Guest Post

Why is Marketing Important for Artists?

Layered Onion Guest Post all about marketing for artists by Alexis Arnold, artist and founder of Art Connective

Marketing is an essential aspect of any business, and that also applies to artists. For artists, marketing helps to promote their work, connect with potential buyers, and build a reputation. It is a way of getting their art out into the world and making it visible to a wider audience. Marketing can help artists to establish themselves as professionals, and showcase their skills and talent to the public.

Marketing can also help artists to build relationships with their audience, and create a loyal fan base. By sharing their work on social media, attending events, and collaborating with other artists, they can create a strong network of supporters who are interested in their work. This can lead to increased exposure, sales, and opportunities for future projects.

In short, marketing is crucial for artists because it helps them reach their target audience, build their brand, and establish themselves as professionals in their field. By investing in marketing, artists can increase their visibility, expand their reach, and ultimately, achieve their goals.

Now that you know why marketing is important, how and where do you start? The easiest way to start is with social media. Instagram is the top platform for artists because it is focused on imagery. You are able to build a timeline showing the progression of your artwork. Collectors are attracted to your development as an artist, and how certain styles from early works continue into later works. This is an area where the longevity of the internet plays to your benefit – the timeline framework of Instagram provides a logical flow.

Effort = Success

Social Media content graphic - social media is critical to an artist's marketing strategy.

The great part about social media is that you can create an account and start sharing your art quickly. Unfortunately, Instagram and other platforms cannot be mastered quite so quickly.

The amount of effort you put into something often determines the level of success you achieve. That being said, there are many other factors that can also play a role in determining success, such as natural talent, resources, and luck. However, putting in effort is a crucial component to achieving success. When you put in effort, you demonstrate dedication, persistence, and a willingness to work hard to achieve your goals. This can lead to improvements in your skills and abilities, increased confidence, and a greater likelihood of achieving your desired outcomes. So, while effort alone may not guarantee success, it is an essential ingredient in the recipe for achieving your goals.

Remember, this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to grow and build anything. As you are building and growing, you are also learning. Pay attention to what people are reacting to when you post. Be sure to comment and reply when someone leaves a comment. Follow and comment on other artists and art-related accounts as well, aiming for at least 15 minutes a day. All of these things let the algorithm know what you are interested in.

Now, this can be difficult for those of us with lived experience, and it can be an excellent opportunity to leverage tools such as social media managers to help you plan content so you don’t feel the continued pressure of posting daily.

One in particular that offers a great free plan is Metricool. It gives you analytics tools for monitoring website or social account traffic, but more importantly, the Planning tab allows you to post to multiple platforms at once for days in advance.

A screenshot of a social media manager tool called Metricool that allows for post planning in advance. Can assist artists in marketing efforts.

Using Create New Post, you can create and schedule a post out months in advance! Say you have a holiday sale you know you want to promote that you don’t want to forget about.

A screenshot of a social media manager tool called Metricool that allows for creating posts in advance. Can assist artists in marketing. Marketing for artists.

Scheduling posts can help make content and engagement feel more manageable, especially as we manage our own health – which must always come first.

If the above seems overwhelming, start by scaling. Or create different types of post content that require less prep work, but still get engagement from your fans.

Don’t make this mistake

Keep your personal account personal and your art account about your art. If you already have a “personal” account, great, keep it for just that. Create an artist account that is only for your art & you as an artist. Your Instagram is essentially your digital business card. Yes, galleries do look at it, and yes, potential collectors do view it. If I find an artist whom I am interested in, I go to their feed and see what they are sharing. If the art is scattered within other random posts of your life, I am not going to follow. Why? Because I am here to see your art and follow you on that journey.

Key Marketing Points to Remember

  • To see results, you need to post more than once a week.
  • Engage in other art-related accounts by commenting and sharing.
  • Comment and reply to people who engage with your account.
  • Keep your personal and art business accounts separate.

The sooner you start, the sooner you will see results. Just start posting: Don’t worry about it being perfect; just post. Oh, and let go of the idea of it ever being perfect, because it won’t be, and it shouldn’t be. Marketing today is very different: it is about sharing your story and your journey. You are inviting people to follow along as you make and share your artwork. Have fun with it, and be yourself!

About the author: Alexis Arnold is the founder and president of Art Connective, Inc, a non-profit art organization dedicated to helping artists gain more time to create by understanding the business side of art. Want to learn more? Enroll in any of Art Connective’s online courses at

You can follow her on Instagram @theartconnective for exclusive live sessions on Thursdays as well!

Guest Post

Read this before pricing your art!

A Layered Onion Guest Post all about pricing artwork by Alexis Arnold, artist and founder of Art Connective

A viewer evaluates pieces of artwork hanging on a gallery wall. One is colored faces of a woman, another piece is a giant painted dollar sign. An illustration on pricing artwork - very literal.

Before you price your art, read this.

Are you an artist looking to make some money from your artwork? It can be tricky to know how to price your artwork and ensure you get a fair return for your hard work. In this blog post, I will provide some helpful advice on where to start before you begin crunching numbers. Don’t worry if you’re feeling overwhelmed – I will make it easy to understand!

Pricing your original and limited-edition artwork can be a challenge for most creatives. Where do you start? Do I price higher or lower? Should I offer sales or discounts on my work? This artist is similar to me; should I just copy their pricing?

I’m sure at some point, you have had at least one of these questions run through your mind. Know that this is completely normal, and the majority of artists struggle with pricing. Unfortunately, this is normal because there is a lack of open discussions and information sharing around pricing artwork.

How you price your artwork equates to how you value it but, more importantly, how the collector will value it. Too often artists are pricing from their emotions and connection to their work. This is one of the worst things to do.

Need help pricing art? Price your art? A string of emojis - hearts, dollar signs, and dollar bills is here for emotional support.

Artists will price too high because they “love” the piece and essentially don’t want to sell it. They may also price too high because of the time spent to create it. On the flip side, artists price too low with the thought that the lower price is what will sell the artwork. An artist may think, “Who would pay $800 for this painting?!” If you think it is too high and you wouldn’t spend that amount, why would anyone else?

These thoughts and rationale will only hurt you in the long run.

The first thing to remember, you cannot become attached to the work. When you do, you price without a method and toss numbers out there, hoping they will attract the right buyer. You may get lucky and have some sales from this method, but what happens when you keep selling at this price point and soon realize you are not even breaking even? You may then suddenly raise your pricing to cover costs, but now you have lost your collectors because they are accustomed to your work being at a certain price point.

Let’s take an example regarding this that we all will understand. Let’s say you get coffee from your local coffee shop weekly, and you order the same thing, a large vanilla latte for $5. You are used to this; you know it will be close to that price each time you come in. The coffee shop has created loyalty with you by being consistent with product, price, and service.

Now let’s say you go in to get your weekly vanilla latte, and when the cashier goes to ring you up, she says, “That will be $15.” You would be shocked and most likely tell her she can keep the drink and walk out!

Fifteen (15) dollars in five dollar bills laid out. Can you imagine a fifteen dollar latte?! 
Illustration of sticker shock re: pricing art or pricing your artwork.

This is the same concept when you abruptly change your pricing for your artwork. It shocks your collectors, and they are left confused. Understand that you should be increasing your pricing by around 10% each year, but this also is dependent on how well you are selling for the previous year. Before we can talk about pricing options for your artwork, you need to sit down and figure out what you are spending on supplies, framing, marketing, packing materials, travel, etc., for your art.

Serene image of clean paint brushes on an indigo background with a white stripe at the bottom. The brushes are of various sizes.

Yes, you need to make a budget for your art business. It’s time to know what is coming in and what is going out. This is essential for any artist seeking to do this as more than a hobby. Create a monthly expense log and start recording what you are spending on the things I listed above. That is a short list – of course, you may have more or fewer items on yours.

This is your primary starting point. It is often an eye-opener for artists who realize that it costs them $50 to create an 8×10 canvas painting only to then sell it for $65. You have “earned” $15, which doesn’t cover your cost of materials nor the time it took you to create the artwork. You would have needed to sell it for closer to $200 to cover the costs of your materials and for you to pay yourself a small amount. These numbers will vary from artist to artist, which is why it is important for YOU to figure out what works for you.

Start here, figure out what you are spending monthly, then log what you sell monthly. Seeing the numbers on paper or your computer screen is the first step towards taking control of your creative business.

Once you have this figured out, then it’s time to decide if you want this to turn into your main source of income or if it is a side income that provides you with some extra spending cash.

If you are ready to learn more and establish a solid foundation to grow, you can enroll in the Building Blocks for Becoming a Successful Artist online courses now until June 11th, 2023. The first online courses of its kind helping artists understand what is needed and expected of them. By having a solid foundation, you can open the doors to more opportunities.

Learn more here:

Logo for the Art Connective.

Alexis Arnold is a working encaustic artist as well as the founder and president of Art Connective, Inc, a non-profit art organization dedicated to helping artists thrive. She created the Building Blocks online courses to give artists all over the world access to learn how to become more successful doing what they love. You can follow her on Instagram at either @theartconnective or @scorpioencaustics.

Guest Post

Ginny S. Gillikin’s Freedom from Anxiety through Music

Today The Layered Onion has a guest blog essay post from writer Ginny S. Gillikin. This piece, Freedom from Anxiety through Music, is featured in the upcoming Shallot publication, Volume I, Number 2, that focuses on activities and hobbies as we navigate the darkest period of the year (not too long before the days start getting longer and lighter again!). The focus was to create a piece about something that makes you happy.

Ginny’s piece offers perspective on anxiety and offers a way to break free from that anxiety, which can feel like it binds us.

A photo of Ginny S. Gillikin, the author.

Freedom from Anxiety Through Music

Music brings me solace. As a loner, I intentionally submerse myself in a wall of sound. Feelings of calmness and contentment surround me when I put on headphones and listen to a favorite vinyl record on the turntable.

I sometimes feel the necessity for a distraction from the outside world, since it can be harsh. Stressors like job stability, finances, and relationships can crush even the most confident and successful person. And people can be cruel–sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. As someone with a sensitive soul who battles anxiety and depression, I feel stress, loss, and angst more deeply than most.

Listening to music helps me break free from the agony and fear that I sometimes experience. I lose myself in the beats, melody, and lyrics. The stories told in songs transport me to a world far away, where my demons no longer torture me. Escape to an unfamiliar existence offers relief.

Music can also transcend time. Memories come flooding back when I listen to specific songs and albums. I reminisce about spending time with family and attending concerts with friends. Other songs revive feelings of nostalgia, with a sad twist, as they remind me of people who are no longer in my life.

But primarily, listening to words and sounds helps me concentrate on something other than my worries. My anxieties and sorrows disappear as I get out of my head and pay attention to the thoughts of others–some tortured by overthinking and analyzing like me, some not.

Upbeat music like hip-hop, electronica, and disco/house styles help improve my mood. Elation and euphoria course throughout my body. Rhythm and cadence force me out of my chair and onto a private dance floor.

Sad country and Goth songs actually comfort me as well. Hearing others sing about loss and longing for love proves that I am not alone with my conflicted feelings. Anxiety and yearning are universal sentiments.

I must remind myself often that obsessing over emotions and unpleasant circumstances is not healthy. Getting lost in music allows me to escape from the confines of my mind and revel in an activity that brings pleasure.

Ginny S. Gillikin (she/her) is a writer in Raleigh, NC. She has composed poems and stories since childhood. She considers her style of writing to be stream-of-consciousness and writes about dreams, friends and family, and life experiences. Ginny has authored profiles of musicians for and Raleigh Magazine.

Want to hear more from Ginny? Check out her Instagram @ginnygillikin to engage with her! Ginny is also on LinkedIn and works professionally as a writer, editor, and proofreader.

To see more work from the upcoming volume of The Shallot, consider signing up for a perk in The Layered Onion’s ongoing crowdfunding campaign. The campaign is focused on supporting The Shallot publication in 2023 so we can continue to publish wonderful artists and writers like Ginny.

Guest Post

Social Media and Mental Health with Maggie Bowyer

In today’s world, social media seems to dominate every area of our lives. The Layered Onion asked Maggie Bowyer how they balance social media and mental health. Maggie has penned a Guest Blog below with some tips and tricks!

Photo of the artist. Maggie, a writer, talks social media and mental health. 

Maggie Bowyer writes poetry collections.

“I don’t understand!” I cursed into my phone.

Once again, the social media aspect of marketing has gotten the better of me. After a week of well-performing Reels on Instagram, I had another video completely flop. While this seems innocuous, research has found that social media can have true adverse outcomes on mental health, as if marketing a book wasn’t stressful enough on its own. Let’s take a closer look at how likes and view counts can have severe effects on our mental state and how we can take this into account when marketing our work.

Social Media Screen Time and Mental Health

Social media is relatively new in the grand scheme of things and is growing by the day. It seems that every year now, there is a new social media platform rising to the forefront of our screens. Most recently, TikTok has begun to overtake apps like Instagram and Youtube in popularity. With constantly shifting apps and algorithms, constant news updates, and sensationalization, not to mention filters and Facetune, are we protecting our mental health by constantly “doom-scrolling?”

One large study found that increased social media use leads to worse mental health outcomes; in fact, teens who spend more than 3 hours per day on social media may be at heightened risk for mental health problems, especially internalizing. Another study found a link between social media screen time and depression and suicide rates.

I see this as a young adult in the real world. The longer I spend on social media, the more I find myself comparing my work with my contemporaries. The comparison, and occasional jealousy, are not limited to my book sales or skills; I find myself comparing my looks, my relationships, my like counts, my brand deals, my apartment, and so much more. I find myself wanting to create more content, that is better than my previous work, and at a furious pace, which only leads to burnout.

I also have found that social media marketing has changed my poetry, which snapped me back to reality. I have always written very lengthy, narrative poetry, having gotten my real start in spoken word poetry. As I spent time marketing on social media apps, I found that quick clips performed much better. I started writing a lot of micro-poetry. While there is nothing wrong with micro-poetry or its rise in popularity, it did not feel authentic or complete; I began to feel like I was selling out my work in favor of social media clout.

The big question is how do we prioritize our mental health and our unique voice when social media has become such a large part of marketing our work and making a living?

I have several ways of keeping my head in check when creating content.

1. Set Time Limits

The first tip I have is to set time limits on apps. I find myself opening Instagram absentmindedly all the time; it is completely normal as these apps are designed to be addictive and to grab your attention from your home screen. By setting time limits, I can curb the amount of accidental time on the app.

2. Intentional Use

This leads to my second tip, which is intentional use. I use social media for three explicit things and knowing my purpose on the app helps me navigate the ever-shifting landscape of view counts and engagement ratios. I use social media to market my books, draw inspiration, and keep in touch with my friends. Determining that my goal on social media was to sell myself, and my books, and fulfill my brand contracts helped with how overwhelming social media was. How would I know what to post? Instead of panicking at the endless content ideas, I was able to focus on what I was selling that day.

In line with both intentional use and finding inspiration, I began to weed out whom I was following. Not a marketing coach finding trending audio I enjoy? Unfollow. I disagree with your opinions far more than I agree? Unfollow. A poet I haven’t found inspiring for a while, or aren’t pushing me to be better at my craft? Sorry, but that’s also an unfollow.

I am unfollowing people unjudiciously, and it feels nice. I am also blocking people more often than I ever thought possible and for far smaller infractions than before, and it is more freeing than I could have imagined. I am trying to keep my little corner of the internet as safe as possible for me and my followers.

3. Don’t Let Metrics and View Counts Rule You

I am trying to focus less on like counts or being frustrated by low view counts. This one is a lot harder than the other tips, and one I am still navigating. As a business major who loves marketing, I want all the data. I want to know what is and isn’t working for my audience. I want to know who my audience is. But I was beginning to get obsessed with numbers, checking my insights daily, sometimes even multiple times in one day.

Number obsession - it is easy to obsess over KPIs and metrics.

Now, I try to only check it weekly, though sometimes I check certain metrics every few days. I would often get frustrated by low view counts but high engagement rates, wondering why the post wasn’t performing better, and more often than not, I would begin to berate my looks, my apartment, and more. Now, I am trying to reframe my thoughts about those posts. Those posts connect me to my current audience and foster a deeper relationship with people who already follow me, maybe starting a new conversation or retaining more followers. Not every post we create is going to go viral, and that is okay, maybe even better than constant viral content. Try reframing your previously low days and find the positives in your community, content, and self. No one is perfect at this, especially not me, so be gentle with yourself as you begin to reframe thoughts.

4. Be Your You, Without Filters

This next tip might seem silly and simple, but I am surprised by how much it has helped my mental health. I have completely stopped using filters. I want to like my face, or at least be neutral enough about it to feel like I can post it. I don’t want to show the world a fake version of myself. I want to show younger kids on the app what real skin looks like, or at least skin with makeup on it. I want to show that we all have some asymmetry in our faces, and that is okay! I have found that I don’t typically miss filters and only use them in my friends’ group chat on occasion.

No filters, don't be afraid to share who you are. #nofilters

The last tip has quite possibly been the best thing I have done for myself and my mental health. I have created a smaller, private Instagram to keep up with my friends and message with them, which helps with the feeling of constantly performing for an audience or slipping into my “digital self.” I can share an unfiltered opinion, not beat myself up over typos, I can share pictures of my family without fear, and above all else, I don’t have any Insights. Even without the post numbers, I find I don’t even care about the like or view counts on that page. I can be myself, and people can take it or leave it. No brand deals are pending on my perfectly polished presentation. I don’t need to retain my followers to ensure my next book launch goes better than the last. I don’t feel pressured to let creepy people follow me because they could be another client. I don’t feel like I have to create content there; I can just be.

Boundaries are good! Don't be afraid to set them to protect yourself and your mental health.

I can still market my book when doing all of these things. In fact, I have found that I market myself even better with boundaries in place. I feel I can connect more enthusiastically and genuinely with my audience when I have taken the weekend off. I am more confident online and feel like I have true direction. There are endless ways we can take care of our mental health in the digital age. These are just a few tips that have helped me in combination. We are seeing the first generation raised on social media begin to come of age. We are also seeing a mental health crisis of epic proportions, some of which can be attributed to social media (though far from exclusively). Teaching each other how to care for our mental health is going to be vitally important. I hope this begins a conversation rather than feels like the end of a lecture and that you go into your digital spaces with intention today.

Want to hear more from Maggie? Check out their Instagram @maggie.writes or website to engage with Maggie!