Is finding a publisher part of your plan? We detail below what becoming published really means and the steps you need to take in order to get yourself noticed and potentially finding the right deal and a good passive income.
What do Publishers’ do? Publishers represent fine artists and seek to sell their work to wholesalers, retail and mainstream buyers. Besides sourcing artwork, art print publishers also design, art direct, print, market, sell, license and distribute fine art prints. Generally, art print publishers specialise. They either concentrate on open-edition prints, commonly called posters or limited edition prints. Digital reproductions marketed as giclees are what most limited edition publishers work with.
The Basics – Generally Artists’ work is licensed for a set number of years (usually 3-5). Re-licensing sometimes occurs if an artwork gains huge popularity. During this time you hold the copyright to the image, BUT (usually) gives exclusive licensing to the Publisher. Artists are paid via royalties. For example: The royalty for an open edition print might be 10% of the wholesale cost, limited editions usually are higher upwards to 40% of the wholesale. Special licensing projects vary and may even be a flat fee. When a publisher finds a body of work from a new artist, they work with them to “pre-select” 20-50 images that get forwarded to a selection committee. It is the committee’s job to narrow down the artworks to around 10-15, of which they will place in their catalogue and market to their wholesale art buyers.
How do I approach a Publisher and get myself noticed? – Most large publishers have art scouts that do the legwork of visiting galleries, fairs and exhibitions and searching the internet for new talent. Make a plan to participate in as many events as possible, your goal is to get seen.
- Make sure you have a website where your work can be found
- Create an online blog/portfolio
- Join Artist Associations
- Get to Art Fairs
- Submit your work regularly to chosen publishers following their application process to the letter. Keep your application to the point, make sure you include contact information, website details, artist biography and a statement.
- Be prepared to receive rejections; publishers have narrow criteria and they may already have an artist with your style, or your style is not right for their buyers. Some artwork is better suited to galleries. Be prepared to re-submit after a year with a new body of work.
- Keep up to date with interior design trends and general design trends. Publishers work 6-12 months in advance of the consumer market.
- Good news usually comes by phone!
- Believe in yourself and have courage
- Find the right publisher and look for the best
- Look at art.com to see what types of Artist are getting published
- Look for art close to your genre and reach out
- Follow artists who are published already