Friday, April 29, 2011

An introduction to selling art on the Internet

There are many opportunities for artists to sell their work on the Internet. Some are more direct and others only increase the artist’s presence. Both will lead to more sales in the long run.

It is important for each artist and for each gallery to have a website. Rather than just a window to look at the artwork, the website should be interactive in some way, and at the very least, it should lead the viewer to an easy way to get in touch with the artist and an easy way to buy from the artist.

A website can be as simple or as complicated as the artist desires. The important point is for the artist to have a place on the Internet to point their customers and for their customers to check back to see what’s new. When setting up a website or having someone build one, artists are wise to use their own name as the name of the website. That way, customers who hear about them will only have to search for the artist’s name in order to find them.

On-line Galleries
There are many on-line galleries that will hang and sell artists work for a commission. This is an answer for those who don’t want to be bothered with their own website. However, to be successful at this type of endeavor, it’s important for the artist to have a way to direct people to their specific area of the on-line gallery. Otherwise, the artist’s work will get lost in a sea of other artists.

On-line Shop
Instead of an on-line gallery that the artist shares with hundreds of other artists, artists are more frequently opening their own on-line shops. There are many sites on the Internet that provide templates and all the amenities in order for the artist’s customers to make purchases. The artist’s responsibility is to fill orders and to keep photographs of their work posted in the shop. Again, the trick here is for artists to let their customers know how to find the shop on line.

Setting up a blog seems to be becoming more and more successful for artists. Once the artist garners the interest of a following, people will return often to see what they are up to. Artists must commit the time to keeping up with their blog by entering small articles and posting pictures of their work on a regular basis. Some artists even show photographs of a work in progress. This seems to lure customers back to see how the piece is coming together. The artist might start by posting preliminary sketches then they post various versions of the painting or sculpture as it progresses.

Artists who are a bit more into demonstrating the process of creating a piece of art have even hooked up a webcam for people to watch them during the creation of a piece of artwork. This, too, will gather loyal fans to see what’s happening on any given day. The trick with this is for the artist to be on line often enough to keep viewers interested.

The important part of selling art on the Internet is for the artists or gallery owners to commit to a certain amount of time each day directing traffic to their artwork on the Internet. It’s fine to put up a website or for artists to put their work in an on-line gallery, but if they just put it there and let it sit, they probably won’t sell all that much.

By sending out notices by email of new work or new exhibits, potential customers will come to your website to see the new pieces. A newsletter is often a good idea. Sometimes, only a quarterly nudge is enough to spur people to visit the artist’s on-line exhibit and to find customers to provide a good home for their works.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rev your engines.

Do you warm up your writing before applying it to your current project? I do. It seems to help get the brain in gear.

Every morning, I take a few minutes to empty my brain and to get my writing in gear. I find I lose my way if I just start right in on my current project without a warm up. Try it. Either use the warm-up time to just dump what's in your brain so you'll be able to concentrate all your brain cells on your topic, or make up a list of questions or prompts and write each morning to one of them.

In either case, I think you'll find it'll make a difference if you do these stretching exercises before settling down to work on your manuscript.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Setting Goals for Your Characters

Even minor characters have interesting lives.

Do your characters have goals? I'm not talking about your main character. We all know that he or she must solve the mystery or fall in love and resolve issues, etc. I'm talking about the other characters in your book. To be interesting, they must also have goals -- some good and some bad. If they don't, we (your readers) won't care about them.

Think in terms of your own life. You have goals (finishing your book for one). And the people in your life have goals. Now think about those people in your life. What makes them interesting. It's not that they have a goal to make it through one more day. It's that they dare to dream bigger than the life they have.

So my recommendation is to do the reader a favor and punch up the interest level on secondary and even minor characters. We'll all love you for it.

What do you do to make your characters interesting?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Writing content for your blog

Writing content for your blog is much different than writing fiction or non-fiction for any other reason. It's best to write succinctly and design the page to ensure the content is easy to read.

A page filled with long paragraphs will deter readers. Don't make the reading look like work. Rather use plenty of white space to ensure readers that it'll be a quick read.

When reading on the web, people do not read long pieces word for word. They scan the content to see if there is anything earth-shattering that they must read.

Suggestions for web content that will catch the attention of readers:
1. Make every word count. Leave out as many adjectives as possible and all of the adverbs. Keep to the words that convey the message.

2. Choose keywords for the article with care and use them frequently to ensure the search engines will find the topic within your blog content.

3. Blog content should consist of short paragraphs or, better yet, lists that are easy to read.

4. Use headings to draw attention to your content. Pay close attention to headings and sub-headings. They might be the only thing that catches the eye of readers and convinces them to read.

5. Use white space to your advantage. Make the piece easier for the reader by breaking up the reading with blank space.

6. Use lists and graphics to get your point across in a short-handed fashion while keeping the reader interested in your content.

7. Talk to the readers through your blog content. Use a conversational tone and always ask for comments.
That's it.... Any comments or additions to the list are welcome.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Making it Look Easy

The best of the best make it look so easy, but it's not. I've stood beside patrons at art openings and heard them murmur to each other, "I could do that." And, I've heard clients say that they write much better than the best. It might be so, but I bet not.

The reason we make these statements is that these acclaimed artists and writers are so practiced, are so good, and have mastered their crafts to such an extent that they make it look effortless. They have that delicate touch with their craft that makes us just want to lean into the piece of art or savor the words as they flow from left to right on the page. We might attain that, but for me anyway, it's not easy.

Some writers say that they don't have to edit and they don't have to re-write. Are you kidding me? Does it really come out of their brains that easily? When I read statements such as that, it makes me wonder why I need to work so hard at it. Then I remember, maybe I'm just in an earlier stage of my writing. Maybe all this practice will lead to effortless prose that will make people say, "I could write that."

Keep writing!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Demise of Creativity

Once they are through the process of education, most people lose the capacity of wondering, of being surprised. They feel they ought to know everything, and hence that it is a sign of ignorance to be surprised or puzzled by anything. ~~ Erich Fromm
I just read an alarming article that said that by the time we enter school we are using about 80% of our creativity. Okay, so what? Well, the article goes on to say that by the age of 12, we are down to using about 2% of our creativity. Can this be true?

If it is, what are we doing to these children? Are we so serious about having them conform to what we want as to drum the creativity right out of them.

I hope I use more than 2% of my creativity. I'm way past the age of 12, so I may be into deficit creativity by now. I'm off to find some answers.

More to come...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Creativity and Spontaneity

Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous. ~~Bill Moyers

I usually plan things out very carefully when I'm creating a new piece of writing. And, since I am new at trying my hand at art, I take great pains at the preliminaries when I start a new piece. In other words, I always have a plan.

When I saw this quote, it hit home. I hope to someday be able to pierce the mundane to find the marvelous, but I realize I'll need to loosen my grip on my plan in order to let that happen.

Friday, April 15, 2011

TGIF: Updates today.

Good TGIF to all... Hope you have wonderful plans for a great weekend. I have a couple pieces of news that might be of interest...

I was the guest blogger on The Cajun Book Lady. She's featuring blogs about animals this month since it is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month. Many of you know that, in the other side of my life, I'm a pet blogger -- or Max is... Anyway, please take a look at my post on The Cajun Book Lady and leave a comment if you are so inclined.

The other news is that The Zen of Max is now available as a ebook for Kindle. Please take a look at it, too.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, April 11, 2011

National Novel Writing Month....

Every year I love the thought of writing a novel in 30 days during National Novel Writing Month. There's just something about pushing yourself to make the 1,600+ words every day and the camaraderie of comparing how far along you are (or in my case last year, how far behind I was). But I must admit that I've never been very prepared for it...

So, this year, when I went down in flames and didn't make the word count, I promised myself that I would start my outline early and be prepared. I promised to make the most of the experience. So, it's April.... National Novel Writing Month starts November 1st. I am starting today... I'm starting on my outline today. This year I'll be ready...

So, I thought I'd just throw this thought out there. If you're thinking of wanting to sign on for National Novel Writing Month in November...It's not too early to start your outline. If you'd like to know more about it, here's click here to go to the official website.

There.... Now I just need to remember until tomorrow to keep the outline going.

Have a great day.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Changing times... how much longer will we have books?

No books? Say it isn't so!

Each time I read a news article about changes in the literary world, I panic. I love books. I love the feel of them, the scent of them, the look of them. I haven't tasted them, but I'm sure I would love the taste of them too.

I have lots and lots of books. Some would say I have too many... but is that possible? When I heard about the demise of Borders, I cringed. When I walk into Books-A- Million and see the magazines spread out to cover the racks rather than jammed together to be able to fit them all in... I cringe. When I walk into Barnes and Noble and see the display of Nooks at the front, foretelling the future of the business, I cringe.

Imagine growing up in a time when books are oddities, where newspapers are only available on line and where magazines are so thin you can read them in fifteen to twenty minutes. Is that time now? Yikes!

Friday, April 8, 2011

It seems to me ... time management

It seems to me... that at times we spend more time talking about our writing or artwork than we spend writing or creating artwork. Is it our insecurity? Is is a stalling technique? If we don't write or draw or paint, then we won't fail.

And is the stalling technique universal? I know that some of the "talking" is marketing, but some of it has to procrastination too.

What do you do to draw your attention back to what is important?

Friday, April 1, 2011

This and That... Two Articles to Check Out

A little of this and a little of that is what our Friday theme is...

Here are a couple of great posts I found this week.

This one is from Digital Book World. It'll give you an update on the trends in textbooks. Now you might say that you write fiction or you're an artist and this doesn't apply to you. Well, you might want to take a look at it anyway. It gives a picture of where we're headed with textbooks in eBook format and also the part apps for the iPad and such devices will play in education on the college level ... An Inkling of the Future My friend, Kee Briggs sent this to me. (BTW.. Kee has a new book out, The Yellow Ochre Stain. It's great... I'll be posting a review of it soon.)

And if you have a blog, here's a great post about how to increase traffic to your blog. There are 50 suggestions... try implementing one item a day from this article called Increasing Blog Traffic
It might make a big difference. I'm going to try it.

That's it for today... Have a great weekend!