In the Art Marketing Minute Podcast, you’ll learn how to sell your art, how to market your paintings, and everything else you need to know in order to have a successful art career.
In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, shares thoughts on submitting art to virtual galleries; and how to price your art.
Listen to the Art Marketing Minute Podcast: Episode 122 >
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FULL TRANSCRIPT of the Art Marketing Minute:
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the Art Marketing Minute. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
This is the Art Marketing Minute with Eric Rhoads, author of the Amazon best-selling book, “Make More Money Selling Your Art.” In the marketing minute, we answer your questions to help your art career brought to you by artmarketing.com, the place to go to learn more about marketing. Now, here’s your host, art magazine publisher, Eric Rhoads.
You can send your questions by email to [email protected] Or you can send a video question artmarketing.com/questions. All right. My producer Amandine is going to give us the first question.
The first question is from John Tez from Georgia. I explore many galleries online and see they accept submissions virtually. Has your usage Do you believe those are taken? And as an emerging artist, Is it professional to apply to multiple? I know the best way to get in is being invited. So is applying virtually a good option worth devoting time to? Two different known galleries from overseas averaged out to feature my artwork, but required that I ship it. Is that the industry standard? And do you think the exposure is worth the exponential logistics? How would I verify that this is a legitimate gallery and not a scam?
All right. Well, that was a great question. John Tez. I’ve got some opinions on this. They’re probably wrong. But first off, when galleries are saying they have they accept submissions online, I question that. Now, I think that there is a reason they might do it. And one of the reasons they might do it is because they’re trying to keep you from calling them emailing them or showing up at the door. Because most of the gallery owners I know, absolutely hate that. Because, you know, if they had 100 artists show up a year, and it took 10 minutes each or 20 minutes each, you know, they’d never get anything else done. I have a gallery owner who told me that he gets 150 to 200 emails a month. And he doesn’t even open them and look at him, if he can tell what it is he gets that many or more packages, unsolicited, they, you know, they have to open them because they don’t know what’s in the packages. And then they’re just throwing them away. If they’re a good gallery, they have plenty of artists. And every good gallery is always looking for another and maybe the idea of having submissions is good. But most of it’s probably just to kind of make you not call or email, I will tell you that there are a lot of galleries out there that operate differently, they have a different model. A lot of galleries operate, most of the galleries operate on a consignment model, where they pick artists invite them in, and they keep a certain percentage of the work in exchange for selling it. I you know, for instance, you know, a standard for a lot of galleries is is they keep 50% of the markup price, which is legitimate because they’re doing all the heavy lifting the work in the marketing, the lighting, the salespeople, the phone calls, you know, everything that goes with it, they’re earning their keep, usually, not always but you know, there are galleries out there that will look for artists that they can prey upon. And prey upon they do we have one particular gallery no names, who, every time an artist appears in our magazine, in a story in an ad anything, they pick up the phone, and they say we want you in a special gallery show in our in our gallery, and the artist gets all excited. And then next thing you know, they’re saying, Well, you know, it’s only this much money to be able to do that. And some of them do it. And some of them have given us feedback that it hasn’t been terribly productive. You know, usually, if somebody’s going to do a show of your work, they’re going to do a show of your work, because you’re already fairly established, you have a brand branding has a lot to do with everything. And you know, it’s like nobody really wants a brand new startup artist. You know, you don’t want to hear that because it’s easier to sell somebody who’s established. Now once in a while, they’ll take a chance and they you know, legitimate galleries do that too. But there’s got to be some good indicators of success, I believe, for that to happen. So I think you know, there’s a lot of different things now you asked a question about shipping going overseas. First off, how do you know it’s a legitimate gallery? I got a call or an email from somebody one time. This was not about my artwork, but they said, Yeah, no, we, we want you to be an influencer on Instagram, you got all these followers and, and we’re going to pay you for doing some ads. And I kept saying no to everybody, I get 10 of those a month. And for some reason, this guy got my attention, he got me on the phone, he did a pitch, he showed me a website, it was very, very in depth, it was very credible. And I ended up signing with him so to speak, turning over control of my account, right then and there. So they could do the first thing. And they took it over and took it away from me. Luckily, because I spent a quarter million dollars a year or more in Facebook at that time, I was able to get to Facebook and get their attention to get my account back real quickly. But you know, there are galleries out there, there are people out there contact you all the time that are going to say, hey, you know, it’s my wife’s anniversary, and I want to buy something nice. I saw your art and you know, they, they legitimately pretend to be buying it, you ship it out. But you know, the check doesn’t clear etc, that there are galleries out there who would do the same thing I want to put you in my gallery that might have a fake website, and then you ship them a painting? Well, my question is, do you need it hanging in the gallery? You’re going to sell it online and you’re going to feature it, I would legitimately look into a gallery? How do you look into a gallery? First off, you know, Google search it ask around, look for reviews, look for the artists that are in the gallery and find out if any of those artists happened to be willing to talk to you and tell you if it’s legit, did they get paid? Are they selling work, etc. So there’s a lot of things like that you need to be watching out for, you know, you can submit artwork to anybody and I, I you know, I don’t want to discourage everything, I just think it’s best to get invited because then you’re not begging. And then you’re in a strong position. But also because the gallery really truly wants you. They’re gonna work hard to sell, you know, if you’re pushing yourself on somebody, they may or may not push you on somebody else to try and get you to sell. So there’s a lot of little nuances to it all that I’m sure there’s exceptions to every real, every, every situation. So, anyway. That’s kind of the gallery thing. Next question.
The next question is from Linda, Lydia, from Burg Virginia. The questions the most frequently comes up, especially with new artists is how do you decide how to price your art?
Lydia, Lydia, Lydia, it’s the biggest question everybody asked us the hardest thing to answer. I don’t know. I mean, I have some feel for it. I’ve done it. I have coached people. Some of it has succeeded. Some of it is not. Pricing is all over the map. First off, pricing is a mental issue. What you have in your head as your value is your been a beginning point. And some of you have an inflated value in your head. That’s unrealistic. And some of you have a value in your head that’s too low. So you got to be thinking about that. Everybody has to start somewhere. Usually, you start modestly. If it sells, you start where you sell some more in this start building a collector base and you grow it that’s what galleries are really good at a good gallery will answer the question for you because they’re going to say, here’s what I think I can get for this. Now. I had a gallery who I believed How can I say this without getting into trouble? I believe they were underpricing my work. And I wanted to be more expensive and they would not agree to it. I was able to prove to them that I could get that amount of money and sell a painting at a higher price. And that convinced them but ultimately, they gotta believe it if they’re going to sell it. So that has a lot to do with a bit pricing. You know, if you got a good gallery trust the gallery if you’re selling direct, then you know there’s a lot of different things first off research, comparable artworks. Now the problem with that, of course is what’s comparable, you know, is an eight by 10 painting by Richard Schmid comparable. No. Why? Because it’s by Richard Schmid. Right. So before pricing, your work, research similar works and your genre your style, see what people are getting for it, check the prices, you know, some subject matters sell better than others. I know that seems crazy, but it’s true. Similar things you know, look for things that have sold find artists who are equivalent to You Be realistic, and see what they’re selling for and then Study? Do they have a big brand or not? You know, are they promoting themselves heavily? And because brand makes all the difference in pricing? You know, why is a Bentley a whole lot more money than a BMW, right? Well, it’s a perception issue, mostly, you know, you’re gonna say its quality, and there is some difference. But the reality is, back when I studied this, it’s been a few years. But back when I studied it, the difference to build BMW versus a Bentley on the same chassis was 18 $20,000 difference, but the price differentiation was 100, or $200,000. More. So you know, it’s about perception, a perception of, of a lot of things, elegance, and so on. So consider your experience, your reputation, your brand, that has to be factored into your pricing, if you’re well known. That’s one thing, if you’re emerging, that’s another it’s more appropriate to start with a lower price. More experienced artists are more likely to get bigger prices. But I got to tell you, I know experienced artists, who are brilliant painters who have not kept their brand alive and can’t get the prices they used to get. And they don’t understand that one guy called me said, Eric, why is my painting not selling anymore? I said, Well, are you doing the things that made you successful? He said, Yeah, I’m doing them all. I said, are Have you done any shows in the last five years? No, I haven’t done those. They’re a hassle. I said, Have you advertised in the last five years, he’s now now now everybody knows who I am. I said really? Well, you know, 10% of the people as attrition every year 10% of the people who know you don’t know you, in a year, five years from now, 10 years from now, nobody knows you. Five years from now half of the people that knew you don’t know you anymore. And you wonder why your works not selling because you’re not advertising you’re not, you’re not promoting yourself, you’re resting on your past your laurels. You’ve also got to factor in things like the production cost, the cost of the canvas, the materials, the frame, the time calculate how much money that went into each piece. And you know, I know an artist who gets a very large price for his money. When I asked how he gets it, he said, Well, I factored in, I could do this many paintings a year. And this is how much money I need. I divided it equally, you know, I could do this many paintings. And so that’s how he said his price. It works for some people. But he also had a big brand. And so he’s getting, you know, 100 $200,000 for pieces. Also, you know, you got to factor in the price per inch, you know, there’s ways you can figure that out. But you’ve got to have realistic prices, and prices are all very emotional. Every decision and purchases are emotional. And sometimes a low price equates to low quality. And I’ve told this story on here many times about a woman who came to an art show, she said, How much is the painting they artists at 4000. She said I’ll take it, she writes a check for 40,000. He says no, ma’am, that’s 4000, not 40. And she ripped up the checks, it must, must not be any good. So price does have an impact on perception. You increase your prices over time. You know, if you study pricing, there’s some great books on pricing. If you study how companies launch products, some people launch products at a high price. And if it doesn’t sell they back off until it does sell and that becomes their price. Others start at low and if it sells too easily, they move it up faster and up and up and up. So there’s a lot of different things. It’s experimentation is practice. You’ve got to communicate value and pricing your work, you’ve got to communicate the value of the uniqueness of the piece, the time that went into it, the value of your brand, etc. And I know painters who will charge more for one nine by 12 painting than another nine by 12 painting because this one took them two hours or four hours and this one took him took him 60 hours. So you know, it’s just kind of depends. And of course you have the opportunity in some cases to negotiate with buyers. And negotiation is a really great fluid tool. Because if if they want to buy something from you, but truly the price is too high. I start by saying hey, you know, that’s the price I’m sorry. And if sometimes they’ll say okay, and sometimes they’ll walk away and you know, you might be able if you’re willing you say okay, well you know what would you be willing to pay and then you try to find a middle ground, something that works for everybody. Don’t forget that pricing is emotional. Now the other thing I want to just tell you this is not about pricing, but it’s about average sale price and that is McDonald’s, you drive through the drive thru what are they always say? Do you want fries with that? Right? And why do they say that? Because they know If they can get everybody a drive thru to buy fries or to up up upsell to a different package, they’re going to make more money on it. So when you sell a painting, it’s the best time to get another painting sold because somebody is into you, they’re into your painting. And you can easily say, if it’s true to you, you can say, hey, you bought this painting, I have a rule that because anybody buys a painting for me, they’ll buy the second and third painting at a 20% discount. Here are two would you be interested in these? Or pick one of these five, and oftentimes, you’ll have an upsell and that’s an opportunity. Anyway, that is the art marketing minute.
How to Submit Your Art Marketing Questions: What questions do you have about selling your art? Submit it at artmarketing.com/questions to hear your question answered on an upcoming Art Marketing Minute Podcast.
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