Monday, September 30, 2013
When it comes to your art, figuring out a price that works for each market can sometimes feel like walking a tightrope. You don't want to sell your work for peanuts, but at the same time you don't want to price yourself out of a sale. How much should you charge and how much is acceptable when someone offers to sell your work for you and give you a commission?
First, you need to remember that every kind of sale is unique in its profit structure. A fine art sale has more than one way that it is priced depending on where you are marketing it. For instance, if you are selling it yourself at a show vs. selling it through a gallery, it will be structured differently in your profit margin. This is also the same with licensing which you can spend the money and time out of your creative process or you can work with a professional who does this on your behalf and keeps you creating.
There can be a benefit to setting your prices really high at the right time, but if you are not a known artist this can be a very hard hill to climb. Saying that your work is worth the large price tag and making yourself only available to a certain clientele can give collectors a sense of exclusivity but if this potential clientele does not see the value it can mean failure. Setting your prices high right off the bat when no one knows who you are yet can make it difficult to get your career going for a while, if ever. You'll want to set your prices based on your buyers and work from there to your goals.
So what do you do when you have an agent who is selling your work for you? Or a company contacts you and wants to license your work? When it comes to making these kinds of deals, it can feel really disappointing when you realize that you won't be making nearly as large of a profit on every licensing deal. In fact, when it comes to reproductions and licensing, it isn't uncommon for an artist to make as little as $5-$150 per piece, depending on what is being sold and if the job is a volume deal. The more volume the less the offer per image, but lucrative if your image is a contract for 100-1000’s. Getting your work seen is still a goal every time you sell the right. The more you are seen the better your increase in audience.
In some instances you may be working with someone to promote your work. This is also a process of events that takes time and is of benefit to you in creating diversity. The agent has used their time, money and effort promoting you, therefore to engage a price that is less than expected is understandable for certain instances. Remember, it is a sale in which your providing an image only to make it happen. The agent does not always make a commission on these sales. They sometimes are fitting a number into a job that fits the budget for a client to make you a sale. Finishing a job within budget for the customer, which in turn brings repeat business and spreads the word of your work to their colleagues for future sales.
When it comes to pricing and selling your art, you should do what keeps you painting and creating. Along the way, it's good to be flexible and willing to try different ideas and price points for different situations. After all, being a successful artist doesn't just mean making sales – it is also creating beauty that makes others' lives more enjoyable. It's about sharing what is in your heart with those who appreciate it.