Before start, I would like to say that selling art, doesn't matter if it is paintings, photographs, sculptures, digital art, etc, is not different from selling anything else. To be honest, it has little to do about art and more to do about marketing and business. And this is why so many artists struggle when trying to make a living selling their works. It doesn't matter how good painter, photographer, sculptor or digital artist you are. If you don't know how to sell your image and your product it will be a lot harder to earn some money from it.
The problem is that many artists or photographers, like me, are not interested on have a business and treat their art as a mere "shelf product". We are even less interested on spend our time in the internet selling ourselves and have less time dedicated to our works concepts, art studies, art creation, etc. Most successful artists selling art online are businessman and marketing man before artists. But it is always nice to know "how to do" just to try some times.
First, you need a place where you can sell your work of art and the most common places are PODs (Print on demand) websites like 3bstreet, 500px.com, fineartamerica.com, absolutearts.com, affordablebritishart, amazon, artthatfits.com,
artbombdaily.com, artbreak.com, artdiscover.com, www.artfire.com, artflung.com, artfortune.com,
artfulhome.com, artfullyreimagined.com, artgallery, arthog.com, gallery-worldwide.com, articents,
artid.com, artinvesta.com, artist-listing.com, artistsinfo, artistsites.org, artmajeur.com, artofwhere.com, artomat.org, artorca.com, artpistol,
artplatform.org, artpreferred.com, artquid.com, artsicle.com, artshow.com, artslant.com, artspan.com,
artspecifier.com, artsyhome.com, artulis.com, artwanted.com, artweb.com, arttwo50.com, zibbet.com,
zazzle.com, zatista.com, yessy.com, yellowllama.com, xanadugallery.com, wowthankyou.co.uk,
wholesalecrafts.com, wanelo.com, vault17.com, upcycledaroundtown.com, undertherainbow.us, and many others. Or if you prefer you can have your own website like me. But the advantage of PODs is that they will deal, print and deliver the work to the costumer for you.
In theses websites you can sell prints and many of them also allow you to sell original paintings and even sculptures as well as accessories with your artwork printed on it, like T-shirts, mobile phone cases, mugs, etc.
Now that you have a place where to showcase your art, you need to do the most important of all: Marketing.
On other words, make sure that people can find your work. The more views your get the more are the chances to your art be sold. And the best way to be found is by search engines like Google.
In order to be found by search engines Key Words is a must that you has to have on every single work and publication about your art in the internet. More key words better are the chances to be listed by different search terms that millions of people look for in search engines every day.
Attract viewers to you website
Google will show on his first pages websites that are the most relevant. One way that Google analyses the relevance or importance of a website is by the numbers or viewers it has. For this reason you will want attract viewers to you website in order to have it listed on the first pages of search engines.
A very common way to attract viewers to a website is writing a blog, with fresh, relevant and curious or intriguing information. The more often you writ the best it will be to attract attention.
Create people's awareness about your work and yourself
Companies like Coca-Cola, Nike and Mc Donald's spend millions of dollars only on advertise. It doesn't matter how popular and famous theses brands are, they keep spending this fortune in publicity to create the public awareness of the brand and their products from their early ages until they become old. They want to be the first name remembered when thinking about drink, running shoes and food.
But you don't want to spend millions or thousands in publicity (unless if you want). A very common way to do it for free is to be present in social medias like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr as well as forum communities and even YouTube. So when people think about buying art you can be among the first artists to be remembered.
Be mentioned in different communities and websites
The strategy to be mentioned in popular communities is very efficient. For example, when people google about art or prints pages with more views and relevant content will appear first. If you are mentioned in theses communities you will likely to be found easier. And a very good way to do it is to use your artistic name and website on your posts and threads signature. And be participative in the discussions because nobody likes spam.
It is just as any other business
As I said before, it is not different than any other business or marketing about any other product. It means that despite of many successful cases of people using what was mentioned above. There are more than it that is more related you your work itself.
Many artists and photographers create more for themselves and don't what to worry about anything else. But those who really want to have a living selling art has to think on it:
What your art has of unique?
People like things that looks special, different and unique. New things attract more attention and when your are the only one, or among the few who do the same as you do, you have less competition.
Do you have a style?
Many art buyers knows what they want. If you have a theme or style that can be found in most of your work it has better chances to be attractive for those who are looking for this same style and theme.
Do you know who is your public?
Knowing who are your potential buyers is important to know what they like, what they want, how much they are willing to pay and where you can find them.
Where is your public?
In order to have a positive awareness campaign you must to be active where your public is. Many artists find out that they can't sell a single work through Facebook but they can sell well through Twitter, and contrariwise.
Depending on your art type your buyers may not be even in social media or even in the internet. This is why it is important to try announce in local newspaper or stick a advertise on your car some times.
And finally, the best publicity of all: The words of mouth
Nothing better than become popular by people talking about your. This is the most effective way to sell. People trust more on your work and your when others recommend you. The more popular your are or become, the less you have to worry about selling yourself. There are cases of artists who never did any marketing but they sell well just because the first few who bought their art are so satisfied that they are spreading the words.
And this is what every true artists wants. To make art for themselves, dedicate full time on their art and have people who likes their art enough to talk about and recommend him everywhere.
Most artists never deal well with business and marketing. Art is freedom and liberating while business and marketing is the opposite.
The right people, on the right place at the right time
In conclusion, you have to find the right place, the right public and the right time for your art. Yes, often some works sells better during special holidays and seasons, or even location depend on the work theme, style, colour, etc. Just like any other product from any other business.
Otherwise, if you are like me and hate to spend too much time in the internet, find a way to become popular on people mouths so your don't have to worry much about spend your time in the internet selling yourself.