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The Best Art Business Books

Katherine used to crunch numbers, analyse business performance and specialised in performance management. Now she does the same for artists.


For artists, illustrators, galleries, collectors and all those interested in the art business

Do you want to learn more about the business of being an artist?

Looking to improve your marketing of your art - and your sales?

Want to make the jump to full-time artist or illustrator but not sure what you don't know that you need to know?

Thinking about setting up and art gallery and looking for tips?

If any of the above apply then this site has a book which can help

These are the best books on and about the art business which are available on Amazon. So while you learn more about art you can save on your business expenses!

2015 Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market

This is due to publish in November 2014. Past editions have been rated well above average

Described as "the must-have reference guide for any artist who wants to establish or expand a career in fine art, illustration or graphic design."

Starting Out: Making a living as an artist

You have to start somewhere. Whether your're a hobby artist looking to start selling your work or an accomplished artist who's hoping to realise the dream of becoming a full-time artist - a good book about starting out in the art business is a good place to start.

Beyond starting out is survival as a full-time artist. Do you know everything you need to know. Are you aware that you don't know what you don't know? Find out more about WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW by choosing one or more of these books

ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career

Amazon reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars (43 customer reviews)

Bear in mind this is a perspective on the art world written by a gallery dealer and an arts lawyer.

The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love Paperback - by Jackie Battenfield

Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars (44 customer reviews)

#19 in Books > Arts & Photography > Business of Art

This book covers:

* Taking charge of your professional life - getting ready to take action and assembling essential tools

* Circulating your work - networking, researching and building professional relationships

* Supporting your work - managing the money, attracting additional funds and negotaiting legal contracts

* Maintaining your practice - day-to-day operations and surving being alone

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RECOMMENDED: Two artists and art bloggers who I have a great regard for BOTH recommend this book very highly and have written excellent book reviews - see links. I knew when I read them that this book deserved to be highlighted on this lens.

"Do not purchase this book if you're fond of making excuses for why you aren't a successful artist, because once you read it you will have no excuses left. Battenfield covers everything from examining your own hopes and fears to writing an artist statement to finding a place to show to securing funds. With real life examples and interviews scattered throughout, this book is 345 pages of pure career-coaching gold. The tone is positive and upbeat, yet realistic. Battenfield is very clear that being successful in the arts is a difficult task that takes a tremendous amount of work and perseverance, yet she demonstrates both that it is possible and how it is possible. In an act of great generosity Battenfield has withheld nothing, so the book reads like a precious tome of secrets."

Annie Bisset - Woodblock Dreams - Read her full review in Making a Living As an Artist.

"Jackie is writing from her experience as a successful exhibiting artist, lecturer and teacher, and gallery director.... Her information is therefore not theoretical but steeped in firsthand knowledge. Sidebar quotes--she calls them "Reality Checks"-- from artists, dealers, critics and curators underscore the relevance of the material

There are exercises and lists to get you revved up, or to shift you into the next-higher gear, but I have to say that it's the guidance and observations I like best. "Much of my advice is not secret information," writes Jackie. But it's rare to find it compiled so well."

Joanne Mattera - Joanne Mattera Art Blog Read her full review in this "Marketing Mondays" post.

You can also read a Q&A interview with Jackie Battenfield in Marketing Mondays: Career Q&A with Jackie Battenfield

How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist - Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul

Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars by 80 customer reviews


I think this is an excellent book - very down to earth and practical with a ton of useful references to useful people, places and websites relating to the art world and art business - and surviving and prospering as an artist.

Particularly noteworthy is her chapter on pricing art.

Several sentences I've read have had me mentally saying "YES!!!" and smiling!

The Business of Being an Artist - by Daniel Grant

Rated 4.2 out of 5 stars by 8 customer reviews

"One of the best-informed and most resourceful writers in the art field." - American Artist

The Business of Being an Artist contains information on

* how artists may develop a presence in the art world that leads to sales.

* how artists can learn to sell their work directly to the public with an understanding of the principles of marketing and sales as they're applicable to works of art.

* how to find a suitable gallery that will arrange sales and commissions

* how to set up a contractual relationship with the dealer that is both equitable and profitable.

* the range of exhibition opportunities for emerging and mid-career artists;

* how to set prices for artwork;

* when or if artists should pay to advance their careers;

* how artists may communicate with the public;

* applying for loans, grants, and fellowships;

* areas of the law that concern artists;

* using art materials safely;

* online sales and marketing, and much more.

Getting Your Sh*t Together: A Professional Practices Manual For Artists - By Karen Atkinson and GYST Ink

Amazon rating - an average of 5.0 out of 5 stars (8 customer reviews)

Starting Your Career as an Artist: A Guide for Painters, Sculptors, Photographers, and Other Visual Artists

Amazon rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)

Book Reviews by Art Bloggers #1

Books covered:

* The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love by Jackie Battenfield

* How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul by Caroll Michels

* I'd Rather Be in the Studio!by Alyson B. Stanfield

* ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career by Heather Darcy Bhandari, Jonathan Melber

Numbers and Business Plans for Artists

Most artists will run a mile rather than think about creating a business plan. However you should try taking a look at these books before you think business plans are not for you!

Arts & Numbers - A Financial Guide for Artists, Writers, Performers, and Other Members of the Creative Class

Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars based on 9 customer reviews

The book was created on the notion that numbers are not always the artist's best friend.

Topics covered include: practical budgeting, cash management, 'what if' scenarios, financial statements, taxes, financial management systems, business plans

The Right-Brain Business Plan - A Creative, Visual Map for Success

Amazon rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars (19 customer reviews)

Marketing and Selling Fine Art - ...and promoting yourself as an artist

Making a living as an artist is not about how much talent you have. Unless people know you art exists it's not going to be bought and you won't have an income.

Successful artists spend a lot of time and effort on marketing - or they have somebody who spends a lot of time and effort on their behalf. But what's involved in promoting your art?

Selling Art in Galleries

Selling art via a gallery is most people's idea of how art is sold. But how exactly does it all work?

These three books will explain:

* how to get into a gallery

* what the processes are when dealing with a gallery

* what "consignment" is

* how pricing and commission works

* who is responsible for insurance

* what costs you might be responsible for

Art Festival Guide - The Artist's Guide to Selling in Art Festivals

Rated an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 19 customer reviews

This book was written by an artist whose sole means of support is her art. It's a classic case of the book which would never be commissioned by a publishing company and yet it's a book which many artists who want to exhibit at art fairs and art festivals are crying out for.

She explains (amongst other things):

* the business and how an art festival works,

* how to find and choose the shows which will work for you,

* the pros and cons of indoor vs outdoor shows

* the importance of presentation and how to get it right

* the sort of equipment you will need - for all weathers

* how to sell to people who visit art fairs and festivals

* how to plan for the future

* how to stay healthy

* all the answers to all the frequently asked questions

Licensing art

Have you ever thought about licensing your art? That way you can get repeat income from an existing original work of art.

The two books below walk you through all the things you need to think about and what you need to do to licence your art - and all the different objects your art might be used for

Selling Art Prints

ANYBODY can comment however all comments are moderated before publication, all html is stripped out of comments and spam is not published.

Comments and Suggestions - Let me know what you think - but please do not spam!

LauraCarExpert on July 03, 2013:

i guess if you know how to do marketing, you should be able to find a place for your art. Thank goodness for the interwebs!

MintySea on October 03, 2012:

wow you have a lot of book will look some of them up now

Indigo Janson from UK on May 26, 2010:

Another very useful resource for artists and those who love art.

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