Last month I noticed a brand new Arts and Crafts category on Craigslist, and at first I thought it might be a good opportunity for artists to sell their art.
Actually, about a year ago I wrote to Craigslist and requested this category. At the time, they said there simply wasn’t a need for it.
Now that I’ve seen it in use (and tried it out) I’m beginning to agree with them. Here are some reasons why it’s NOT a great place to sell your artwork.
1. Craigslisters are only looking for good deals.
People on Craigslist are there to avoid paying the premium amount for anything, and that definitely includes art.
You might be able to trade a painting for what it’s worth in, say, racquetball equipment, but that’s probably the closest you’ll get to making a good deal.
Expect to barter, haggle, and finagle your way to a sale.
2. Your artwork expires after 7 days.
Not only do you have to repost your artwork every week, but your listing will be pushed farther down each day as more people post their own “for sale” item.
I admit that it’s one of the fairer ways of posting classifieds online (everyone gets equal opportunity at the top) but it means that you really only have a couple of days where people can see your artwork without digging five pages in.
3. Craigslist only allows text in the title of your listing.
I think this one hurts artists the most.
For every other item posted on Craigslist a simple description works great—but selling art really needs an image to draw people in. You can post images inside your listing, but people won’t see that until they’ve already clicked on your title.
Nobody can know whether those paintings are worth looking at, so many times they just won’t. (And compared to the cake decorating supplies, those prices don’t inspire much confidence!)
It’s too bad, really. Building a consistent base of local buyers is one of the best ways to make a living as an artist, and Craigslist really has the potential to help with that.
To me, there just seems to be several better ways to sell art online. Browse around and read some of my other articles about selling your art on the internet and you’ll see what I mean.
However, if you’ve successfully used Craigslist to sell your art in the past, please let me know. I’d love to hear your methods, your medium, and how it all worked out.