After posting the basis of this story on Facebook yesterday and all the many responses telling me I was right not to take up this offer, I’ll now give the full story… without mentioning the magazines name.
My mobile phone rang mid morning with a cheery girl on the end of it telling me which magazine she worked for, and gushing over how much she loved my artwork and how they were planning on doing an erotic art section since it was so popular the last time they did it, and they really wanted my artwork to be featured in it, in their prime position. I was delighted to hear it and asked how she had heard of me? By Googling me and my name came up as the first one under erotic art.. and she and I happily agreed that I must be doing something right for that to happen. She felt that my artwork was well priced and quoted the titles of a couple of my paintings as *just what our customers are looking for* and that their customers had told them they wanted to buy more erotic art. Ok I thought, that all sounds very reassuringly positive, and wow, they want to do a piece about my erotic art…. but whilst I was thinking about it, a split second later there was the almost throw away comment about me putting in 5 pictures, 200 words from me and a quarter page advert for only £220 plus vat (£264 that turned out as). I had stopped at the 200 words………….. 200 words is nothing, you can hardly say anything of any value with 200 words. And a price, for advertising. Not an article about me. This was selling advertising space. The girl went on to say that I could look at back copies online so I could have an idea of what other artists had done, and when she quoted a 75% retained customers, I presumed she meant buyers of art, but it was later on in the day that I realised she meant of people who advertise with them. By the end of the conversation she had quoted £189 plus vat (£226.80) with a throw away comment about *lee way* in that. Okay then, lets see what they’re talking about, and she promised to ring me later that afternoon to see what my thoughts were.
I duly looked on line at their back copies and was interested to note that two artists I know and have met in real life had advertised with them within the six or so copies I looked at. Ok, they are both artists who like to sell their art maybe its a good omen and I should grab the advertising space!
But then I thought properly about it. The magazine had rung me, they were in the business of selling advertising space and my gut reaction was that I didn’t want it. The advert wouldn’t bring in any more income for me, and even with the offers of promoting me on their Facebook page, the advert in the magazine was too small to be noticed. I wasn’t going to get any sales through it.
I got on with the rest of my day. Decision made – I wasn’t buying an advert.
The sales girl rang back as she promised later that afternoon. Still cheery, and chatty and friendly and upbeat as before (which is her job, I am fully aware of) I greeted her, and she again told me how wonderful my artwork was and how much they REALLY wanted me to advertise with them. I thanked her for her comments as she extolled my artistic virtues and said that I had made the decision not to buy the advertising. I said that she was in the business of selling advertising space and I was in the business of selling art and she agreed and then said that they could let me have it now for £179 plus vat (£214.80) as she went on to tell me that another woman artist after advertising with them had sold £9,000 work of artwork at an exhibition. And then again went on to tell me how well the erotic art feature had been received when they did it before. Since I was intrigued who they were I asked which erotic artists had advertised with them before, and she named six artists, of whom I knew of three from the Guild of Erotic Artists. Ok, well they obviously think its been worth while in the past. She could hear my silences as the end of the phone and in more desperation said that they were subsiding my advert since they wanted me so badly to be part of this erotic issue, and if it was down to price, they could make it an eigth page advert with 3 photos and 100 words for £125 plus vat (£150) and when that wasn’t immediately snapped up by me she soon offered £100 plus vat (£120). At this point I told her I was desperate for a wee – which I was, and asked her to ring me back in five minutes after I had been to the loo. She did, and in that time I knew again, that I didn’t want to spend the money on the advertising. She cheerily rang me back, saying that she had allowed (!) me to have a wee and quoted again about giving me maximum exposure, and promoting me, and she and I were almost becoming good friends though this chat, and even got her editor to speak to me to try and push the sale through. I think the three phone calls over the day were about an hour in total. Three phone calls, the latter being 25 minutes of hard sell. They had invested a lot of time into me, and wow, they really want me I thought, but after talking and listening I went back to my gut reaction, I thanked them for their interest in me but firmly declined.
And put the phone down.
And then sat looking at it, wondering if I had made the biggest mistake in not taking it at this knock down price. I can afford it, it’s advertising, its just coming up to Christmas and it may bring in more sales for me. And just as a little exercise, I put the question out on my Facebook page……..
And was immediately responded to by various friends who all said exactly the same thing:
“You were right not to take it”!!!! and then filled me in with various tales of being ripped off by advertising in magazines which had not brought in any work at all from what I gathered, even with the utmost promises from the magazines that it would.
I was right not to take it, they all said.
I know that there is an old adage about advertising that only half of it brings in any work, whatever you spend on it, and the thing is you never know which half is working!
I am also sure, without knowing the artist who sold £9,00o of artwork, that it wasn’t directly though that particular advert. It would be sold at the exhibition, of which that advert was only one aspect of promoting it. The sales were made by people going through the door at the exhibition, and whereas some of them might have gone along because of the advert, it would be almost impossible to say that it was ALL BECAUSE of the magazine advert.
So, lovely as the girl was, fine as the magazine looks, they were desperate to sell the advertising space in a forthcoming deadline. I love to haggle, and given the prices they dropped a little by, it seemed like a good offer. But at the end of the day, I didn’t want it. But I will give the sales girl full marks in trying to sell it. Standing up to that sales pitch wasn’t easy!
And if she really loved my artwork as much as she said she did, she would have been buying it from me!!! 🙂