Are you selling your art?

It's the new Roddy Road Bridge. Wonder how long it will stand before another 18 wheeler tries to make it through? (c) Rebecca LaChance, Thurmont, MD. 2017. This is the cover of the Gateway Magazine published today. Yeah, I did that!

It's the new Roddy Road Bridge. Wonder how long it will stand before another 18 wheeler tries to make it through? (c) Rebecca LaChance, Thurmont, MD. 2017. This is the cover of the Gateway Magazine published today. Yeah, I did that!

Today's chat - are you willing to accept "no sales"?

The backstory

Every artist - who wants to make a living as an artist /without starving - has to make sales. And the sale of your artwork doesn't happen by magic or the "kindness of strangers." YOU have to be actively involved in selling your artwork. 

If you're not actively selling your artwork, then you need to train someone to sell it for you.

How many times have you encountered this scenario?  Someone spends a great deal of time in front of your art. You hear a few "ah's" and "oh's". Mumbled words may follow.

Then, she turns on her heel and leaves while saying to no one in particular, "I'll go home and think about this."

What happens?  99.9% of the time, the person never comes back to purchase. You take the artwork back to your studio to await the next exhibition or the next pop-up art shop.

I recently observed this very thing in the last two exhibitions I participated in.  So many good artists lost the opportunities for sales. Those losses could be accounted for by two things; 1) the artist did not know how to sell his own work and 2) the artworks hung on walls while being lonely.

What is "lonely art"?

By "being lonely" I mean there was no one present during gallery open hours responsible for garnering sales of the artwork. Day after day, hour after hour, visitors perused the art and contemplated purchases. There wasn't anyone to help them purchase the art - or answer questions.

Now, let's think about this for a moment...galleries earn a percentage from the sale of your artwork. You split the sale price with the gallery.  A gallery is a business!  How long can a business exist without collecting revenue? And if the gallery closes, one more avenue for potential sales evaporates.

Surely, the gallery would have to pay wages for a salesperson. But if that salesperson was worth her salary, she would garner enough revenue to pay her wages AND pay the gallery.

The Non-Selling Artist

I off-handedly mentioned my observation to another artist. Her response was, "Well, that's the way it goes. You just have to get used to it."

WHAT?????

Curious, I began an informal survey of other artists. Much to my dismay, they ALL said something very similar. They were all resigned to not having sales.

(What will the adult kids of non-selling artists do with all those artworks they find stacked against the walls when their parents have left this earth? Talk about your emotional conundrum!)

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!

Unless you've got a Saudi prince paying a million dollars for your bad photograph of Antelope Canyon, you need to be selling. If you are trying to make a living with your art, you have to be selling. You have to learn how to sell.

Solutions for selling your art

1. Get over yourself.  Yeah, that may sound harsh but the point is this: there is something in your thoughts holding you back. An examination of your inner thoughts and self-beliefs about you, money and your art must be made. You must have faith in your work and in yourself to sell your art.

2. Learn how to sell. There are numerous books, courses, classes, audiotapes, podcasts about how to sell. It's a skill and requires practice, just as your art requires practice. Practice, practice, practice every time your work is up for sale.

3. Are you selling through gallery exhibitions? Suggest the gallery owner hire a good salesperson. Or, form a pool of artists who know how to sell and rotate through the exhibition to help sell your work and the work of the other artists. Don't know any artists who have sales skills?  See #2.

Let's talk

What are your experiences with sales? What are your thoughts about solutions? Do you have some ideas or questions about selling that could use some "filling out"? 

Share your thoughts below, or over on the Facebook page.  Is this topic important to your art business?  If so, share it with others.

Let's get some conversation and ideas flowing!

Til next week!  May it be easy.