Monday, July 22, 2013

Eleven Reasons Why YOU Should Publish an Art Book or Catalog

Surprise! I have a guest blogger today, Amy Leigh Strickland. You may have seen her posts in my blog roll. She writes about the craft and business of writing and about her books. Take it away Amy!

My name is Amy Leigh Strickland, and I am Terry’s daughter-in-law. Regulars to this blog know me from a series of paintings I’ve been in, including Athena, The Incognito Project, and If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On. I’m a novelist and a teacher and I’m here to talk to you about art books.

Ripe Was the Drowsy Hour, 18x24, oil on canvas over panel.
This is one of my paintings in which Amy plays model and muse in my gypsy series.
This painting will be in Alexandria, VA at Principle Gallery for the Face-Off, August 16, 2013.

Publishing an art book is easier now than it has ever been. You no longer have to wait for a big New York company to recognize you to get a book out there. Whether your work sells for thousands at galleries, or whether you’re making most of your income off of fan conventions and RedBubble shirts, there are TONS of reasons to publish an art book. In fact, I’m Kickstarting a project right now to teach anyone how to self-publish their book, and the design portion is being written by Carly Strickland, who designed The Incognito Project book.

So here is my list:

Eleven Reasons Why YOU Should Publish an Art Book

1. It Sells at a Lower Price Point

This might not be entirely true of you sell a lot of prints, but for those of you who choose to only sell originals, an art book is a great way to hook fans who simply can’t afford your art. Yet.

 Case-in-point, a ton of the backers of The Incognito Project on Kickstarter were recent college graduates. Our generation is stuck constantly seeking relevant work in this broken, but recovering economy. We may not be able to shell out $4,000, no matter how much we want to, but we can squeeze $65 for a nice book.

2. They’re Great Souvenirs

Not everyone can put a little red buy sticker on a piece at your latest gallery show. Perhaps it’s cost. Perhaps they don’t have a place to hang any more art. Perhaps they are visiting from overseas and have no way to get the work home. Maybe you’re a digital artist and you don’t have originals to sell.

No matter what the reasons for your fans to not take home an original work of art, having a stack of books at every show, class, convention, and demonstration gives you a chance to sell to someone who wants a piece of memorabilia to remember you by. You might even sell a few in the museum gift shop.

3. It’s Conversational

The coffee table book is great for striking up conversation. Isn’t that half of the reason we put them on our coffee table? We rarely pick up a book of fine art and leaf through it while we’re watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix.

People love to put art books on their coffee table because it shows their guests how cultured they are. While they’re showing off, those guests are becoming acquainted with your work and familiar with your name. Having a coffee table book is like placing an ad for your work in houses all across the world.

4. You’ll be Discovered on Amazon

If you list your book on, people will find you. Someone might be looking for art books or Amazon might just say, “Hey, you might like this” in one of those weekly email suggestions. The more places you can be seen on the internet, the more likely you’ll be found, and Amazon gets a heck of a lot of traffic.

5. Then There’s the Prestige

People are generally impressed when they see that you’re prolific enough to collect your work in a book.

6. A Chance to Share Your Story

The text that goes along with the images in your art book can be a great place to share anecdotes about your work. How did you get the idea? Did something funny happen when you were making this piece? 

People love to hear stories. It makes them feel like they have a personal relationship with the artist. Strengthen your bond with your collectors by giving them a glimpse of what happens on the other side of the easel.

7. We’re All Gonna Die Some Day

I know that thought is a total downer, but it’s true. Some day you will die and then, even you, will have to put down the paint brush. When you die and your work is all bought-up, a book is a great way for the following generations to discover and collect your work.

8. They Make Great Gifts

Art books make great, thoughtful gifts. It’s certainly better than buying Dad another unnecessary gadget from Brookstone. We feel smart when we give people art and literature, and it allows your most ardent supporters to share the love by giving your work to someone they love.

9. It’s Another Source of Income

As an artist, ideally you’d like to make most of your income by selling original works of art. Of course some months are better than other. Having a book gives you something to sell online during the lean months, and sometimes collectors will get a copy of your book to go with the work they just bought. Either way, it diversifies your income sources and makes it more likely that you’ll be able to pay the bills with pictures (or sculptures).

10. Academics Can Cite It

Open yourself up to being analyzed in scholarly papers by having a book to cite. Perhaps it’ll only be art school students who write about you, perhaps it will be someone more established in a literary journal. Being discussed in academic circles adds value to your work, and that’s definitely a good thing.

11. They Show Your Gratitude

You can build that special bond with your collectors by giving them a book or catalog of your art free with purchase. Think of it like a "thank you" gift.

Thank you Amy for sharing those great ideas and good luck with your current Kickstarter and The Indie Guide to Indie Publishing

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