Let’s talk some more about pricing. I don’t think I could ever spend too much time on it. It is so important. I deal with it everyday as artists figure out their costs and establish their prices. Most artists whom I work with want to keep the price of their art as low as possible. I have some thoughts on that.
Our shop tries to make the art as valuable as we can. We can’t be the lowest priced giclée printer without cutting quality. We use the best equipment, materials, expertise etc. We compete in this business by keeping our customers happy. You wouldn’t want us to cut corners to save you a few bucks if it jeopardized the quality of the print, would you? We wouldn’t do it even if you did.
Your product is different. Who knows how much your art is worth? You can objectively evaluate our prints by comparing our work with the work of other printers. I can’t do that with your art. For every piece of art that comes through my shop, I know there is a buyer out there somewhere. It is just that some artist will have to look harder than others for that buyer, that’s all.
I contend that a low price will not help you find that buyer. A low price will not make someone love your work! You cannot make someone love your work, even if you stand on your head! Art is a personal experience, as much for the buyer as it is the seller.
The love of an artists’ work is intoxicating. Intoxicate me and I’ll find a way to afford your work. It may not be today, but I will acquire the piece and I will treasure it. If I pay dearly for it, I treasure it even more. I know it sounds odd, but it is true. It is not like buying a toaster at Wal-mart, where any toaster pops out the same reward. The art I own is an expression on who I am.
Some artists think that the only way to make money at this game is to sell more art. And the only way to sell more art is to keep the price at a level that most people can afford. Bunk! Don’t be one of those. If you just wanted to see your work hanging on walls then sell your images to some publisher at ten cents on a dollar. You can take great pride seeing your work hanging in 100 guest rooms at your local Holiday Inn. No thank you!
Buying art must hurt a little. How can I value your art if you, the artist, don’t value it yourself? Show me you value your own art!
The way to make more money is to continuously produce more work and to continuously increase the value of everything that you have ever produced. Almost everything I write is centered on this theme. If you have missed it, it is not too late to catch up on our website.
Besides, distributing art is hard work. It is expensive. Printing costs are the least of your worries. Finding those who will fall in love with your work and cultivating them and maintaining their interest is a profession. You might have to pay an agent, a gallery, and all of the other costs associated with marketing your work the right way. You need to charge enough to cover all of your costs without scrimping or trying to make your fortune by asking your loyal printer to make price concessions, I say with a smile.
I’m not saying that pricing your own work is easy. It is a lot tougher than painting or printing. You go through all of the “self doubt” type feelings. What if people don’t like my work enough to pay this much for it? Who do I think I am? I just want to get my work out there, sell some first, and prove to myself that I can do it. Don’t give in to doubt talk like this!
I suggest as a guideline that you should price your prints at 5 or 6 times the recurring cost of your prints. That means that your one time costs such as scanning or proofing is not included in the computation. The reason I give you a guideline is to help take the angst out of pricing.
So what prompted the subject of this newsletter? It was one email of many like it that I receive daily.
Hi. Love your no-nonsense (no b.s.) site. Still researching what I want to do, but in general: I’m a pastel artist looking to make my work do double-duty. My originals cost too much for the general public, so I sell to big institutions and by commission. I’d like to make more regular sales in the $100 – $150 range, so prints seem the way to go. I also like your suggestion of posters at the $45 range.
I’m also looking at the option of packaging note card sets (the type sold by museums – packages of 12, with 4 different images), but haven’t been able to find printers who do that in smaller editions. Any suggestions of where to look?
Bless your heart! You didn’t think when you wrote this email that you would start this type of discussion. Thank you for the compliment on our web site. The easy question first. If you want to offer note cards, print them yourself on your own inkjet printer. You can buy the art paper cards and envelopes at Digital Art Supplies this site http://www.digitalartsupplies.com/holgreetcar.html
Regarding offering giclée prints at a price of $100 – $150, I would only tell you that it is just as hard to sell something at a price that will make you some money than it is to sell something that you make very little on.
The value of art is very subjective. If I love your work, then your work is priceless to me. If your work doesn’t trip my trigger, then it is no value to me at any price. It is going to cost you just as much to develop $100 customer as it will a $ 500 customer. Don’t forget to share your questions and comments on the discussion board.
A couple of weeks ago we introduced the “Artists Digital Portfolio”. It is a terrific and inexpensive way to promote your entire collection of originals and prints. It is easy to update when you offer something new. I want to show you the kind of work Christy does when it comes to labeling your Digital Portfolio. Example. Good Job Christy!