What Is the Magic in Selling More Lifetime Art?

Magic selling more art

Selling more art is a learned skill, not a magic trick.

You are not alone if you’ve felt at times like some artists have discovered magical ways for selling more art. Just like magic, when you look behind what’s going on with the trick, or how art sales get made, you find there is a logical explanation of how it’s done.

I will always assume you are making art that has an interest for buyers. Art that sells well does not always equate to the highest quality art. That is a separate issue, one which we will not debate the merits of in this post. Nevertheless, it is crucial to dial this in before moving on to market your work.

Successful selling is a numbers game.

I believe the reason most artists are not getting the sales they expect and deserve is due to lack of eyeballs and of not asking for the order. The way to make sales of anything is to offer your goods to enough qualified prospects on a regular basis. If you show your art and ask for the sale, or make the option to buy using your shopping cart easy, with enough frequency, you will succeed. This post is also not about how to sell art. There is much useful advice on the subject of how to sell art here.

How many ways do people buy art?

  • Directly from you in-person.
  • Directly from your website or shopping cart.
  • From a physical gallery.
  • From an online gallery.
  • From an alternative source, such as furniture store, antique mall, boutique, and so forth

While there are other distribution channels, these are the primary ones artists use to sell their work. Ask yourself—and give an honest answer—how many of these venues are you in? And, how good is your market penetration in each of them?

Back in the day, many artists could enjoy profitable careers by having all their sales made through galleries. That is a difficult, and not recommended, path to take today.

You don’t have to be in all the channels to have great success. You should be strong in direct sales to collectors and one or two more to improve and diversify your art sales.

Mastering sales through many distribution channels smooths out the bumps when one falters. This is especially so when your primary channel is selling direct to collectors.

The gallery system remains viable.

One of my best friends in the art business is Jason Horejs. You may know him from our free monthly Art 2 Market Session broadcasts. Jason has owned Xanadu Gallery on Main Street in Scottsdale for 12 years. It is one of the most competitive retail art markets in the country.

Jason would love to support his artists with sales so they do not need other distribution channels, but he knows it is not realistic. He believes, as I do, that artists should have a balance of distribution. The less you rely on one channel, the less precarious your career is.

Take control of your career.


I believe many artists do not think about how they could take control of their careers from a distribution perspective. That is because until recently, there were no easy, inexpensive ways for artists to market their own.

Consumers are ready for you now.

How artists sell their work today is different. Art buyers are willing, even eager, to buy from artists. We buy anything and everything online these days. You can thank the Internet for that.

Consumers buy in ways that only a few years ago didn’t exist, or just seemed foreign or for early adopting hipsters. Costco sells $100,000 diamonds online. That would have been an absurdity not that long ago.

 Nothing stays the same.

Okay, things have changed. How does that affect artists? Glad you asked. You have the power to take control of the distribution of your work like never before. You can use all the channels listed above and spread your work through them.

The best thing artists can do to strengthen their careers is to build a loyal following of direct buying collectors. I make the distinction between a collector and an art buyer this way. Most art buyers have an immediate need, usually design related. They want to fill a space in their decorating scheme, which is a fine reason to buy art.

Collectors seek relationships with artists.

Collectors are looking to meet artists. They want to get to know them. They have the thought they will buy several pieces from those artists in whom they have an interest. There is room for selling art to collectors and buyers. I encourage marketing to reach both segments. It is the collector base that will make the difference in the lifetime sales and quality of an art career.

As an artist, you only need a few hundred collectors and you will sell them most of the original work you make. Collectors may not all account for buying all your work, but they can make sales from other channels icing on your cake.

The more collectors you have, the more you will insulate your career from the adverse changes you cannot control. Galleries can go out of business, or decline to represent you. Facebook can change its Terms of Service or fall from favor. These things are inevitable. A direct buying collector base is your way to cut the effect on your career when they happen.

Challenges artists face today.

The biggest problem for artists selling art today is they don’t know what to do, or if they do, they don’t know the best way to get things done. Finding customers is a primary ongoing concern and activity for all businesses, large and small.

Most artists are solo entrepreneurs. As such, they have many challenges in balancing work and life, not to mention, productivity and marketing. You want a happy life that without constant stress. You want to make great work and have an excellent career and earn sales that make your career financially rewarding.

You wish to find that sweet spot where the work you like to make is the work your buyers like to buy. It doesn’t always happen and it takes effort to get those things aligned. When it does, it makes your career more fun. Making money also makes your career more fun.

If there is any magic in any of this, it is in the making of art.

That process comes from a pool of creative inspiration fueled by talent and skill. You can make the rest of a successful by sorting out what is valuable in the end and then using research and applying common sense. It takes motivation, drive and commitment to turn theory into reality, but it is in your grasp.

If you have unfulfilled dreams and frustrations they will never come true, you are not alone. Artists face many unique challenges. Other professionals do not need approval of committee members or gallery owners for their work. Who could blame you if it makes the whole system feel rigged.

I’ve been advising artists for decades.

I began advising artists in 1988. For the last ten years, my work with artists has focused on developing useful systems to build successful art careers. It’s my goal to help artists take their careers out of the hands of others who often don’t have their best interest at heart.

My Guerrilla Marketing for Artists: How 100 Collectors Can Bulletproof Your Career book came out of that work. It offers artists a road map they can use to build a successful career. It centers on the idea of finding and developing direct buying collectors.

Artists whose sales grow are those who work on building relationships. Growing one-to-one relationships with collectors is the best way to enjoy a lasting career. For many artists, my books contain everything you need to know to get start taking control of your career and selling more art.

You can buy Guerrilla Marketing for Artists for as little as $9.99 on Kindle from Amazon. You don’t need a Kindle to read the book. Download the free Kindle Reader to read the book on any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

A realization turns into action.

Once my Guerrilla Marketing for Artists book was in the market for a couple of years, it became clear I could do more  to help artists succeed. From personal experience, I know how difficult it is to put ideas and written words into action. That realization is why I created the 8-Steps to Art Marketing Mastery Workshop.

Would you find my help me and that of other artists who are seeking to build a collector base as a primary career goal beneficial? Then you should join this workshop. It will turn your head around on what you know about selling more art.

You can watch a free 99-minute presentation where I lay out in detail my plans for helping you put in place those necessary eight steps. Register Here to watch the recorded webinar. If you are eager to learn the details, you can use this link: Learn about the 8-Steps to Art Marketing Mastery.

Commit to your career! Join my 8-Steps to Art Marketing Mastery program today.

When You Subscribe to My Newsletter, I'll Send You a Free Email Marketing for Artists Course.


Thanks for subscribing. You will receive my free Email Marketing for Artists tutorial in a series of emails, and my weekly art marketing newsletter. Of course, your privacy is safe here. I never share email addresses or do anything to lose your trust.

Some links in the post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

How to Improve Your Writing and Your Career

better writing = better

Writing Is a Learned Skill — Making Improvements Is Easier Than You Imagine.

Artists who communicate well with words generally do better in their careers. Successful visual arts understand that communicating in writing is necessary. How well you connect with collectors, galleries, curators and critics makes a profound effect on your career.

It’s simple:  To do better, write better.

Just as with all talent and in life, the distribution of writing skills among visual artists is not equal. In nearly 30 years of career and art marketing consulting with artists, I have seen the gamut from artists who are eloquent and to whom words come easily to those for whom writing is a dreaded chore.

The good news is it’s easier to get better at writing than you think.

Writing about your artwork is an inescapable part of your job. Whether you like it or not, writing is an integral part of getting your art to market. If you are making art with the intention of selling it, writing about your art is an undeniably important factor. Fortunately, there is help.

I am writing this post to introduce you to Vicki Krohn Ambrose. If you don’t know her already, you are going to find her to be your new best friend when it comes to finding easy ways to polish your copy. Whether you are already a proficient writer, or one who struggles, you will find what she offers instructive, helpful, and easy-to-use.

Once in a while, someone comes up with a killer app. That’s this book!

I have read many books on writing, including how to write for artists, but I’ve never found anything as useful for artists as Art-Write: The Writing Guide for Visual Artists.

Art-Write-Cover-307Vicki is an artist herself. From her experience, she gives artists practical steps they can use to write about their own artwork. This is a compact book that is easy to read. You will find it full of actionable advice on how to:

• Write promotional and sales copy.
• Write your artist statement.
• Understand the difference between an artist statement and a bio.
• Become a more effective communicator.
• Cut out the “art speak” and effectively connect with your viewers

You will love this book because it delivers on its promise.

It teaches you how to write about your art in easily mastered steps. A big hurdle for most artists is not clarifying their intentions and thoughts before they before they commit to writing. The well-planned and easily executed exercises help you avoid those problems.

The best how-to books break down the aspects of the tasks the reader needs to learn and accomplish. This book adeptly points out and differentiates the types of writing visual artists need to do. It goes on then to provide excellent tools get those tasks done.

Writing universally impacts your career.

When artists seek to tap the multitude of opportunities available to them, including funding, grants, exhibitions, juried shows, gallery inquiries, collector communications, websites, blogs, and more, they greatly enhance their chances of success when they write clearly and cohesively.

This blurb on Amazon.com says it all:

Art-Write offers succinct advice to artists to help them enrich their visual work with effective writing that connects with the reader.  Author Vicki Krohn Amorose combines the sensibility of an artist with the practicality of a copywriter, offering an understanding of her readers along with generous wit and encouragement.

Enjoy this excerpt!

With the author’s permission, I am excerpting “The Handshake” chapter from the book:

art-write pg 72

art-write pg 73

art-write pg 74


Get this book and get started improving your writing!

The author has priced this book to make it affordable for all artists. Get it on Amazon for $9.99 in paperback, or only $4.99 in Kindle. Did you know you don’t need a Kindle to read Kindle books? You can download a Free Kindle Reader App for your phone, tablet or computer.

Discover How You Can Kickstart Your Art Career with the 8-Steps to Art Marketing Mastery Workshop

Commit to your career! Join my 8-Steps to Art Marketing Mastery program today.

You are invited to watch a free 90-minute webinar that gives you all the details on how to use this program to take control of your career and make it profitable for the long haul. CLICK HERE to register today.


When You Subscribe to My Newsletter, I'll Send You a Free Email Marketing for Artists Course.


Thanks for subscribing. You will receive my free Email Marketing for Artists tutorial in a series of emails, and my weekly art marketing newsletter. Of course, your privacy is safe here. I never share email addresses or do anything to lose your trust.

Some links in the post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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