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Open planning my new artwork and freeconomics

By Paul Watson on .

Those of you that venture beyond this blog to other parts of this website will probably know I’m currently working on a limited edition series of handmade artists books.

In this post I want to show how all the elements of this website will work together to help promote this new artwork, and a possible freeconomics model I’m looking at for selling the artwork.

Public documentation from the beginning of the project

Public documentation on Social Networks

As well as documenting the project on this site, I’m also documenting it on various social networks. My DeviantArt profile was the obvious first choice—it’s an applied social network dedicated to artwork—so I’ve uploaded some of the initial photographs and text, and also explained the project in journals entries.

MySpace and Facebook are perhaps less immediately useful, but still important.

MySpace bulletins and blogs provide a space to explain the project and give updates, and images can always be uploaded to your MySpace photo albums (so long as they comply with MySpace’s somewhat restrictive photo policy), but linking out to your own website for further information is a grey area – MySpace seems to allow it for some sites, but not for others.

Facebook is also useful – and the ability to create groups and pages is something that should be investigated.

Using a Freemium model

I’ve blogged about Freeconomic/Freemium models before, but I’ve never suggested how they can be used to sell artwork. So now I’m going to explain how I’m going to use them.

In the my blog post A Summary of Freeconomic Models I described the “multi-tier freemium” model used by the Trent Reznor’s band Nine Inch Nails:

Nine Inch Nail’s recent Ghosts release. 9 free tracks are available for download for free. The full 36 tracks are available for download for $5. Various limited edition high-(visual/tactile aesthetic)-standard production CD/DVD versions are available for higher prices (full details on Techdirt).

So, how do I apply this to a limited edition series of handmade artists books?

Well, having turned pale when adding up the costs of my materials so far, I am resigned to the fact that the thirty to fifty handmade artists books I create are going to have to be priced quite highly. I’m not sure how much yet (because I haven’t finished spending), but for the purposes of this post let’s presume each one is going to be around £200 ($400 US).

Now, not everyone can afford that, or is willing to spend that much money on artwork, or—let’s be honest—likes my artwork enough to spend £200 on it.

So, here’s a possible multi-tiered freemium model I’ve been considering:

I may slot some other options in there as well. How about a more expensive print-on-demand book, but with a limited edition set of postcards of some of the images? Or just a set of postcards of the images as something people could buy separately?

By providing various options, from free to expensive via a mid-range of prices, I can not only get my artwork out to as many people as possible, but also make money as an artist.