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hillrune
12-14-2004, 09:07 AM
Sorry if you are reading this to find out how to start a bidding war. Or should I say how to become a collected artist. I imagine many of you already are. That's why I'm writing. So you can tell me.

I see art online that is listed really low at the beginning of the day, but something happens and suddenly the price is where the artist wants it to be. Or way higher than he ever dreamed.

I need to know how to get that for myself! I can't wait for the day when more than one person wants to buy my art on eBay. (Don't get me wrong- one purchase is welcome after all)

But I see prices go up and up and I want it to happen to me. When I list really low I have to think twice. Do I really want to sell this piece at that price? If I can say "okay" then it stays like it is with the hope of someone coming along to raise it. So far nothing like that has happened.

I know I just started selling online and nobody knows me yet. I know there's lots of art much better than mine.

But I want to bypass time, skill, trust and get there now...

I hope you can see that I am being silly and have probably answered my own question.

But come on what's the secret? How do I start a bidding war?

Fagan
12-14-2004, 10:38 AM
.......waiting for this answer.......... :D

andymathis
12-14-2004, 11:08 AM
Shilling would work . . . until you get caught. . . then it's go to jail, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. :D

CarlyHardy
12-14-2004, 11:46 AM
I don't think there is a way to create an instant interest that leads to bidding wars. I do think it takes persistence...study of the marketplace...a willingness to take risks...steady output of art....fresh ideas....and sticking with a plan until you see it thru. And then it takes persistence and more persistence and sometimes just plain ole' luck :)

There is no magic wand that can be waved and foresee what the public will catch onto next. My daughter is studying visual marketing and is always telling me..."create your own fad - don't wait to see what it will be". If I could figure out how to do that, I'll share....then we can all be ahead of the game on Ebay! :D

carly

conrad00
12-14-2004, 12:09 PM
I think the key is to be flexible and be prepared to follow the lead of the successful sellers in your category. If you're happy to adapt your art to meet the demand rather than saying 'this is what I do and if it doesn't sell then I'm not going to change it' then I think this puts you in a much stronger position. Of course, it's a question of balancing cynical business strategy with artistic integrity and everyone has their own balance which they feel comfortable with.

Certainly though you see a lot of art on ebay which is obviously produced to meet an existing demand that's been demonstrated by the success of other sellers, and often that's the stuff with the multiple bids whilst more original works struggle.

That's my two pennies' worth anyway, though I'm definitely not claiming to be an expert here :D

dorith
12-14-2004, 12:56 PM
here's what it takes:

time - you need to build a following of sorts, so that you'll have more than one person interested in the auction.
money - you need to be willing to pay for advertising for your auction, just like selling in a store or on a marketplace: if people don't know you're there, they won't come looking for you. just waiting for a chance encounter probably will take longerand cost you more in the long run.
persistance - getting frustrated is part of the online selling game - giving up will just take you out of the game.
strategy - listing in a not very well known category, without pictures, with a bad item description, once a month would not be considered a good strategy. the most important factor to selling well is SELLING! :)
since the marketplace online is quite full of artists trying to sell, you need to find something that will make you stand out above the rest (sorry, sounds snobby - but that's just regular marketing schmooze) - if you're selling the same thing that everybody else is selling, you'll need to find something that sets you apart from them - prefereably something good, of course :). and if it's just a loud voice that gets you more attention, that's fine too - as long as it accomplishes what you are trying to do, namely sell your work.
it would be a perfect world, if all we had to do was paint nice paintings and people would run our doors down to buy it - but that ain't happening...
so, besides the obvious of having a certain skill level to actually create, you'll also need a certain skill/savvyness when it comes to selling your work - and keep in mind, what works for one person might not work for the next.
a good starting point would be to build a customer base for your work - past buyers, people you know, people you don't know - think of how to reach them in a way that will stimulate their interest in your auctions.
yep - that will cost a bit of money ahead of earning any, so, depending on your situation, your strategy might need to look completely different.

stribb
12-14-2004, 01:31 PM
Yes you need to create a customer base and from there a MAILING LIST. Every time you sell a piece of work or someone shows an interest ask them if they would like to go on your e-mailing list whereby you contact them at regular (but not too regular) intervals to keep them up to date with new work etc. Important to stress the difference between an opt-in mailing list and the dreaded spam. These people positively want to be on your mailing list and you must remove them at any time they request it. You must then have an online presence apart from your auctions ie a website . If you haven't already got one, get one, they are free - if you don't know how to do it ask here. Obviously you will put details about yourself on the website but the important thing is to invite people who visit your website to subscribe to your mailing list. You add these e-mail addresses to a mailing list in the address book in Outlook Express (again it's easy). You then just wait to build up your mailing list and then every time you list a painting you just mail the mailing list (one click) and all interested parties will at least be aware that you have a painting for sale. Remember it only takes two to have a bidding war.
Good luck!

hillrune
12-14-2004, 02:37 PM
What down to earth advice! It all makes sense and has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking. Experience is a wonderful thing. Nice of you all to share yours with me.

My husband is always saying "patience" - if only I had some!

But truthfully the best time for me is when I am painting. Then it's not me trying to lure in the wide world of the internet, but me and the canvas in front of me (and in my case my great big imagination).

I guess what I am trying to say is...I fret most when my hands are not working.

Mary

arteitaliana
12-14-2004, 02:48 PM
Art that sells well on ebay is mostly decorative. Strong colors, large sizes...art that fills the spot on the wall.
Very successful sellers, the ones who get good prices and "bidding wars" do so in a variety of ways, including mailing lists, outside advertising, listing FP in two categories, banners....they spend a lot of money in making their product visible. ..they are great marketers and very prolific painters.

ElizaLeahy
12-15-2004, 02:45 AM
You add these e-mail addresses to a mailing list in the address book in Outlook Express (again it's easy). You then just wait to build up your mailing list and then every time you list a painting you just mail the mailing list (one click) and all interested parties will at least be aware that you have a painting for sale.


I don't use Outlook but I do use Eudora and it has an address book that I'm sure works the same way.

If you do the above you will be sending out everyones email address on the list with the email - that is spam of the worst sort because it gives other people access to the emails.

Use Yahoo groups to create a group for yourself, or, better still, if you have a web host for your site with your own domain name you should have access to your own mailing list soft ware through your control panel.

(Forgive me if I'm wrong about Outlook, but I don't think I am)

Eliza

kiwicockatoo
12-15-2004, 08:44 AM
I think the key is to be flexible and be prepared to follow the lead of the successful sellers in your category. If you're happy to adapt your art to meet the demand rather than saying 'this is what I do and if it doesn't sell then I'm not going to change it' then I think this puts you in a much stronger position. Of course, it's a question of balancing cynical business strategy with artistic integrity and everyone has their own balance which they feel comfortable with.

Certainly though you see a lot of art on ebay which is obviously produced to meet an existing demand that's been demonstrated by the success of other sellers, and often that's the stuff with the multiple bids whilst more original works struggle.
:D

I don't quite share this philosopy. From what I've seen on ebay, it's the niche people who make the money. You need to find something very unique, that you do very well, that other people want. You won't make money following trends. For example cats - everyone is always trying to do cats because they are popular, but few get the huge bucks like Tasha does. It also helps if you are the "first" doing it. Which means the people who have been around ebay for a long time doing cats do better than people who jump on the bandwagon and do them to follow a trend.

I think you have to find your niche, and then settle down for the long run. It takes a long time to get going on ebay.

You need to have "wow" factor. Nudes, landscapes, cats - everyone and their dog is doing them, if yours are simply "good", but don't have that "wow" factor, the buyer is just going to move on, because there is soooo much competition on ebay, and they know they can take their time browsing. I think these days ebay is getting to be too hard a nut to crack.

conrad00
12-15-2004, 09:33 AM
Well I said I'm not an expert ;)

Guess I was thinking of a specific kind of situation I've seen on the UK site and generalising a bit too much. I tend just to live in my own little corner of the ebay art world :D

laurali
12-15-2004, 09:52 AM
Bidding wars are very exciting. After a couple years of trying to inspire this, however, I gave up on the idea and instead started listing with higher opening bids (so even one bid is something I can live with). Sometimes, they bid up.

So, that's another strategy to try (especially if you don't have the funds to FP/Double FP).

As far as adapting your art to the market, this is an individual thing for each artist. If you stumble on something that sells well, there's nothing wrong with painting more :-). Then, it's your thing. It seldom works to attempt to imitate someone else's success (plus, you run the risk of alienating other artists who could be great colleagues or mentors). Even with my very small success on eBay, I've run into that and it doesn't make you feel good to finally be gaining ground and have your emerging market killed by lower-priced ripoffs.

Laura

hillrune
12-15-2004, 11:26 AM
I think I know what you all are saying and in each post there is something that is worth remembering. Sometimes it makes me think about things that are off the subject. Like how artists often paint cats because cats like to gather where art is being created. Dogs too for that matter.

It's true that competition is fierce on eBay. There's some really good art out there. Some of it looks terrific in the small graphic that's viewable and some of it might look better in real life.

Art can be handicapped by the limits of monitor viewing. For instance I got a jolt when I saw the Wyeths' artwork in Pennsylvania. My only exposure until then was through prints in books. What a difference that made in my perception of their creative abilities. There was something missing in the book prints that the originals project. Now it carries through even to the prints since I have seen the real thing.

I'm a fan of paint and how it lays on the canvas and seems to groove with the other colors next to it. Sometimes that "wow" is muted through the medium of tiny photos on the internet. You don't feel the need to reach out and touch and ooo and ahh at a simple glob of paint.

Some of the paintings that look really good (with lots of oooomph) might look flat and unappealing to me up close. I've noticed that some colors come across really well compared to others. Also pale delicate paintings and drawings don't call out like the more emphatic ones do.

So there is truly an art to painting to sell online. Different aspects to deal with. Like when you put on a stage show you must also deal with distance to the audience and bright lights. Selling online might be like trying to maximize the positive and leaving the negative out! Ha!

I can do that. Or die trying...for now that is. I am focused on making this work. In my case I think my artwork needs a wider audience than the people who live around me. Though south Louisiana is a great place and freer in thinking than most places it is still more traditional than my art.

I love all the replies. Thank you for your help, Mary

CarlyHardy
12-15-2004, 11:49 AM
This thread rates 5 Stars!! Hope all of you will rate it...I just did :)

carly

(High rated threads are easy to find by clicking on the Ratings link at the top of the columns)

dorith
12-15-2004, 02:36 PM
Hi Mary,

Some of the paintings that look really good (with lots of oooomph) might look flat and unappealing to me up close. I've noticed that some colors come across really well compared to others. Also pale delicate paintings and drawings don't call out like the more emphatic ones do.


that is probably true - for example:
when i use certain dark, transparent reds, those hardly will show up in the digital photos, no matter how hard we try to adjust the colors in photoshop to reflect the real painting.

also, when trying to sell online, i think that the colors might possibly be more important than for example the texture of the painting - simply because texture is really hard to photograph...plus, though the more time involving paintings have a whole different aura to them, especially when done in layers of transparent paint (talking about oils specifically), but those are not neccessarily the ones that will sell for the higher prices.

to put it in a nutshell: - if you are out to make a statement about your skills as an artist, your expertise and how beautiful the colors of your multilayered painting glow, you might not see the prices hoped for, simply because a) ebay buyers might not be the most discerning crowd of art specialists - they just want a pretty picture to put in their house, and b) the more involved paintings take longer to paint, might not come across as well when viewed in the listings (i.e. the colors don't "pop" out at the viewer among all the other paintings), and because of that will cost you more investment timewise and marketingwise.

the online market for art is a whole different world from real life galleries.
i've seen many excellent paintings in real life, that would not bring a hill of beans on ebay and vice versa.
so, comparing the two is like comparing apples to cruise ships...
and ebay in itsself is a whole different world from other art places as well.
in a way, selling on ebay is just that - a specific niche market, that has it's own rules, regulations (tons of those :) ) and habits and customs. if you can mesh those together and bend your art to fit there, you should do really well. trying to bend ebay around your own style of selling or painting on the other hand is an enormous effort and bound to be a disappointing experience.
that's where the color/texture/aura thing comes in: for example: i would love to do a few highly textured pieces, but knowing the drying times for a painting like that, makes it impossible and impractical for me to even contemplate trying it to sell them on ebay. devoting more than a day to a painting to sell on ebay just is not a smart business decision on my part, simply because my prices would not reflect the extra time spent on that and taken from three other paintings i could do in that time.
sure, if given the time (sweet luxury that must be :) ) it would be the greatest to layer and layer to my heart's content - but would that piece fetch me three or four times of what a faster piece gets at the moment? probably not, so it would be unwise to attempt it at the moment.
simple business decision - not one out of my "art heart".

it probably all depends on what your goals are for selling on ebay - if you can distance yourself enough from your art to be un-emotional about it, you might do better, because your end prices will not affect you in your painting - you can then just make "business decisions" instead of "art heart" decisions.
of course, if you just want to pour out your heart and make a little bit of money on the side, that will take a whole different approach than the first.
and might be more difficult, because in addition to having to cater to your own feelings (that might get hurt by a low ending price or whatever), you'll also have to cater to the business side of things - that will be a struggle from the get-go. not impossible, but stressful if you actually depend on the prices to be high at the end, because it's your income that feeds your kids.

perhaps the best way to accomplish success is to have a combined strategy - paint what you enjoy, paint in attractive colors, have a great businessplan, have enough money to advertise your auctions and be willing to take setbacks and successes in stride.
and the most important part might be: stay true to yourself as much as possible so you won't feel like you are selling your soul to the devil. :) you just need to figure out which part of those you that you can be flexible on, and which ones you will need to just "do what needs to be done" to get it to work.
not an easy road, but very rewarding, even if you have to dig yourself out of the ditch on the way there a few times :)

conrad00
12-15-2004, 03:38 PM
I think you've probably hit the nail on the head - just want to say I agree with all of that :clap: :D

I've seen plenty of paintings in top London galleries that quickly sell for thousands or tens of thousands of s that would struggle to sell for 20 on eBay. As you say, it's just a different game with different rules. What makes a lot of collectors pay big bucks at a top gallery is the fact that they're buying it at a top gallery. On eBay most people just want something that will look cool on the wall, fill a decent amount of space for their money, and look impressive without standing out too much from the rest of their decor.

And I definitely agree that it's important to balance the time you spend on each piece with the price you can realistically expect it to fetch on eBay. No-one wants to just make a few bucks on a painting that took them two weeks but make a few bucks on one that took half an hour and it's a different matter :)

hillrune
12-15-2004, 07:22 PM
Conni I don't know how to do the "quote" thing but it's so neat to meet you. I have several artists' stores bookmarked to watch and yours is one of them. Your art has interested me more than once.

I agree with much that you said. What's amazing to me is that so much of the art I'm studying online seems to be really fine! I would like to be able to see it in a gallery setting.

Another thing I am trying to learn is how to ship paintings for such low prices. That should probably be another discussion entirely and probably has already been talked about.

All of it adds up though when competing for a buyer's bid. Unfortunately when I compile actual costs to send my art into the world it's much more than most of the shipping costs listed. I am not speaking of your prices at all, just in general. Some of my paintings are big and don't qualify for USPS. What's the secret there?

Mary

hillrune
12-15-2004, 07:32 PM
David (Conrad00),

What you said is very interesting to me. It makes me realize how as artists we are in a position to educate the world about art! Lots of people shop through eBay (which I mention cuz that's all I know) for lots of things. Can you imagine an ordinary person suddenly finding art online! As much art as he or she can imagine exists, right at their fingertips! They also can get a feel for the artists. Some artists pour their hearts and souls into selling their art.

We may not realize the impact we are having on masses of people. Our art may change art as we know it. So what if it doesn't take weeks and months to create. There's a lot to be said about impromtu. Emotion. Vigor. Art doesn't have to be proper or boring. (Not that I don't love all the old masters-and please don't think I am being critical of artists who work slowly and methodically). I am just discussing what I got out of your statement.

Thanks, Mary

Mary

dorith
12-15-2004, 08:05 PM
Hi Mary,

thanks for your kind comments :)

we usually get the free priority mail boxes from the usps site - those are perfect for smaller pieces. for larger paintings we recycle the ones we get when we order canvas - perfect size.
and that box problem might explain why many ebay artists do triptychs and diptychs - easier to ship them.
on larger paintings we do charge more shipping & handling - takes about an hour or longer just to package one painting in a larger size.
to save on time and bother we invested in a label printer - now we just order carrier pick-up through the usps site and put the prepared, stamped boxes in front of the door and don't have to worry about loading them into the car, driving to the postoffice, standing in line for 45 minutes, and explaining everything to the clerks there.
really practical :clap:

conrad00
12-16-2004, 05:40 AM
David (Conrad00),

What you said is very interesting to me. It makes me realize how as artists we are in a position to educate the world about art! Lots of people shop through eBay (which I mention cuz that's all I know) for lots of things. Can you imagine an ordinary person suddenly finding art online! As much art as he or she can imagine exists, right at their fingertips! They also can get a feel for the artists. Some artists pour their hearts and souls into selling their art.

We may not realize the impact we are having on masses of people. Our art may change art as we know it. So what if it doesn't take weeks and months to create. There's a lot to be said about impromtu. Emotion. Vigor. Art doesn't have to be proper or boring. (Not that I don't love all the old masters-and please don't think I am being critical of artists who work slowly and methodically). I am just discussing what I got out of your statement.

Thanks, Mary

Mary

Hi :)
Yes I was thinking the same thing - I used to think that maybe there was a fairly small number of buyers for art on eBay who just kept coming back for more but actually so many buyers seem to be first-timers.

On one level when someone is regularly producing quick abstracts in a very simple style where what they list one week looks very much like what they list another it can seem like maybe that lacks validity in some way. But I bet for the buyers it's a very valid experience - imagine someone browsing eBay who never thought of buying art in their life, then clicking on the art categories maybe just out of boredom or whatever and discovering that they can easily buy a piece of art in the same way as they buy other stuff - maybe for less than they normally pay for a poster in a frame in some fancy department store :) A few days later that person has a real painting hanging on their wall - even if they don't take any more interest in art, every original artwork that's hanging on a wall is adding another dimension to that space and introducing everyone who sees it to the possibilities of owning real art.

I think the more that people come to see buying art as an everyday experience the better. We get so used to the idea that nearly everyone who buys art is 'into art' but we don't expect everyone who owns a car to be 'into cars' :D

wayfarer
12-16-2004, 09:59 AM
If you do the above you will be sending out everyones email address on the list with the email - that is spam of the worst sort because it gives other people access to the emails.

Just one note here. That doesn't have to be the case. With a mailing list, you can add addresses to your address book, create a list using those names, and when you mail out the list, BCC the list name. That way the entire list of names will not be showing up in the header.

Chris

stribb
12-17-2004, 05:36 PM
I don't use Outlook but I do use Eudora and it has an address book that I'm sure works the same way.

If you do the above you will be sending out everyones email address on the list with the email - that is spam of the worst sort because it gives other people access to the emails.

Use Yahoo groups to create a group for yourself, or, better still, if you have a web host for your site with your own domain name you should have access to your own mailing list soft ware through your control panel.

(Forgive me if I'm wrong about Outlook, but I don't think I am)

Eliza

Hi Eliza, I'm afraid you are wrong with Outlook Express about showing all the e-mail addresses which I agree is very bad. there is a feature in the address book called "Blind Carbon Copy" (bcc). You send the message to just one e-mail address (ie ytourself) and then the mailing list goes as bcc so that none of the e-mail addresses are visible to any of the recipients.

David.

hillrune
12-18-2004, 09:56 PM
HOw do I approach the beginning of a mailing list? I know eBay sent a new program last week or so where they will periodically send out emails to people who subscribe. How do I go about getting their permission to add them to a list?

Mary

sandge
12-19-2004, 12:00 PM
I'd rather not have ebay handle my mailing list ... after all, I may want to use it for non-ebay stuff one day! :evil: :D

I use constant contact (http://constantcontact.com/). There's a 60-day free trial ... during which time I found I couldn't cope without it! :rolleyes: So be warned! :D

They have some very good tutorials and advice on mailing lists. They say that if someone has bought from you that's implied consent and you can add them to your list. I have only had 2 people unsubscribe. The other good thing about using a mailing list service is that they do have proper unsubscribe links and they're good for keeping you legal. Plus you get good reports on open and click-through rates that tell you how effective your message was.

CC is free if you have under 50 contacts. It is possible to keep it under 50 by uploading and downloading contacts but I'm too lazy for that. :wink2: I have found that so far it has paid for itself ... and I don't nearly use my mailing list as much as I could.

:)

andymathis
12-19-2004, 12:55 PM
Ditto what Sandra said about Constant Contact- I tried CC after she and others mentioned it on another thread. I sent out my first newsletter two weeks ago and can't wait to do another. It got lots of comments from those who received it about how professional it looked.

hillrune
12-19-2004, 12:59 PM
hey I'll look into it thanks! I will be starting from scratch and I do hate not knowing what I'm doing but this whole eBay thing was a mystery to me.

Sandra, you said it's free for under 50 contacts? that's me! how much is it otherwise?

Mary

sandge
12-19-2004, 01:02 PM
Depends how many contact you have. Here's a link to the pricing info page:
CC pricing (http://constantcontact.com/pricing.jsp).

As I say, it has paid for itself so far. :)