So, I had my photos done (thanks, again to my sister Sheila Currivan). Now I needed to get them posted online for sale. After having a horrendous experience being ripped off at at Zazzle, which is a POD site, I really did some research this time. I even made charts. (sorry I can’t find them anymore)
I researched UGallery, Art Finder, Artmajeur, saatchiart, and a bunch of others. I looked at the percentage, how shipping works, what rights the site has to my work, etc…
I would say that the percentage was a huge part of my decision but I always keep in mind that 100% of zero is still ZERO.
The commissions I have seen range from 35% to 50% except Artmajeur which is 10% unless you have a premium account and then it’s 0%. That was looking really good but I always keep in mind that 100% of zero is still ZERO.
UGallery has a lovely way of handling the shipping. You get a custom made box for your art and it comes to you with the postage on, I believe. That’s VERY convienient. Still, they get 50% if I recall correctly. If I sell a small painting at $500 and pay them $250 of it, is $250 worth the work of finding a box and shipping my art? How much would shipping cost? That needs to be figured in too. Still it’s not work worth $250 and that’s the least expensive of my pieces. Some of the larger pieces with extensive beading which takes months are in the thousands. No, sorry, they can’t have half. But I always keep in mind that 100% of zero is still ZERO.
Some of the sites had unacceptable terms about what rights they own to my work. I can’t find the chart again, as I said, but a couple of them shocked me. I think some sites had the right to use my work even if I closed accounts. I don’t mind if a site uses my art to promote the site and advertise. That’s normal. That promotes me too. But other uses – no way – it’s MY art. From now on I ALWAYS read the fine print.
One of the sites decides your prices – yeah-no, forget that.
So I decided on Artmajeur. Artmajeur is a site based in France. I have found some up-sides and down-sides so far. So far I am VERY HAPPY with them.
On the up-side the commission is 10% or if you have a premium account %0. The premium account is $2.40 a month or $11.50 a month (as of today). You need to buy a year to start. Looking at that small painting again, $500, 10% would be $50 which is more than a years premium membership at the $2.40 level, so I did that, that’s a no brainer. BUT I always keep in mind that 100% of zero is still ZERO. Big fat goose egg, nothing. So we will see how that works out.
Another delightful up-side is the international flavor of the place. Right now, the folks who are “following” me are from:
I don’t think there would be such international exposure on an American site, but that’s just my impression. I mean Morocco! How cool is that?
Another cool thing is that your “Favorites” are called “Collections” and you are their “Curator”. I don’t know if that helps my business any, but it’s still a nice thing.
You can opt to have your art be available as free e-postcards. I think that’s fantastic because it’s a smaller image so it can’t really be ripped off and, by allowing it, people are really promoting your art when they send one. (Send a postcard of my art! Please!)
You can opt to have Artmajeur make prints of your work and ship them. You can set your profit margin however you want and they do all that work. If you choose to sell prints yourself you are not allowed to use their printing. That makes sense, they don’t want confusion for the customers. With my digital work, I have chosen to do some myself and have other pieces printed from the site. I made this choice based on size. The smaller pieces are for them to print on the site because I can’t make a huge profit anyway. The larger pieces I will have printed locally and shipped myself and they will be signed. The very small pieces I left on DeviantArt because they are more suitable for the gift items like mugs and coasters.
Some of the down-sides…The site is not as logically organized and you might like. I feel the organization is a tad unprofessional and confusing. For example, should a person have to search 10-15 minutes to find a TOS?
Meanwhile, there are pages to encourage a premium membership plunked in all over the place. Ok, I get it, we are all trying to earn money, me too, but when I am looking for information about my account, like my sales info, why do I have to scroll through all the extraneous stuff. So, instead of a logical, neat, “control panel” type page, it’s several pages all with these encouragements. I am already a premium member, sheesh!
There are things that have no link anywhere, for example there is an ongoing contest where you can get a Silver, Gold or Platinum Award, which I assume helps your standings in the search lists, but I don’t know for sure. I found out about this when one of my contacts asked me to vote for them. It is not in any menu – not on the home page… I would think that would be something to show off and promote to the browsing public, maybe even a search option. Browse art > Award winners, wouldn’t you think? But no, it’s top-secret.
The perks you get for getting a premium membership are minimal. At the $2.40 level you get a boldface in the online artists list. Take a look at this – scroll down about halfway. The giant names are the folks at the $11.50 level. Can you tell a difference between the other two sizes? LOL Barely.
You also are allowed more images. Free=10 images $2.40=1000 images and $11.50 is unlimited. That’s a good deal too. Since I have 17 images up, it will be quite awhile till I use up the 1000. Really the commission percent makes it worth it even if there were no other perks to it.
The one down-side thing that bugs me the most is that the site does not allow you to link to other sites. In a way I can understand that they don’t want you to use their service to funnel your business to other online galleries, but since their commission is so much better than anyone else’s, I don’t think there’s much danger of that. I think another reason is because, at the $11.50 a month level you get a website.
Let me say, so far I find the Artmajeur artist websites a bit annoying. You get a basic start page in the site already. With the $11.50 level of membership you get a bigger website that you can customize. But you can’t “follow” an artist from their website area – only from the basic start page. You also can’t “favorite” an artwork from the website pages. It’s hard to find your way back to an artist’s basic page to do these things, there’s no link. Really?! NO link?!? I find this incredibly frustrating. How many artists did not get a “favorite” they might have, because it was too much of a pain to search around trying to find the art again on the other page? Two for sure, because I gave up.
Artmajeur allows you to have social media buttons, so that’s good, but the crazy part is, one of the buttons allowed is DeviantArt which is in direct competition with them, go figure.
So, I have several things going on online that I can not link from my Artmajuer.
My Spoonflower Fabric designs
My Blog <———you are here
Even understanding that they don’t want my website link up there, I don’t see how some of the other links are detrimental at all. How can Spoonflower hurt Artmajeur? But…
It doesn’t really matter because the Artmajeur page is the desired end result. It is the point-of-purchase. Spoonflower is a POP too but basically I need things to point TO my Artmajeur not from it so I can live with that situation.
Artmajeur probably doesn’t have the volume of traffic some of the larger sites have but, to my mind, it doesn’t matter much, and this is why. All of these online galleries have thousands of artists. We are little drops in the ocean. We are all clamoring to be noticed. We are tiny little mites in Whoville crying “me, me, me” I think it’s very unlikely that an individual, unknown artist will suddenly get discovered by simply joining a gallery and sitting there, no matter what the volume of traffic.
If you search everything on the site you get 2,480 pages of art. At 36 pieces on that first page, I figure that’s 89,280 pieces. All of the online galleries are like that, as well as Spoonflower by the way. If an online gallery does a good job at promotions what will that get you? It’s very nice but there are thousands of us. Getting posted online is just the beginning, then it’s time to get to work. The gallery is the end result – the point-of-purchase, and it’s up to me to bring my own customers in.
So, basically, I am very happy with Artmajeur so far, we will see what happens.