Continuing the discussion from Very slow sales. Should I start auctions at $1.00?:
I’m fairly new to this site and am receiving a lot of daily traffic but my only sales are coming from other places, mainly Facebook. I haven’t participated in an auction yet. I’m wondering if that’s the best way to get buyers’ attention instead of just posting daily.
Auctions give you twice the exposure and are the model upon which the “daily painting movement” is based. For the painters who started the movement, it was considered a sideline and/or promotional activity, by the way, not a primary focus or source of income (though it became one for a few.)
I have stayed out of the discussions about pricing, because there are many approaches. But my opinion is that you should not start auctions at prices lower than you are satisfied accepting, because the starting bid is sometimes (or often) exactly what you will get. I tried the $1-start, let-the-market-determine-the-price approach once, when I was fairly confident the painting would be of interest. It sold for $50, which was fine with me for what it was: a challenge painting, not my typical work. But I would not do that other than as an occasional attention-getting gimmick, and I would not expect it to “work” unless I had a fairly good client base waiting to snap up a deal (something that takes time and diligence to build) and/or a painting with broad appeal.
In general, I think artists need to be able to assess their work objectively, figure out where it fits in the market, price it accordingly–and not expect buyers to value their work more than they themselves do.
Look at the “Active Auctions.” Right now there are only 33. Only 3 are at or above $100; another 6 are at or above $50. Today, on this site, that is the market.
Thanks, Connie. I’ll check it out right now.
I’ve done really well with the auctions and haven’t sold anything anywhere else!
And plenty of artists here hold their own work in high esteem and still see little to no sales. Conversley, we’ve all had paintings that we thought were nothing special get snapped up for a nice price.
The value an artist places on their work has nothing to do with how the market values it.
That was only 1/3 of the statement. The other part said exactly that: realistic, accurate assessment of the quality of the painting and the market. Assessment is also a learnable, necessary skill. In any event, I don’t see how placing NO value on a painting increases its chances of selling for a decent price. Nothing-special paintings don’t usually get snapped up for a nice price if they don’t have some kind of price on them to begin with. Those who value their own work too highly will learn by having few or no sales.
However, putting NO value on a decent painting other than what it will bring in a DPW auction is a too-narrow approach that makes no financial sense. I’ve sold many paintings here that, based on experience, likely would have sold for higher fixed prices in other venues. Also, any given “market” is fluid. If a painting is good and does not sell the first or second or tenth time it is shown, it may mean only that the timing and/or venue were importune. We’ve all also had decent paintings sit around for awhile and finally sell, either in the same or a different venue–in which case giving them away for a dollar would have been a mistake. Fortunately everyone is free to price their work as they see fit.
Are there artists placing no value on their paintings? Or is letting the market set the value from the get-go once again being conflated with that?
The question was whether or not to start at $1–which means at any given moment, paintings worth more can and will sell for that. I would call $1–or anything less than the cost of the materials–“nothing” (less, actually). And what do you mean by “the market”? Unless you consider DPW auctions the entire market, artists do have to determine appropriate prices themselves.
Buyers will sometimes pick up nice paintings for next-to-nothing, and painters will sometimes sell crappy art for crazy-high prices. In either case, good for them. I choose to try to find a more consistent medium. If someone is consistently selling in auctions starting at $50 or $100, what would be the rationale for them ever starting lower?
Case in point–and a lesson for me: my most recent sale was a 6x6 painting I started at $99. It had exactly one bidder (all you need ) If I had started it at $1 or $50, that’s what it would have sold for. I would rather sell every fourth or fifth painting for $100 and keep their “value” at that level than sell 4 paintings for $25 or 100 paintings for $1. But that’s just me.
There wouldn’t be any, of course. Why, was someone arguing that there was?
It’s a strategy for those new to the game and unsure of what the market will bring. And for those whose need for some definite money now outweighs the possibility of more in the future. Not every artist is retired with a pension or married to a second source of income, ya know .
Sure, if the definite money needed is only enough to cover costs.
Show of hands from everyone here making $75,000+ per year on art alone.
My hypothesis is this:
For a large percentage of artists on here, no matter how much sense it makes to take the “base hit” approach, the idea that any painting of theirs would sell for less than half a Carol Marine painting is just too hard a blow for their pride to take.
I don’t think it’s much of an issue for those who are “all in”, except for the occasional case of the blues that comes up when you have a string of 'em going for low prices. We’ve all been there. But the hobbyists take it personally, and have the luxury to do so, because their paint supply doesn’t depend on the 10 bucks the last auction brought.
People who have the luxury of complaining do so. The rest of us take what we get and keep moving.
Feels good, doesn’t it?
For me setting a price works this way: if I sell a painting and feel bad that the work went for too little, then I know I am setting the price too low. If I set prices so that the paintings never sell, then I am asking too much. Even though I don’t paint to please the market, painting is a form of communication. If you don’t have eyeballs on your work you will never get the feedback you need in order to tell if you are getting through to people. The auctions help with this by showing the buy clicks, and followers. I think the auctions attract more views, as do the challenges and contests. My objective now is to continually improve my game so that the paintings successfully create the images that I am trying to portray not just to me but to others as well.
Gary, I think you’re spot on. Very sensible approach.
Interesting, Connie. I didn’t realize that auctions bring more people to look at the paintings. Why do you think that is? Maybe some buyers only bid on auctions and like the zing of winning. If paintings that are auctioned get more looks, maybe auctions are a marketing method as well as a sales method.
Again, I think it’s a matter of exposure. When you post a new work sans auction, it appears in one daily email and on the “What’s New” page for 24 hours (with about 200 others.) Then as newer art is added, its position moves back page by page, and it becomes one of 180,000 other paintings on the site. So it has increasingly less chance of being seen until and unless it comes up in someone’s search (for genre, media, size, artist) or someone goes to your gallery page.
When a piece is auctioned, at some point it appears on multiple other pages: All Auctions, Just Added, Ending Soon, and, if you’re lucky, DPW Picks and/or Active Bidding. Its position also drops back on some of those pages, but renewing the auction bumps it back to the top.
And yes: auctions are the original model for the “daily painting” phenom, which was established both for marketing and promotion. DPW originally developed not only so they could promote themselves as a group, but as a focused, one-stop, cost effective alternative to eBay. So I think it’s likely some (or many) buyers look primarily at the auctions. I might go as far as to question why anyone would join DPW and not use the unlimited, free auction feature auction at least occasionally.
Other simultaneous exposure opportunities DPW provides are the weekly challenge, the Monthly Contest, and their Facebook picks of the day.
I have had paintings on this site that did not sell here, via auction or buy it now, but have sold in galleries or at shows for quite a bit more than I was asking for them on here. The “market” is all relative to where & who, and even when. I always look to cover my costs for any website with my sales - anything after that is extra (supplies).