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:
- A downloadable PDF ebook. It’s not tactile, it’s neither handbound nor letterpress-printed by the artist, it’s not got the high production standards of one of the 30-50 books, it doesn’t even exist in hard-copy format (unless you chose to print it out on your printer) but it’s free. This is for people who—for whatever reason—would never buy my artwork but quite like it.
- A print-on-demand hard-copy book. Again, it lacks a lot of the high-(visual/tactile aesthetic)-standard production of an original piece of handmade artwork, but it’s printed by a professional print-on-demand publisher for around £25 (I’ve spent more than that on a round of drinks). I need to do some research into the print quality of images in print-on-demand books.
- A Limited Edition series of thirty to fifty handmade artists books, finished to a very high standard, with photographs collaged in and the text letterpress-printed. Each artists book will be uniquely and individually hand-bound by the artist.
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.