Art Licensing Info Ask Call with the Copyright Office is on November 12, 2014

Why people buy…

Halloween Witch Hat Cotton CandyA very important thing to keep in mind when creating art for art licensing is WHY PEOPLE BUY.

There are certain items people buy because they have to. Gas & insurance for their car.  Heat for their home in the winter.  Food to eat.  Basic necessities are MUST BUY items.  Most of those items do not license art because they don’t need to.  They compete with price, location, convenience and more.

Then there are the things people buy because they want them.

I recently bought this cotton candy because of the fun packaging.  Is it good cotton candy?  I have no idea!  But the packaging was perfect and the price was good so I got it because it made me happy and I knew it would make my mom smile.  (She loves cotton candy!)

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times – most people don’t need more coffee mugs.  They buy them because they want them.  That is where we come in…

Our job as artists is to create designs that compel people to want something so much that they will open their wallet and buy it.

That is why the manufacturers seek us out. That is why they pay us. To help them move product.  Period.

So think about that as you create… is what you are creating going to open wallets?  If so, it will fill yours in return.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

We have a TIME for the Ask Call with the Library of Congress Copyright Office!

Ask Call with the Library of Congress Copyright OfficeYeah!  You have no idea how many emails, phone calls and conversations are going into making this Ask Call a reality.  Let’s just say… a lot.  I’m really excited about the call and how open and responsive the copyright office has been during this process.

We have set a time so open your calendars and block off the time to join us live… drumroll please….

11 am Pacific / 2 pm Eastern

Use to calculate the time at your place if you aren’t in one of those two locations.

If you can’t join us live, the replay will be free as well.  This is going to be a wonderful and informative call.

Please help me spread the word and tell any group of artists you know – or any individual artists you know – to take advantage of this unique and FREE opportunity.

Send everyone to to register.  Thanks for your help and I hope you can join us!

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed



Can you step back and unemotionally evaluate your experience?

An important skill to learn – which I’ve heard artists get really good at during critiques at art school – is to be able to step back and evaluate your work AND your results without letting emotion get in the way.

Sure – emotions sometimes pop up when we don’t get that deal we wanted or our dream company says “no thank you”.  Everything from mild disappointment to tears welling up in your eyes – emotion happens.

But when the emotion subsides, can you step back and take an unemotional look at what happened?

WHY didn’t your art get chosen?  Did you get any feedback and if so – do you agree?  Sometimes we choose to make changes based on feedback, other times we don’t.  Feedback is just that – one or a few people’s opinion.  WE DECIDE what to do with it.  Change, tweak, do nothing. Our choice.

When you get a lot of the same feedback and you aren’t getting licensing deals, it’s time to look closer at whether art licensing is for you if you don’t want to change.  Again – your choice and either option is ok.  Stay and keep trying.  Look for other ways to make a living with your art.

Over the weekend I saw a link from Kate Mason (Messy Miss Kate) on Facebook. She was a finalist in Lilla Rogers’ Great Talent Search but wasn’t the ultimate winner.  I haven’t been following it closely but was intrigued and decided to go read the post. (Truth be told I was also avoiding what I needed to get done but it ended up being a blessing in disguise that I was wandering through FB!)

Kate does a great job talking about the emotion of it and then steps back and really analyzes why she didn’t think she was chosen, what she did, what she might have done differently and where she goes from here.  Click here to read her blog post

Every artist that wants to succeed at making a living from their art and not just doing art as a hobby needs to learn this skill.

Thank you Kate for a great example and good luck with your book and future aspirations!

Here’s to everyone’s creative success!

– Tara Reed

What I’m working on: Updating Trade Show support options

Art Licensing Trade Show support being updated and improved...

All good things must come to an end… and be improved!

I’ve decided I can do better now.  Since I wrote my first ebook about getting ready for Art Licensing Trade Shows, I’ve exhibited at 6 more.  Things have changed.  I have a lot more ideas to help you make the most of your investment…

I’m completely re-writing my eBook about exhibiting at trade shows and creating a few other levels and options for getting ready and getting prepared.  My goal is to have everything done and my ducks in a row by November…

If you want to be the first to know when they are ready – and get a special incentive for signing up for the list – register below and watch your email.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

What’s your FUTURE story going to be…

No matter what has happened or come before this moment… you have the chance and the choice to become whatever you set your mind to.  As Natasha Bedingfield says – it’s UNWRITTEN.  It may take courage, conviction and focus.  It might take learning new things, trying new things, putting yourself out there… it could take being uncomfortable…

What do you want your next chapter to be?

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

If you liked this post, read what I had to say about comfort and courage a few posts ago…

It’s not just our industry…

I’m sure if you really stopped to think about it, you already know this.  But sometimes we get so caught up in OUR business and OUR industry that we forget to stop and see what is and isn’t going on elsewhere…

The other night I was watching Nashville (ABC – season 3 / epsisode 2) and was struck by how much the dialogue mimicked discussions on social media among artists about art licensing…

Nashville on ABC

Rayna is unhappy that it takes more than great music to make it these days… she longs for the time when you didn’t have to be on social media, share  your personal life and have a reality show to have a #1 hit for more than a day. She is told that “it’s a brand new world and if you want to stay in the game, you have to play the game” (something like that – that isn’t verbatim)

The show really highlights how a singers brand needs to match their reality if they want to stay scandal free… the gay singer who was built up as a ladies man and recently married is in for a bumpy ride… sort of reminds me of the Tiger Woods scandal and how Thomas Kinkade’s brand and personal life became mis-aligned…

Anyway – it’s not just us facing these changing times and having to decide if we choose to play the game or get out of the business.

Many of the rules have changed in art licensing over the years and especially since 2008 – but we always have a choice:  stay and play or find a new way to make a living with our creativity.

You can watch the episode online here >

Here’s to your creative – and social media – success!

– Tara Reed

The next Art Licensing Academy starts this Wednesday – who wants to uplevel their understanding of the business this month?

The third – and by far the most international – Art Licensing Academy is about to begin this Wednesday, October 8, 2014.  The next class won’t be until June 2015 so if you are on the fence – know that you will stay there for a while unless you invest in yourself!


The Art Licensing Academy is a Group Coaching Program that allows artists access to information, support and inspiration at the fraction of the cost of private coaching.

Succeeding in art licensing – or any business for that matter – requires more than just the core skills or talent.  In art licensing, the “core skills” would obviously be artistic talent.  If you have the talent, you then need to learn how to apply it in a way that works for products.  You need to learn to see trends and decide if they make sense for your style and focus.  I consider the core skills the art related skills.

Beyond the core skills, you need business skills –  sales & marketing, building and nurturing relationships, understanding and negotiating contracts, etc.

But don’t forget about your “personal” core.  Without understanding yourself and what motivates you and what might make you sabotage yourself, you won’t have everything you need to maximize your success.

I have designed the Art Licensing Academy to support you and help you grow in all three of these areas.

By working together for 4 weeks we are able to cover a lot of how-to’s as well as personal development and mindset concepts that are the backbone of a sustainable business.  You will get answers to your questions and learn from questions asked by others as well.  Our private Facebook group is an amazing way to stay connected and supported throughout the program and beyond as well.

Bottom line:  It’s affordable and effective.  (You get more than you pay for!) Why not join our next class?

Learn more and save your spot at

But don’t take my word for it, here are a few comments from past students:

“The real value I found in this class was in the private Facebook group. The class and Q&A were great but Tara really went above and beyond answering questions, giving feedback and more in the private group too.”
– Kaitlyn Goodey,

“Thank you so much for sharing, I hear the authenticity in your voice – bringing both the personal side (real life) along with the down to biz side together and how it can work! I’m starting to look at things differently.”

– Ara Atkinson-Skinner,

testimonial - Rachel PlaceI can’t say how much I love your class so far you are a great instructor and motivator.  Thank you for planting the seed and making me think so much about my brand – I have updated my logo and website to better represent who I am, what I do and where I want my business to go.”

– Rachel Place,

Read more testimonials and save your spot at

Just create it…

Watch this…

Now tell me if any of the excuses you have in your head for why you can’t make your dreams come true feel valid… didn’t think so.

GO!  Create!  Make it happen!

– Tara Reed

Crafters, artists and money…

Last weekend I went to Seattle to teach about goal setting and art licensing at the School House Craft event.  There were about 65 creative people sharing ideas, products and lots of beliefs – whether they realized it or not.  :)

I spent my 3.5 hour drive north from Portland listening to Sean Smith’s audio series – Release the Brakes.  Which talked about recognizing and changing limiting beliefs – so beliefs were on my radar! (He has some great ideas and food for thought – you can find this series and more here > (I have no affiliation – just passing on great resources)

Over lunch a conversation went something like this…  “I do XYZ … I’m not saying I want to get rich or anything, but I’d like to make more than $2/hour for my time after all of my expenses.”

Another artist nods her head in agreement, “Me too.  I’m not greedy or anything, but it’s so hard…”

After a few more people parrot this idea, I find my mouth opening and my voice saying, “Why don’t you want to make money?  There isn’t anything wrong with it.  It isn’t like Apple is going to charge us less for our iPhones because we are so creative…”

Money can be such a sticky wicket for people.  Why do artists feel they have to starve to be valid, or reassure others that “they don’t need to be rich” or equate wanting to make a living with being greedy?  I bet you don’t hear conversations like that in silicon valley!

Money is a tool and it’s a tool everyone needs to live and make choices.  There have been many conversations about money in regards to the SURTEX show… the booths are too expensive.  The show should realize how our business has changed and give us other options… the reality is, their costs are going up too.  The Javitz Center in NYC isn’t lowering rates, or paying less for workers or electricity because the economy has gotten harder since 2008.

We, as artists, decide how much we charge, what royalties and what size jobs we are willing to accept, and how we spend the money we earn.  It is our job to pay attention and make it work.  If that means you do a show every other year, or put off exhibiting for the first time for a year, then that’s what you do. If you think being at the show every year is valuable for your business, you figure it out.

I suggest we all DECIDE that making money is a GOOD THING.

While I’m not saying our business is a piece of cake and you can make a ton of money in your sleep, if you look at other businesses, it might not seem so bad.  In the 6 month coaching program I recently completed (that I invested $9,000 to participate in – my choice and in my opinion, worth every penny) there was  a man who was a builder.  His specialty was remodeling – kitchens in particular.  He shared with us that his business had to do $70,000 in sales EVERY MONTH – to break even.  TO BREAK EVEN.  I don’t know of any artist that has to have that level of income to break even… at least not any solo artist.  Studios with a large staff might but not the average artist in licensing.

Many large companies are happy if their profit margin is 10% of what they bring in.  I can assure you that I also don’t know of any artist spending 90% of what they bring in on their business.

Everything is about perspective, attitude and your belief system.  If you believe it will be hard or that we have it good – you are right.

I encourage you to notice the things you and those around you say about money and business.  Are they fear based statements or optimistic.  Your attitude about money feeds your attitude and action in your business… luckily, you can control and change your attitude – if you choose to.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

Testing your vision is an ongoing process…

Greeting card insider, Mike Rhodda, recently started a blog and site for artists wanting to really understand and break into the greeting card business. (add that to my t0-do list…)  Last week I read one of his posts and HAD TO SHARE IT!

He offers a brilliant suggestion to artists that would work for any kind of product really.  Artists wanting to get into greeting cards or art licensing should give this a try…

I won’t steal his thunder but just encourage you to read it…  now…

Do My Eyes Deceive Me?

Here’s to your creative success – and accurate vision!

– Tara Reed

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