A lot of times artists wonder when they should start running timed drops of their work and what factors they should consider before making that decision. Is having a large social media following a good starting point? Or are there other metrics to consider for running a successful print drop?

Regardless of the size of your current audience, when you start selling your art online you should start with timed editions, aka print drops. In other words to start as you mean to go on because timed editions are a sure fire way to maximise your conversions. Sure, if you have a very small following then maybe you should focus on building an audience rather than selling work. Whichever way you sell you will find it hard without an audience.  

If you’ve got an audience of 400 and they’re an engaged audience, you should get some art print sales from that. Whatever following you do have, you’ll get more sales from that following if you do print drops as opposed to just putting the work for sale indefinitely and leaving it there. But another question that comes up here is should you even start selling at all or wait until you’ve got a bigger following? 

It depends on how quickly you’re making work. If your work takes a month per individual artwork to make and you’ve got an archive of 20-30 artworks, you don’t want to drop them all when you’ve got a low following. In that case, we would definitely recommend spending some time building up your following.

The thing is that print drops can actually build your following because when you do a print drop, you talk about the work in a certain way in the run up to the print drop. So what we tend to recommend is that you start by talking about the meaning or the inspiration behind the body of work or the individual artwork, if you are dropping an individual artwork. Then you move on to talking about your creative process, and then talk about the print, show the print, show the product, show what you like about the print, talk about how nice it is to see your work in print as well. So there’s kind of a progression, a story arc to doing a print drop and that story arc, if you get it right and it’s really engaging, it will grow your following anyway. If you are making work a little bit faster or you have a huge archive of work or even a relatively big archive of work, then we would advise you to start doing print drops, even if you’ve only got 400 followers.

Even if you only have 400 followers, if they are genuine and highly engaged followers then you could sell up to 4-5 prints every time you do a print drop, if you do it right. This is based on the conversion rate data we see across all artists we work with. 

And by posting about it in this way where you actually talk about your motivations for the work, the background to the work, your inspiration for the work and then your creative process and the print, you’re actually going to be growing your following because you’ll be making engaging content that follows a story arc. And everybody loves to follow a story. But if each artwork takes you a month then probably at the start just focus on posting about your work and your creative process, trying to build those hooks in your video content.

Updated on 13 March 2024

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