Getting Your Art Published

Are you looking to get your work published? There comes a time for many artists and photographers in which they may consider seeking a publisher. The advantage is a publisher, assuming they have a proven track record, is that they will have the means of getting an artist’s work in front of the general public through their publishing company. Usually this means in the form of prints, posters, cards, books, or even merchandise. Because there are so many talented artists even some of the best get overlooked. If you have sought a publisher but have not had any luck something to consider is if your work is marketable. Chances are your work is marketable but your market could be very exclusive therefore finding customers may take considerable more time and money.
Publishers will look at this from the point of view an investor might. This can also be referred to as Return on Investment (ROI). If an artist or their work does not appear to have a great ROI factor then this may mean difficulty in getting a third party publisher to consider your work. From the publisher’s perspective, they are looking at both you and your work and making a judgment on if you or your work is going to attract the response that puts money in the pocket of the publisher.
This may sound a little harsh but the reality is that publishers are there to make money off of your fruits and labor. This does not mean they are bad people but simply business people instead. If you equate the two as one in the same, you may have troubles and need to rethink what you want to do but assuming you can look beyond that scope, start by preparing yourself to enter a new game by remembering the art industry like any industry is moved by money. This means your work must generate cash flow for the publisher to consider you.
Now let us assume the worse and that your work is marketable but to an exclusive audience. All is not lost; it may just means more effort is needed to promote yourself and your work before you can convince a publisher that you can generate a cash flow. If you do something that is very trendy in the art world then you may not have to work as hard but still look at this starter list of things to do:
  • Make slides of your work
  • Make quality digital copies of your work
  • Self publish your work and sell these
  • Create a professional looking web site to display your work
  • Put together exhibits of your work
  • Learn about marketing
  • etc.
The list could go on but hopefully it will help get you started in creating your own list as you build a marketing strategy. As you can see it all starts with how you present your work, your part efforts and your own track record. If you are just getting started right out of art school then you may not have done any of these things. Look for every opportunity to self promote yourself or your work.
Now let’s assume you have put in the time, spent the money and you have successfully sold and displayed your work in a number of forums around the US (note I say around the US and not just in your area). Ask yourself have you done enough. Maybe not and only you and a potential publisher can answer that. The next step is now fairly simple. Start contacting potential publishers and let them know what you have done, show them your work and evaluate feedback. Prepare yourself for rejection, don’t get discouraged and try and try again. Finally, understand you are getting into the business world which is very competitive. Eventually things just may pay off.

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