How To Discuss Slow Sales with Your Gallery

Sales are slow.

You’ve been with the gallery for a short time (let’s say just over a year) and you expected them to sell more art for you, but it’s just not happening.

Or maybe you’ve been with them longer. They sold a lot of your work at one point, but sales have dropped off significantly in the past couple of years.

So what now – do you ask for your work to be returned? Not yet.

Opening a dialogue is your first course of action. Regardless of the outcome, you will be admired for your professionalism.

Bringing Up Slow Sales with Your Gallery

The conversation you have with your gallerist about slow sales depends on a number of factors, including:

  • How long they have represented you.
  • The terms of your agreement with them.
  • The nature of your past relationship.
  • The demand for your work outside of their venue.

How do you begin a conversation considering these factors? Here are three options.

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How to Be More Successful and Lucky

Our first grade classroom photo was taken on St. Patrick’s Day. I was the only one who wasn’t decked out in green that day. Mom had just made me a beautiful red and white dress, and I guess that seemed like a better choice for such a formal photo.

Guess who got pinched that day? Guess who stood out in the photo?

Maybe this was an early hint of rebellion.

Or maybe I didn’t believe that I would really have bad luck if I didn’t wear green. After all, I had been pretty darned lucky to that point.

I was lucky to have been born into a healthy, loving family that always had plenty of food on the table. I was lucky to be in a safe school where parents cared about a decent education for their children – an education that eludes so much of the world’s population.

Later, I would be lucky to have a higher education and the continued support of my parents along the way.

What I did with that luck was up to me.

Luck had little to do with the success of my business, and it has little to do with the success of your art career regardless of whether you feel lucky, were born into luck, or are convinced you are unlucky.

I’m fond of quoting what our third president had to say about luck:

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

― Thomas Jefferson

When you work hard and take action toward your goals, you put yourself in a better position for luck to find you.

Why Some Artists Seem Luckier Than You

Have you ever observed that many artists whose work is on par with your own seem to have luck on their side? Chances are good that they worked for that luck.

I’ve included here a few of the reasons for their good fortune so you can emulate their success and duplicate their luck.

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Checklist for Crediting Your Art

It’s not unusual for artists to be concerned about protecting their copyright, but what I can’t seem to reconcile is when artists aren’t taking precautionary steps to claim copyright in the first place.

I’m not talking about officially registering for copyright. Whether or not you choose to do this is up to you.

I’m talking about giving yourself credit whenever and wherever you show your art.

Whenever. Wherever.

You may be thinking, Of course I do this. I would never show my art without credit.

Oh yeah?

Here’s a little challenge: If you think you have all of your bases covered, I invite you to use the checklist below to do a quick review.

First, Tell Us Who The Heck You Are

If I came across this once, I’d only be amused, but I run into it several times a month.

I visit a website, social media page, or open an email where the artist’s full name is nowhere to be found! I can’t make this up.

I can see how this happens. After all, you know who you are. Your brain is filling in the blanks because you’re too close to see what isn’t there.

If you want to be known in the history books, pick a single format for your name and use it consistently. For example:

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4 Levels of Business Insurance for Artists (Podcast)

Karen Lockert textile art

Business insurance!

That’s our topic for this Art Biz Podcast.

Listen in as Claudia McClain, founder of HomeBusinessInsurance.com, addresses the various levels of an artist’s career and the kinds of insurance you need at each point.

You never think about business insurance until someone asks to see your certificate of insurance or, more likely, until it’s too late. Until something bad has happened.

If you are an artist selling your art and you don’t have a specific policy for your business, this episode is for you. Refrain from clicking the Play button at your peril …

Level 1: Homeowners Insurance Only

This is the earliest phase in an artist’s career and is for hobbyists only. You’re making art just for yourself, not to sell.

At the point when you start selling, you are considered a business by the IRS and must take additional steps to protect your business.

Level 2: Incidental Business Occupancy Endorsement

This is a very affordable option for your home studio, which is tacked onto your homeowners’ policy.

It doesn’t cover the instances when you take your art outside of your home, and it might not cover liability when you have visitors to your home studio. That’s when you need …

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Rural Artist Market (Curious Monday)

Jan Thomas California hills

Start local, and then expand.

This is a piece of advice I offer clients who are trying to build an audience for their art.

The problem is that this solution doesn’t always work for artists who live in rural areas.

When you live in a rural area, is your best bet to expand your online following?

I’d love to hear from rural artists who have faced this dilemma.

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The #1 Priority for Artists

I am frequently on the receiving end of artists’ complaints about all of the computer work they have to do. There’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and then writing a blog post, sending an email, organizing photos … you know the list.

Yes, there is a lot of digital work that is required of today’s artists. And aren’t you lucky to have these free or low-cost tools that artists two decades ago didn’t have to share their art? (It’s a good idea to remember this now and then.)

In some instances, I find that artists who spend excessive amounts of time on the computer are doing so at the peril of their artwork.

In other words, they’re unconsciously doing it to avoid the studio work. And, let’s face it: The studio work is the harder work.

I don’t care how much you say you enjoy making art. When the pressure is on to show and sell your work, the creative process can be brutal.

It’s super easy to type, respond to comments, and “like” other people’s posts. You could waste all kinds of time doing that and that’s exactly what you’d be doing. Wasting time.

Don’t get me wrong: You can’t avoid these tasks entirely. But your days should be heavily weighted toward making art.

Are you using your computer work as an excuse to avoid engaging with your more important work?

You Are Not Alone

Please know that when you’re struggling to make art, you are not alone. All artists have phases that are more successful for creating than others.

It’s when the phase becomes your modus operandi that it is no longer acceptable. If you haven’t worked in the studio for days or weeks,

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How to Offer Upgrades for Your Teaching

When you offer services, such as teaching, mentoring, or coaching, seize the opportunity to enhance the experience for your students and clients. This may also be a chance to create extra income for yourself.

I’m talking about offering upgrades to your services.

An upgrade is an offer that adds value to the service for an additional fee.

The most important reason to offer an upgrade is that it improves the experience for your students. The additional income is a bonus for you.

Upgrade Options

Your upgrade offer is limited only by your imagination. Here are some ideas to help get you started:

  • An additional, but different, workshop or class
  • Printed and bound copy of your notes
  • Audio recording of your notes
  • Video lessons
  • “Club” membership
  • A lifetime Facebook group that includes club-only email tips
  • A package of programs and bonuses, like the Art Career Success System
  • Personal coaching, mentoring, or critique sessions (live or via video conference)

If you are hosting a multi-day workshop, consider adding:

  • Private tours
  • 30-minute coaching/critique sessions before or after instruction for the day or an additional coaching-only day at the end
  • Meals

What can you offer to a large number of people at a reasonable price?

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Dwell In the Love Not On the Rejection

Plenty of people denounce Valentine’s Day as one that was invented by the greeting card industry, but put me in the column for wanting more love, more hearts, and more sappy cards.

Send away!

Recognize the romantic love between you and your partner.

Celebrate familial love with your parents, children, and extended family.

Commemorate the special love between you and your friends.

And don’t forget to honor the love you have for your buyers, collectors, patrons, and students.

Send cards, flowers, and chocolates. If it’s too late to pop something in the mail, start typing your email messages.

While you’re at it, stock up on the love for yourself because you’re gonna need it.

Ouch!

The artist’s life is full of rejection and criticism.

The gallery doesn’t want your work. That couple praised your recent piece, but didn’t buy it. The residency you want so badly won’t consider your application.

To add insult to injury, nobody commented on your recent blog or social media post. You’re beginning to wonder what the point of all this is.

It’s amazing that any artist thrives at all. It’s a testament to your resilience that you persevere despite the roadblocks you encounter.

You do it because you have an unwavering commitment in the work you do. You can’t imagine doing anything else.

Still, because you are human, the criticism and rejection hurt.

And those voices are louder than any chorus of praise you might receive. The default for so many of us is to dwell on the negative comments and rejections and ignore all of the nice things that people say about our work.

Do this instead:

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5 Lists You Need for Your Art Career

Painting of Red Shoe by Cheryl Wilson

I live by lists. They’re so beautiful on the page: one item after another after another.

Whether we process each item in the order in which it appears on the list or, more likely, get around to them someday in no particular sequence, lists help us create order in our hectic lives.

The most valuable thing about making lists is that it gets tasks, projects, and ideas out of our heads and into a place where we can find them again. At least that’s the idea.

With that in mind, here’s a list of 5 lists (yep, a list of lists) that are useful to artist-entrepreneurs.

1. Your To-Do List

This is the list that you’re probably most familiar with.

Your to-do list consists of urgent or near-future items that you must accomplish. It might look like this:

  • Pay bills.
  • Order framing supplies.
  • Write draft of newsletter.

If you’re disorganized, your lists are probably all over the place – likely on sticky notes covering your desktop or computer monitor. Not the best way to be productive.

If you’re organized, you have a single to-do list in a single place. You know where to find it and how to prioritize the items on it.

Next, you need a place to store the not-so-urgent things. This is …

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Ways of BE-ing

Goals are about action and achievement. They’re about DO-ing. Consider these examples:

You identify challenging goals to move closer to the vision you have for your art career (and life).

And … because you don’t want your vision to get lost in the busy-ness of working toward individual goals, it’s important to remember how you want to feel as you’re striving toward those goals.

With that in mind, I asked my Art Biz Inner Circle members how they wanted to BE in 2017.

Many artists chose a word-of-the-year to answer the question. I thought it would be fun to share with you the wide range of be-ing words, which I’ve grouped into seven categories in this article.

I hope you’ll take a look at this list of ways of be-ing for artists and see if any of them ring true for you.

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