Monday, November 3, 2008

So You Want To Sell Your Artwork? (Part 2)

Friday I began a "review" of some of the things I considered recently when launching into the art market. Today I want to talk a bit about how I prepared myself mentally.

Why do you need to prepare yourself mentally?
  • It's scary (there's alot to think about)
  • What if nothing sells? (a distinct possibility)
  • What if it discourages you? (it's not easy to be rejected)
So let's take each of those in turn:

Scary Factor - Yes, there is alot to think about. It can in fact be overwhelming. I had a few afternoons where I certainly wanted to just forget it. But honestly, I would have been more annoyed with myself for failing outright, then I would have been if I had only failed in a few details. So let's deal with the overwhelming:
  • They are only details, you will sort them out. You've learned more complicated things, you are an artist.
  • Make lists. Check them.
  • Schedule it over a comfortable period of time.
  • Partner up with someone - share the stress, the information and the fun! (This was a great blessing for me.)
What if nothing sells? This is a reality that you need to prepare for, otherwise you will worry about it.
  • Imagine it. I actually did this - I imagined that a month went by with nothing sold, and traffic dwindled to nothing.
  • Devise a plan for handling yourself. The goal is to have a plan so that in the weeks leading up to your launch when you are overcome with fear about failing you can just tell yourself, "I know what to do in that situation. I don't need to worry about it."
  • I'll share my plan: Remind myself that it was important that I try. Write a list of all the technical things I learned (paypal, websites, newsletters, etc.) Ask myself what I learned about the market. Ask myself what I learned about my art. Ask myself what I learned about my art in the market. Ask myself if there is more marketing I need to learn. Ask myself if there is more art I need to learn. Reflect on the fact that I gained alot of knowledge by the experience, tools that I will continue to carry with me. Remind myself that it's an important first step that I took, and we all must start with a first step - no matter how bad it goes.
  • We are artists, we tend to take it personally. STOP THAT. It's not about you as a person, it's about art which is not always objective.
  • Take the good and leave the rest. If there is criticism of your work, valid criticism, then take it for what it's worth, learn from it, and move on.
  • Some sort of negative feeling that the world hates you or doesn't understand you just isn't true, so don't let yourself wallow in it.
  • Toughen your skin. If you are going to market your art, you are going to have to be tough.
Finally, just a few quick things that I constantly remind myself:
  • You are giving yourself a chance to succeed. If you never try to sell anything, you will never sell anything. It's as simple as that.
  • You are gaining knowledge and experience that you can't read from a book.
  • Decide what you want out of this (besides money for art supplies) and try to make sure you get that. (For me, I want to know that I am actually doing things to move from a "hobbyist" to a professional.)
  • Put yourself in your worst case scenario. (Now you don't have to be afraid, because you know what you'll do in this situation.)
  • Put yourself in your best case scenario. (How good does that feel? Isn't it worth working for?)
Again, folks, I am not an expert. I don't know everything. I haven't arrived in any sense. If you've got a quibble with what I've said or think I should have said more, leave a comment so we can all learn.


Teresa said...

Wonderful post with some very sensible and inspiring advice. Thank you for sharing your experiences and the practical wisdom you've gained.

Rose Welty said...

Teresa, you're welcome!