Pricing artwork is a pain. The materials are only a small part of the equation. Even basing it on labour is awkward, as a good drawing may work first go, whereas another may take days and still not look right. There was a famous quote:
Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.
“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”
So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.
“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”
“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.
“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”
To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”
from Charging by the hour.
Now, Peter’s not charging $5000 for a portrait. His preferred method is to send the picture and ask people to pay what they think it’s worth to them. There is the possibility that people will pay nothing, which doesn’t happen that often, and it is better that the picture have a new home rather than sitting in Peter’s studio.
Etsy doesn’t have that flexibility, but we did have a go at offering buyers a range of choices for their picture, which has worked well so far.
But there is a listing fee on Etsy, and listings expire after a few months, so not everything is available there.
I was using Woocommerce for Peter’s shop which is handy as there is no price per listing. The only fees would come through using Paypal, but so far the only sale through the website ended up cash on delivery. Woocommerce has a Name Your Price plugin available but it costs $49. Per Year. So we go with price variations again, suggesting “full price”, “mates rates” and “CMOT” (a nod to Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.
Woocommerce is geared towards shops, rather than an art gallery. The shop product pages are separate from the blog posts and the shop page itself is more what you might expect from a place selling ipods or toner cartridges.
Enter Seriously Simple Selling!
Selz and gumroad make selling online simple and straightforward. They don’t have a marketplace like ebay or etsy. They do have Pay What You Want pricing. They do have ssl certificates. They do have very handsome, responsive product pages. They integrate well with your existing blog or webpage.
So I could even go back to Jekyll and Github pages!
I wonder what happens to the embedded widgets when you sell something…