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05-15-2012 8:16 am




by Caroll Michels, Henry Holt & Company, New York


"Many of the basic problems of artists trying to enter the art world and sustain a career there are created by their feelings of insecurity and helplessness. There is a direct correlation between how artists see themselves and where art-world power is currently centered."

"Why is an artist new to the art world and without art-world recognition able to sell work in the same price range as an established artist whose six-page r¨¦sum¨¦ is filled with impressive credentials?"

"Setting a price on a work can be a grueling task. Many artists tend to undervalue their work, with the belief that their careers haven¡¯t measured up to the criteria necessary to justify charging higher prices or a fear that, by setting prices that compensate them fairly, their work will not sell. . . . when artists set low prices on their artwork, it is a public declaration of their insecurities and lack of confidence."

"Artists who want to gain broad exposure and/or derive a healthy part-time or full-time income from gallery sales must be represented by many dealers. Relying on one dealer for your livelihood is not practical for many reasons."

"One of the most important factors about the effectiveness of public relations and marketing is that it is based on the law of averages. Regardless of your talents, abilities, and vision as a fine artist, no one will know about you unless you contact many people and do it on a continuing basis."

"If I had my way, I would replace commercial galleries with a system in which artists exhibited work in their studios and sold it directly to the public. But such a system could work only if artists acquired enough self-confidence not to need gallery validations, and if the public, likewise, had the self-confidence necessary to buy work without gallery validation. Since there is a very remote chance that these events will occur in my lifetime, the next best thing for changing the system is to regulate the business practices of galleries nationwide... For the time being, since the gallery system is still very much intact and is virtually unregulated, ...[this book is] aimed at helping artists acquire more business savvy, more control over their careers, and more control in their relationships with those who are currently running the show."

Available in print and as an ebook from:

Barnes and Noble NOOK

An audio version of the book is available free of charge to members of Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic).


- Launching or Relaunching Your Career: Overcoming Career Blocks.

- Launching or Relaunching Your Career: Entering the Marketplace.

- Presentation Tools and Packages

- Art Marketing and the Internet

- Pricing Your Work: How Much Is It Worth?

- Public Relations: Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming In and Going Out.

- Exhibition and Sales Opportunities: Using Those That Exist and Creating Your Own.

- Dealing with Dealers and Psyching Them Out.

- The Mysterious World of Grants: Fact and Fiction.

- Generating Income: Alternatives to Driving a Cab.

- Rationalization, Paranoia, Competition, Rejection, and the Overwhelm Factor

- Appendix of Resources


"With advice that ranges from how to prepare for studio visits and effectively negotiate with art dealers to self-help strategies for handling rejection - as well as success - Ms. Michels explodes the romantic notion of the starving artist." Deidre Stein Greben, The New York Times.

" Michels writes in terse, instructive sentences, and never lets us off the hook: ¡®If you want to avoid fulfilling your potential as an artist, there are many ways of going about it. Excuses are easy to find the fear list can go on an on¡¯." Kathleen Masara, The Huffington Post

"The best guide I¡¯ve found that looks at creating fine art as a career."

Chris Farrell, Right on the Money, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT), Minneapolis

"Michels is a tough but compassionate advocate, savvy in the ways of the world and the demands on artists in this materialistic society." Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald

About The Author:

Caroll Michels has served as a career coach and artist-advocate since 1978, helping thousands of beginning, mid-career and established fine artists launch and sustain their careers. She was featured in 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women by Gail McMeekin (Conari Press, 2011). Her artwork has been exhibited in museums in the United States and abroad, including the Georges Pompidou Museum in Paris; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; and Exit Art, and the Institute for Contemporary Art, The Clocktower in New York City. Michels has received numerous grants, including those awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the NY State Council for the Arts; the NY Council for the Humanities; and the International Fund for the Promotion of Culture/UNESCO. She was a fellow at the Alden B. Dow Creativity Center, Northwood University, in Midland, Michigan. Michels was on the faculty of the New School University in New York City and Ringling College of Art + Design, Continuing Studies and Special Programs, in Sarasota, Florida. She served as the chairperson of the Fine Arts Advisory Board of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.