Guide on How to Make Money From Your Art For Free, From Start to Finish

It's time to take your scribbles and squiggles and turn them into cash by selling your art online, and now it can be done at no cost to you. Do you like to draw? Paint? Did you know that you can earn money with your hobby and not be a professional artist?

Thanks to the Internet and the improvements in technology, almost anyone can self-publish their work, be it a book or a painting. One of the biggest new markets that is offered through the Internet is Print On Demand, sometimes known as Publish On Demand (POD, for its acronym in English). In short, POD is when a manufacturer provides the raw material (paper, coffee cup, shirt, etc.) and you provide the content (writing, painting, graphics, etc.) Some POD providers even provide you with a store or gallery online to sell, some free, while others charge a very small monthly fee.They are responsible for manufacturing, shipping and billing the product, but it is up to you to create the content and manage the marketing.

While setting my own art store, PackRat Graphics on Zazzle, I did the same research that I probably work on now.With sharing some of the information I gathered on this blog, I hope it will save you some time and frustration.I will assume that you already know how make the media of your choice, but how do you get it on the computer and on the Internet for others to see and buy?

Where to sell your art online?

While there Many different Print On Demand editors available, during m and research I reduce my options to RedBubble, Imagekind, Zazzle and CafePress. I will not make a comparison pro and contra of the POD editors available; others have already done it and have done a much better analysis than I could. But if you want to see the numbers, visit the following review website, Art Business Advice

. Each print-on-demand service has its own strengths and weaknesses, and is aimed at different crowds, markets and artists. But for fine art prints, RedBubble and ImageKind have already established themselves with the leaders of that particular market. These two well established artistic communities, with a large number of members and very good rates of Internet traffic, but I was looking to achieve a wider market share than simply "fine art" and, in general, I lean more towards Design Graphic instead of traditional fine art. Finally I settled on Zazzle. Zazzle and CafePress offer other types of products in addition to beautiful art prints, but Zazzle offers you an unlimited gallery with as many products as you can design, for free. CafePress is better known, but for a full gallery or store you must pay around $ 7 per month. But I was interested in the challenge of starting an online business for the lowest possible cost, so I went with Zazzle. You may open a CafePress store in the future to try it out.

Once you decide what kind of artwork you will sell, and what market you want to target, it will be easier to limit your choices of which POD distributor you will use.

Get your art on your computer

Ok, now that you know WHERE and WHAT you're going to sell, HOW are you going to get it there? Here is a checklist of the things you will need.

Computer

required * (if I did not list it, someone would point it out)

* Internet connection

* photo editing program

Like you When reading this, the computer and the requirements of Internet connection are already solved, so there is only one thing left, a photo editing program.

Many people think of PhotoShop when they read "photo editing program", and if you already have it that's great, you're good to go. And I'm sorry, but I do not count Microsoft Paint as an editing program. So let's continue with the blog topic and examine some alternatives.

My number one recommendation is GIMP. I use it more than Photoshop Elements. GIMP and PhotoShop Elements have their strengths and are useful for different things. GIMP can be a little confusing at first, since the program operates through "blocks", separate windows depending on the function. For example, the toolbox, the image and the layers will be in their own separate windows. It requires a bit of minimizing and maximizing at times, but since it's free, it's worth the cost. It is even compatible with a tablet and a pencil if you want to paint or draw directly on the computer.

If GIMP seems a bit intimidating or complex, a simpler alternative is Paint.NET. Using it is pretty self explanatory. If you are interested in vector graphics such as Corel Draw, a free alternative is Inkscape. Even if you do not intend to produce commercial products with him, it's still fun to play with him.

With this collection of programs, you can do almost everything that someone else can do with PhotoShop, whether you're editing photos or creating computer graphics from scratch, but at least you still have some money left.

Scanner

* optional

* digital camera

These are listed as optional because it depends on which medium you are working with. Neither is obviously needed if you are concentrating strictly on computer graphics. But if your media is painting or drawing, you will need access to one or the other. If you plan to simply make some pieces of art, it would be cheaper to pay for a service to scan them (Wal-mart, Kinkos, etc.). But since I believe that you should create digital backups of any serious work of art anyway, I consider it a cost of living expense and not a commercial expense. And the need for a digital camera depends again on the media it is working on and, of course, on its ability to use it.

HERE I have already compiled a broader list of open source and free programs that I think are useful to have. And if you are interested in expanding into 3D graphics, HERE is an introductory article that I wrote that can provide useful information. These two links belong to the pages of my website PackRat Graphics.com.

Is it all it takes to sell art online?

Therefore, you should now choose your POD, some editing programs, and you have your art creations. So, is it just to log in, upload your work, publish your products and you're done? Is it time to sit back, relax and wait for the money to arrive after all your hard work creating your art?

No, I'm sorry, it's not even halfway there. The Internet is incredibly HUGE, and your gallery or product page is a small stain on the World Wide Web. No one will know about your work unless YOU tell them. Some PODs are part of the job for you, making your gallery appear in a search engine, but only if someone searches for the exact name of your gallery or shopping page. Luckily, this is not the place where you can count when I tell you that creating your art is only half the work involved. You can, and probably will, spend more than half of your marketing and "business time" networks, and NOT do nice things like painting or drawing.

Is it still there? Good.

The marketing and networking side of a business on the Internet is going to be something you must do, whether you have put money in your online business or not. For Print On Demand products, there are some specialized marketing strategies just for this. For example, Zazzle partnered with Facebook, allowing what is called a Merch Store application to use to promote your stuff. Java applications can be put on your MySpace page, blog or website to show your stuff (just do not use Spam on MySpace or Facebook, that's rude and you'll suspend your MySpace account).

CafePress also has some affiliate applications for both of these social networking sites. And some of the POD communities have, by themselves, created and established strictly separate websites to promote POD designers and artists in particular.

The larger POD communities work together to promote each other, and even reward you for referrals. Then do not be all Me! I! I! Imagine being paid when you do not even sell your product because it provided a link to SOMEONE'S work in your gallery, website or blog. So become active in the communities of your POD, make friends, socialize and start building your network. It takes time, so I'm telling you now, do not expect big changes overnight.

How much time you spend on marketing is up to you, but always consider that marketing is one of those activities that you only get what you put. A little effort = little reward, a lot of effort = a lot of reward. There are several strategies you can do to help you expose yourself.

Blogs: for now, it shows that blogs are IT when it comes to exhibition and promotion. There are a variety of free blog providers available, and if you decide to create a blog to promote and market, you will have to learn something called search engine optimization (SEO). This is one of those things that determine whether you're on the main page of a search or on page 120. Blogs with good SOEs are close to the front and they get all the traffic. And in Internet marketing traffic is the number one goal, the end of everything. Even a stick man drawn with a crayon will sell if he has enough traffic and enough people see it. To learn SEO and apply it to blogs, I have not found a better place to read almost everything this guy writes; Blogger Basics

It also provides some good advice on where and how to start promoting your blog, with several article registration sites and link exchanges. The following are other sites that you might consider incorporating into your marketing mix.

Squidoo: It's very similar to a blog, but it seems to be more focused on shopping, commercial promotion and money, and that's exactly what you want. They even have modules to incorporate in their lens, Amazon, eBay, de.icou.us, etc. Your website is called a lens, and you can not only promote your own products but also others. The more related content you have in your lens, the more chances you will appear in a search.

Spynbuy: is a social selling site. Think of it as the yellow pages of online businesses, but in addition to using regular text ads, you can make images and even video ads of your products.

Thisnext.com: a website to discover, recommend, share and promote products. Something like Digg but for products. It also allows commercial broadcasting on your website or blog.

Research product Related promotion / shopping sites: there are several shopping sites focused on products, whether t-shirts or works of art.

Digg and Stumbleupon: if it's compatible with your gallery, at least install it on your blog or lens if you have one, it will not hurt.

Google Base: one of the first things I suggest is to see if your POD gallery and your products are compatible Google Base (allows the use of RSS feeds). When registering a feed in Base, enter your products directly in Google Product Search. It also provides reports on how often your product is displayed in a search, and if the search engine clicked on your product (s). Very useful to determine what your "dead" products are and what your active products are in case you have problems with gallery size or storage. Product searches are based on the attributes that you attach to your product. Attributes or keywords help search bots identify what type of product they have and where to place it in a search.

Example, for the fantasy painting of a dragon, the key words or attributes can be;

medieval mythological dragon fantasy "dragon art" "dragon illustration"

"fantasy creatures", etc. …..

It is very important to keep their attributes related, the search bots are smart and will mark your product as Spam and will not include it if they over-excite or exaggerate it. keywords. Google Base has an excellent help section that can help you configure your product feed correctly or see your POD forums.

Zone of website owners: free social network for web owners to make friends while they learn to increase traffic, SEO and exchange links / banners, earn money and more.

And this is just a small portion of some of the marketing strategies and mixes that are available for free on the internet. Just keep in mind the market you are targeting and adjust your promotions accordingly.

Miscellaneous Tips-n-Tips:

* PayPal: especially useful if you live outside the United States and your POD is in the US. UU This way you can avoid the change charge from your local bank.

* RSS Feeds: feeds allow repeat visits to your sites / blogs. Repeat business is good! Even if the visitor does not buy anything the first 25 times he visits his site, he can buy something for the twentieth time. And even those non-affordable visits are useful for you; It shows the search engines that your site is active and in use.

* Email: it is simply a concept of useful business organization. Set up a free email account with the name of your company / gallery. Even if you do not have a real-life business and only do it for fun, the separate email account is very useful for keeping your company's email and account activities separate from your personal life.

* EBay: a lot of PODs are not directly compatible with joining EBay, but if you want to go through the problem you can buy your own product, then turn it around and post it on EBay, if it's a good advertisement.

* I will list more tips or tricks as I discover them.

As you can see, marketing and networks can take a lot of time and effort. 2/3 of this article deals with these two topics, with only a third on how and where you can sell your art.

Selling your art on the web will reward you with exactly what you put on it. The more you commercialize and connect, the more chances you will have to make a sale. But after that first sale you can end up spending all your free time thinking about new ways to market your product and how to make it notice so you can get more sales. However, keep in mind that the first sale may not happen for weeks, or it may happen the first day. But there is nothing like the feeling of knowing that someone was willing to pay for something YOU did.

If you have any questions or want to clarify any of the above, I will do my best to provide a response or more information as necessary.

Sell your art online; Make money doing something you enjoy, all without having to spend money to do it, how can it be better than that?

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