Saturday, March 23, 2013

follow-up to follow-up : the report card

So, my soul-bearing-whining-(people thought it sounded depressed even though I didn't feel that way)-telling of the events in my previous post was cathartic.  It got me unstuck.  Many people wrote to say that they admired what I said, admired that I was honest and revealing, admired not that I was a success or not, but that I was actually pursuing my dreams.

The inspiration to write it came from seeing a video on TED by Amanda PALMER.  "The Art of Asking."  That combined with a couple other things I saw and read.  It occurred to me, that not only was I stuck in the failure of my Berlin project, but maybe, what was missing was asking people to support me.

The report card :

So, I wrote my little speech.  Don't regret it.

And then, I was inspired, not only by asking for help, but by the idea to give people a way to help if they wanted to.

I already had an artbook on "crépuscule" (of which I have sold exactly zero copies, until this week when I sold one. Ok, I agree $47 for hard cover is expensive, even if the book is beautiful).  So, after discovering that blurb does ebooks, I decided to make an ebook version of my book and make that available.  link  Instead of $47 it was $5.  Again, after announcing it, exactly zero copies were purchased.

So,  I decided that if money were an issue, that I would make an ebook available of my work and offer it for FREE to my supporters.  link  Seemed like a win win situation.  My public gets a cool book and my work gets out there.

I offered it first to my followers on my blog.  There are 13 members, so reaction wasn't a tidal wave.

There are 608 fans on my facebook page, so I offered it there too.  By tracking statistics of visitors on my blog, there have been 21 people to date who have visited the blog post.  I can't say that they all downloaded.  I know for sure that one person did, because they left a comment on the blog and sent me a private email.  Given that all 21 people downloaded, that means exactly 3,34% of my followers actually took me up on the offer for a free book.  Yes, that's a little more than 3% and yes it was FREE.  Is anyone else surprised by this?

Given the overwhelmingly positive comments I receive when I do an installation, this is the mystery to me.  The difference there is between the "verbal" reaction to my work and the what I call "feet on the ground" reaction.  Concrete reaction, sales, if you will.

I'm not saying that people are obligated to buy my work just because they like it, but it just seems that the statistic should be a wee bit higher than 0%.  I shouldn't have a 100% success rate and I shouldn't have a 0% success rate either.

What do I know? Maybe that is a typical reaction.  You do something and 3% of the viewers react in a concrete way.  That's hard to believe, but maybe that's just the math, just the way it is.  Maybe I just have to accept that that is reality.  Do the artists among you have any feedback about your stats?

This divide between verbal reaction and physical reaction has been very present and very frustrating for me for a long time.  There has to be some explanation and I keep thinking that if I find what is "missing" in the equation, I will be able to affect it.  Nothing I've done has changeds this statistic and I have done everything I could think of.

Don't get me wrong.  My work has done well.  I have been able to do about one major installation per year, and for each I have been paid, always adequately and sometimes well.  So, on that level, I am lucky.  Subsequently, as previously mentioned, the public's reaction has often been overwhelming.  Again reason to be thankful and I am.

A part from that, I have never sold even one of the smaller portable sculptures.  I have sold a few of my sewn photographs, three to be exact.  Okay, I can count myself luckier that Van Gogh, who never sold a single painting other than to his brother, in his whole life.

So, I have thought of many ways to make my art more available, often following the suggestions of friends and fans.  I have made limited edition prints. and here.  Again, the response was less than what I expected.  It was even less than 3%.  Once more, it was zero.

Again, I'm not saying this as a complaint.  I am just mystified and completely unable to understand this phenomenon.  I don't, for instance, expect everyone to like it and/or to buy it, but I find 0% or 3% (remember 3% was when it was free) hard to believe.  Ideally, I would have expected something like 20%, or maybe 10%, but zero?

Is there something I'm missing?  There must be.

Maybe, I'll figure it out someday.  No one can say I haven't tried.  and I'll probably keep trying.

Still perplexed.  Any suggestions?

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