A special appeal on Cyber Monday

12 years ago, EBSQ began in a small 2-bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh, PA. We’ve now doubled in size (4 total employees instead of just Bill and me), we *finally* own our own servers, and the bulk of the day-to-day work is done via an ancient laptop on my dining room table. In the past dozen years, we’ve seen competitors, many of whom had a lot of capital backing them, go by the wayside. There’s no question, it’s a tough market for artists–and the sites that support them. I suspect it’s our very smallness that has kept us going where others have failed. But we’re ready to grow. And we need your help to do that.

Bill has spent the last 6 months re-writing 100% of the EBSQ site code in another programming language (and let me tell you, this was no easy feat!). This will make the site significantly faster, and it will be easier to maintain–and extend. And over the next 6 weeks, we will be fine-tuning as we prepare to launch what we think is a gorgeous version of the site that WILL include e-commerce. Now, something I have lobbied for time-and-again is for the advertising to go away. It’s ugly, it detracts from the art, and frankly, it slows down page load time. But it’s been a necessary evil since it’s how we’ve kept the lights on. I’m not going to lie; each month when that money comes in is a HUGE relief.

Here’s how you can help: plain and simple, we need more members to make up for the huge deficit that going advertising-free would create. To be exact, we need 150 new monthly members before the end of December.

Today through the end of November, monthly memberships, normally $8.95, will be on sale at the grandfathered rate of just $6.50 a month. That’s less than a month of Netflix. And for this week only, we’re making Permanent Accounts available for the discounted price of $499.

Will you help us grow? We are calling all former members, all of the artists who have been on the fence about joining, and on current members to lobby their artist friends on our behalf. Please, we need you. Each and every one of you. Come grow with us.

>>Click here to grab a great deal!

Thank you for your consideration. And from us, to you, have an artful holiday season!
With gratitude,
-Amie Gillingham
co-founder, EBSQ
http://www.ebsqart.com
Supporting self-representing artists since 2000

PS Don’t let these great deals pass you by! Invest in your artistic future–and ours–by grabbing an awesome deal today!

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Your week on tap for 26 September 2011

Can you believe it’s already the end of September? Here’s just some of what’s going on this week:

It’s your last chance to enter the following exhibits:

Birdhouses EBSQ Art Exhibit: September 2011

Ripped Off EBSQ Art Exhibit: Summer 2011

Flower of the Month Asteraceae EBSQ Art Exhibit: September 2011

[view all exhibits]

Sign-ups are being accepted for our annual Pet Portrait Swap:

Want to participate? Looking for a partner? Let us know on the EBSQ Member Forums.

Forum discussions of note:

Are you unwittingly  sabotaging your Etsy listing visibility?

G+ versus Facebook

Looking for a good source for greeting card printing

Have a great week! 

So much better than the post and pray method

Look Mom No Hands by Veronique Perron
Look Mom No Hands by Veronique Perron

When artists join EBSQ (or other online artist communities), it’s usually because they’re interested in marketing their work. For many, our site is their first foray into presenting their art online. They eagerly add their work to their new portfolios and wait for something to happen. But success as a self-representing artist requires the artist to be much more active, and dare I say, aggressive in their approach than “post and pray.”

I’d personally like to share a few best practices for our site to help you get the both out of your membership. And even if you’re not a member, you may find some of the below is still applicable:

  • Introduce yourself. EBSQ is more than a place to park your art; we have a very active community that’s great for networking and sharing experiences, discussing media, materials, and techniques, and in general sharing the daily grind of life as a self-representing artist with all of its unique challenges. If you’re registered for this site, you’re already registered for our forums, and with a the exception of a few goodies that are for paid-members only, the bulk of our forum content is free and open to the public.
  • Enter an exhibit. Our monthly exhibits give members a great opportunity to challenge themselves as well as get their work in front of a whole new set of eyeballs. I remember rather famously a few years ago, a member wrote to me, wanting to remove her show entry because she didn’t want her patrons to see that she didn’t win. But entering shows is actually one of THE best ways to be seen on our site. Take a risk and put yourself out there!
  • Talk about your art. So many artists on our site list a title, maybe a date or media, and that’s it. And then wonder why they aren’t being noticed for Art of the Day or getting a lot of hits to their portfolios. Simply put, you need to feed Google. Talk about your pieces with the same passion with which you created them. Give the search engines something relavent to find so that patron of a lifetime can actually find you.
  • Link link link. Have you used your EBSQ marketing tools? Add a link to your website or your blog! If you offer commissions, give people a way to contact you by making your public email address available. Yes, spam can happen this way, too. One option is to use a separate email address, whether it be another alias at your personal domain, or a free account like hotmail, yahoo, or gmail. Just make sure you actually watch this accounts for legitimate contacts! (We have a section in our forums to report suspicious contacts, yet another reason to stop in to say hello!) Also, you have the option to add a marketing blurb that personalizes the title of your page in the search engines. If you’re the world’s greatest tromphe l’oeil pickle artist, say so!

We’d love to know what’s missing on this list: how do YOU get the most from EBSQ?

EBSQ Live Studio – Social Media for Artists

This demonstration was originally presented by Amanda Makpeace on 17 May 2010.

Good evening everyone. Thank you so much for attending Social Media, the Artist and Marketing. I’m going to start things off by defining the term social media. Most often when we hear the word social media the first sites that come to mind are Facebook and Twitter, but social media is any site that allows you to share information and interact with other people via the internet. Sharing and interacting—these are the two main aspects. Yes Facebook and Twitter apply, but so too do Blogs, YouTube, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Flickr, Digg and many more.

One of the best things you can do is explore social media sites. Chances are not all of them will work for you, nor do you have the time to utilize each and every one. The following link is a listing of the top 25 social media sites, along with marketing tips for each.

Top 25 Social Media Sites

When I began using social media sites several years ago I tried dozens of different platforms, but now I only use a handful. Here are my tops sites for interaction:

Twitter

DeviantArt

My Blog

StumbleUpon

Facebook

Flickr

Here are some of my recent experiences on Twitter:

Example 1: I love sci-fi/horror movies and books. I began reading Stephen King when I was 13 years old. This isn’t just something I’m interested in, it’s something I know. I follow many aspiring writers and published authors on twitter, and in turn quite a few follow me and they’ve also made purchases from my Etsy shop.

Example 2: Many of you know about my One Pebble Project? Well just last week bestselling author, Kat Richardson (who I follow and she follows me) caught wind of my tweet and went crazy sharing it with all of her friends. We bantered back and forth for a good 15 minutes. Okay yes, this was a lot of fun especially since she is one of my favorite authors, but it also spread my name and ultimately my art to the 1,117 people who follow her tweets.

Example 3: I entered a contest on a blog a few weeks ago and the blogger clicked on my profile to see who I was, and ultimately ended up at my Etsy shop. Within a matter of days she commissioned a painting!

Maybe I’m lucky, but I don’t think so. I think if you want to generate sales from social media marketing you have to interact with people and build relationships.

I’ve seen direct sales from Twitter, so I put most of my time and energy into using my tweets as a marketing tool. Twitter may not be that site for you. Maybe instead Facebook is where you generate the most interest or even YouTube. The key is to find which one works and put your energy into it, instead of spreading yourself to thin.

Here are some good and not so good practices. You can use these rules of thumb, in some form or another, on any social media site.

Good Practices

Give to Get – Successful social media marketing programs involve listening and participation. That participation centers around giving value before expecting anything in return.

Putting in the Time – Yes, social media marketing can be time-consuming, but if you choose the best times to participate you can plan and use your time wisely. There are also tools you can use so you aren’t spending all day on the computer.

You want to facilitate sales, not attempt to make sales directly. – This is probably the most important practice of all. People following you naturally become acquainted with what you do, and as you participate in the conversations and build interconnected followers sales can and do happen.

Think outside your product. – If you have interests outside your own art, and most of us do, share them! 1. You will gain new followers/friends who will then discover your art and 2. It makes you a “real” person who is interesting and not one-sided. Also, seek out people with those interests and follow them!

Bad Practices

Being fake, in any way. – This is self-explanatory. Nobody likes a fake.

Not listening.- If you aren’t listening you may miss opportunities to incorporate your product into a conversation, etc.

Being oblivious to formal & unwritten social rules – It’s good to do a certain amount of lurking to see what is socially accepted for a particular social media site.

Being pushy or overtly sales-y in messaging – If all you do is post links to your product people will ignore you.

Cautionary Practices

Be careful sharing your political and religious views. – Unless they pertain directly to your arts theme/subject. We’ve all seen the discussions that can turn ugly, this would be disastrous to your online image.

Be careful expressing anger or upset over an event/person. – This can work for you or against you. Last year I witnessed author, Alice Hoffman have a complete meltdown on twitter over a bad review. The backlash at her behavior forced her to leave Twitter, but not before her account was suspended.

Tools of the Trade for Twitter and Facebook

Twitterfeed – This site allows you to take any RSS feed and share it on Facebook and Twitter. I use it to share the images I “Stumble” but I could also use it to share new items I list on Etsy too.

Feedburner – You can also use Feedburner to share your latest blog posts on twitter, which means less time you spend on twitter! I like Feedburner for my blog because it has more customizable options.

TweetDeck – The newest version of TweetDeck allows you to simultaneously post to both Twitter and Facebook or separately. TweetDeck works on Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as iPhone and iPad and an Android application in the works.

TweetDeck also allows you to schedule tweets. This comes in handy if you have a busy day ahead of you but don’t want to leave your followers in silence.

Also, artist Lori Mcnee has an excellent article on her blog, Lori Mcnee: Fine Art and Tips, about branding yourself as an artist.

Lastly, I want to say just a few things about blogging. You don’t hear much about blogs as a social media tool, but they do fall into this category. Blog posts can be shared across a myriad of social networking sites with the click of a button. But guess what, nobody is reading your blog because of your art. If you want to know why, this recent post on Gapingvoid.com explains it in an easy to understand way.

And I am going to leave it there. I hope you find the information in this presentation useful. – Amanda Makepeace

EBSQ Community Guidelines

From time to time, we like to republish our Community Guidelines. Even though we’re one of the best-behaved groups of artists you’ll ever find online or off, it’s good to refresh the ole memory all the same:

EBSQ is more than just an art portfolio-hosting site for individual use; we’re also an active community of artists. These guidelines are an addendum to our official Terms of Service for the site. Be aware that these guidelines pertain to behaviour across all aspects of our site: individual portfolios, EBSQ galleries and shows, our forums, and our chat room.

How to mind your P’s and (EBS)Q’s

 

Do unto others:

In other words, play nice. Treat others with respect. And if you have a conflict with another member, please try to settle it privately rather than dragging the community in a flame war.

If it doesn’t belong to you, please don’t put it on our site:

We ask that you only upload images that you created and solely belong to you. If you want to curate a collection of EBSQ work you like, feel free to add it to your favourites folder(s).

Your Art Case is for Art. Period.

Please do not use your EBSQ Art Case for general image hosting. If you have something like a banner that you use as part of your marketing materials, you can include it as part of your 10-alotted non-art image hosting slots. If it’s a picture of your new kitty or your house-remodel, save it for a general photo sharing site.

Don’t get folks fired (aka “about those risque art pieces that are NSFW…”):

We do not yet have a content filter to keep the site 100% Work-safe, but we don’t want to censor your art. EBSQ does allow Adult content in personal portfolios and in our Adult Content gallery. That said, IF your work is appropriate for this gallery, it does not belong elsewhere on the site. Example? If it’s a graphically nude photograph, it does not belong in our portrait or photography galleries. This includes your identity images and personal avatars for the forums.

What belongs in the Adult content gallery?

Work that is graphically explicit or suggestive, be it violent or sexual in nature. We reserve the right to remove porn and otherwise illegal imagery from our site. In the event of repeat offenses, your account may be suspended or terminated.

What’s the difference between Artistic Nude and Adult Content?

Breasts and/or Buttocks + no sexual connotation = artistic nude. Private parts or otherwise sexually suggestive in context = Adult Content. (We’ve seen from experience that figure can be completely clothed and still sexually suggestive.)

Don’t put illegal stuff on our site:

Kiddie porn? No thank you. Work that violates someone else’s copyright? Nope. Do not want. Work that harrasses or attacks an individual or group of people? Nope, not welcome.

We admit it; we stole this one from Flickr: Don’t be Creepy.

You know the guy. Don’t be that guy.

I’m not creepy–am I?

Hopefully not! Just to be sure, don’t, for example, upload pinhole camera pictures taken on the sly of your neighbour’s children in the kiddie pool. Also, repeated posts of an overly personal, negative, controversial, disruptive or confrontational nature = creepy. Just don’t do it.

Other things to keep in mind:

EBSQ is a diverse community, encompassing all manner of nationalities, political and spiritual beliefs, sexual orientations and lifestyle choices, and of course, all manner of artistic media, genre, and styles. Try to focus on what brings us all together: a love of art. You may be offended by something you see on the site, or see work that is in the wrong gallery. If you have a problem with another member’s behaviour or content posted on the site, please drop us a line to let us know!

Give other members a heads up:

If you’re posting a thread on our fourms that contains overly foul language, an off-colour joke, political commentary, nude art for critique, or anything else that other members might wish to avoid reading/seeing, please note this in your subject line for your forum posts. Failure to do so can result in having your post removed by one of the moderators, and continuing to do so can result in loss of posting access or membership.

Copyright issues:

We take image ownership very seriously. That said, there are some emerging artists who emulate what they see other successful artists doing, and their “borrowing” of your imagery is probably not malicious. If you think an EBSQ member has violated your copyright, a good first step is to drop them a polite line and ask them to remove the work from their portfolio. If this does not work, please contact us with an infringement notice and we’ll handle things from there.

So–that’s the whole spiel.

We hope you’ll find these guidelines make for a more harmonious community environment. And if you find you can’t live by these rules, perhaps EBSQ isn’t the best place for you and your art. That’s cool. Thanks for your consideration.

Questions? Comments? Feedback is always welcome. Drop us a line and an honest-to-goodness real person will write back to you. Scouts’ honor!

TONIGHT is EBSQ Live- Social Media for Artists

hosted by EBSQ Self-Representing Artists and Amanda Makepeace
TONIGHT Monday, June 14th at 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific)
EBSQ Chat Room 

social media marketing for artists

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube … Social Media is everywhere and everyone from school teachers to big businesses are cashing in on this amazing phenomena—including artists. When utilized correctly Social Media can be a powerful marketing tool. It connects the artist directly with potential buyers not only in their home town but across the world. I’ve been using social media platforms for the last six years. My presentation will reveal my secrets for using social media as an artist’s marketing tool.

About the Presenter: 

Art has been one of the few constants in my life, but early on I was put off by traditional teaching methods. I only returned to study art in 2005 after completing a commission for a book cover. The course revealed I was an artist set in my ways, so I let my muse run free to create on my own terms. Much of my art tells a story, and through it I have explored the beauty at our feet and the expanse of the universe. I live outside Athens, Georgia with my daughter, two cats and a sometimes unhealthy obsession with technology and books.

Newest EBSQ Juried Artists announced for Spring 2010

Congratulations to the newest members of EBSQ Juried Artists. Each artist was elected by at least a 2/3 majority by a peer jury.

Inshan Ali http://inshanali.ebsqart.com
Leea Baltes http://LEEABALTES.ebsqart.com
Theresa Bayer http://silverlark.ebsqart.com
Cindy Bontempo http://GOSHRIN.ebsqart.com
Ana Silvar Bouck http://ANASART.ebsqart.com
Marcine Dillon http://thisismarcine.ebsqart.com
Aimee Dingman http://podkaynestudios.ebsqart.com
Philippe Fernandez http://philippesarts.ebsqart.com
Shirley Inocenté http://jaishi.ebsqart.com
Jim Pearson http://jpearson.ebsqart.com
Belle Twigg http://belle.ebsqart.com
Jacquie Janzen Yee http://jacquieyee.ebsqart.com

Congratulations to both our newest members and all of the applicants. This was easily our strongest overall field of applicants in years!

EBSQ Juried Artist Applications will be accepted again in October 2010.

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