Here Are Ten of the Best Books for Artists

Short reviews of the best books for artists.

If you want success, it helps to be curious. Be a seeker searching for truth, wisdom, and understanding. If you look in the right places, you will find answers and new paths to follow. Paths that lead to new career heights.

Thomas Edison on failure There nearly always is a better, more efficient way to do things. You can do like Thomas Edison and try 10,000 methods to figure something out.

I think a faster way is to get a mentor or read a book. Since mentors are hard to find and expensive, I’m recommending you read the books I have listed here.

The useful ideas you find in books may offer the greatest rate of return on investment you will ever make.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

Here are a couple of caveats before we dive in.

First, I’m using my Amazon affiliate link so if you click on something and buy it, I’ll make a small fee ($.60 on $9.99 Kindle books) for having turned you on to the book, and your price is the same whether you use my link or not.

Secondly, this is a subjective and non-inclusive list. While I’m sure there are many other valuable art business books for artists to read, I’m confident reading any of these will boost your career if you take action on the wisdom they impart. Please feel free to add your suggestions to the comments.

Let’s get this out of the way.

Since I have written five books on art marketing, I believe I must list a couple here lest both you and I think me a fool. If  by doing this it causes you think of me as a shameless self-promoter, I humbly and gladly accept your opinion. Moreover, I advise you to follow my lead and look for unique ways to promote and gain interest in your art. You must know how to toot your horn, or no one will do it for you.

How to Sell Art to Interior Designers The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Practical advice for any artist seeking
to sell to interior designers.  BUY
The Artist’s Way is a special book
for all who have a creative soul. BUY
  Starving to Successful - The Fine Artist's Guide to Getting into Galleries 2   Arts & Numbers
This book is your definitive guide
how to get into an art gallery.  BUY
Making sense of the money you make.
Helpful guides and worksheets. BUY
  I'd Rather Be in the Studio 2   Guerrilla Marketing for Artists
Full of motivational advice on
how to market your work. BUY
Comprehensive approach to building
a prosperous, lengthy art career. BUY
  Art-Write: The Writing Guide for Visual Artists   How to Sell Art: A Systematic Approach to Creating Relationships with Collectors and Closing the Sale
Hand’s down the best book for artists
on writing for their career. BUY
Full of tips and techniques every
artist can use to sell more art. BUY
  Selling Art Online   ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career
Unique insights into the world of
getting your art sold online. BUY
The contract, invoice, and inventory
templates are worth the price. BUY

I’m aware of glaring omissions. I could have included books by Brainard Carey, Jackie Battenfield, Daniel Grant, Tad Crawford, Austin Kleon, Steven Pressfield and too many others to name. Because my advice tends to the practical side of how to succeed in the business of art, I stuck mostly with books that do the same.


The only way to get exponential growth in your career is through leverage. You, for sure, cannot expect to skyrocket sales by doing things the same ways you do them now. There is valuable advice in each one of these books. You only need one solid tip to leverage the cost of the book and your time to finesse it to start taking giant steps. Do this on a repeat basis and you will grow your business beyond your imagination.

The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.

I’m interested in your feedback. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.


The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.


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  1. Nice to see you list books to read. I’ve read a number of these and agree, if you gain even one new idea, then the investment was worth it.

  2. Barney, you mentor hundreds with this blog every time a post appears. Your Art Marketing Mastery Workshop is about as close to sitting face to face with you as it can get. Plus the on-line interchange between participants adds so much! I’m blessed to be included.

  3. Enjoy seeing others who have learned similar techniques and lessons. Some great insightful books here, they can really change how someone looks at not only the business behind art, but also how we see art itself. Awesome selection here!

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