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Artists: Why to Price Art You're Selling Online


Do you know what I find frustrating? Discovering an artist online, usually on Instagram, and liking their art so much that I'd consider buying it. Except for one little problem. None of it is priced, so I have no idea how much the artist is selling it for. What do I do? I almost always move on.

Do you know why I move on? Because I've been around art and the art business for so long, that I know how much art is available for sale at any given point in time, and how many artists are selling it. Do you know how much art that is? More than I can imagine even in my wildest dreams. In other words, I know I'll find plenty more art I like just as much or more than the art I just passed on.

So as a public service, and in the interest of me or anyone else not passing on your art because nothing is priced online, I've put together this list of reasons why people who might like your art enough to buy it won't necessarily make contact unless they have some idea of how much it costs:

* Perhaps the number one reason for people not contacting you is that they don't like being taken advantage of. If I ask a selling price rather than knowing it first, I have no idea whether the artist quotes different prices to different people, whether they want to see how much they can sell it for by quoting a much higher price than what they're willing to take for it, whether they'll check out my online profile to figure out how much I can afford before quoting as high as they think they possibly can, and so on.

* People don't like having uncomfortable conversations around money. When they have no idea what they're getting themselves into, they tend to avoid it.

* They don't want to get involved in big long discussions about the art before knowing the price.

* They don't want the artist to ask them a bunch of personal questions before they quote a price.

* They don't want the artist to ask them what they think about the art or how much they like it before knowing the price.

* They don't want to be embarrassed to find out they can't afford it.

* They want to avoid situations where instead of quoting a price, the artist asks how much they want to pay for it.

* They don't want to play games, like being asked how much they think the art is worth.

* They want to avoid situations where an artist isn't sure how much to charge.

* They want to avoid any kind of pressure selling situation where they don't know the price to begin with.

* They don't like bargaining. They either want to pay the asking price or forget it.

* They don't want to be asked to make an offer.

* They don't like finding out it's not for sale.

* They don't want to hear that it's already sold.

* They don't want to hear an artist tell them they've never thought about selling it before.

* They don't want to hear an artist tell them they're not sure they want to sell it.

* They don't want to hear an artist tell them they'll only sell it at the right price... but then won't say what that right price is.

* They don't want to find out that the artist doesn't sell originals and that they only sell digital prints.

* They don't like being told the artist will get back to them if or when they decide to sell.

* They don't want to hear that it's the artist's favorite piece-- before knowing the price.

* They don't want to hear how difficult it was to make or how much time it took to make-- before knowing the price.

* They don't want to hear how much the artist loves the piece, how much it means to them, how personal it is, or how pained they are to sell it-- before knowing the price.

* They don't want to get repeated emails or DMs reminding them that they asked a price once and whether they're still interested in buying something.

* They don't want to get emails or DMs from an artist telling them they've lowered the price on a piece they once asked about.

* They don't want to get put on mail or email lists they never signed up for.

***

In case you're interested, I price art for artists all the time. If you need help pricing your art for sale online, on commission, at galleries or anywhere else, email alanbamberger@me.com or call 415.931.7875.

Gail Wight art

(art by Gail Wight)

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