The Only Way to Own Your Outcome Is to Own Your Distribution.
If you have followed me for any length of time, you know I am a champion of best results for artists. I want you to succeed and to enjoy the comfort and confidence of being independent, profitable and self-reliant. I want you to enjoy a career full of reward and recognition. I know it’s possible when you know how to make it happen and follow through with action.
Helping you succeed is at the heart of every post I publish, and every workshop and training course I produce. The means and methods may vary, but the intended result remains constant. The goal is always toward lighting the path to long-term success for artists.
How Do You Get Your Work to Market?
To enjoy a long and abundant career, you must have reliable ways to sell your work. When you break it down, you only have two ways to market your art.
- You sell your art to buyers directly.
- You can contract with third-party distributors to sell your art for you.
My training is always all about the first option. I believe in direct patronage where you connect with ideal buyers and develop relationships that evolve into patronage, support, and multiple sales. Direct patronage is the best route to long-term success for artists who seek a fulfilling, fruitful career.
When You Trust Third Parties You Put Your Career at Risk.
- When others sell your art, you lose all control.
- Nearly always buyer information is not shared with you.
- 50% or more of the retail price is paid to your distributor.
- Galleries can tie up inventory for very long periods.
- Third-parties often slow pay your commissions.
- Galleries can close shop without notice. In worst cases, you don’t get your inventory returned.
- You must keep accurate, detailed inventory records and monitor your distributors regularly.
- Galleries often cost you money when they discount too soon, mainly because they don’t train their staff.
- You must produce twice as much art when you sell through galleries as opposed to direct to consumer sales to earn the same income.
- In general, galleries are high-risk. Few stay profitable for the long haul.
The Upside of Third Party Distribution and Reasons to Use It
It’s not all bad to use third parties to get your artwork sold. Often, it’s the only way when you don’t have a list. Sometimes gallery owners, publishers, and licensors can be excellent marketing partners and mentors. They might help you in ways no one else can. They can treat you with respect, honor your creativity and pay you on time. There is no reason not to use any and all means that work to get your art into the world and earn income for you.
I don’t advocate abandoning third parties or never seeking to work with them. It’s my advice to put yourself first whenever possible. Building a list you can sell to without paying commission to distributors is the best way to go. It gives you control and the greatest profit margin. You may always use distributors to help market your work. And, there’s nothing wrong with that plan. The point is to not rely on them as your primary means of selling your art. In perspective as a secondary channel, third-pary distributors are a great asset to artists.
The Good and Bad of Owning Your Distribution. It Has Triumphs and Challenges
The bad news is finding ideal buyers and connecting and developing relationships with them takes work. The good news is the tools and training are available to start selling to patrons directly, and anyone can master them.
Here’s More Good News!
Now is the best time ever for artists to seize control of their careers. You have positive improvements turned to your advantage as never before. These include:
- Evolving consumer buying habits that favor sourcing and purchasing from makers directly. It is more than art. You see it in craft breweries, small batch whiskey, artisan foods and products of all kinds.
- Similarly, there are active, growing trends to buy local, to support indie artists, and to own authentic, handmade goods. Nothing is more authentic and handmade than original art.
- The internet, marketing technology, and social media all make it easier than ever to identify and connect with your ideal buyer prospects and sell to them directly.
No Silver Bullets, Fairy Tales or Unicorns
Building a career with direct sales to patrons is doable. You notice I say doable, not easy. That’s because I don’t varnish the truth. It takes hard work. It will pull you from your comfort zone, and it takes time to achieve. But, there is nothing you can’t do when you set your mind to do it.
I will tell you whatever it takes in time, effort and training, learning to develop direct patronage is far and away the best option for artists to control their careers. It is how you can become independent, profitable, and self-reliant. You cannot say that about leaning on third-party distribution.
I’m always about being practical. I weigh risk versus reward and do a cost/benefit analysis on before taking important actions. Through decades of experience, I know selling through third parties, such as galleries and publishers presents many problems.
More importantly, going forward, I see no clear path to a satisfying long-term career using third parties as your primary means of distribution. I forecast thing getting worse for them. So, if you feel your climb is steep, you should know yours is a hill to the mountain they face.
What Is the Easy Path for Artists to Enjoy Long-Term Success?
I ask that question after discarding third-party distribution as the best option. What is left? Selling through online galleries? No, they merely are digital third parties with all the same problems as brick and mortar retailers, which means for artists, no control, no buyer info, marginalized profits, longevity concerns, and little trust.
Social media? Hah! Using them is the same as digital sharecropping. Social media is great for making connections but lousy for reliable, profitable distribution and long-term sales success.
You never ever want to build your farm on someone else’s land. Social media platforms can lose favor in a heartbeat. Ongoing privacy issues make them suspect. They can get expensive or close your account with no notice and no recourse. You can’t gamble your future on social media.
Direct Patronage Is the Answer
I challenge all who will listen to provide a better option than direct patronage. I have yet to hear one. When you sell to your buyers directly, you cut out all the problems with third parties. You maximize your profits and own your distribution. No one can come between or take the relationship away from you.
You don’t have to stop working with your third-party distributors. If they are making you money, keep a close eye and encourage them to continue. What you want is to never rely on them for your success in the long run.
The key to success is you must build a large enough email list, and market to it intelligently and frequently. Art is not a demand product. As such, your growing list of qualified prospects and patrons becomes a pipeline that pushes those who want or need fine art now to the front. There they are primed and ready to receive your offer to sell your art to them.
Acquire, Nurture, Engage and Suggest Purchasing Art
You work to add contacts to your list, so you can nurture them with engaging content and keep their interest in your art. Doing this helps you hold the top position of fine art in the minds of your best prospective customers. That way, when they think of owning and purchasing fine art, they think of you.
It Beats All Other Options
However challenging and hard developing direct patronage may sound, you know in your heart and mind it is better than depending on third parties who always put their interests before yours. And, those are the good ones. The awful ones break your heart, steal your art and cheat you every way they can.
How Do You Do It? How Do You Make This Happen?
It’s like building a brick wall. You place one after another to form a solid base. Then you lay more on top interlocking each level. Creating a successful, sustainable, profitable career is done a step at a time. It’s not an instant success. It’s a long-term success, which is the best goal to have.
Here Are Two Solutions You Can Use to Build a Successful Career
This is my flagship program. I put in 30 years of art business experience and everything I know about marketing and selling art into it. For a very limited time, I have rolled back the prices. You save about 50% off the going rate when you use this special order page link https://artmarket.thrivecart.com/mastery/ This program will work for any artist, whether entering, emerging, or established, the tools and techniques in the workshop will enhance your career and continue to do so for as long as you wish to sell your art.
This is a very limited program for no more than 10 artists. You need to have some degree of success, be willing to work with technology, have a website, and be eager to learn. This is a hands-on, intensive one-to-one, program that comes with a FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION guarantee. Learn more here artmarketingnews.com/automation
Now Is the Time. Discover Today How to Take Control of Your Career and Own Your Outcome!
You know those things worth having in your career are worth working to achieve. If you have been thrashing about, finding yourself in fits and starts, or confused about which way to go, now is the time to get on a path to success. What you will find in my training are sound methods to take control of your career and to own your distribution and your outcome.
You can accomplish enormous success by working bit by bit over time. This training is not based on instant gratification and temporary excitement like with a fireworks display, it is closer to an eternal flame. That’s because as you build experience and momentum, the fire of your success will burn brighter while requiring less effort to keep it lit. Such is the beauty of taking the long view of success. It is lasting, and it intensifies your satisfaction as you climb higher towards the best results and new goals.
I’m here to help you.
Here is a video explaining the difference between the Art Marketing Mastery Workshop and the limited Sales and Marketing for Artists programs.
The quick distinction is the Art Marketing Mastery Workshop is self-paced. It is open to all artists. You have lifetime access to the content. The Sales and Marketing Automation for Artists program is an intensive, hands-on, one-on-one training for artists who have a website, can demonstrate success, are willing to use technology, and are eager to learn how to automate their marketing. It is limited to 10 artists.