting.

 

 

http://hubpages.com/hub/Muralists-Now-Need-Contractors-License

I AM AN ARTIST SO WHY WOULD I NEED A LAWYER?

Published November 6, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

It seems never to occur to most artists (with some notable exceptions) to have a lawyer look over the contract their new Gallery or licensing company wants them to sign. Why not? Well, a couple of reasons might be that the artist is just so thrilled to have an actual walk-in gallery or licensing firm offering to display or sell their work that the artist overlooks making sure their rights are protected, or that the artist simply can’t afford to hire an attorney.

There are several types of contracts an artist might be involved with.

A contract commissioning a piece of art.

A consignment contract with a gallery to sell your work,

A licensing agreement to sell prints, cards or commission work to be translated into other art forms (plates, tiles, textiles, etc.).

An agreement with an agent to sell or advertise your work.

An agreement with a venue (non-gallery) to display or sell your art.

Booth rental space at an event.

When are the times when you should have someone with legal experience take a look at what you are signing? Well, if you can afford it, anytime you want to be paid for your work, but if you are a starving artist, can you afford a $60/hour retainer? Probably not, however you do have some other options. If you ever find yourself in need of legal representation, you can try Lawyers for the Arts. Most states have either a volunteer lawyers for the arts organization or regular lawyers for the arts who if you ask for it will sometimes give you a bro bono consultation to see want you need.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) is both a generic term for a number of legal service organizations located throughout the country. It is also the proper name of an organization in New York City, Founded in 1969. That organization is the oldest VLA in the United States. Many states also have their own non-profit organizations: In California, Bay Area Lawyers for the Arts (BALA) was founded in 1971. When BALA expanded to Southern California joining with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts–Los Angeles, it was renamed California Lawyers for the Arts. There are more than 30 VLA programs spread around the states. Lawyers for the arts is not a single organization, but a network joined by similar vocations providing a range of free or low-cost legal services and educational programs to tackle the needs of artists and arts associations for all genres of art and artists

Each organization functions independently. Most of them are nonprofits  but some are affiliated with arts councils, arts service organizations, bar associations or business for the arts programs.

Several of the platforms include

  • Legal services through referrals and sometimes on-site consultations;
  • Some host legal clinics; alternative dispute resolution including mediation and arbitration;
  • accounting services;
  • Law student internships who are usually a lot less expensive to use and can overlook contracts;
  • Educational programs on topics like contracts, copyright, estate planning, taxes and nonprofit incorporation;
  • Most of them also carry publications on a broad range of issues.

In CALIFORNIA, if you are looking for an attorney, you can also go to: http://www.CaliforniaAttorneyReferral.com, or you can try someone from the list below:

Please keep in mind that some of the address and phone numbers may have changed. Since I have never used any of these firms, I have no idea of their quality, fees or abilities.

Even if you don’t see the need to have legal advice on every little thing, there are some issues you need to make sure are covered in any contract you enter into.

  • If this is a commission sale, when is to be completed and how soon afterwards are you paid?
  • Is the Gallery or Agent requiring exclusive rights?
  • When are payments due from consignment sales?
  • How long does the consignment last?
  • If there is a reception who pays for it?
  • Who hangs the art?
  • If the hanging causes damage who pays for the repairs?
  • If the gallery or venue goes out of business make sure your art cannot be considered part of the gallery assets or they could be sold to pay business debts in which case you won’t receive any payment for your work.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is for general information purposes only; it is not intended to be tax or legal advice. Each situation is specific; consult your CPA or attorney to discuss your specific business questions.

 

ARE YOU READY TO SELL YOUR WORK OVER THE HOLIDAYS?

Published September 29, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

The holidays are fast approaching, and with them comes craft fairs, booth events, and other ways to show and sell your work I call events where you bring your work out and set up a mini art gallery “Booth Events” because usually you will be selling your own work. As a rule, there are 3 types of these events Outdoor, Indoor and Tabletop. Some of these Events will be geared to sell art only; some will allow different types of vendors and you may find yourself set up next door to a food vendor. Outdoor events are usually larger than the Indoor ones and attract a larger crowd.  A Tabletop can be either indoors or outdoors; the main difference between a Tabletop and the others is the space size. Most booth events allow you a 10’ x 10’ space. With a tabletop you have a space about the length and width of a table (usually 8’ long by 3’ wide) to display your work.

Your booth set up should be light and portable, easy for one person to set up in about 20 minutes, and fit into your vehicle along with the products you are planning to sell. To take part in booth events you should have the following items:

OUTDOOR EVENT

Pop-Up booth: Pop-Ups come in several price ranges and styles. Ideally, you will have help setting it up, but I would recommend the E-Z Up brand with the white top because it can be set up by one person. If you have never set up a booth, I advise a couple of practice trials setting it up in your yard before you go out to the event. The best Pop-Ups for displaying art have white tops and straight sides. The white top provides more light to see the art and the straight sides give you somewhere to fasten display racks. You can also purchase sidewalls to hang from the sides of the booth. You will need these if you are taking part in an event that lasts several days; you can use the sidewalls to enclose the booth when you go home for the night. FYI, unless the event has very good security, I wouldn’t recommend leaving your work out, but you can leave your display stands set up inside.

Display stands or racks: You can buy display set-ups from the art supply catalogs; but these can be pricey. However, it is possible to make your own. I bought 8’ wire closet shelving from the local hardware store. Turned on end, they can be fastened together with plastic tie straps or Velcro. The wire bars make ideal places to hang different sizes of art. (This portable shelving can also be made into stand-alone shapes: boxes, triangles and rectangles). For all events, I suggest that sandbags or weighted milk cartons be fastened to the corners to prevent tipping and as additional security for stand-alone shapes.

Portable easels can also be used as a part of your display. The art supply catalogs have some excellent display easels that hold multiple pieces of art and they look very professional. You can also make display easels yourself out of copper, PVC pipe or wood; just make sure they look professional. Remember you are going to be carrying them so they should be very light-weight!

Small fold up tables with a nice tablecloth to hold your cash box and give you a hard surface when making out receipts. They can also be used to display very small or 3-deminsional art, cards, etc. Just don’t make your space so crowded buyers won’t enter it. In addition, if your work is light, cardboard boxes covered by tablecloths or white sheets that reach the ground look very professional and provide a good backdrop to show off your work.

Sandbags or weights to hold down the booth in case of high winds: Weights of some kind are a must. A Pop-Up booth makes a big kite when the wind blows and it doesn’t have to be hurricane strength either. You need about 20 to 30 lbs. on each corner. Many booth events are on blacktop so you can’t use the handy stakes that come with the Pop-Ups to secure your booth against winds. Sandbags are available either from the Art Supply warehouse where you got your Pop-Up, or from the hardware store where you can also obtain clean, dry sand. You can also fill empty gallon milk cartons and use the handle to fasten to the legs of the booth.

Cash box: a locking cash box to keep change for cash sales and checks can be bought at the local office supply store.

Chair to sit in; while you will be spending a lot of time on your feet, it’s nice to have a place to sit down and relax so potential buyers don’t think you are just waiting to pounce.

Your work and any other items you plan to sell: Plastic boxes with good, snap-lock lids work really well to transport small items. They are waterproof and if you are doing a lot of events they hold up much better than cardboard. If you are going to be carrying your product in a pickup bed, make sure the lids of the boxes are fastened down and won’t blow open (bungee cords work well here). You will need either bubble wrap or some type of padding to wrap around or separate delicate items. For larger pieces of art such as framed paintings or photographs, I recommend that you carry them inside your vehicle (in which case they can be separated by large pieces of foam board or cardboard to prevent scratching the frames), or wrapped in bubble wrap. The thing you are most looking to prevent is damage caused by the items moving around when you stop, start and turn the vehicle. I also carry either a large, wide-tip marker in either brown or black to touch up frames.

A hand truck or dolly: You may have park some distance from your booth set up. While most places allow you to drive into the event area to set up your display, it might not be feasible for you to do so. A hand truck or dolly will enable you to haul your art, display stands and Pop-Up into the area without having to transport everything a piece at a time. This is a big plus because you may have a limited time in which to set up your booth.

A way to take debit or credit cards: If you want to make sales over $20, you will need either an I-Pad, I-Phone or some other brand of smart phone and the APP enabling either Square technology or PayPal. Both companies provide  a small square you can order off the internet free, attach it your smart phone  or tablet It’s small, portable and easy to learn to use. The company takes a small percentage of each sale as a fee (2.75% per swipe) and the money is in your account the next day. The site is https://squareup.com/  or https://paypal.com check it out. Although other companies are beginning to develop this tech these both have a proven track record.

Sales Receipts, a calculator and bags: A receipt book is a handy way for you to keep track of cash sales. Don’t spend a lot on the bags; you can get small paper bags and larger plastic ones with handles at the local Dollar Store. A small printing calculator because some customers who buy large ticket items are going to want a printed receipt, even if you are also e-mailing them one.

INDOOR EVENT

Requirements for an Indoor event will be slightly different. Some indoor events will allow you a 10 x 10 area, but you may find the spaces allotted aren’t exactly that size or aren’t square, so there will be difficulty fitting the Pop-Up frame into the space. In addition, the top cover will keep the overhead lighting from coming through, and the ceiling in the room may not be high enough to accommodate your booth. Even if the cover is white, poor lighting will make your booth dark and unattractive. if the canvas or vinyl cover is removable and the ceiling is tall enough, you might still be able to use only the Pop-Ups frame.

Stand-alone display racks are best for an indoor event. I use the same 8’ wire closet shelving from the local hardware store I used for the outdoor event, except that I fasten them together in a shape instead of to the booth. An indoor event is more likely to be crowded than an outdoor one, so to prevent accidents if your display is bumped, I suggest that sandbags or weighted milk cartons be fastened inside the shape to prevent tipping if someone does bump into the display. However, you can purchase this type of display from Art Supply catalogs and warehouses.

If you use portable easels to display your work, they can serve the same function indoors as they did outdoors.

You will also be able to use the small tables with a nice tablecloth used in your outdoor display

TABLETOPS

If you do a lot of Church or School sponsored Boutiques, a Tabletop Event is the most common type. At a Tabletop, you are probably going to be given just enough space to set up one 8’x2.5’ table with room for a chair behind it, so be prepared to cut your display down and bring only what you consider the most “sellable” items.

When I go to an event, especially an Indoor event, I always ask for access to electricity. Since space is usually at a premium it is difficult to display a lot of large art so I seldom take many large pieces of art to these events anymore, instead I take a plug-in digital picture frame (you can do the same with either a laptop or a tablet) loaded with photos of my work. I have a power point presentation showing my work set to music. The moving slide show and music attract a lot of attention and I can display more art.

Remember to have fun and talk about your work.

Good Luck

Gail

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