Don’t worry, I’m not going to force you to read this whole article to pay out the click bait title. Here it is, a new mantra to build your wealth and happiness as an artist:
Make your art available for sale before you promote it online.
This is so obvious, you may not consider it worthy of a written article and yet, ask yourself if you’ve actually followed this rule. I’m committing this to writing because it has become the most common piece of advice I’ve been offering to my compatriots. Too often, I see people do a wonderful job sharing their work, only to have the party clear out before they set up the merch table. Bands make sure their shirts and CDs are for sale while they are still on stage and so should you.
Most artists seek out other artists and creative types. No one really “gets you” like another artist. It’s how we find colleagues, mentors, and friends. The time I spend with other artists is some of the most special time I have. The desire and advantages of participating in art communities in person and online are both huge and easy to understand.
Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to find other artists. It’s so easy, in fact, that you can create a world for yourself that’s almost exclusively art friends, and before you know it, you find yourself in an art bubble. Your social media will be filled with amazing pictures that both inspire you and occasionally make you want to quit. You will begin to think everyone is in the process of making their own intellectual property, and that everyone’s doing a Kickstarter.
This weekend, I rented a 20 foot by 10 foot slab of concrete for 3 days at a cost of $4000. Let’s take a walk through that choice and I’ll let you know how it turned out.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve been readdressing the way I sell my work at conventions. After about 10 years of doing them as cheaply as possible, I started to realize that I had been doing a poor job at getting the most out of my time. I decided to scrap my old setup and rebuild it from scratch, doing my best to emulate the way the top performing artists were displaying their work rather than relying on what seemed to be the most popular approaches. This yielded a year where I first doubled my average sales and then doubled them again, leading to sales figures that were previously impossible for me.