Before pricing your artwork, you must first be honest about your level of ability. When a friendly art critic sees your work do they refer to it as “fine art?” Because the methods you use in pricing and marketing “fine art” is a different marketing plan than work you would sell on eBay or through a local furniture store.
Most artists want to be recognized as fine artists and have their art exhibited in art galleries and museums. If that is your goal, then I highly recommend that you steer clear of discount houses and bargain basement auction sites.
You will place yourself in a low-end marketplace and be giving away your artwork. Many times fine art dealers and gallery owners will search online auction sites and buy works of art so they can resell them in their galleries at much higher prices without the artists’ knowledge. They will often buy one or two works by an artist and after they see the quality of the actual work will then buy much more from the same artist. The unknowing artist is excited and proud that he/she is selling so many works on the auction site. I had one artist tell me he sold 17 works to the same woman. He sold them to her at $150 – $300 and I can only imagine what she was earning when she sold them to her customers.
If you believe your work is in the category of “fine art” and cannot afford an agent or representative, then you should begin your marketing career by working the art fair circuit, entering works in juried contests and art shows and become recognized by your peers. The critique alone is worth this effort. You receive honest feedback – which many of your friends and family are not trained to offer. You can also obtain information on other avenues of marketing your work from other artists.
You may want to begin in your local community but also ask your family members in other areas around the country to keep you informed of what’s happening in their art communities.
If you have not yet reached that level of expertise and want to sell your artwork through an online venue or you are selling your prints, posters, limited editions, or crafts, then you must keep in mind the licensing rights and be sure that you are protected. Once you sell anything you create – if it hasn’t been copyright protected then anyone can reproduce it. Imagine walking into a discount store and seeing a copy of your artwork in an inexpensive frame for $9.99, and you haven’t earned a penny. Protect your creation, and you don’t need a lawyer. It is cheap, and you can do it yourself.