7 Books to Help You Market and Sell Your Art

You may find yourself feeling a bit lost once you decide you want to try to turn your enjoyable passion for painting into a career. Whether you've made only a few sales or many, you need to keep track of them, determine how to price your work, decide how to market your work to make more sales, how to use the internet and social media, how to approach galleries, select shows that are worthwhile entering, make business cards, decide whether you want to license your work, blog, pay taxes, and the list goes on and on. It can be overwhelming.

Fortunately today there are more ways than ever to succeed as an artist and there are artists who have been through the experience before you, as well as experts in various art fields who have written some very informative and helpful books to help you navigate the art business world and ​the ever-changing art market. Below are seven books, in no particular order, that will help you become successful as a professional artist and keep you inspired and motivated.

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, by Austin Kleon, is an inviting book full of good advice ​and engaging illustrations that you will feel compelled to read through in one sitting. Among other gems of advice, Kleon advocates being generous with your work and letting others see your creative process, encouraging you to share something small with your audience every day. This is the way that you will get "discovered" and in the process develop a community of people who truly appreciate your work, while at the same time fueling your own creativity. 

Guerrilla Marketing for Artists: How to Build a Bulletproof Career to Thrive in Any Economy, by Barney Davey, gives you solid sound advice about how to take charge of your own career by establishing your goals, planning and implementing your marketing strategies, building relationships, and developing your client base so that you always have a thriving career. According to the author, "This book is about learning how to take control of your art career... to become the master of your own destiny in ways never possible to previous generations of artists. I say seize the day and get started bulletproofing your career today!"

If you are intent on getting your work into galleries, "Starving" to Successful: The Fine Artist's Guide to Getting Into Galleries and Selling More Art (2009), written by J. Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ,  gives you practical advice about how to go about getting gallery representation, organizing your work and presentation, and the gallery/artist relationship.

How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist, by Caroll Michaell (2009) is now in its sixth edition and includes a chapter on internet art marketing. It is filled with helpful information for the self-employed artist, ranging from presentation, marketing, pricing, and exhibiting to ​grant-writing and dealing with art dealers, along with an index of other art resources. This classic book dispels the notion of the starving artist, showing you how you can become financially successful as an artist. 

Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist, by professional artist Lisa Congdon is a useful toolbox of both practical advice and encouragement for the artist who is just starting out as well as one who wants to develop their career further. Written and illustrated in an engaging and accessible manner, the book provides ideas for different ways to make money with your art interspersed with interviews with artists who have done so. From setting up your business to promotion, marketing, selling, pricing. exhibiting, licensing, and much more, this book covers the essentials of the business of being an artist.​

The Business of Being an Artist (2015), by art writer Daniel Grant, now in its fifth edition, is a practical book that covers much of what is important when working as a professional artist. The book covers everything from marketing, pricing, and working with dealers and agents, to writing artist statements, to licensing your work, to tax issues, to the safety of art materials, and more. It is an indispensable guide to the reality of the business of being an artist. 

ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career (2009), by Heather Darcy Bandhari, a gallery director, and Jonathan Melber, an arts lawyer is a book that will help every artist become more organized and professional. The book includes useful advice about the business of art as well as templates for contracts, invoices, and inventory, along with the perspectives of other artists and art professionals.