What Are the Ways an Artist Can Sell Art?
Boy is this a loaded subject - especially for Artists. So many of us live to create our Art. We want nothing more than to play at creation all day!
We hunger for that perfect Art Agent to come and rescue us, to talk to others for us, to sell our work for us - uh….. and if possible, for free!
Most of us don’t like the idea of selling our Art. After all, salesmen are pushy people and everyone knows they are just in it for the money, right? WE certainly don’t want to be like that!
The truth is that you typically have to have a ‘name for yourself’ before most agents will take on the task of marketing your work. You can’t afford to work for free and neither can the agent. They have to earn a living and their odds are better with established Artists.
Agents are choosy about who they represent. They aren’t looking for just talent. They are looking for the marketability of your Art and your professionalism and… they will only take on talent they know they can sell.
Art Agents have to Eat Too!
Art Reps rarely work on commission alone. Most require Artists to cover all or a portion of advertising costs (usually the split is 75% paid by the Artist and 25% paid by the agent.) Some agents require 100% be paid by the Artist and there are a few who cover all costs themselves (but I’d be looking for the other ways they recoup their costs).
Sometimes advertising costs are shared between other Artists represented by the same Agent. You’ve seen those glossy magazine ads featuring 4 or 6 different Artists on one page that say “represented by: Ms. Art Agent”? Often this is a case of sharing the $1,000’s dollars that a single magazine ad can cost.
Artists frequently have to cover their own travel expenses along with most, if not all costs of scanning, printing, publishing, stretching, framing shipping, insurance, etc, etc, etc.
On top of this the agent customarily receives a percentage of the sales as a commission (usually 25 to 30% - though I’ve seen as high as 50%).
“That’s a LOT!”, I hear you cry... and “Look at all the work I still have to do! When will I have time to create my Art?”
True, but think about what the agent does:
• • They work with the Artists to bring their portfolios up to speed
• • Actively promote the Artists’ work to clients
• • Get the clients! (hey - this is a biggie, folks)
• • Present you professionally to those clients
• • Pay to create mock-ups of products featuring your Art
• • Represent you at trade shows and meetings
• • Arrange for advertising in appropriate publications (notice the plural here?)
• • Create, submit and proof the ads for those publications
• • Negotiate contracts
• • Handle billing and collect payments
• • Run interference for you
• • Brand you
Not to mention the costs of running an office, paying for all those calls they make (on your behalf), travel expenses (on your behalf), bookkeeping and accounting (on your behalf), legal expenses (on your behalf) eating (okay, this one is on THEIR behalf)… but you get the idea.
So How Do I Get an Art Agent?
•• You gotta get known
• • You gotta get collectors
• • You gotta sell Art and show that your work is saleable
• • You gotta market yourself (known today as Branding)
• • You gotta work
• • You still gotta create
You gotta do it one step at a time….
Which step first?
How do I stay on track?
How long will this take?
How do I keep from getting overwhelmed?
Fortunately, there is lots of advice available, in books, on the web, from other Artists who’ve gone before you….
Some of it is free, some of it costs, much of it is scattered all over the internet and in bookstores and takes a lot of time to sift through, but you can do it, you can take the time to dig it out….
There is also another way
It still involves work.
It still involves investing money and time – but if you know the steps and you’ve decided on a direction…
• • Simplify the process
• • Spend less money
• • Direct more time to creating your Art
• • Make more money for each piece of Art you create
• • Have others marketing your Art
• • Become known
• • Earn income even when you aren’t working
“So what this other way to sell my Art?” you ask?
It’s called Licensing Your Art for Royalties and it’s what I’ve done for over 20 years.
Create your work once….. sell it over and over and over!
Want to learn how to Break into Licensing?
Help is available through TheArtMentor.com.