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MODERN ARTIST’S HANDBOOK Vol 1

An Introduc tion to the Internet or Working as A Traditional Artist in the Modern World


DISCLAIMER: THE

INFORMATION IN THIS BOOKLET IS FOR GENERAL INFOR-

MATION PURPOSES ONLY; IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE TAX OR LEGAL ADVICE.

EACH

SITUATION IS SPECIFIC; CONSULT YOUR

CPA

OR ATTORNEY TO DIS-

CUSS YOUR SPECIFIC LEGAL OR TAX REQUIREMENTS OR QUESTIONS. © 2011 by Gail Daley Fine Art

2


Inside the Modern Artist Handbook How to Spot An Internet Scam

4

Electronic Invites To Your Event Keeping Track of Your Art Copyright Laws Affecting Artists Juried Shows Presentation is Everything! What is Networking?

5 6 7 9 10 11

Choosing A Gallery

12

Selling & Marketing

13

Publicity In the Electronic Age

15

Get A Web Site! Low Cost & Free Artist Websites Sales Tax & Business Licenses

17 18 18

Increasing Your Google Rating

19

I don’t claim to know everything about the above topics, this is an essay on what I have learned about them. I hope it is helpful. Gail Daley 3


How To Spot An Internet Scam The volume of email scams targeting artists has become an epidemic, possibly because scammers assume that we are non-tech savvy. Before you get so excited that someone actually wants to buy your stuff, take a good hard look at what they are asking. If you know the signs of a scam, you will have some protection from their schemes. Here are a few indicators that the inquiry is a scam: 

The person contacting you may be using poor grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.

The person is “away” somewhere, in Haiti, the forest, out to sea, a sailor or an oceanographer—the latest one claims he is on an asteroid (?!?!)

The person insists on paying through PayPal but doesn’t seem to know how to click on the “Buy Now” button. They ask for your PayPal e-mail, even when the Buy Now button is available. Do NOT give them your PayPal address; if they use the Buy Now Button they don’t need it! They also want you to ship the same day you get notified by Pay Pal that you have money

They make a fraudulent payment for more than the amount (not possible if they are using the Buy Now button; that is why they want your direct e-mail), and they may ask you to send someone, presumably a fake shipping company the extra.

You are asked to wire a transfer of any extra to a fake shipping company (their “own” shipping company) that will come for the pick-up of the item the same day the PayPal payment is received. Usually it reads something like this “Will u be able to wire transfer the remaining fund to the shipping company that will come for the pickup of the item the same day u receive the payment from PayPal?”

You receive multiple e-mails saying the same thing or similar with the sender’s name changed.

They ask for unnecessary information which may already be on the web site, or unnecessary for them to know: Cell Phone or Home Numbers E-mail addresses Final asking price of the artwork Name (this will be on the payment) Mailing address (not a PO Box)

These e-mails are being directed to artists and they are hitting multiple sites, not just one Art web sites members. Don’t give them any information, and don’t respond to the e-mail. Treat 4


them like any other inheritance or Lotto winning spam and delete them. No matter how tempting the offer, or how innocent the circumstances, don’t fall for the scheme; legitimate buyers will go through proper channels. I was actually targeted by the guy who claimed he was on an asteroid! How stupid did he think I was? This is the real world, not Star Trek. There is a new one out there: this guy claims he is with the FBI. Even has a approximation of the FBI seal on his e-mail. They think they are so-o-o clever! If you get an official looking communication, always check it out!

Electronic Invites to Your Event With all the new technology available to us now it is becoming very easy to invite family, friends and customers to come and join you at an art show or exhibit without spending hours to do it. Facebook, Twitter and here in Fresno, the Local Fresno Arts Network are all user friendly; just click on the “create event” or event button and put in the information requested. You will need the date, time and address of the event or exhibit. INDLUDE A PHOTO: Most of these sites have a place where you can also download a photo of your art that is being exhibited. The photo should be in jpeg format and no more than 600 pixels at the widest point and about 72 dpi. (Am I talking a foreign language?) Okay, Actual size in inches in your photo editing system should be around 3 x 5 and low-to-medium resolution (some of them even have a “save for web” setting.) Facebook and Twitter have a way to select anyone you have previously identified as a friend; just click on their photo. Fresno Arts Net will do the same thing, but you can also paste in an e-mail list. INCLUDE A PERSONAL MESSAGE. Usually there is a place for a personal message to announce your event. If you are inviting your friends and family, keep it informal; a simple “come out and see my art. I could use your support” should be sufficient. If you are sending this out to customers who have bought from you before, you can say something like “I am presenting a new piece of art on (include your date, time, place etc.). I am inviting you to come as my personal guest”. If it is a juried show and you got an award, tell everyone and invite them to come and see it. If you are issuing a press release or inviting potential customers, you will need to brag a little about yourself and your art so they have a reason to come to the show.

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Keeping Track of Your Art Art is a business as well as a creative endeavor. Losing your art can be a financial loss. So can not being aware of losing money because you don’t keep track of costs. This is a sample spread sheet that you can use to help you know where your art is at all times, what shows and exhibits the piece was entered into, and if you are making money on individual pieces.

Shows/Exhibits Record

128

Painting Title

Serene River

Size

36 x 40

Media

Acrylic

Description

Mendota Slew bridge crossing over river

Date

Shows

3/208

Reedley Opera House

Awards

9/20/200 CAG fall 8 symphony show

Landscape

Exhibits Date

Sunnyside Lib

5/1/08

Lemoore City Hall

1/1/09

Sunnyside Lib

5/4/11

Frame Description Frame Cost Finish Date

LIMITED EDITIONS 4/1/2008 Size

Copywrite date Copywrite fee Primary Color

blue

Secondary Color

green

Style/Genre

representational

Wholesale price

$225.00

Retail Price

$325.00

Date Sold Buyer Address 6

No Cost SellMade to ing Make Price

No Sold

Gross Net Profit Profit


C o p y r ig h t L a w s a n d H o w T h e y A ff e c t A r t i s t s The visual arts category on the U.S. Government website, involves pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including two- and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art. Examples include paintings, photographs; original prints; art reproductions; cartographic works (maps, globes, and relief models); technical and mechanical drawings; and architectural drawings, plans, blueprints, or diagrams. Copyright protects an author’s specific expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, system, method, device, name, or title. Due to fast-breaking developments in the electronic storage and transmission of images, an artist is expected to have a good understanding of copyright law and how it is interpreted in our rapidly changing social and high-tech landscape. "The complex and challenging issues of copyright are now part of the daily reality of all artists who work with images". Two basic aspects of copyright as it applies to visual artists are: what rights the artist or designer has to their own work, and what accountabilities they have when using the creative work of others. Unlike pre-internet days, images are now being broadcast all over the world and it is difficult to hide copyright infringement. Using copyright protected images to create art cheapens your portfolio; it isn’t good for your artistic integrity and you can be sued. Digital cameras now cost so little that everyone can take their own reference photos. Artists can also search the internet for photos that allow re-use (just check the “owner allows re-use” in your search filter). With the creation of Flicker and Facebook among other sites, Visual artists can’t help living in an environment saturated with images. As Artists we are influenced, whether consciously or unconsciously, by everything we see around us in books, magazines, TV, the internet, and in advertising. If you use photos as reference images, you should use your own photos or public domain images. Look at the photo for inspiration but add your own creativity and "artistic license" to make the final image your own. Make sure that your image is not an exact copy of the photo.

To Review 

These days, almost all things are copyrighted the moment they are written, and no copyright notice is required.

Whether or not you charged money doesn’t make any difference to Copyright violations; only damages you might have to pay out will be affected by how much money you made on your sale.

Postings to the net are not automatically in the public domain, and don't grant you any permission to do further copying except maybe the sort of copying that might have been expected in the ordinary flow of the net and only a judge will make that decision.

Fair use is a complex doctrine meant to allow certain valuable social purposes. For more Information go to www.copyright.gov. Ask yourself why you are re-doing what you are painting and why you couldn't have just painted it in your own style. 7


Copyright is not lost because you don't defend it; that's a concept from trademark law. The ownership of names is also from trademark law, so don't say somebody has a name copyrighted.

For those writers among you Fan fiction and other work derived from copyrighted works is a copyright violation.

Copyright law is mostly civil law where the special rights of criminal defendants you hear so much about don't apply. Watch out, however, as new laws are moving copyright violation into the criminal realm.

Don't rationalize that you are helping the copyright holder; often it's not that hard to ask permission.

Posting E-mail is technically a violation, but revealing facts from E-mail you got isn't, and for almost all typical E-mail, nobody could wring any damages from you for posting it. The law doesn't do much to protect works with no commercial value.

Watermarking for Digital Images Invisible Watermarks: Can be used for copyright protection and recognition of digital images. Unfortunately an invisible watermark may slightly alter your image. Also the technique is so new that there is not yet an “industry standard.” Please be aware also, that watermarking has not yet been tested in the court. However, most commercial printers such as Kinkos and Copy Max’s Impress use software that can detect watermarks and will refuse to make copies when they detect them. Eikonamark is one of the Software programs available for casting "invisible" watermarks on digital images and detecting these watermarks.

Visible Watermarks: Putting a visible watermark on art that you post to your website identifies it as yours and hopefully discourages pirates. If you have Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, look under the “Security” section of the setup dialog. You can add a semi-transparent overlay to many images automatically when you use the Web Photo Gallery Creator feature. Watermark Factory is one of the software programs to help you to protect images. You can add a visible watermark to your digital images and photos. The watermark can be your copyright or the URL of your site or your logo.

Books on and about Copyright The Permission Seeker's Guide Through the Legal Jungle by Joy R. Butler All About Right for Visual Artists by Ralph E Lerner & Judith Bresler The Professional Photographer's Legal Handbook by Nancy E Wolff The Writer's Legal Guide: An Authors Guild Desk Reference by Tad Crawford & Kay Murray Digital Copyright By Jessica Litman

The United States Copyright Office was created to serve the copyright community of creators and users, as well as the general public. Here you will find all key publications, informational cir8


culars; application forms for copyright registration; links to the copyright law and to the homepages of other copyright related organizations; news of what the Copyright Office is doing, Congressional testimony and press releases; the latest regulations. Copyright Basics - US Copyright Office U.S. Copyright Forms Form VA - Copyright form Visual Arts Form VA with instructions The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998

Juried Shows & Exhibits Juried art shows are an opportunity to learn more about your craft. In the art world, a “Juried Show” means a show that has an actual judge who has been paid to choose the best art out of the entries. Usually there will be a non-refundable entry fee per art piece, and cash and awards will be given to the winners. This sometimes causes confusion because an Exhibition may also be “juried”. When an exhibition is juried, it means that the exhibit organizer or a panel decides if the art is acceptable to be shown in the exhibit. Exhibits also don’t give out awards, monetary or otherwise. Entering a juried show means you are putting your art out there to be judged. You should always enter what you consider to be your best work to date. Keep in mind though, that your art may not be accepted into the show. Does this mean that you are a poor artist? Or that your art is “bad”? Not necessarily. A juried art show is a subjective format and there are many reasons why your art might not have been accepted. It may simply mean that the space to display art was limited. Perhaps the art was good, but your presentation (framing/matting) detracted from your art and the judge preferred art that was better presented. Or maybe this just wasn’t your best work. If your art wasn’t accepted by the judge, you might consider having an artist whose opinion you respect critique the work for you. Please be careful with this; the person who does the critiquing should be a more experienced artist with some knowledge of technique and the principles of art. We love them, but the opinions of our friends and family who don’t know any more than we do about art really aren’t useful as critiques. In many local shows, the judge will offer critiques as they judge, and a member of the art group putting on the show will have been assigned to follow and write down what is said. If the judge offers a critique, pay attention. Above all, don’t take this type of rejection personally. Nationally known artists get rejected from shows also. Sometimes the judge just doesn’t like the subject matter or maybe he/she doesn’t care for the colors, or the shape, etc. The point is: don’t ever expect to enter a show and win or even automatically be accepted. You are probably going to kiss a lot of frogs before you get the prize! For some shows just getting accepted is major. Every juried art show should be viewed as an opportunity to learn more about your craft. We’ve been speaking of a real-time art show. However, there is another type of juried show, the online show. In some ways this can be less intimidating for the beginning artist; In many on-line shows, you never need to travel to the show. You enter a photo of your art directly into the contest through 9


the internet show site. Here also, presentation is very important. For the judges to get an accurate idea of your art, the image you send must match the colors in the art and be sharp and clear. For many of us, taking a good photograph of our art is hard. Before you send off the photo of your art you should 1) make sure that the size of the photo agrees with the directions given by the prospectus, 2) make sure the image is sharp, clear and not distorted, 3) check the colors in the photo against the actual art to make sure they are correct. While most on-line shows don’t require you to send them the actual art, you should make sure of this. It would be terrible to be accepted into a prestigious show or even win an award and then find out the round trip price to get the art to the show is more than you could afford.

Presentation is Everything! Framing and matting fine art can enhance the overall appeal of a piece of artwork. But if you don't do a good job it can ultimately ruin the painting’s appeal . It is a good idea to evaluate putting your art into a frame with as much consideration as you took with the actual painting. After all, your painting and its frame are going to be spending a long time together, so it is vital to make sure they are a good match. Think of this as not wearing white socks with black shoes. I have assisted at a lot of art shows and I can’t remember how many times I overheard a judge say “The art is good, but that frame just (ruins, overpowers, clashes, etc.) the art. Framing and matting should enhance and compliment your art. Have you seen the effect of an ornate baroque frame on an abstract painting? Or maybe a steel frame on a lovely still life or floral caught your eye? Not Pretty was it? Frames loosely fall into three categories: traditional (often wood frames with some embellishment such as ornate carving, Oriental accents, appliqué curlicues, with canvas or linen inserts), modern (metal or ultra-plain wood, perhaps only a sliver of it showing as you face the picture) and transitional (minimal ornamentation with a moderate amount of frame showing on its face). The most important rule is to make sure your frame doesn’t clash or overpower your art. Conversely, a toosmall frame around a large painting can also ruin the presentation. Proportion is the key. Ask yourself, what is the first thing you notice about the painting? Is it the art or the frame? If it is the frame, then you should consider selecting a different frame. Frames designed for canvas usually have a linen mat and then a small wooden piece rounding off the inside frame. A thick paper mat is used with art that is put under glass or plexi-glass. A simple rule for choosing a mat is, do you like the look of it around your art? for matting in most cases you want to choose a lighter tone or neutral color than the frame. You also can look for a paler version of a color that is within the painting itself. If the mat color is too dark, it will overshadow the image, making it appear lost. Check the proportions of the mat to your art. If your framed art looks off, then your mat maybe either too big or too small. Black mats can be powerful, but be careful. They are so dark that unless the painting has bright, dramatic colors also a black mat will probably overpower most art. Keep in mind also, framing art to go in the home as a decorator accent is not the same as art show presentation. In the decorator market, often, the decorator will pick the mat to go with or compliment the colors in the room, not necessarily the painting. In show presentation, the ART is the most important thing; if the judge notices the mat or frame before the art you may be in trouble. 10


What is Networking? There is a lot of talk these days out there about using social networks to market your art. You can certainly reach a lot of people with your message, but simply reaching them isn’t good enough; you need to make them want to buy your stuff. One of the key ingredients in successful social media marketing is creating "social authority". When you establish yourself as an "expert" in your given field or area you become an authority (someone others listen to). You can establish yourself by writing on-line about stuff you know about. It doesn’t necessarily have to be art because if you want to sell, you will need to reach outside the sphere of artists you know to your target audience. It’s a funny thing, but having social authority in one sphere will give you authority elsewhere; just witness all those celebrities who endorse presidential candidates! As a result of social media – and the direct/indirect effect of social media marketers, the buying public is more likely to make decisions using what they read and see in social networks, but only if they hear about it from someone they trust. This is the reason a focused, carefully designed social media strategy needs to be a basic part of your marketing plan. Social Networking sites are shaped to allow internet users to connect with each other. The primary types of social networking sites service groups, i.e. former school classmates, a means to connect with friends (like Facebook and Twitter), etc…; most of these sites also feature a recommendation system linked to trust. Most social network sites are web based and provide means for users to connect over the internet via e-mail or instant messaging. Because most of these networking services do run on “friend recommendations” it can be difficult to create a network of buyers if you are not already acquainted with them. If you want your message about your art to be picked up and sent “viral”, you must create a message that is both interesting and attention grabbing. Viral marketing, viral advertising, or marketing buzz refers to promotion practices that use preexisting social networks. The goal is to create viral messages that attract people with high social networking potential (SNP) so that these people will tell everyone about the message. It’s like a game of gossip. Three basic conditions must be met for your communication to go viral. 1) A “go-between” or “dispatch rider” must pick up the message. There are three types of “dispatch riders” required to change an ordinary message into a viral one: market devotees, social hubs, and salespeople. Market devotees are among the first to get exposed to the message and transmit it to their immediate social network. Social hubs are people with a large number of connections; they often know hundreds of people and can serve as tie-ins between groups with different interests. Salespeople receive the message from the market devotee, amplify it by making it more relevant and persuasive, and then send it on. 2) The message must be memorable and interesting. Only messages that are both will be passed on to others and spur viral marketing. Making your message more memorable and interesting (or more infectious) can be a matter of minor adjustments. 3) the environment needs to be favora11


ble: The timing and context of your promotion takeoff must be right too. If there is something much more interesting going on like the Japanese earthquake in 2011, your chances of getting a competing message out are not very good. Question: how do you find these people? Well, you have to put in your time developing on-line relationships. It will be necessary for you to express some type of interest in what they are doing so that they will reciprocate. I am not advocating spending hours on the net; in fact, just the opposite. However, you will need to be able to make a connection with them on some level. Keep your communications short and only respond to stuff that actually interests you because a phony interest can be easily spotted. You should also check out business networking sites like Linkedin. Want to know how effective you are? Here are a few free social media monitoring and measurement programs and tools: How Sociable? A simple, free tool that measures the visibility of your brand across the web. Addict-o-matic A nice search engine that aggregates rss feeds, allowing you to see where your brand is lacking presence. Socialmention: a social media search engine offering searches across blogs, and microblogs with a social rank score.

Choosing A Gallery Surprisingly there are a number of alternatives for choosing where you will show your art. The words “on-line art gallery� can mean different things, however; an online art gallery can be a website to display art. Usually, it will be run as a business to sell art. For example: 1) An art gallery displaying art work from their current, future, or past exhibitions, to promote the exhibition rather than to sell the work via the website. 2) An artist presenting his/her own gallery, either on his own website or other websites, and 3) Multi-Artist Sites representing many artists working in different medias and genres. On a multi-artist site the artist either pays a monthly fee or agrees to a commission paid when the work is sold. These are usually non-exclusive and are a risk free opportunity for the artist to sell art worldwide. Search for them using "original art" or "online art gallery". There is a list in the back of this section. An advantage of Online Galleries is that while the art buying public is growing, many people are still intimidated by walk-in commercial Art Galleries. If a potential buyer has access to a wide range of art viewed in the comfort and safety of their own home, they may relax and make a purchase. A lot of artists now have an online Gallery as well as a walk-in commercial Gallery which means that an artist can present a lot more art to a lot more people. Cooperative galleries (sometimes called artist-run initiatives), are galleries operated by groups of artists who pool their resources to pay for gallery space, exhibits and publicity. Most cooperative galleries carefully jury their members. Also, unless they have received a grant to operate it, galleries of this type do require membership fees as members must share the overhead cost of operating the gallery. 12


Commercial art galleries derive their profit from sales of artwork, and thus take great care to select art and artists that they believe will sell and enhance their gallery's reputation. They spend time and money cultivating collectors. If the artwork sells, the gallery makes a profit and the artist is then paid. It is not unusual for a commercial art gallery to charge a 50% commission on sales. Beginning artists can be confused by Vanity Galleries; a vanity gallery is an art gallery that charges artists fees to exhibit their work and makes most of its money from artists rather than from sales to the public. Some vanity galleries charge a lump sum to arrange an exhibition, while others ask artists to pay regular membership fees and then promise to organize an exhibition with a certain period. Occasionally a vanity gallery will appear to have a selection process because the number of artists on the membership roster cannot exceed the available time slots for shows. Vanity galleries have no incentive to sell art, as they have already been paid by the artist. They are not selective because they don't have to be. Most Professional critics and reviewers tend to avoid them.

Selling & Marketing Most of the information in this booklet is designed to help artists sell art. Quite truthfully, if you aren’t making sales, then you have a nice hobby. I have learned some hard lessons about marketing my art. I am passing these on so that maybe someone else won’t re-make them. To successfully sell your work, you must first be able to identify your target audience: What market are you trying to reach? What price range is your target audience willing to spend on art? What is your marketing plan? Get on the internet and do your research.

B OOTH E VENTS A booth event is a sale with multiple vendors where-by an artist sets up a pop-up booth or table to sell their art. Usually there is a fee which can run anywhere from $25 to $600 depending on the type of event. Events come in two types, those designed exclusively to sell art, and those that sell a variety of different items. The very best types of events are those which sell only art. Some of the events where only art is sold like the one in Laguna Nigel, CA are juried. They are expensive and hard to get into, but when you do they attract art buyers or at least folks who came to look at art. A huge event like Big Hat Days in Clovis, CA will also be expensive. Sure, Big Hat Days will attract 10,000 people, but most of them didn’t come to look at art, and if they do buy art, chances are it will be from the cut-rate art broker in the next aisle who is not selling his own work. If your area is like California’s San Joaquin Valley, events which sell only art may be few and far between, but some venues or events that attract sales of multiple types of items can be complimentary to art sales. If possible, you should attend the event and then you should try and match your art to the target audience. Wine tasting events put on by the local wineries are usually inexpensive to join. Still lifes using wine, grapes or vineyards, and people drinking wine usually sell well. If you are a pet artist, find out when the local kennel club or SPCA is having an event and set up there. If you do a lot of 13


western art, check out the local rodeo. I would recommend setting up to create a painting or offering to do quick sketches to attract people to your booth. You should also have a number of small ticket items for sale at events like these: cards, small prints, bookmarks, etc.

THIS IS THE AGE OF THE DEBIT CARD. The ability to take debit cards is a must if you hope to sell any item over $20. People just don’t carry cash or checks around much anymore. Also, the debit card has an advantage; you will know on the spot if the “check” is good. No one will walk off with an expensive painting and not pay for it.

U SING A “P ROFESSIONAL ” TO M ARKET Y OUR A RT When I first started out I was thrilled when a company based in AK called me to ask if I wanted to be a part of their web site. For $300, plus a commission on anything sold, they would allow me lifetime privileges, 20 images which I could change (for a fee) periodically. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good site with nice features, but it runs over 500 artists so it is easy to get lost on it. Lesson 1: For the price I paid, I could have developed my personal website and had money left over. My Personal website might not get as much traffic, but it would have only my stuff so there was no possibility of me getting lost in the shuffle. After about two years this same web site contacted me with another “deal” for $150 they were going to run an ad in International Artist Magazine and did I want to be a part of it? Well, of course I did. Disappointingly, the ad did not contain a single photo of any artist’s work or artist’s name, only the name of the web site. Lesson 2: if you are going to pay for an ad, make sure it advertises your art or website! Just like clockwork, two years later, and this same website called me with another “deal”. They were going to be a part of a decorator convention in Chicago. Their booth was going to feature a large projection screen to showcase some of their artists work, afterwards the participating artists would get a copy of the DVD that they could then copy and market to their local decorator market. The cost this time was about $245. Well, of course I couldn’t travel to Chicago, so I never saw the actual booth; the DVD was pretty similar to the ad they had suckered me for two years ago. It had a lot of stuff about the website, but none of my paintings were on it. Lesson 3: For the same price I could have paid someone to make a power-point presentation with my stuff which I could have mailed to every Home and Business Decorator in Fresno County!

A GENTS & D IRECTED M AIL CAMPAIGNS The 4th time the web site called with a “deal” I told the snake oil salesman “thanks, but no thanks”. However, I was still looking for a “professional” to help me market my art. In the back of Artists Magazine was an ad for art representatives. This one was really costly; for $3,000 they made me 1,500 colored brochures on cardstock which were sent out to contacts at department stores, catalog companies, and book sellers (of course they didn’t share their contact names, so I couldn’t do followups…). It wasn’t a bad looking brochure (I got about 50 of them for personal use). However, I did 14


some research later and found out that a 1% return from a directed mail campaign is considered excellent. 1%? In case you didn’t major in math that is 15 responses out of 1,500. Ouch! Lesson: 4 I could have made my own brochure and marketed it locally for a lot less money and I would have had the names of the people it was sent to. This doesn’t mean that these types of marketing should always be avoided. However, you must be able to use them to your advantage. Promoting yourself as an artist is hard work. Don’t expect someone else to look out for your interests. Does this take time away from creating your art? Yes, it does. However, if you don’t spend at least some time per week marketing yourself and your art, you will make very few sales unless you are very, very lucky. To maximize the time spent on the internet promoting your work, make a list of what you expect to accomplish to promote your art that day. I strictly limit the time I spend on the internet and I compartmentalize what I do there. I schedule 2 hours per week for business. At the end of the two hours I am done, whether or not I actually accomplished everything on my list. The 2nd thing is not to do purely social things while promoting your business. Schedule a different time to catch up with friends & family on your social networking site.

Publicity in the Electronic Age The unknown artist who is suddenly “discovered” while painting in his or her Garret is a Myth. If you want to succeed as an artist you will need to spend time promoting yourself. At least 1 hour a week should be spent in marketing your art and yourself as an artist. Publicizing through the internet is not difficult. Here are some ways Artists can use publicity via the internet: P R ESS R E LE ASE E SS EN TIA LS : U SE M ED IA P OR TALS . W HA T

IS A

M ED IA P OR TA L ?

A Media portal is a tool you can use to submit your articles online. It is a centralized website specializing in receiving expert articles and distributing them around the Internet. This can be done several ways: People either go to the portal and just read online, or editors come, collect articles, take them away to post them to their site and/or distribute them in their weekly or monthly magazines. Question: How do you locate one of these portals? Not as easy as you might think. There are a lot of places out there who call themselves PR sites. Some of them will allow you to download a press release for free, but be careful; I once signed up for a “free” account and found out to my chagrin that although it might be free to sign up, they wanted $80 to send out my press release. I suggest you start by checking out your local media outlets and developing your own list. Follow their required format exactly. Either way, you are going to have to spend some time doing research. Don’t Follow Up On-Line Releases! While you should always follow up with the print media after submitting an article, online portals are usually automatic and don’t require it: Generally the moment you deposit your article and submit it, it uploads and you can go back and actually see your article displayed. 15


What NOT to Submit: Media Outlets aren’t usually interested in after-the-fact news. Announcing you have won an award or sending in a list of winners from an art show usually won’t get published. Make sure you’re not burning or yelling at your reader when you are writing online articles. There is nothing wrong if you want to capitalize but if you’re writing in capitals online it means that you’re screaming. Don’t put press releases in PDF format. Don’t Send Attachments! Media people hate getting attachments and probably won’t open them. Do not send attached files until you have permission to do so. You want to send an ordinary, plain old email. No fancy HTML stuff in it. If you post to your website or Facebook page, don’t bury your press releases. Make sure that there’s some way to find them from your home page. A menu item titled “Press Releases” works very well. Post your press releases in plain old HTML for easy cut and pasting. The easier you make it to find and use the more likely it will be picked up. Get Creative! If you’re really clever, you can use letters to the editor in trade magazines or the local newspaper to promote your Art--FREE. One way to do this is to combine information about your art or event into a letter with a strong opinion on a related issue or a recent article. You will need to do this without making the letter sound like an obvious attempt at a free ad. Remember also that space is at a premium in print media. Make sure your letter meets the requirements for printing. Our local newspaper for instance won’t print anything over 200 words. Headline writing for publicity is an art. Generally you will have one short sentence to grab your target audience’s attention. Think about what you do when you search on-line. TIPS: keep it short. Make sure you use your target audience’s name in the headline. Remember, there’s a lot of article competition out there. Spend some time really thinking about it, maybe even running your final headline by a few people, to get their impression. For example, if your target is art buyers, try to use the term “art buyers” or “home decorators,” or “artists,” or something like that. Put it right out there. You want a reader to be reading and saying, “Hey, this article’s about me, because they just said my name.” Tell your readers in the headline what they’re going to learn. Don’t make them guess. Don’t use puns. Don’t hide what your article is about. Don’t try to be cute. If your headline explains, in a quick shot what a reader’s going to get from it, then you are going to get clicked on more than your competitor. TV & R A D IO Sometimes you can promote an event for free: A lot of TV and radio stations offer Community Affairs sites where you can unload information concerning your event, reception, sale, etc… It helps if you are promoting some kind of Charity as well (10% of your sales will go to something like Valley Children’s Hospital, or the SPCA, etc.). T R AD ITION AL P R ESS R ELEA SES Does this mean you should ignore traditional (paper) methods of advertising? No, not at all. However, most of these methods will require hard cash up front and bear in mind that they aren’t really interested in an event that has already taken place. Some of them also have time frame deadlines that need to be met in order to get an article printed.

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Get A Web Site! In this day and age, the internet is an essential tool for Artists. Art buyers will often first check out an artist’s website for information before picking up the phone to call directly. A website is also useful because it should show how to contact you. Because the general public spends an average of 2 hours online daily, why shouldn’t they spend it with your art? If you can’t afford a complete site, check out the dozens of Art sites that offer a free page to promote your art. Most of these are user friendly and don’t require a lot of internet knowledge to upload your art or start a blog.

T HINGS TO ADD TO YOUR SITE Make sure your website is set up in such a way that search engines can get into the inner pages of your site.

MEDIA KIT OR PRESS CENTER. Just as you create a paper media kit, create an electronic media kit right at your web site under a button called “Media Room” or “Press Center.” This is the place reporters stop if they need background or story ideas without having to navigate the entire site. This is a lot less expensive than producing and mailing hundreds of media kits. Printed kits can become outdated very quickly and updating them can be very time-consuming and expensive; it’s easier to update electronically. Reporters don’t want to have to store big, bulky media kits in their newsrooms. They can simply bookmark your site and return to it WHEN NEEDED.

META TAGS. Meta tags help internet browsers to find your website. For example, the keywords Meta tags for Meta an art event could be: artist, gallery, art reception, art sale, buying art, or anything that has to do with art. Such keywords lead people to websites they may or may not have been looking for and are an effective promotional tool. If you don’t know what tags to use, do some research on catch phrases used by your target audience that mesh with your art. Google has a free site for this: https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer? __c=1000000000&__u=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS Have other artists or organizations link to your website. This won’t work for competitors of course, but networking comes in handy in this case. If you belong to an art Association, find out if they will exchange links with you. Check out art sites for this also. If you have more than one free web page on multiple sites, link them.

PROMOTE YOUR WEBSITE. The internet is a great promotional tool. The artist or event's URL should be found on all artist or event literature. PR directors who are interviewing or writing press releases should mention the URL or use it as a reference point within a press release. Remember there are now a lot of artist web sites out there. The mere presence of a web site won’t drive traffic to it. You need to work constantly to attract potential customers to your site.

Q UICK R ESPONSE OR QR C ODES There is a new type of application for smart phones. A QR or Quick Response code is a two-dimensional barcode. These are often used for adding web links to a printed page. When you scan such a QR bar code using a web cam or mobile phone camera, the QR reader application takes you to a Web site, a YouTube video or some other web content. QR codes are an easy way of sending people to a site without having to type a URL. Next to being used for mobile tagging, QR codes can contain other types of information, such as text, phone numbers or an e-mail address. A QR code on a business card can for instance provide an electronic version of 17


the contact information. WASP technologies has a free site to generate your own codes: http://www.waspbarcode.com/barcode_maker/QRCodeMaker.aspx

Free Artist Websites The more places your art appears on the internet, the more exposure you will get. There are a number of art oriented web-sites featuring multiple artists out there. Some of them will allow you a free page some of them charge a monthly fee and some sites offer both types of memberships. You should do your own research on the sites listed. Artandesignonline

ArtBuzblog

Art-Exchange.com

ArtFinders.net

Artid.com

ArtistsLikeOurselves

Autocracy

Artscuttlebutt.com

Artspan.com

FanArtReview

Maythebestartwin

MosiacGlobe

MyArtInfo.com

Rtist.com

Sell-Arts.com

WetCanvas.com

Yessy.com

DailyPainter.com

Sales Tax & Business Licenses WHAT IS A RE-SALE NUMBER AND DO YOU NEED ONE? In California A re-sale number is a sales permit issued by the State enabling you to engage in business in this State. There are two types: temporary and permanent. As an artist you ordinarily would be considered a retailer since you sell your art directly to the public. Yes Virginia, you are required to collect sales tax on your art, even on commissioned art. Practically speaking, you probably don’t need a permanent sales permit unless you are making a lot of sales. If you only do one or two booth events a year a temporary sales permit will probably serve your purpose. If you are selling off your website then you may or may not need one, depending on where the buyer lives. To obtain the resale number simply go to the State Board of Equalization’s website and download the form and instructions. WHAT IS AN EIN NUMBER? EIN stands for employment identification number. Businesses obtain this number from the IRS. An EIN is usually only necessary if you have employees or do businesses with other businesses, who will ask for your EIN in order to file a form 1099 reporting what they paid you to the IRS .If you intend to open a business account your bank will probably require you to have an EIN. However, as an artist you are considered an independent contractor and self-employed. In order to deduct your business expenses you will need to file a Schedule C and Schedule SE (self-employment tax) along with your form 1040. While there is a place for an EIN on the schedules, you can simply use your social security number. IS MY SELLER'S PERMIT THE SAME AS A BUSINESS LICENSE? No. You should contact your city and/or county business license department to obtain a separate business license. To locate the department, check the local government pages of your telephone directory (for example, look for the terms license or business license under City Government Offices and County Government Offices). Disclaimer: The information in this booklet is for general information purposes only; it is not intended to be tax or legal advice. Each situation is specific; consult your CPA or attorney to discuss your specific legal or tax requirements or questions. 18


Increasing Your “Google” Rating Here are some basic instructions on how to improve your website for Google and the other search engines. Information on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often offered as though it is a great mystery better left to (highly paid) experts. There is no big mystery. And if you want to get more deeply into the subject, it’s not hard. There is a lot of information on the Internet. There are also a lot of blogs discussing the latest tweak in the Google algorithm. What’s an algorithm? Don’t know, and don’t care since I am not a programmer. Let’s dispel one myth – you do NOT need to submit your site to Google. Search engines find your website on their own as they automatically crawl through the web from one link to another. Your site will be categorized and ranked according to the features that make up the algorithms of Google and the other search engines. A numerical weight is assigned to each component and these change often. The major elements will not change a great deal, tho’, and it is these that we need to pay attention to. It’s important to keep your site fresh by adding new images and text on a regular basis. This is vital not just for your visitors who will return if you provide something new to look at, but also for search engines like Google; if a website has not been touched in a while, it will lower its value in search rankings. Most searchers don’t look beyond page 3 of a search. What Words to Use to Optimize Your Site. This is the most important thing you have to do. Do your research. I can’t say this often enough. Tips: think of a key word or phrase that someone looking for your kind of work might use in searching. Ask around to find out what your friends use in looking for your type of art. For example, you may be an impressionistic landscape painter in Sonoma County, California. Two key phrases then might be California impressionist painting or, Sonoma County impressionist painting. Be as specific and detailed as you can (but they still need to be phrases that a lot of people might use). Don’t try to search for a very broadly used word such as Impressionism. You might also find it worthwhile to buy some of the popular decorator magazines and check out what catch phrases they use in describing the style of decorating that might use your art. Link your site to as many others as you can. This will give you a higher ranking in the search engines. My space is ideal for this because you can link every photo of your art that you post to your web site. The goal is to find your site on the 1st 3 pages of any search. People rarely go beyond page 3 when searching. You need to up-date your information on a regular basis or you will slip down on the search engine indexes. Use multiple domain names. Submit your pages to Yahoo at http://www.yahoo.com/docs/info/include.html. This is actually a directory, not a search engine. Make sure your listing doesn't exceed the number of characters allowed, or it will be edited. Blogging: create a blog that presents a wide variety of information of interest to your customers, both about your Art, the art world, your local art community and more. Create a newsletter and write articles on a variety of issues relating to art collectors, buyers and the local art community and distribute it through your blog. Report on the latest happenings in the art world. This is a great way to generate daily visitors to your site. Plus, frankly, it’s a great way to be able to feature your solutions to the issues through links into appropriate pages on your site as part of a report.

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$10.00

A CD with samples of contracts, sample forms, etc. can be obtained for an additional $5.00 charge. All three volumes of the Modern Artist Handbook are available on the website for $10 Phone:559-960-2428 e-mail: art-tique@gaildaleyfineart.com www.gaildaleyfineart.com go to Art-Tique page

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Modern Artist Handbook -- An Introduction To The Internet