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Very slow sales. Should I start auctions at $1.00?

I was selling on a fairly regular basis until about 2 weeks ago when everything came to a screeching halt. I haven’t sold a painting since the 4th…about 2 weeks ago. I’m trying to think of everything i could to make sales but nothing is happening at all. This kind of thing has happened many times before but not usually this long. is anyone else having a sales drought like this too?
I’m thinking about starting my bidding at $1.00 like I did one other time. The only thing is, most of my sales were lower than I wanted. I am highly dependent on my sales so I have to do something. I’m already listing in about 12 facebook groups and my blog. None of that social media stuff seems to work though.
I wish there were other venues like this one to sell on but other ones that I’ve tried are not very good.

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No sales for me either. It’s been longer than two weeks as well. Not sure what is going on, it certainly knocks a persons confidence. Just have to keep trying here, as well as other avenues, I guess. I am not sure the $1 bid is the best way, as one is obliged to sell to a bidder, even if the bid is so low, one ends up at a loss. I note there are quite a few people doing that on the DPW auctions.

I am comfortable selling my work through auction starting at a bargain price. This keeps some activity going to my gallery but I set the price at a value that would not leave me feeling upset if it sold for that amount. Setting it at below cost like $1 would not work for me.

Thanks Joseph and Gary for your replies. I really like both of your painting styles. We all seem to have the same price point…around 35 to 40 dollars. I also see that none of us has sold any paintings lately too,
If I had plenty of other income besides my art, I would set the prices higher and not even worry if I made sales or not. But that’s not the case with me. I am highly dependent on selling my artwork. I think some other people here are too or else they wouldn’t set their prices low too.
I have tried for years to figure out why sales stop so suddenly but I think that I will never know the answer to that. All i can do is try to figure out what to do when that happens. So far I haven’t had a good answer to that either. If I ever do figure it out, I will gladly share it with other sellers.
There’s one thing I do know though, is that it’s not always the best art that sells…it’s mostly how well your know and know some tricks of marketing. I have seen many times that some artist with, lets say, mediocre art sell very consistantly and at high prices. I’m still trying to figure that one out too.
Just to be clear, I’m not comparing myself to anyone or anyone to myself. But sometimes I see good art not get sold and lets say sub-par work get sold. Not that I’m claiming to be a curator or anything but I do have my opinions about what’s good and what’s not.
I know that sometimes I make a painting and think I’ll be lucky if that one gets a bid at all and it sells easy, and some that I think are really good and they don’t get sold. It’s so hard to figure. Anyway, I know I’m not the only one here who’s having problems selling. I’m just trying to get some opinions as to why.
Oh and also opinions on price points.

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Hi Bob, your work is top drawer. It’s extremely dispiriting when sales stop. The art business is very fickle at the best of times and I think that art sites are currently not getting as much traffic as previous years, hence less sales or that people are interested in other stuff ? I, like yourself don’t have the answers. Regards. Joe

No. Don’t diminish the value of your work by giving it away. Even if people start bidding on your painting at that low price, the painting will most likely sell for next to nothing. Try promoting your work through other venues. I’ve been reading about how to use Instagram and I think that has potential. Pinterest is also a good place to promote your work. Both options take some time and effort to learn and optimize, but that’s part of doing business. That’s my 2 cents worth.

Bob, your observations about sub-par work selling and good work not getting sold are consistent with my own. It is disappointing for sure. During that 1 day that a painting is on the “what’s new” page, it is seen by quite a few people, but 24 hours really isn’t a long time. Once a piece rotates into the gallery, then we have to do other things to get them noticed. That’s where Pinterest and Instagram can be useful.

I study the work and pricing of those who have been successful selling small painting on DPW for a period of time (founders and long-time users). Overall, I see very good works selling in the $100 to $200 range. Those are people who have a following. Some people can get more, but they are also promoting their work in other places (to increase demand, etc.).

Hang in there.

I agree with all of Sharon’s comments, though I don’t have any experience with Instagram or Pinterest and loathe the idea of spending even more time online. Currently there are 50 active auctions–somewhat less than usual, but people are still shopping. Well-known artists like Mark Hanson and those with followings are selling for decent prices; others under-pricing are selling, but the market is tough. I haven’t posted anything new for three weeks, but yesterday I still got an inquiry on a tiny piece that’s been in my gallery forever–the only one I forgot to price. Never heard back after quoting it. The price wasn’t high, but I’m not giving it away. Auctions starting at $1 probably would sell, but not for prices you’d be happy with. The only reason to do it would be to pick up new followers, and I kind of doubt that would yield more sales at higher prices.

Have you sent any kind of promotion to your personal mailing list, reminding them that they can find your work on DPW and possibly get a great deal there? Several of my recent sales have been to friends and local clients, which seems crazy, but I think they have fun bidding.

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My sales are way way down but I will not lower my prices. My prices are low as it is. I even have a couple of ACEO’s for only 7.00 each and I mail them out with a small stand too. I’m getting lots of views so the people are there…they just aren’t buying!

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I’m not very experienced with the auctions, but I’ve noticed selling my art on Etsy in conjunction with DPW is a good fit for me. I get viewers and sales from both, but sell mostly through Etsy. Posting often helps too. August was my best month ever, at 18 sold. my prices are relatively low, from $28 to $70. But I’m comfortable with those prices for now. I’m getting a bit of a following. Five sales so far this month, with one commission in the works. But there are ebbs and flows in the market. I do hope they pick up for everyone soon.

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I don’t post on Facebook or Instagram, but I do have an art board of my work on Pinterest, that leads back to Etsy and DPW.

I feel your pain Bob. My sales are nil as well. Starting at $1 may bring in some sales but not at a price you’ll be happy with; may not even cover materials. Most of my research says you need to connect with your audience. Blogs, newsletters, descriptions where you can share details about yourself, your inspiration, etc. on a regular basis. I keep checking out the high sellers to see what they do. But art is not groceries and it does have it’s ups and downs like any retail. Keep painting.

You cannot learn anything if you price a painting at one dollar. Ostensibly it might garner some bidding interest or the person who picked up a painting at that price might like it enough to come back some other time and purchase one at a higher price, but that is no more than speculation. Most people are concerned with shelter, food and all of the other necessities then perhaps they might consider entertainment and absolutely last, purchasing art. Bear in mind also that only some %2 of pieces up for auction sell and in any specific category at any time maybe up to %14 might have sold, so in general not much art actually sells on Daily Paintworks. A small number of artists seem to account for most of the sales and they have a combination of quality, desirable work, a following and in some cases lower prices, but not always.

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A starting bid of $1 does no good for you or the artists’ community as a whole. It’s debases your efforts and appears as if you don’t value what you do - and if you don’t value your work don’t expect others to at that price. Would you really feel any better if you sold a piece for a dollar than if you didn’t sell it at all? I suspect you may feel worse.

Being highly dependent on sales of art is risky. It’s a fickle marketplace. Always has been and always will be. But I notice it’s not like you don’t have any sales. In fact, out of 525 paintings you posted, all of them have red dots except for 9. Maybe that’s the problem. Too many pieces unavailable and not enough available.


Thank you all for your opinions. I’m convinced now that it’s not a good idea to start my paintings so low.
Rafael, That makes sense that I don’t have many paintings available. I can only paint so fast though. If I had my prices much higher, I guess it would take long to sell them but when they sell, they would get higher prices.
Peter, A few months ago, I also did some math and found that only 2% of auction listings were selling. I was quite surprised to see so many not selling. I’m glad you came up with that figure too, to confirm it. And like you said, that 2% includes the people who sell frequently. The question often comes up about weather it’s better to sell on a selling site or to sell on your own website or blog. I still haven’t come to any conclusion on that yet. But I think it is kind of a matter or trust, being on a site with other artists.
Roberta, Etsy has never been good for me, although I’ve never linked DPW with it or any other sources for that matter. Maybe I’ll give that a try. I do have an Etsy account with some drawings on it.
Patricia, I hope it picks up for you soon too. It’s not good news to hear that anyone has slow sales but I’m glad it’s not just me.
Connie, As far as the mailing list goes, I do have a Mailchimp account. I have it set up that when I post a new painting on my blog, it automatically gets sent out to my mailing list. I really have to manage that though. I have pictures in the newsletter that are old. I think I need to show only the latest painting and some text about any news about my latest works and maybe a video show myself painting.
Sharon, I’m always putting it on my daily notes to use instagram. I have an Instagram account and a Pinterest account but I usually have a hard time finding time to use them. I hear a lot of talk lately and read a lot about the potential of Instagram as a marketing tool and I think it is. About a month ago I used instagram for a few days and I got sales and more activity when I used it. I don’t know if that was just coinsidence or not but something worked. The only thing I don’t like is have to use the hashtags and that you can’t have a link on each post. You can have a link in the profile but that only leads to your main page or DPW or whereever you want it to be I guess. Anyway I think Pinterest and Instagram are worth it. I even got a book at the library about using Instagram and it’s potential.

Anyway, Thanks everyone for your input. I once heard that if you want to succeed in selling your art, you have to use 20% of your time painting and 80% marketing. I’m starting to believe that’s true.


I hate to say it, but… Whatever happens at the Stock Market has a huge rippling effect throughout other markets that includes the art market. Lately, that “beloved” Stock Market has been taking some very bumpy rides and it, too, has affected my art sales.


Great observation, Mary! Beyond the big 2008 recession, I never thought of that, but I’m sure you’re right. And the market has been terrible since the 588-point dive on August 24!

I can understand that to an extent but does that mean that everyone who buts art, also buys stocks? Also, I have made sales about 10 days after Aug. 24th.

Bob, thanks for starting this discussion, which has generated lots of good insights on the need for marketing our work in different ways. With so many social (time consuming) options available–Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy, blogs, websites, Instagram, etc.–settling on a combination that works makes sense to me. Finding that combination does take time, research, and effort.

I post my artwork on Facebook, but I don’t use that venue to “market” my work. It is a good way for me to let people know what I’m doing, though. I’m starting to use Instagram, and I have a blog that directs people back to DPW if they want to buy a painting. Instagram doesn’t take a lot of time and the posts are relevant for as long as I keep my account active. I’m also reading a book on how to use Instagram for marketing. And I’m active on Pinterest, but I think I could learn to use that platform to better advantage.

I’m also starting to think there might be some advantage to increasing visibility where I live. I do primarily landscape, and local people are apt to be more interested in what I paint. I might make finding a couple of places to display my artwork a goal for 2016.

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In a nutshell. NO.
The $1 start only works if there is a reserve price. It gets the bidding going and you don’t have to sell unless the bids reach your reserve. This is not available on DPW. (Psssst Wish it was DAVID!). Also it is only a good strategy in a healthy economy. Forget about attracting new buyers because that kind of buyer is not loyal to you or your work. Since I have made the business decision to set a fair value on my work, my DPW sales have dropped like a stone but I don’t care. Unless you value yourself no-one else will. I could sell 60 paintings for $1 each and work like a slave, be depressed and lose money on supplies, or I could sell one painting for $60, cover my supplies and feel valued: I choose the latter.

The only people I know that are making a living with their painting are those that are brilliant marketers and spend the majority of their time (90%) on and off line working on that aspect of their business. Either that, or they have hired an agent, marketer or Gallery to do the selling for them.

The best strategy is to work on improving your skills in all aspects of the business, be kind to yourself and spend time doing things that make you happy. Try not to get obsessed with your art sales even if it’s your only income, it never helps sales.