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What's Up With e-Bay?

by Jack White on 6/17/2011 9:09:33 AM

This post is by guest author, Jack White. This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.  This author's views are entirely his own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.


WARNING! Before you read this column, be aware I’m a master salesman. There is a real possibility you will become enamored with eBay before you reach the end.


One very important thing to remember before you launch on eBay: Selling on eBay is the same as a brick and mortar gallery, only the commission scales are much smaller. You need to record all checks, cash or Pay Pal payments received from your eBay sales for the IRS. You are required to pay income taxes on all eBay sales just as if the online sales were a ground-based gallery. These sales are income and the government will demand their share.


I became interested in eBay marketing because of my Professional Artist readers. Several of them mistakenly thought I knew about every phase of marketing art, including eBay. I knew I couldn’t fake being an eBay expert. I had to know more before I wrote.


After some looking into it, I decided to give it a test. Could an unknown artist, starting at ground zero, end up earning a living making and selling art on eBay? I knew I couldn’t connect the fictional artist with Jack White or the trial would be skewed. I needed a new face, a different name and story not associated with me. I picked a good Texas cowboy name and then constructed a story about him owning a ranch somewhere north of the Mexican border. I made my experimental guy a handsome, six foot two inch hunk. Since there were no photographs available for my new star, I did a flattering oil portrait of what I envisioned him to look like. As long as I was dealing with fiction, I made him handsome and macho.


My first goal was to get 10 positive feedbacks, then 50 and finally, 100. By the time I stopped selling on eBay, my guy had about 750 positive stars and no negative feedbacks. He became a Power Seller. I knew until my star power was fairly high, sales would be slow and prices low. No one likes to buy from a newby.


I painted cowboys, horses, longhorns, wild animals, a variety of birds, landscapes and some off the chart stuff. After my guy became established, I began to list Indian portraits. I have a source where I purchase my canvas at cost, allowing very little investment in the product. I painted on regular stretched canvas, no frame and no gallery wrap.  But, I’m getting my wagon in front of the mules.


I learned from selling on eBay to begin my auction bid at one cent. I know you are thinking, “One Cent! That’s nuts, I can’t do that.” Yes, you can. The penny bid is all about ownership.  It’s easy to get someone to bid a penny, whereas they won’t bid 99 cents. The moment someone places the one-cent bid, they own the art. They immediately begin thinking about where the painting will hang and what type of frame to use. 


Then, someone decides to bid two pennies, the ownership has changed and we are off to the races. When four or five claim ownership, the bidding gets crazy. On one 11” x 14”, five bidders were involved, running the final price up to $1,780.  I couldn’t let the winner pay that much, so I gave them a $1,200 savings. As you would expect, they became a huge collector. They were stunned with my honesty. 


The biggest mistake artists make on eBay is trying to start the opening bid at a high amount. This discourages bidding. The key to eBay is the contested bidding. This is why it’s called an auction instead of selling. I see art with opening bids of $24.99 with no bid. Worse yet an opening bid of $99. What this implies is I’m willing to sell this painting for a small amount.


But the real answer is competitive bidding back and forth. When people claim ownership, they get down right angry when someone out bids them on their painting. If you can’t grasp the ownership (auction) concept, then eBay is not for you. You are not going to be able to list art, place a retail price on the piece and sell it on eBay. Let me stress, eBay is an auction house, not an online retail store.


A real no-no is trying to tack a few extra dollars onto shipping fees. Your clients are not stupid. They know what postage costs and they think you are a crook when you jack up the actual fee. After I began to see my sales going over $100, I started giving free shipping in the continental United States. Giving free shipping increases the bidding and the final price you receive. eBay loves those who give free shipping. BUT...don’t give free shipping until you are doing well enough to cover the cost.


Writing a solid title is essential to your success. Start with your name. If your name is long then don’t put up your first name. If your name is Jo Smith, then you can write in the full name. The subject line on eBay is their search engine.


Do not use hyphens in your title. This search engine doesn’t recognize Jack hyphen Jones. The hyphen made you lose two words and ten characters. I saw one posting with hyphens between each word.  Only by accident did people find the artist’s work.


Don’t use commas, stars, parentheses, or any punctuation marks. 


Never use the word NEW when selling a painting.


Do not abbreviate watercolor with WC. Again, people don’t search for WC.


LOL might be okay for texting, but the eBay search engine won’t recognize what you are talking about. The title you post is the only way you are found on eBay. 


I’m listing a few great key words. Art, Artist, Original, Oil, Painting, Acrylic, Water Color or Pastel. Then the name of your subjects: Cardinal, Longhorn, Fruit Bowl, Grapes, Cat, Lion etc.  You have 55 characters in the Title Line and 55 in the Subtitle. This includes spaces and punctuation marks, that’s why I say don’t use commas, periods, etc. Jack White counts for 10 characters.


The subtitle is an additional 50 cents. I seldom used this feature. Great titles can save you, while a bad title will break you. Let’s say you are listing an oil painting of a cardinal. Here is a sample title: John Jones Art Original Oil Painting Cardinal Red Bird


You have the option to set the time you want your listing to go off. The experts say the best time is 6PM in California. This allows everyone to get home from work. Never let your listings expire in the middle of the day. This service cost you 10 cents extra, but it’s worth the money. When the art goes off is extremely important. You don’t want the auction to end Christmas Day or on any other big holidays. Use your brain. The seven-day listing is ideal. When inventory was short, I resorted to using the ten-day auctions to give me a chance to get some work painted.


You will find eBay is loaded with extra promotional stuff you can purchase. NEVER use any of these promotional deals. Instead, make art people will want to purchase and write great titles. Again, the title is eBay’s search engine. You must understand this concept to be successful on Ebay.


When you begin listing, it’s imperative you have the mind set you will stay the course for one year. You can’t start, stop and start up again. I’m told there are 200,000 new pieces of art put up each day on eBay. When you get discovered, you want to keep art posted. My recommendation is never fall below five pieces posted at one time. NEVER list more than seven pieces of art at one time. In selling art, the axiom is less is more. I see artists with 70 original pieces of art in their eBay store. There is zero urgency to bid. These artists look as if they have never sold a piece of art. People want to buy from the successful. Make your auction appear as if you cannot supply the demand.


Make sure when you are uploading your images to select the Gallery Plus and the Picture Pack. This will give the optimum image sizes to show your art. For the best quality, use pictures that are more than 1000 pixels in height or width. You have the option to post 12 images on one listing at no extra cost. The image in the first position will be your gallery image so use a picture of your entire painting. From time to time, I used three images if I wanted to show close up views. Most of the time I just did one image. Time is a factor when you live in the country. We don’t have broadband, but wireless which is only a few steps above dial-up. If the wind is blowing or rain pouring, we have difficulty staying online.


By now you are thinking, “How well did my secret guy do?”  He was on eBay for about three and a half years. The first couple of months, only one painting sold for more than $25.  A few went for the opening bid. That was when I realized the quality of the work would need to be pumped up a notch. The next month, two paintings broke the $50 barrier. At the end of six months, the average sale was almost $100. That year my guy sold approximately $29,000.


Year two, my guy knocked on the $40,000 door, the third and final year he came close to cracking $45,000.  By then, I realized an artist could earn a nice living making and selling art on eBay. I felt I knew enough to help my fellow artists.


Other factors came to play in my choice to stop. My right shoulder was destroyed in an auto accident several years ago. I had to learn to paint with my left hand. I became fairly skilled but not enough for the tight detail. With my eBay guy, I blocked in the painting and did the rough work with my left hand. Then I went back in with my right and dressed out the art. The pain at night got to be too much. When painting with my right hand for an hour or longer, I get big knots in my back under the shoulder blade. The hurt was not worth the reward. I did what I set out to do. I proved an unknown artist could earn a living making and selling art on eBay. 


The art people liked best were my Indian portraits. When I posted one of these portraits, I knew the final bid would be at least $300 and most would go for $400. A few reached $600. You don’t need many of those to have a great month. For three years in a row, my fictional guy sold about 250 pieces annually. One man collected around 60 original paintings and another over 40. Many had 15 to 20.  What amazed me was the number of very wealthy people purchasing or commissioning art. My collectors were doctors, college professors, several large cattle ranchers, and lawyers. There was even a small portrait commission by the lead singer of the music group, Alabama. In the end, only one person ever discovered my guy was Jack White. She is an artist who somehow made the connection.  When she asked, I told her the truth. I’m sure she will read this column.


Here are a few keys to success. Paint fast, keep your art simple and make it good. You cannot take three days to paint a 9x12 but neither will a 15 minute knockout do. Keep the painting bright. It’s difficult to get any bids on dull, tobacco juice paintings. Don’t slap out junk, because the eBay collector is a lot smarter than you think. They know quality art. You might fake out your mother, but not the intelligent eBay bidder. One word of caution, eBay is not for the weak of heart. Your faith will be tested. A painting you think is excellent will bomb.


Take good images of your art. You will be amazed at how many people post images that are cropped poorly or out of focus. The image is the only thing the bidder has to judge your work. Take killer photographs.


Don’t look at your listings several times a day. This will frustrate you and I can promise it will not increase the final bid by one cent. Watchers are not as important as you think. I had pieces with 40 watchers that sold for $90 and pieces with 10 watchers selling for $500. Look for bidders; they drive up the final price.


After I got a few names, I hand wrote each one a thank you note card. I made sure I mailed them three times a year.  Not emails, but snail mail. I printed cards on my desktop using my guy’s images. I kept his name in front of them.  If a client was having problems, I’d write them a personal letter. One collector lost her dog. I painted her a free portrait.


Here are some final words of wisdom about selling art on eBay. Listen to your bidders, they will tell you what to post.  I did a cardinal, not expecting much, because the cowboy stuff had been steaming. The little 9x12 sold for over $200.  Guess what? Over time I listed seven or eight more cardinals and none ended up less than $200. I tried a couple of 16x20s and realized 11x14s brought about the same final bid. I did very few 8x10s. Mostly 9x12s and 11x14s. From time to time, I used a 12x16 because I needed the format for a portrait. If you do large paintings, collectors will have wall space for only a few. Small ones they can stack. (Smile)


One thing I did that I wouldn’t expect you to do.  I wrote a murder mystery under my eBay name and posted a daily, extremely conservative, Christian blog.  I had my artist attend TEA Party events, which Mikki and I actually do.  When I stopped listing, there were at least 1,000 blog readers from all over the world. Keep in mind my blogs were right wing, Christian conservative and hotly political. A few liberals wrote scalding emails but most readers were my cheering section. I did the book and blog to make my guy authentic.


I also wrote about life on a working ranch. We had cattle stolen and illegal immigrants caught on the property. I had one shoot out with rustlers. My artist owned a permit to carry a pistol. It’s a Texas thing.


I subscribed to two small town newspapers to keep up with the price of hay and cattle and to glean real life stories. Since I was raised on a real ranch as a youngster this was easy to write about. Scores of my eBay readers forwarded the blogs on their social networks. The readership became wide spread. On each blog, I posted the current eBay painting with a link back to the auction.


One mistake -- I made my guy too attractive. A single woman sent nude photos and several proposed marriage. I had no choice but to get my guy married FAST.  The marriage broke a lot of hearts. I think the best requests were from retired people wanting to park their trailer on my ranch for the winter. One guy said he would pay for the electricity he used. When my housekeeper retired, several offered to move in and do the cleaning. My character went to church under a big oak tree, where everyone had to ride horses to the service. Very similar to the Cowboy Churches springing up all over.


My shtick was talking to old ranchers at the Local Dairy Queen. If I wanted to be funny, I had my old retired rancher tell me the jokes while we were eating burgers, having fries and a big shake. This allowed me to tell jokes and add some light spots without them coming from my mouth. I also used a lot of Texas sayings. Like, “Don’t squat on your spurs.” Not only did I earn extra money, I had a blast writing fiction. 


Make sure you ship quickly. We use priority mail and book online. When booking online, the postal carrier has to come to our front door to pick up the package. The post office will supply you with shipping boxes. The day after we are paid, the art is shipped. If for some reason the art is lost in the mail, we give them a full refund including their postage if it wasn’t free on the listing. We never lost a piece, but were prepared to give the full refund. 


I had two rules. One, the client was always right. Two, if the client was wrong, refer back to rule one.


I used Winsor-Newton Griffin Alkyds for most of the work. I wanted the art to be dry at shipping time. They work like regular oils only dry much quicker. I added a nice coat of spray retouch varnish to the painting before shipping. Also, a lot of time I shot a blast of varnish in the box so when the client opened the lid they smelled the “fresh oils.”


If you are LAZY, then eBay is not for you. If you are easily discouraged, then stay off eBay. You will list pieces that go for the minimum. A winner will accept the challenge to paint better. A loser will hang their heads and give up. Had I paid attention to the first few months, I would never have learned what I now know. I know if all of our galleries were to close, Mikki and I can earn a comfortable living making and posting art on eBay. This is our security blanket. We look at eBay as a retirement account.


Jack White has the title Official Texas State Artist and recently Governor Rick Perry appointed him an Admiral in the Texas Navy. Jack authored six Art Marketing books. The first, “Mystery of Making It”, describes how he taught Mikki to paint and has sold over six million dollars worth of her art.  You can contact Jack at

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Topics: art marketing | exposure tips | FineArtViews | Guest Posts | sell art | selling art online | selling fine art online 

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Clint Watson
Dang, Jack, you are one interesting character. You're obviously a great salesperson (and artist) to sell $40,000 /year as an experiment......under a pseudonym no less.

mimi torchia boothby watercolors
Quite the story. Thanks for sharing. I can't imagine maintaining a phony persona like that. On the other hand thanks for sharing all the details. In the early days of Ebay, I used it both as a buyer and a seller to great advantage. It seems to have become harder to deal with nowadays.

Okay, you win. What a fantastic experiment!

Melinda Cootsona
Wow Jack,
Once again a great article. Thank you for sharing very valuable information. And, yes, you are one darned good salesman; I'm ready to sign up for ebay, and I would have NEVER considered it before your article.
Best, Melinda
ps. How about those Mavericks?!

Stede Barber
How fun! I enjoy your posts, are refreshing, real, and creative. This fits right in with a long-standing tradition of authors writing a different genre under a pseudonym.

Gives me ideas...and brings some joy into the selling process!

Now I'm wondering who I'd like my pseudo-persona to be...

Practical question: when did you do this?

George De Chiara
That point you make about keeping your name in front of them is a great one. I send out a postcard several times a year to all of the people I've sold to on eBay. I make a point to try and get them to join my mailing list. Slowly but surely they have started to sign up.

Aline Lotter
Best yet. Thanks for all the valuable suggestions. I will try eBay--again. A few years ago I posted one painting and when it got no bids, never tried again. But in the back of my head I have been planning a regroup. Reason? I used to be an eBay art collector. It all started when I stumbled on a painting by a Nevada artist that I fell in love with, but couldn't bring myself to bid over $100. Trying to make up for that loss, I subsequently won probably a dozen paintings by that artist. I only stopped collecting her works when I started creating, and filling my walls with, my own artwork. (Funny thing is, she painted still lifes, and I still am not drawn to painting a still life.)

With each purchase, my Nevada artist would furnish a Certificate of Authenticity which included on it a reproduction of the purchased painting. She also sometimes posted with a Buy it Now option. I exercised that option a few times. I'm betting you would recommend against offering that since it seems to set a limit or target. I believe, however, that once you bid under the Buy it Now price, the auction is unlimited, so it's a buyer's gamble whether to nail down the piece or take a chance on winning it under the BIN price.

Nithya Swaminathan
Wow Jack, that was an amazing experiment! Loved your perspective on the bidding and ownership process. Makes a lot of sense! :)

Filomena Booth
What a great article! I enjoyed reading every word! I too started selling my art on ebay but have since moved on to other online art sites and have been having some success selling my work for a decent prices.

You're right, perseverance is key to marketing art.

Now, here's a question...what happens when you go to the great studio in the sky and your cowboy alter-ego becomes famous? Will anyone ever find out that it was really you?

Jeanne Guerin-Daley
Jack, you did it again! Gave us artists another great resource jam-packed with practical knowledge and advice. Reading this article, along with the information I am getting from your book, "Mystery of Making It" leaves me no excuses for not succeeding. Just gotta do the work now! Thank you.

Moshe Mikanovsky
Excellent post.
Thank you also for sharing everything you have learned... not every successful eBay artist/seller is willing to do this, being afraid of competition...

One main question though: how does it relate to a real-life art career? Were you ever invited with the fiction artist into art shows, galleries, press interviews etc? Does a successful eBay career helps or takes-from a real-life art career?


I enjoyed and always enjoy reading Jack White's article/s and even have one of his books on selling art.
I'm wondering a couple of things, one, does anyone who finds out the character on eBay isn't real resent being fooled after buying art thinking it was done by this guy and, two, has eBay contacted you about using a fictitious name to sell art. I ask this last question because I tried to use my maiden name and did for quite a while to sell items other than my art and had 100 percent positive feedback on both, but got in trouble with eBay for using the maiden name on one. I had asked them if I could do this and they said I could and then, when I did it, they asked for proof of who I was and I had nothing with me to prove it. Tried to explain to them what I was doing to no avail. Just curious.

Great article! I haven't really considered selling my art online, but this article makes want to consider it. :) Thank you for sharing all these advice and insights.

Melinda Cootsona
Hi Jack,
Upon reflection, I have a question. If one has gallery representation at higher prices, and then posts work on ebay for a penny (or cheaply) to start, how is this reconciled? I mean, how will the galleries and past collectors feel about the low price points?
Does everyone actually need to start with a pseudonym? What are your thoughts?
Thanks, m

mimi torchia boothby watercolors
Yeah, Molly I have had similar troubles with Ebay. My husband and I have separate ebay accounts, we both share the same bank account. Ebay cut me off when he joined, because we were not allowed to share a bank account what a mess! Like I said, I can't imagine trying to maintain a bogus personality in this day and age of extra security and vigilance..

jack white
So many questions and my hunt and pecking is very slow.

George: Once the client buys you already have permission to send them stuff. You automatically make them part of your team. Don't ask or you will give them a chance to say NO.

It was not hard using a pseudonym once I became that character. I woke up in the morning ready to work on the ranch. I scoured small town newspapers to understand today cattle ranching. Near the end I felt I was running out of stories. Jackie Gleason stopped the Honeymooners because he said they had used all the good scripts. I felt I couldn't continue without going over the top. Besides I felt I understood eBay enough to help others.

Buy Now. That is setting limits on what your art is worth. You might sell a $100 Buy Now for $300 in an active auction.

Is using a pseudonym honest? I know several of you are thinking this is cheating. May I remind you of a few authors. Samuel Langhorne Clemens...used Mark Twain. The great C. S. Lewis did poems under Clive Hamilton and a book A Grief Observed under N. W. Clark. Or what about the wonderful western writer Zane Gray. His real name was Pearl Gray. (smile)

Nora Roberts writes erotic thrillers under J. D. Robb. Angela Knight uses Julie Woodcock. And the list is endless. This has been done from the time man could write or paint. Many great artists did other genera under different names.

Can you image the shock on the faces when one day those collectors come to realize they purchased a Jack White for $250, which would appraise at $2,500? I love the mystery of wondering how they will react. I promise no one will be upset I used a pseudonym (nom-de-brush) name to produce the art.

Think of the thousands of books that use ghost writers. President Obama had a ghost writer on his two books. We know Sarah Palin ha one helping her for Going Rogue.

My targeted audience: I went for Christian, right wing conservatives with the tone of my blog. In the early stage I was yanked off eBay three times for being too political. That's when I discovered the blog.

Is eBay slower these days? Yes and no. eBay is demanding better work. When my (guy) sales dropped in the final bid I picked up the pace. I painted better stuff. I became more selective in subject material. I never blamed eBay for low sales, but me for not doing stuff that connected.

jack (aka the Left Handed Cowboy Artist)

Carol Schmauder
Jack, I must say, you have way too much fun in life! (Well, I guess there is no way you can have too much fun).

What an amazing experiment. I have never tried to sell art on ebay but am currently trying to sell my dad's stamp collection on ebay. Maybe I will implement your process with the stamps as I am not having much success at this point.

Thanks for the article.

Sharon Weaver
Glad you included the info about the blog. You did some self promotion and I am sure that impacted your sales. Interesting that the best hint is to start the bid at a penny. Did you keep it at that even after you were established on Ebay?

jack white
A lot more questions to answer.....

Getting on eBay with another name:

We first set up an email account for my guy, which we used for eBay. It was

We had the payments come into, which all our business go through. I explained early that friends were helping me with eBay. They would do the shipping and collecting of money. Again that was my friends and established artists.

What about galleries? My guy was asked by several, but he only sent stuff to he could say he was in a gallery. My eBay always did better than the gallery sales.

Being in a gallery and selling on eBay starting at a penny. Mikki was in three MAJOR galleries, two closed this past year. The other one is thrilled to see her selling small stuff on eBay. We start in the galleries around $1,500. One of the ladies who is part owner of our Santa Fe gallery has bid on the smaller pieces. We keep her on eBay in the event the galleries all fold.

We could survive for a time and I would probably bring my guy back from his around the world trip.


Colleen Brown
Awesome info and now I have a greater understanding of why my work has never sold on ebay... thanks!

Jack, I remember you on Ebay! I even sent you an email cause I couldn't beleive some of the stuff you were saying on your blog! LOL I knew you were too good (or too bad) to be true! Thanks for the Ebay advice!

Donald Fox
As always your generosity and forthrightness in sharing experience and information is a great model. An interesting experiment might be to have a conservative artist and liberal artist competing for sales on ebay. Each could paint his version of the American dream.

jack white
Donald Fox, I did try a liberal artist doing abstracts. I didn't know enough about the liberal mind to even seem real. I think I was spotted from the git-go as a right winger. (smile) I named my liberal artist, drum roll please...Foxx. I think the most I ever got out of one of his pieces was $27. I sold 100 pieces on eBay and tossed in the towel.

Brady Allen
Good article!

How much do you think the blog helped with sales? Do you think that you would have had as much success without the blog?

Phyllis O'Shields
Bravo!! You are awsome... I have always been so confused by EBay and had no idea how to begin cracking the code.
Great article I appreciate it
Phyllis O'Shields PhD Oshields Fine Art

jack white
Brady, by the way I was born in Brady, Texas. In my case the blog was everything. I bonded with my readers with at least 90 percent of them lining up with my political point of view. One's son worked for Lou Dobbs and about 20 went to the Glen Beck rally in Washington. This gives you a snap shot of my buyers.

Without the blog I could never have built such a strong image of the man who was making the paintings. I think a lot of folks bought, because they loved my stories. They loved the things my guy got into like the first few months he was involved in a fist fight in Gruene Hall, a famous spot in Texas. He made the mistake of dancing with a married women, who had removed her rings.
Since I write fiction doing the creative blog was tons of fun. I would get my guy in a mess one day and the next save his rear. Like the old serial series when the hero was going over a cliff, then the next week they show him jumping out at the last moment.

When the tick fever hit south Texas my guy was forced to sell some live stock. People sympathized.

If I missed a day blogging I got scored of emails wanting to know if I was okay.

Thanks for asking, jack

Marian Fortunati
You ARE a great salesman, Jack.
Best of all it seems like you're having fun while you're painting and writing in your new persona!

Love learning from you.

Christine Marx
You are my hero! Love your stories, articles. Generally one has to keep it in the closet in the art world had they attended a TEA Party (smile) or three. I was at the original one in DC on 9-12. Keep the wonderful experiences coming.

Rayann Orr
Love this post! I have to confess I do buy a lot of non art items on Ebay. Have even bought a 50 year old saddle and a lot of clothing. So this really has me thinking about selling art. Thanks Jack you're the best!!!

Jan Perkins
Hi Jack!
Your writing never fails to make me smile and often laugh out loud. Thank you. A fabulous and fun read!

I know of a couple of well known artists who sand their names off of their old and lesser quality paintings and re-sign the paintings with a false name and sell them on ebay - for cheap. But I don't know what prices they set.

What do you think of this idea as a way to move out old inventory and would you price larger paintings, like 16x20's and up, starting at 1 cent? Let's say I have 25 of my old paintings I'd like to sell on ebay, would you use the same approach?


Bonnie Samuel
Thank you, Jack--terrific experiment and your accounting a great pleasure to read. I'm curious about whether you have also experimented or found similar success with other online sales sites?

jack white
Bonnie, I did not try other online sites. eBay was all I could take care of. The other sites like Esty is like a Buy Now on eBay. There is no active bidding. I like the auction, because you get folks fighting to own the art. The other sites you are simply selling art.

Jan,about selling old pieces on eBay. I don't see why not. Don't sell them framed. But you first have to begin selling small pieces. Until you get some stars it's hard to get a following. At first you will have a hard time getting much money. If you just start out with the bigger things, you will end up giving them away. eBay is a mind set. You have to be willing to stay the course until you start to gain collectors. Print out my article so you can go back to it should you decide to try. If you have question use my direct email so we don't bore folks. Jack

Casey Craig
Sorry Jack, but there is just no boring folks where your posts are concerned!

Sari Grove
Dear Jack!

What is missing from this story, if others are not aware, is that you are sort of a genius artist...Your work is great and it does not really matter what you say your name is, or where you sell, you will inevitably succeed...
I caution others to look deeply into how hard you have worked on your craft, for how long, and your incredible optimism and good deeds on the side...
Whether it be Ebay or another venue, artists should seek your kind of self-discipline and joy in their own works...(Mikki is also a beacon of sunshine to those who may have met her online!)
That said, I completely agree and have enjoyed Ebay from both sides of the coin since the beginning...Living in Canada means that goods are hard to get, and Ebay has meant that we finally have access to some of the wonderful unique things that people make on this planet, that just weren't mass produced enough cheaply to make it up North here...
Thank you for sharing, Sari Grove

Me again. I still wonder if eBay had gotten wind that you were selling under a fictitious name if they would have shut you down. I had legitimate bank accounts, credit cards etc., and still, they shut down that maiden name account because I had two separate accounts under two names with the same financial accounts. I understand they're trying to protect the buyer(s), which I have been at times, but it almost seems like they're shooting themselves in the foot in the process and it was really frustrating for me as a user of their site. Don't get me wrong, eBay has been a very useful tool for me and I'm thankful for it in these economic times, but on the other hand, I wonder how you can make up a completely fictitious character and sell like that when I try to use my maiden name and get shut down. Thanks for your interesting articles and the helpful information you share with others.

Sari Grove
The biggest problem, since the beginning, has been shill bidding by the person or people selling a product...
I remember trying to bid on something that was for sure not highly desirable, and at the last moments, someone, supposedly out of the blue, would compete against me... I usually lost because I refused to up my bid- knowing the whole thing just felt wrong...This was a long time ago and it doesn't seem to happen as much... But, the issue with two people with separate Ebay accounts but the same bank account was what they were trying to avoid...Like you could be selling something with one account, then your husband could shill bid to drive up a price with his account...
A fictitious name has not been as big of a concern...Most people assume that names are variously fictitious on the internet...

George De Chiara
eBay works very hard to keep shill bidding to a minimum. I got shut down for 2 weeks when I first started selling on ebay because my mother-in-law made a bid on one of my paintings while her computer was on my wireless network. eBay just assumed I was trying to drive the price up (which I wasn't she really wanted the painting )since it came from my network.

Jo Allebach
Thank you ever so much, Jack. I sold old baseball cards on ebay several years ago and it was fun and profitable. I have been wanting to get on ebay with my paintings but just get nervous! Your enthusiasm for ebay gives me hope that I could succeed doing it.
How much quicker is the alkyds drying time?

A penny? wow.

mike Barr
Dear Jack
Easily the best thing that has ever been written about selling art on eBay and, entertaining too! I can attest to the fact that everything you have said about selling on eBay is absolutely true. I started my art career on eBay painting hundreds of simple sea and beachscapes. I became and expert and was selling regularly for over $500 a painting. Selling in galleries as well finally put a stop to it but I'm about to start again with small works only. Thanks Jack your writings are inspirational!
Mike Barr

Wendy Brown
Hi, Jack,

This is a belated thanks for your support during my little ebay experience.

About a year after you started your Cowboy artist on ebay, you wrote about it in what was then the Art Calendar magazine. I was impressed by the possibility you raised.

I did some research on ebay to see what the sales were. I used the ebay search features to narrow down the results of my search to my media and the size paintings I wanted to produce. Then I clicked on the show only completed sales box. This was in 2008. I could not believe what I found. There were some realist oil painters from Atlanta who were selling 6" x 6" paintings for $1,500 a piece. And they were selling several each week. I went for it and started posting work for sale.

In the course of my research, I had come across your work on your Cowboy alter ego's site. I wrote to you about it and you responded graciously and helpfully, giving me some pointers which were very helpful.

My ebay results weren't great at first. I had a hard time breaking $20. But then, just like Jack said they would, the buyers found me. Over the course of my ebay experience I sold over 500 paintings. I got a number of commissions through ebay, and met a lot of wonderful people who bought my work. In all the years of selling through galleries I had never had the opportunity to be so involved with my actual buyers. I loved seeing the last minute fury of bidding that happened, too, just like Jack said.

Art buyers on ebay are not who you think they might be. I sold work to a headlining Broadway actor, Superior Court Judges, Lawyers and Doctors. I even sold a painting to the late Elizabeth Edwards, who bought a lot of work on ebay.

But those were the ebay glory days. Some things happened that during the next few years that made problems for ebay sellers who depended on the last minute fury of bidding to make their prices rise. Ebay, on having complaints from buyers who saw their reasonable bids disappear in that fury of bids at the last minute, instituted changes to that process. They put a limit on how many bids someone could make at the last minute. They made each bidder wait a minute or so after each bid to bid again. I saw my prices for work sharply decline at that point. A lot of buyers who liked the thrill of the last minute buying press just quit bidding. The fun was gone. I heard from several of my buyers who lost my work to another bidder because of this change. They were frustrated with ebay over this, as was I.

Then came the recession. The high roller sales on ebay disappeared, along with the Artists whose work sold for so much. The prices I got for my work plummeted as did the number of sales. I regretfully made the decision that I could no longer sell through ebay, and have been working instead through galleries. I am, however still keeping an eye out on the ebay sales figures I find through searching ebay's completed sales. Once the economy recovers a little, I will be back on ebay. If you look you will see that there are some artists who are still doing very well at times, but they too are witnessing the slow down due to the economic times we are in.

For me, though, my ebay experience wasn't just about sales and money. My two years of ebay was like two years of an Art boot camp. Posting a new painting every day was intense pressure at first. My work improved so much, both in the work's quality and in my ability to paint quickly. The ebay buyers will let you know when they like your work and when they don't. Their feedback was so helpful. I found that when I emailed them with a personal thank you they would email back. So was born a number of fond relationships with buyers that still endures.

So thanks, Jack, for the encouragement and the support. You are one awesome left handed artist!

Wendy Brown

jack white
Wendy Brown, You brought a smile on this old broken down cowboy. It's been some time since I've been on eBay. I knew there were changes, but I have not taken time to check them out. We still try to post a couple of pieces a month for Mikki. Each time she posts a new piece we do a Constant Contact to all of her eBay buyers. That gives us immediate bids and from time to time new folks get in the mix.

I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. I know you are helping a lot of folks.

Sari Grove
We had all the pay pal payments go through Also my guys email address was did the shipping and we used's phone number. Perhaps that is why I was able to paint under another name and not get shut down.

I was shut down for my political rants until I went to a blog. They phoned each time the shut me down and my guy spoke with the eBay person. One time I had five pieces with the lowest bid was $370 and two were over $500. I was able to get them to let those remain until they went off.

I'm not sure why you were singled out. We did set up a different account for my guy...but the payments went to our regular eBay account. This made it easier for us to keep tax records and pay Uncle Sam his part.

We never ran into shills. I never considered getting friends to run up my bids. To me that is cheating in the lowest form. If people are dishonest in small thing they will also be in large things.

We also don't bid on much that would allow shills to run up the bids. We purchase mostly plants and seeds. Not a big markup item. (smile) Jack

jack white
Jo Allebach

Alkyds dry to touch in a day. They are dry enough to ship in 5 days. Use Grumbacher spray re-touch varnish to bring the art back to life before you ship. Jack

Carole Rodrigue
Jack, you've been a great inspiration and source of wisdom for me for several years now. I had dabbled with Ebay years ago, but like many, gave up. This article makes so much sense and is giving me the urge to try again.

One problem I had years ago which made me want to give up was that I wasn't able to have clients find me easily. I'd posted my website address and was quickly turned in by other artists and threatened to have my account cancelled for having my site posted. There seemed to have been this little union of upset artists who stalked me and prevented me from breathing. I would even get emails from artists asking very personal and intrusive questions, trying to be friends, but I knew they were just probably the same people make trouble for me.

I also was a stickler for following rules after this and read that as a seller, you couldn't contact clients. This was frustrating because I felt I couldn't even send a thank you card or a free note card print. Have the rules on Ebay improved at all since the last five years or so? I still see many posting their website addresses and not getting shut down.

George De Chiara
Carole - I use to include my website in my listing, but stopped because I heard it was against the rules. I was never bothered about it by anyone thought. I do list it on my "ME" page.

As for contacting buyers, I do this all the time. In fact in when something sells they have a link to contact them via email. I've never had any trouble doing this and have had a lot of buyer contact me through the same system. I've even had a few contact me on auctions that other people won asking if I could paint them a similar painting.


Wendy Brown
Carole, George is can contact buyers...what they don't want is for an artist to pull their painting off the auction in order to sell it to someone who has contacted them through the ebay system. That is hugely dishonest. It's like an artist having a piece in a gallery and having someone see it there who contacts the artist privately so he will pull his painting from the gallery and sell it to that person giving them a discount of a percentage of what the gallery's take would be. It is so important for an artist to be honest with galleries. They all know each other, and someone who beats a gallery out of a commission is bound to brag about it. It will get back to them, and that gallery will see to it that an artist like that is black listed everywhere.

I think Jack has written more than one column about how important honesty with buyers and galleries is to an artist.
And that does bring up the problem of pricing on ebay versus galleries. One reason not to sell on ebay is that if your work is at one price in a gallery, and it sells for less on ebay and one of your gallery patrons or owners sees it, then what do you do? That's one of the reasons why Jack used his broken down Cowboy to sell on ebay. His originals sell for so much that his using his real name would have drastically affected his prices. At least that is my humble opinion, I may be wrong.

I am grateful that none of the buyers of my work ever asked me to do that type of would have been a problem for me.

I do understand about your being harassed by some of the other artists on line. I had some issues with some of them, too, but I didn't let it bother me. That is a sign your work is good. I


Marsha Hamby Savage
Jack, this is probably the best article I have read on the site .... and that would be saying a lot because there have been so many wonderful articles. I have also enjoyed the replies and more information from all those that have given Ebay a try.

I sold on Ebay several years ago and was doing relatively well for such a short time. Then when accepted into a few galleries, I felt I needed to give up Ebay. It just did not feel right to be competing with those galleries.

Now enter this dreadful economy and all the new ways we are looking for to keep afloat and painting! Isn't that what most of us want ... to just keep painting or creating whatever kind of art we do? This article, as many before me above have said, has made me want to go back to my Ebay selling. I have been trying to figure out what to do with older paintings, studies and some plein air pieces, and experimental work.

I have destroyed some, of course! But, there are many others that never did find their owners! They were the best I could do at that time, and I am still proud of them. Now, I think, do I sell them on my blog? Unframed, but not a fire sale pricing? So, now with this, I might just start my Ebay selling back up. Maybe a "clean out the studio" type of wording ... not a sale ... but unframed.

Thank you so much Jack ... and everyone for your input on his article. We must be creative in marketing, not just in our art!

Bobbi Baltzer-Jacobo
Hello Jack ( Will )

Loved your advice here...the BEST anyone has given about e-Bay selling. I too, had some good e-Bay successes in the past, and want to get in there with them again. I need to paint smaller in order to keep up some inventory and sell faster.
Another e-Bay success story from Texas is Carol Marine, and it looks like she has always started her little 6"X6" Oil paininggs at $99.00. Another was Debra Hurd, who I don't think sells there anymore.She sold thousands of paintings over about ten years.
Sesillie Girelli was by far the hottest e-Bay seller for years and went through a name change or two in the twelve years or so that she burned up e-bays art auctions.She had started her work very cheap at first and lost money but finally hit on the right subject matter to sell, the colors to work with, and a real killer of a auction site within e-bay. It was fantastic and made her and e-Bay "super-star" and super-seller.
The story is..."It can be done", and (you) Jack have got in there to prove it to us! Thanks, we needed that!
That artist-gal that you mentioned who had figured out who your character really was...wants to thank you for mentioning her! I think that she will be back on e-bay soon, too!
Best wishes to the Best!
Bobbi Baltzer-Jacobo

jack white

It didn't hurt Sesillie Girelli that her husband was a top vice president with eBay. They did long feature stories on her. After they divorced her work went into the tank. As long as they were married eBay promoted her. They used her as an example how artists could make a lot of money on eBay. Some say a lot of her sales were fixed by eBay to draw other artists in. Jack

Toni Grote
Thanks for the great article Jack, very interesting experiment!
I have sold my art on Ebay (seller name tonisart with 2545 positives) for over 10 years and have seen the ups and downs and all of the changes they have gone through.

In the early 2000's, which I refer to as "the good old days", I could list an auction and end up with 500-700 views. Now I am lucky if I crack 100 views in a 7 day auction with the adverage being closer to 25-50. This leads me to believe that the views I do get are from those I directly bring to Ebay through my blog and emails, not from Ebay. If people can't find your art then they won't be buying it.

It is sad. I am in a place where I will be re-evaluating my marketing/selling strategies and unfortunately I may have to leave ebay behind.

Toni, do you think the reason for t he change is the increase in artists posting on eBay? If not, what is the reason?

Bonnie Samuel
Toni, Aline-The internet IS the place of choice for so many more people in art than even a year ago--competition is strong with all levels of art, mediums and sale of art supplies too. Tony, you are probably right that hits on Ebay come from those who have visited your site or saw your url somewhere else on the net.

So whether on Ebay, FASO, Etsy, Meylah etc, "views" and sales will be enhanced by your own marketing. Long time back I had success on Etsy, but now to get sales there has become quite time consuming with Etsy's system plus one's own push. Which begs the question, are you sending viewers to your own site as well as Ebay?

Jo Allebach
Jack - thanks for the info on alkyds.

Toni Grote
Hi Alene
No, I don't think the change in lower views is due to the quantity of artists listing since there has always been a lot of artists on ebay. Artists have always been frustrated/challenged with how to be seen and found by those who want to purchase original art.

The issues that contribute to low views (in my opinion) is partially the economy, and Ebay messing with the system over the years...for example they used to have a featured plus that many artist bought so they had a top of page placement, they don't offer that anymore.

What made ebay great for artists in the past were the buyers, I really don't know what happened to all the buyers...In a nutshell, I think it is a combo of ebay changing, (not always for the better), the culture not buying as much as they used to and a slow economy.

Once in a while I sell other stuff on ebay and see a lower final price and views, it's not just art that has been affected.

Brian Sherwin
The only issue I have with E-bay is the fact that they always seem to change their policy the moment I grasp how everything works. LOL I've never used it for selling art -- but did have a string of earning about $500 a month selling other things. Then the policy changed and made it a tad more difficult.

That said-- I also did not do much promotion for my auctions off site. If I did it again-- especially if I were selling art-- I'd focus more time on promoting the auctions on Facebook and other places. Still -- making a few hundred per month from un-wanted items around the house was always a rush.

For those who sell art on E-bay it always seemed to me that you have to really dedicate yourself to it in order to build a reputation within the art community that is present on E-bay. I used to read the art forum just for the entertainment value because many had interesting opinions. There was also always the issue of trending styles of work and people getting upset when another artist forced their way into a market they felt they had secured.

Joanne Benson
Great article and lots of intersting information. I love your stories and creativity! I never would have dreamed of inventing a persona. What fun! And successful as well!

I haven't used ebay but have a friend who does well on Etsy. Perhaps one of these days I'll give one of them a try.

Joanne Benson
Toni, I checked out your blog and ebay store. Beautiful work and very reasonably priced. I can see how you sold well on ebay.

Toni Grote
Brian said, "For those who sell art on E-bay it always seemed to me that you have to really dedicate yourself to it in order to build a reputation within the art community that is present on E-bay. I used to read the art forum just for the entertainment value because many had interesting opinions. There was also always the issue of trending styles of work and people getting upset when another artist forced their way into a market they felt they had secured".

Yes, I totally agree Brian. If you are going to sell on Ebay or Etsy, you can't just list a painting once in a while, it gets buried/lost in the system too easily. I have found the more you list, the more you will have a presence and that results in a higher chance that others will find your art then hopefully buy.

Yes, there are definitely personalities, both neg and pos on ebay and they aren't afraid to share their opinions LOL!

Toni Grote
Thank you Joanne for your nice comment!

Esther J. Williams
Jack, this was the most excellent article I ever read about eBay. You really nailed it good! Funny, funny, funny! I enjoyed your humor and ability to create a persona that people actually believed in. For all intents and purposes, the Texas cowboy is real, just like writers create actors for movies.
I sold on eBay for 13 years, I started out selling collectibles for eight years, then branched out to art under a different ID. But I did not create a fictional character, I was me, Esther Williams selling my art. I did okay, but not as well as I did selling collectibles. I got as high in salary as you did Jack in my heyday, but from selling hot collectibles like vintage Barbies, not art yet. It was fun, I met lots of people, gained over 2,000 feedbacks, became a power seller and got silly certificates in the mail from eBay.
Then I burned out, a candle flame that was spent. I began selling art and got up to about fifty pieces sold in several years, but I was really burning out again. The economy took a tank and I got very depressed. It is HARD work. There comes a time when a person wants to get out of the office chair and live life. That chair in front of that computer got to feel like a prison. But I had a bad accident two decades ago that causes my hips to get pinched nerves. Sitting for long hours can be excruciating. I slowed way down, I forced myself to list still. Finally, about a year ago, I released myself from prison so to speak. Never felt better, I paint outdoors and breathe fresh air, do exhibitions, shows and seem to be able to sell okay.
I didn`t list my art for a penny like you Jack or start up like you did, maybe that is why I did not meet great success. My experience was different, eBay had it`s playtime expire within me. I do not regret it for a moment though. There is a different type of art expected from eBay buyers I think and one has to get to know what sells. If an artist wants to branch out and paint some really serious exhibition works, eBay will suck the life out of you and nearly prevent you from pursuing it. So, I say watch your energy spent on eBay and decide if it is worth the different fork in the road.
Thanks Jack and may you prosper long!

Bobbi Baltzer-Jacobo
I like your comments to Jack. I was very interested in seeing your comments about e-Bay. Your experiences have been somewhat like mine.I know what he says about starting an auction at a PENNY, which might work if you already have a good following, or a handsome, charismatic-hunk like his cowboy-artist character was,but it can otherwise be a complete disaster,too. A neighbor of mine tried it, and UNFORTUNATELY...listed it as "FREE SHIPPING". A disaster! Almost no-one saw it, and the buyer got it for FIFTHY CENTS! Then my neighbor spent $8.95 shipping it to her. The woman later e-mailed back that she liked the painting but not the box that it was shipped-in! Tradgic!

McKenzie Nichols
Quick question. In your article you state:
"A few went for the opening bid." Does that mean you sold some pieces for 1 cent or was there a reserve price that was met?

jack white

A few did go for the opening bid. I started out with the opening bid of .99 cents.

Basically that's the same as one penny. As I begin to understand unless I got bids it didn't matter if it was .99 or .01, I still needed several bidders to get any money out of the auction.

eBay is not of the weak of heart. You have to build a following before you can be sure you will sell for a nice amount. Jack

Dawn Blair

I can assure you that more than one person knew it was you on eBay. I remember reading about it in you column for Art Calendar and a simple search revealed what you were doing. It was good. I checked back frequently to see how you were doing on eBay and followed your success. It inspired me greatly!

Now I just keep wondering if I have the courage to do the same because yes, your right -- eBay is not for the faint of heart. I've been selling ACEO's for awhile with growing success. I want to expand to bigger work, but when I do it seems to flop. This article expands more on what I need to do. I see now where I was going wrong.

Thank you for the inspiration and experience!

Dawn Blair

Brian Sherwin
Thanks Toni. Concerning style -- artists forget that 'style' can't be copyrighted. So yes, the art forum on e-Bay is always fun to observe because you will see artists bickering over who did what first. Most of the arguments are about style-- one artist will do well which leads to another artist-- or a dozen-- working in the same manner... and BAM -- royal rumble.

I think e-Bay is where I got the copyright example of a dog balancing a ball on his head from... I recall that an artist had been doing well with images like that-- which spurred other artists to do the same. Needless to say, the first artist was not happy. You can't own the concept of a dog balancing a ball on his head -- you own the image itself... not the idea.

Now if someone paints the same dog, in the same pose, with the same background and changes the color of the ball from red to blue -- well, that might be a copyright issue. But the idea itself-- a dog balancing a ball on his head-- is fair game. You can't copyright the idea itself.

i'm sorry... what exactly was the point of the pseudonym? and the fake blog? other than to scam people? to play on their sympathies?
so you can sell mundane pictures of birds and the old west? and when these people have found out they've been tricked?
great... you've just made he rest of us look like a-holes.

Samthor, You're sorry ?? Followed by rudeness?
If you actually read the whole article maybe you'll see that you've missed the point.

jack white
Samthor, if that's your name. Your message only proved how ignorant you are. You miss the point when people realize they have purchased art from a fairly famous artist they will jump for joy. No one was scammed. My last big portrait was a $72,000 piece. Someone paying $400 on eBay is getting a heck of a deal.

Can you imagine when someone who discovered they had an old master painted under another name? Museums have many works like that. If you were better educated you would have known this.

Authors have used pseudonyms for ever.

I didn't make you look like an a-hole, that was your choice.

I feel sad for you.

Clint Watson
We all see the world not as it is, but as we are......

Cardinal rule of internet forums everyone - don't feed the trolls.

Mike Barr
Timely comment Clint - thank you.

Esther J. Williams
Clint, I love it! The trolls are out there, beware! Even though I have had my share of dealing with trolls, it is tempting to blast them. Now I just shut the doors to my consciousness when they bark.
I collect vintage trolls, they are frozen in time or vinyl that is. Can`t speak.

Charles Kaufman
Jack, what year(s) did you do this? In the early days of eBay things were easier to sell than today. On eBay I used to sell a small painting or two a day and averaged around $75 each...pre-2001.
(Long ago I dropped out of eBay - it no longer worked like in the earlier days. Plus it was too much hassle with all the packaging, shipping, posting the art, etc.)
Do you have a link to your fake-name ebay page?

Charles Kaufman
Jack, what year(s) did you do this? In the early days of eBay things were easier to sell than today. On eBay I used to sell a small painting or two a day and averaged around $75 each...pre-2001.
(Long ago I dropped out of eBay - it no longer worked like in the earlier days. Plus it was too much hassle with all the packaging, shipping, posting the art, etc.)
Do you have a link to your fake-name ebay page?

jack white

You challenge my memory. I stopped about two years ago. It may be two and a half. We have lived here 4 years. I started when we lived on the Island.

Shipping was never a problem. I used USPS boxes and made the postman pick them up at my front door by booking postage online. I purchased a roll of plastic bags, then shrink wrapped the art. Stuck the painting in the box and shipped. I never had one damaged. I shipped most before I was paid and never lost any money. I also painted in Alkyds for fast drying.

I stopped because I had learned what I set out to learn about marketing on eBay. It not something you can just post and wait for buyers. I constantly wrote and emailed my client base. I learned what folks liked and would notify special clients when I posted what they collected. I even wrote a murder mystery for my alter ego.

I realize eBay like everything in art is down. I read we have seen 70 percent of the art galleries in the country close the past two years. We lost four of ours.

I had rather keep the alter-ego a secret. That was a past experiment I did to test marketing on eBay. He was never intended to last long. In truth I don't have any links to the work. I'm not very computer savvy. When I sold the last piece I sorta closed that door.

Thanks for asking.


Charles Kaufman
Jack, no photos of any of the art you sold on eBay? I (and others) would sure like to see the type of art you were painting and selling on eBay.

jack white

I do have images on one of our backup hard drives.
Send me your email address. I'll attach some images.
I don't know how to send images via this blog. Please remember I'm an old broken down cowboy. I know a lot more about ropes than computers.


Wendy Brown
Wow, Jack, what a great guy you are, you are so helpful. I don't think I would have it in me to be as patient as you are. I did a google search on your old cowboy aka, and to my surprise I found his name and work all over the internet. There were even a bunch of the pieces you previously sold on ebay being sold on ebay again by a dealer. And to me, the style your old broken down alterego painted in was remarkably close to your own style. Kinda like handwriting, isn't it! Thanks again, Jack!!!

Charles Kaufman
Jack - Please send the art photos to my email Thanks!

Wendy - Any links? What was the name you did the Google search under? How do you know it is Jack's art and not someone elses?

I was curious, did you sign the artwork with the pseudo name?

jack white
Yes I signed the art with my alter name. Otherwise the experiment would nave not been valid. People would expect Jack White to do well, but since my guy was a total unknown I was able to prove a person could make it on eBay without being famous.

I even painted a portrait of my alter and listed it in my About Me.

Only a couple artists figured out I was the one. I have about 700 painting out there that one day I'll let them know the piece they paid $300 for is really a Jack White worth about $4,000. I don't expect to have any unhappy folks. (smile)

It's not easy. I stumbled for six months before I was able to break a $100.

eBay is not for the faint of heart and it's not for every artist. You have to be able to paint fast and be willing to see things sell for next to nothing.


This is my second time reading this article and I'm very pleased that I did. We listed some items on eBay yesterday. There's a lot to learn.

jack white
I just published a book on eBay.
Title: Mystique of Marketing Art on eBay.

I spent three years doing the research for the book.

Write me and I'll send you a free copy. There is a lot more to eBay that listing a few pieces. It's really complicated if you wish to be successful.

That's wonderful - thank you so much Jack. I very much value your advice.

Lynne Hollingsworth
Hi Jack; I have so enjoyed your article about selling on eBay and am fascinated about your book the "Mystique of Marketing Art on eBay" .. I saw you post that you would send a free copy? I want to commit myself to this experiment, despite it being 2013 now, and the article was written 2011. Could you send me a copy? I have been in contact with Mikki in the past and followed her word for ages. You are my mentor, whether you know it or not, whether you know ME or not. Which you don't. I have a facebook page of work (I am working on a new website but it is not done) I remember Mikki telling me I should have no problem selling my work but it is not as easy as it should be, therefore I am missing some valuable information, information you have gained. thanks..blessings and truly bless you for sharing your knowledge.

Mike Barr
eBay does work but it is something that has to be built up over time. The secret is, is to paint quickly and finish paintings in an hour or less, because at first they will sell for not much. It is a game of patience but also a great teaching tool. It teaches you to paint quickly and often and that in turn will increase your brush-time and skills.
The other big thing is to start the auction at under a dollar. Artists that start at $20 just don't get looked at..not sure why but that.s the way it is - so it takes courage too!

Thanks Jack,

The doubting Thomas that I am but always will to give something new a try, I bought your book read it a couple of times, reread it every now and then( love the way you write). I had had an ebay about for years but use it very little. So it's been a year now and of course I'm no Jack White painter or sale person but I think it may be coming. Each month sales move up a little and I figure out something new.

One of the biggest thing that has helped me is putting my name on that first line so people can find me.

I use both the store and on line auction and always have something for 99 cents and free shipping.

I will let you know when I hit your sales record.


jack white

It's takes time to build a following. Let them know each time you post a new piece.

I recommend starting the bids at a penny. You get more bidders. In the end a penny or .99 cents is not enough. I use the lower start to attract bidders.

The store doesn't help unless you have a big following.

Promote your art with a step by step blog and send out a facebook on all new work. You have to promote your auctions.

NO FREE shipping until you know your prices will be over $100. Charge a dollar over Priority Mail fees. You are giving up money.

Mike Barr
Jack's book on eBay is first class and I can say Amen to all he has said through my own personal experience with eBay. The low start price and consistency of auctions is the key. Of course, because things sell cheaper than in galleries it is best not to spend too much time painting - 20 minutes is my limit. eBay now charge an arm and a leg (read Jack White as to where this came from!) for having a store and quite frankly sales can be achieved without one just as well.

Joseph Wojdakowski
I just came across this article Jack and after years of really getting no where selling in galleries and out or trying to sell I should say.
I've said the hell with it 1 penny auctions here I come. I guess I really don't have anything to lose at this point.


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