Art Book Review #3

Cory Huff, How to Sell Your Art Online, 2016

Art Book Review #3

Title: How to Sell Your Art Online: Live a Successful Creative Life on Your Own Terms.
Author: Cory Huff.
Year: 2016.

Intro by Author:

An essential guide for every kind of artist that teaches them how to skip the gallery system, find their niche, and connect directly with collectors to profitably sell their art.

For years, galleries have acted as gatekeeper separating artists and collectors. But with the explosion of the Internet, a new generation of savvy, independent artists is connecting with buyers and making a substantial living doing what they love.

How to Sell Your Art Online shows any artist how to make a successful living from their work. Cory Huff dispels the myth of the starving artist and provides the effective business strategies necessary to make artistic creations pay. He helps individual artists find their niche; outlines the elements essential for an effective website; and provides invaluable advice on e-mail marketing, blogging, social media marketing, and paid advertising—explaining how to tie all these online activities into offline success.

Most importantly, he shares the secret to overcoming the biggest challenge artists face when self-marketing: learning how to tell their unique stories. Every artist has a reason for making art, but can’t always find the right way to express it. Huff provides exercises artists can use to clarify the intellectual and emotional process behind their art, and teaches them how turn that knowledge into stories they can tell online and in person—and expand their reach through blogs and social media to build their art business.

Drawing from the stories of successful artists, thoroughly describing how art is sold today, and providing tips on how to build connections personally and electronically, How to Sell Your Art Online illustrates the countless ways artists can take control of their creative careers—and sell their work without selling out.

My Review

Stars (1/5):

3/5

Writing:

Cory Huff is among others a storyteller. And this is clear as soon when you start reading. The book starts strong, telling about Henri Murger who popularized Bohemian culture and drawing you as the reader in. Which he links to the music industry, also controlled by large gatekeeper corporations. And mentioning Radiohead who became pioneers in direct-to-fan download from their website.

It is a well-researched book. And I love that he mentions many successful female artists. The book is beautifully printed and nicely designed with additional illustrations made especially for the book. 

Content-wise this is not a book that I would read again. For me, most is, unfortunately, old news or too generic. If I had read it in 2016 maybe it would have been new and on topic. The best chapters I think are about writing (chapter 5). And, about thinking like a marketer (the last chapter—9).

Does the book deliver (it's title)?:

Yes and no. It’s about selling art online. But does not so much teaches you how to.

Biggest take away:

  • People want to buy art. People love art. Learn how to tap into that love. 
  • Feature your very best work in large format, include a newsletter opt-in, and a call to action (art for sale/to the shop).
  • People want to be asked. Ask for the sale. Ask assumptive closes questions.
  • Add social sharing buttons. <– Add a small watermark. 
  • Create sales goals and develop a system that will help you reach these goals. 
  • Measure what you do, to see if you get the results that you want.
  • Call up former collectors and ask them why they bought your art. How do they describe your art? That message should make it into your marketing materials. 
  • Perhaps the most imporant rule for marketing is: Don’t be boring. 
  • Hook the reader with the first paragraph, summarizing the 5 W’s. Bold text to highlight the most important words. Not more the 4 lines in a paragraph. End with ###

Points of discussion:

Lead magnet or Irresistible Free Offer (IFO) to get emails. It will establish trust, goodwill, and reciprocity with your audience. Yes or no?

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