The Best Art Business Books

Ranked #1,757 in Arts & Design, #14,548 overall

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!

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Starting Out: Making a living as an artist

starting out and sustaining your journey

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

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)

The paperback is top of the charts although it's the Kindle version which was published recently - I have this book on my iPad!

Publisher's description: The most comprehensive guide of its kind, Art/Work gives artists of every level the tools they need to make it in an art world so competitive one dealer likens it to "The Sopranos, except nobody gets killed." Whether you're an art school grad looking for a gallery, a mid-career artist managing a busy studio, or someone just thinking about becoming a professional artist, this indispensable resource will help you build your career and protect yourself along the way.
Heather Darcy Bhandari, a gallery director, and Jonathan Melber, an arts lawyer, help you tackle issues so you can essentially act as your own manager and agent. For example, they show you how to tackle business basics such as:
* tracking inventory and preparing invoices;
* how to take legal precautions like registering a copyright and drafting consignment forms;
* how to use promotional tools like websites and business cards; and
how to approach career decisions such as choosing the right venue to show your work.

The book also draws on interviews with nearly one hundred curators, dealers, and other arts professionals, in cities across the country, about what they expect from and look for in artists. Plus interviews with artists about their careers and the lessons they've learned navigating the art world.

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

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The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love

Amazon reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars (38 customer reviews)

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

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

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

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

The classic handbook for launching and sustaining a career that "explodes the romantic notion of the starving artist," (The New York Times) with a brand-new chapter on Internet art marketing

Now in its sixth edition, How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist is the definitive guide to taking control of your career and making a good living in the art world. Drawing on nearly three decades of experience, Caroll Michels offers a wealth of insider's information on getting into a gallery, being your own PR agent, and negotiating prices, as well as innovative marketing, exhibition, and sales opportunities for various artistic disciplines. She has also added a new section on digital printmaking and marketing in this emerging field.

Most notably, this sixth edition contains an entirely new chapter: "Art Marketing on the Internet." Michels offers criteria for selecting an ideal Web designer for your online portfolio and for organizing your Web presence, and shares proven methods for attracting curators, dealers, and private clients to your site. She also addresses vital legal concerns in the age of e-commerce, including copyrighting and registering your art, and finally, the appendix of resources, consistently updated online at Michels's site the Artist Help Network (, is fully revised.

Carol sent me a copy of this book to reviw and I'm currently reading it on the tube and at bedtime. I'll be reviewing it soon. In the meantime from the significant amount I've read so far I think it's excellent - 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!

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The Business of Being an Artist

The Business of Being an Artist

4 edition Published February 23, 2010

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

Fine artists are taught many things about the craft of art in the various art schools and university art programs, but rarely do they learn much if anything about how to make a career of their talents.

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.

The Business of Being an Artist includes a unique discussion of some of the emotional issues that face artists throughout their careers, such as working alone, confronting stereotypes, handling criticisms and rejection, the glare of publicity, and the absence of attention.

Buy Now

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

myartspace>blog: Book Review: Jackie Battenfield's The Artist's Guide - How to Make a Living Doing What You Love
Jackie Battenfield's new book, The Artist's Guide - How To Make a Living Doing What You Love, is an excellent resource for visual artists at any stage of their career. Battenfield writes in a professional and yet easy manner and provides invaluable information, inspiration and resources on making a successful career in the art world. Battenfield's words do more than just dictate the "how to" and "why for" of the business end of art.
Get Known Before the Book Deal: Fund Your Writing Projects: Featured Money Magnet Jackie Battenfield
By Gigi Rosenberg
The idea for the book, The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love, was born out of the professional development workshops she taught for artists. Her students' enthusiasm for her handouts egged her on. "My students kept telling me they used my handouts over and over again," she said. As she developed her idea for the book, she began to feel a mission to reach a larger audience with information about how to succeed as an artist.
Joanne Mattera Art Blog: Marketing Mondays: "The Artist's Guide" and Other Books
Talk about timely. Just as the art world is shaken to its foundations by the economic downturn, along comes The Artist's Guide: How To Make A Living Doing What You Love by Jackie Battenfield. I'm not being flip. Even though galleries are downsizing or shutting their doors, artists are still making art and still need to find a place for themselves. This book explains the art world (to the extent that something as multifaceted, international, freeform and unencumbered by "rules" can be explained) and offers clear and useful steps to setting goals and achieving them--information that until recently most artists never learned in art school.
CWCA Calls for Entry: Caroll Michels - 6th edition of HOW TO SURVIVE AND PROSPER AS AN ARTIST: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul
Drawing on more than three decades of experience as a career coach and artist-advocate, Michels shares insights for navigating the complicated, often political, art world. In the chapter "Launching or Relaunching Your Career: Overcoming Career Blocks," she pinpoints specific danger zones for artists - including an unwillingness to confront money issues, an awe of New York and self-imposed "regionalism," the quest for external validation, and adolescent career goals.
Josh Grabowski Art: Artist Necessity
Any artist, no matter your craft, should read this book if a career in art is the goal in mind. Personally, coming from the painting side of things, I feel that this book spoke to me directly. An easy read with so much information on what to do and where to do it, and with a price tag that will most certainly not break the bank it is a no brainer... go get your copy now of How to Survive and Prosper As An Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul by Caroll Michels!
how to survive and prosper as an artist | Sofie Dittmann's Photography Blog
The book talks about establishing prices for your work, attracting attention to your work and building immunity to rejection....I was prepared for a book that wouldn't sugar-coat anything. However, not only does it do away with the notion that art is only art when you're starving, it has some REALLY good advice on how to market yourself as an artist.
which craft business book is right for you?; business thinking for designers & makers
Read it if: you dream of selling in galleries and cultivating collectors across the country. If you're more interested in one of a kind work than production models, then you should definitely check out I'd Rather Be in the Studio. It doesn't cover the nuts and bolts of running a business (you should check out another small biz guidebook for that) but it does teach you how to promote your work and increase your sales so you can spend the maximum amount of time focusing on creating your work.
Review: I'd Rather Be in the Studio | D*I*Y Planner
I'd Rather Be In the Studio is an amazing book that, while targeting artists looking to build their business and promote themselves, I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking to promote their passions....I started this book three times over. Not because it was a bad book but because it was so chock full of good advice that every time I picked it up and read a bit more, my mind would churn and I'd go off to put some of her advice into practice.
BmoreArt: Book Report: 'I'd Rather Be in the Studio!' by Alyson B. Stansfield
This book is structured like a twelve-step program, organized around eight typical excuses that artists use to avoid self promotion or taking a professional risk......Like a caring therapist, Stansfield builds up the reader's confidence, chapter by chapter, and mixes emotional exercises with factual information, like how to write an artist statement and resume........While well-intended, I personally had a hard time getting through this particular text. There was an overall emphasis on self-promotion, instead of a holistic approach to one's career, and I found this a bit one-dimensional.
Suggested Reading - ART/WORK - Heather Darcy Bhandari & Jonathan Melber | Studio Fuse Art Blog
Darcy Bhandari & Melber's comprehensive manual is intended to help artists expand their business practices while encouraging professionalism as it relates to artistic practice. This book serves the dose of practicality needed to aid in dispelling the antiquated over-romanticized notion of the starving artist.
-Dustin Dennis GroveCanada "Grove"'s review of ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and...
Please remember WHO is writing the artists? No. By gallery workers, yes..., April 11, 2010
It's all very well to write a book for artists, but if you are working for galleries, you may have a bias.

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 two books before you think business plans are not for you!

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

Selling Art without Galleries

Juried shows, art fairs, art festivals, open studios

How do you sell your art without a gallery?

There are lots of options - including:
* face to face in non permanent venues (eg Juried shows, art fairs, art festivals)
* face to face out of your own studios (eg open studio events)
* non-art venues - from cafes to hospitals to banks
* the Internet (online gallery sites, e-shops, auction sites and your own blog and website)

Selling yourself as an artist

Two sites dedicated to providing you with all the FREE advice and information which is on the Internet for saying who you are and what you've done as an artist.


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 Online

more resources for artists

There's a lot more to being successful as an artist than learning how to paint. Marketing is one of the most important activities of an artist. If you want to market art online, these websites will give you some pointers


The Art Business - Resources for Artists


The Art Economy, Art Law & Copyright


Making A Mark

Artist and author Katherine Tyrrell draws and writes about art for artists and art lovers.

Topics include: artists, art exhibitions, art blogs; art history; art techniques and tips; art business and marketing; art economy and making a mark with pastels, coloured pencils and pen and ink.

Making a Mark reviews......

a consumer's guide to quality and value in art books, art supplies and services to artists

This blog highlights:
- book reviews (art instruction and art history)
- reviews of art media, art materials and art equipment
- reviews of places where you buy (art shops, online art suppliers and art bookshops)
- reviews of other products or services used by artists
- summaries of good quality and relevant reviews by other practising artists

The label "book reviews" in the side column of Making a Mark reviews...... gives you a shortcut to all the book reviews.

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  • LauraCarExpert Jul 03, 2013 @ 1:39 pm
    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 Oct 03, 2012 @ 11:11 am
    wow you have a lot of book will look some of them up now
  • WordCustard May 26, 2010 @ 4:07 am
    Another very useful resource for artists and those who love art.

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