From the EBSQ Archives: Creating a Successful Online Auction Listing by Sonya Paz

The perfect scenario. The new auction art collector cruising the endless page after page of art, sculpture, wrought iron tangibles, wild extravagant paintings of interesting mixed media artworks and then he stumbles onto your page and viola!: this person is drawn in…..

Impressed right off the bat because your page loads fast they can now start the examination process of absorbing the valuable data contained within this precious document. Your titles are clear, the size of your piece is noted, and you have offered a prime concise image of your artwork. They are so excited that you have touched a special nerve with them as there were no fancy obstacles interfering in the thought process of why they are cruising in the first place…. to possibly buy something. Now they are completely ready. They zoom to the “place bid” area and contribute to a process that many can call history.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? If you can say yes, then you are most like on the right track with doing the right things with your auction pages. If you (at this point) are scratching your head wondering why your auction pages are not working for you then chances are that maybe there is something wrong. It can be many things, from the placement of your data to the over achievement of the cool new javascripts that are available for free.

Here are a few “S-O-N-Y-A-S T-I-P-S” to help you out:

Sounds. Unless they are an active part of what you are selling and in most cases they aren’t then lose the noise. Sounds are unnecessary.

Over Achievement. Excessive Javascripts fancy rollovers and flashing things in your face. Bad very bad. These things can tie up someone’s browser and can cause some computers to crash. Don’t think that any person will be visiting your site again anytime soon. These are distracting useless toys that are bad for the auction page environment. Don’t do this to people, they really can care less about these fancy whatchamacallits. Large scrolling 40 foot long pages with a ton of ads and the big giant “sell” aren’t popular either. The best formula is to think about you driving a car and how long you have to read a billboard on the side of the road at 55 mph. Same effect, keep focused, no distractions and less “is” more.

Not everyone has high speed Internet, so please take that into consideration when creating your page. Keep image files small and content quality high. What I mean by “content quality” is to take the time to indicate the details of your piece and this also includes your shipping parameters and any special notes.

Your Images. Now here is a biggie. This is what is going to help you be the most successful with your auction pages because this is what people want to see. Whether you are using an intense photo image application like Adobe Photoshop or a simple image editor like Photo-Edit you can still produce a nice image for your viewers. Exporting the images to .jpg with a result of quality from 5 to 7 is sufficient (this all varies with your photo editor application). Try not to think that making it the highest quality is always better because then your image will take longer to download to screen.

Animations are annoyances. Two words. Loose ’em. Hopping doggies and bouncing smilie faces do it for me…. I am outta there.

Stealing. (okay, let’s for the sake of harsh words let’s call it “borrowing” shall we.) Sure, we can all get inspired from many different outlets whether it’s another artist site or page or some unique clever wording that someone be as original as possible, make a statement or add verbiage that is pertinent to your persona. Our ability to create descriptive words to enhance our art is as original as the art itself.

Templates and Technique. A simple HTML editor can assist you in designing the architecture for your page and you can keep your template and use it for all your auction pages, this way your look will always be consistent and then you can always add or delete data easily. Most editors do not have a spell checker, take the time to review your grammar.

Interests and Inspirations. Based on the way that eBay handles keyword spamming it would be best to note any additional interests, admired art legends, areas of inspirations on a separate page. In eBay they give you a place where you can own and maintain a personal “me” page if you are a registered eBay user. This way you won’t have eBay emailing you accusing you of keyword spamming and you can still get your point across to your viewers.
Practice and patience. Take your time. Learn basic HTML commands for your pages, get the most out of the cool tools available. There are a lot of handy free resources on the Internet :o)

Stop. Look and Listen. If after reading and taking these tips into consideration you need a second set of eyes to review your content and give some constructive criticism then go for it. Ask a friend to take a peek, it’s better that they give you the thumbs up before your viewing audience gives you a thumbs down…..

Sonya Paz is a professional fine artist/painter living in San Jose, California. Sonya is also an established web and graphic designer and has written many articles based on her experiences in the corporate world and how she manages her fine art business today. In 1996 – 1998 Sonya wrote the “Funky Thought of the Week” for the on-line publication Soho Saltmines.


From the EBSQ Archives: Sonya on Shipping Your Art by Sonya Paz

Being in the retail end of things for some time, you learn lots, especially when your clientele expands to shipping across country and overseas. Most of the most valuable lessons of shipping etiquette is learned good old fashioned hard way, you either over charge and your customers think you’re nuts, or you undercharge and you basically eat the rat (and feel cruddy to boot).

So based on the experience I would like to share with you some shipping tips, techniques and ideas!

Here are some smart shipping considerations to keep in mind when managing and shipping your items:

1.) Before posting your items for sale be sure to measure and weigh your art piece. Including this information on your auction site or web site is also valuable for customers.

2). Purchasing bubble wrap, corrugated frame corners, tape and other shipping supplies on-line (like on eBay) can save you a lot of money, they are very reasonable if you purchase then on-line even with the shipping, the local packaging store tends to be more costly. Buying on-line also provides door to door service.

3.) Get a box that fits your item, have enough to surround the edges (3-4 inches) enough for the bubble wrap to cushion, but not too much where your item is swimming in the carton. Collect and save scrap corrugated squares to back the canvas in or to provide support to the paper or unframed pieces.

4.) If you are shipping smaller pieces or are relatively flat like watercolor/acrylic paper works or canvases that are smaller than 19×17, you can get Priority or Express boxes for no charge from the US Postal service, you can ship these boxes flattened as well. The great thing about USPS Priority shipping is that it’s really inexpensive, you can get package tracking for only .35 cents and they have insurance available. UPS includes the insurance in the shipping up to 100.00, the amount thereafter is minimal and well worth it.

5.) If at all possible, have an area where you can keep all your shipping supplies together, so you can manage all of your shipping and packaging in a single place. If you do not have a place in your studio, home apartment, garage to do shipping, getting a box to keep your supplies in can prove useful.

6.) Include a note with your sent items thanking your customers for their sale, this really makes your new collector feel like they are dealing with a professional, makes a great impression and say a lot about who you are.

7.) Have all your paperwork, labels, any insurance or tracking tags completed and your package all ready to go when entering the doors to the post office or UPS. Being organized like this will help in getting you in and out. (The clerks and customers will also appreciate this!) USPS labels, tracking and insurance tags are also no charge, feel to pick up these supplies from the post office, they may also be ordered from the USPS website:

8.) If you have on-line processing for UPS/FedEx be sure to keep hard copies of your transactions/tracking numbers, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

9.) Keep all your shipping and tracking receipts organized by day, week or month (depending on your shipping frequency), keep them in an envelope/box with your shipping supplies. In the event you need to reference any information, you will know where it is and you can expedite the tracking quicker. After shipping, email your customer to give them the scoop on their package, provide them with the tracking numbers. Most times customers like to see the on-line status and they appreciate this. Don’t make your customer wait for this information.

10.) UPS and USPS are great sources for shipping on domestic (USA) shipments. Depending on the shipment size etc can vary on the shipper. For International Shipping USPS is very reasonable, they have an area on their website to calculate shipping costs: I have found this to be average source of exact information, however if you go to the post office and inquire directly with the clerk, they will look up the data for you, every country is different and each has their own shipping requirements. FedEx, DHL, Airborne are far too costly sources for overseas shipping.

Some Serious “Don’ts” When Shipping:

1.) DON’T put your paper works of art in a flattened box without any type of protection (wrap in tissue, plastic or craft paper), this will protect your art.

2.) DON’T use newspaper to directly wrap your items. Bad, very bad. News print rubs off and will damage/tarnish your work of art.

3.) DON’T scribble the mailing label, if you have poor penmanship then print out the address directly from your customers email and adhere that to the package.

Final S.O.S. Thought… Invest the time and effort to pack your items well, by being in a rush to make it to the post office/shipping depot can potentially harm your buyers investment. Because the objective is to make them smile when they open it …. right?

Sonya Paz is a professional fine artist/painter living in San Jose, California. Sonya is also an established web and graphic designer and has written many articles based on her experiences in the corporate world and how she manages her fine art business today. In 1996 – 1998 Sonya wrote the “Funky Thought of the Week” for the on-line publication Soho Saltmines.

Member News-Sonya Paz to be honored as Artist of the Year

from EBSQ Charter-member Sonya Paz:

Gallery Reception at the Sonya Paz Gallery 06.19.09

Wine for Two in the Valley by Sonya Paz
Wine for Two in the Valley by Sonya Paz

…and you are invited this Friday evening!

WHAT: Community reception honoring Sonya Paz, 11th Senate District Artist of the Year, hosted by State Senator Joe Simitian

WHEN: Friday, June 19, 2009
5:30 – 7:00 p.m. (during the Downtown Campbell ArtWalk)

WHERE: Sonya Paz Fine Art Gallery
195 East Campbell Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008

For more detailed information:

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