Like my earlier article, entitled “5 things you shouldn’t do to sell your art online“, I speak from the perspective of being an artist in the Tarot community, but I think you may be able to take something away from it regardless of which art community you find yourself in.
1, Check Your Mental Attitude
Most artists I’ve encountered feel downtrodden because their art is not selling, not even enough to pay the rent or the groceries. Above all things though one must remain positive and be prepared to learn how to sell your work. Without learning how to sell your work, you’re like a potato farmer in a world of potato growers. You’ve produced great potatoes but who cares when i have literally tonnes of them to pick from? Sell me them! Tell me why your potato is better than your competitor? When the world is falling down around you, learn to push through it and continue on creating great work. Only those who keep going will finally make it but you must learn the art of selling your wares…
2, Read lots of Sales Books
Being an artist is only half the battle. Sadly creating great artwork is probably the least important aspect when it comes to selling the work although of course that helps too.
How many times have you heard an amazing band playing amazing music and are stunned to find that not only do they not have a record deal, but hardly anyone has heard of them? Probably a lot. I know i have. In fact sometimes it annoys me. To be honest it annoys me more when you hear a local band who has been trying to get their music out there for years yet have no online presence in the “Internet age”. No business card, no website, no songs on Youtube. They appear to want to be found yet they’re hiding so how does that work?
Then you then go on to be equally stunned when you hear the latest offense upon the ears that passes for popular music and you see that not only are they signed by a big label, but they are highly sought after by the populace. “Surely the populace can’t be that beaten down that they think this is amazing music can they?” you ask yourself. Of course not.
Often what you’re experiencing is the power of hype and most of the time creating hype is rather costly. Big companies can afford to create the hype but more than likely you’re an artist like me who is concerned with paying the rent and don’t have the money for huge commercials. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking that every deck you see out there which appears to be highly sought after is a result of it being a brilliant deck because often that is not the case. Rather, hype is very often manufactured and a lot of money changes hands (I am a newcomer to this sad state of affairs and was shocked to hear a lot of what went on behind the scenes)
In other words your art doesn’t necessarily have to be amazing to sell it, because we’ve seen many mediocre decks being produced that do not have anything special about them, but they are highly sought after and fetch big money and big publicity because of them being powered by hype. Selling a product is only a mystery until you learn the secrets of how sales work. That being said, not everyone knows how to fully utilize these sales strategies. Some may apply to you and some may not.
That being said you also want to put your very best work out there because people deserve your best and if you are an honest person like me, you would not feel fulfilled by putting out mediocre rubbish.
I really feel that I can say we have achieved a lot of attention for our Twisted Tarot Tales through a grass-roots approach. We aren’t paying anyone to write any good reports, or paying for publicity. We’ve worked at it the old-fashioned way and you can too. It doesn’t guarantee success instantly but I like to think our success, even if it takes a little longer, has more of an enduring appeal.
3, Boast like you’ve never boasted before
This has been a very hard one for me. I was taught not to be boastful as a child, and all through school I was taught the same thing. Don’t be boastful as no one likes a boastful person. This mixed with religious teachings about how wrong it is for man to boast about his own creations, along with a society (at least it would seem in Northern Ireland anyway) that doesn’t like overly boastful people has made me very wary about taking credit for anything that has worked for me, anything that has done well.
Unfortunately sales are all about boasting about an object’s qualities, and in art the objects are either the artist himself/herself or the artworks. To boast of these qualities, you need to find unique differences over the competition (and let’s be serious, your fellow creators are the competition even if they like to pretend they are not). If you’ve ever been backstabbed, shunned or have seen fellow creators attempt to sabotage or undermine your work, please don’t fool yourself into thinking they are anything other than competitors. Some will suggest that there’s “room enough for us all” in such a very niche industry, all the while trying to turn your successful “campaign” into a train wreck. Keep your wits about you, boast of your qualities and never show weakness. If you show weakness, expect to be taken advantage of.
4, Defend Your Work To The Death
Your artwork is YOU. It represents you as a person; it represents your achievements, your skills, and your knowledge and so on. If someone takes issue with your work, it is your responsibility to stand up for it. Answer questions respectfully but be aware of when these are not questions but underhanded attacks. It’s your job to make sure the next person who wants to derail you will think twice about it unless there is a really good reason to find issue with you.
More than likely, if you create a kick ass outstanding work of art (or several) and you gain a following, you WILL find opposition, but don’t let them get away with lying about you or trying to ban your work. People will suggest you take the high road when this happens but the high road is congested by well-meaning people. That and some of these people need challenged simply because they are not expecting to be challenged. Over the past year I’ve become known for creating controversial art yet I feel it’s not that the art itself is necessarily controversial; rather all it takes is one big shot to feel offended by a cartoon and if you are not on it and handling it, it can potentially grow out of control. It’s your job to make sure that these people are called out if they are being hypocrites or are being troublemakers for the sake of causing trouble.
5, Create Your Best Work
Not that it has to be mentioned, but the most important thing in the end is to create great work because let’s face it, if you are like us, you would not want fame or fortune if you yourself felt that you were producing mediocre art. You’d still feel like a fraud. Rather, your own worst critic should be yourself. If your work is good enough for you, in the end that’s all that really matters, though let’s hope you are financially rewarded too 😉