2 years ago
This article showcases our top picks for the Business Books For Artists. We reached out to industry leaders and experts who have contributed the suggestions within this article (they have been credited for their contributions below). We are keen to hear your feedback on all of our content and our comment section is a moderated space to express your thoughts and feelings related (or not) to this article This list is in no particular order.

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

This product was recommended by Tracy Acker from Get Payday Loan

Austin Kleon demonstrated how to unlock our creativity by stealing from the community of other movers and shakers in his New York Times bestseller Steal Like an Artist. Now, in an even more forward-thinking and necessary book, he demonstrates how to take that critical next step on a creative journey to becoming known. Show Your Work! explores why generosity triumphs over genius. It’s about being found – about using the network rather than wasting time networking. It’s not about self-promotion; it’s about self-discovery. Allow others to participate in your process, then allow them to steal from you.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

This product was recommended by Joe Ferguson from SkirtingsRus

I’d like to share a personal favorite. Steal like An Artist by Austin Kleon.. This really opened my eyes with the reality of art of today -that nothing is original and original is just a culmination of all the experiences and exposures of the artist. As an artist, innovation is getting an existing idea and making it better. A unique idea is born from exposing oneself to a million different others. It motivated me to go and get out there, make mistakes and some more mistakes so that I can someday create something that is truly personal and original in a sense.

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz

This product was recommended by Cat Ekkelboom-White from Adventure Wedding Academy

I think all artists and creatives in business need to read this book as soon as possible in their business journey. So many artists start their business because they love their art, but they don’t run their business like a business, leaving many struggle to make money to cover overheads, let alone turn a profit. This book will change that. It will show you why you need to start treating your business like a business, and how to manage your finances to make sure you don’t just survive, but thrive. Thanks to the Profit First system, despite not having any paid clients for almost 18 months over the pandemic, I was still able to cover my operating costs and pay myself a regular salary each month until work started to pick up again.

Successful Artists Mean Business by Tomorr Kokona

This product was recommended by Theia Watson from Life Is a Picnic

Are you an amazing artist who struggles to make ends meet? Do you believe that artists are destined to struggle? Do you work in the education sector and want to prepare your creative arts students for a career where their passion allows them to thrive rather than struggle? Do you believe you can’t be both an artist and an entrepreneur? This is a common misconception among those in the creative industries, and it is one that Tomorr Kokona challenges in this book. Successful Artists Mean Business is the missing link for many people in the creative arts who are looking to bridge the gap between the artist and the entrepreneur.

Built to Belong by Natalie Franke

This product was recommended by Natalie from Rising Tide Society

The book was written from my own experience growing a thriving business as a wedding photographer and uncovering the need for creatives to support one another in the pursuit of success. Much of the entrepreneurial world is rooted in unhealthy competition, dog-eat-dog cultures, and scarcity mindsets. This book is a guide to overcoming that to succeed alongside others who do precisely what you do.

The Creative’s Guide to Starting a Business by Harriet Kelsall

This product was recommended by Vivi Mintara from Eye Makeup Lab

Kelsall’s writing style makes you want to carry on reading this book in one sitting because the concepts are easily digested and the content she discusses is all incredibly useful for any artist who wants to start up their own business. I love that she also includes interviews from successful artists who have been in the position that the reader is in right now – this gives any artist/business hopeful the motivation to carry on pursuing their dream.

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

This product was recommended by Amy Weiher from Weiher Creative

In today’s information world, Handley rightfully makes the argument that we are all writers. For small business owners, like myself, having a website and/or blog means you’re also a publisher and marketer. However, most of us don’t consider ourselves part of the writer category. Writers are those eclectic souls that live in a small town on the coast and spend their days milling around town, observing human behavior and putting those observations into words. In Everybody Writes, Handley gives you tips on how to improve your writing, how to better market yourself, and ways to boost your confidence to write bigger projects.

Money Magic by Jessie Susannah Karnatz

This product was recommended by Phoebe Sherman from Girl Gang Craft

Our girl Jesse Susannah has written THE book on empowering (or at least bettering!) your relationship with money. She understands your relationship with money is perhaps inherited, or tied to trauma, she gets that it is NOT EASY to look at that relationship much less heal it. She understands you may be anti-capitalist and that you might be fearful to make lots of money because you might become greedy and evil (this isn’t true!). She helps you take a look at what you want (what you really really want) and the tools to help you on your journey. You’ve got to do the work, honey! We need more great people with great money so we can make positive changes in this world, please and thank you. Pick up this book, and we promise you’ll feel lighter.

How to Build a Goddamn Empire by Ali Kriegsman

This product was recommended by Phoebe Sherman from Girl Gang Craft

Ali Kriegsman is the co-founder of Bulletin , a wholesale platform that started as a craft fair! She talks about her journey building Bulletin from the ground up, and all the pivoting! She doesn’t just hang out in the “girl-boss-this-is-such-an-incredible -journey-space,” instead sharing her deep lows, how her priorities shifted, and the very real life moments she missed out on. Ali interviews amazing femme foudners from all different sorts of backgrounds sharing stories of their struggles and their achievements. This is a book to help you feel less alone, to hear stories that are very similar to your own, and very different. This book shows there are many forks in the road, and that each path is an opportunity for growth and clarity.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

This product was recommended by Phoebe Sherman from Girl Gang Craft

If you haven’t read this book, or her You are a Badass at making money, stop everything and pick it up. Jen Sincero is a BADASS and weaves tales of her own successes (and HUGE failures) and what she has learned from them. She unravels her own limiting beliefs and challenges yours, so you do the thing and make shit happen.

We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers

This product was recommended by Phoebe Sherman from Girl Gang Craft

This book was incredible. I couldn’t put it down. Rachel’s main thesis: We women have to make money to make any change happen in this society. (Can we get an Amen?) Women need MORE ECONOMIC power. We need to MAKE SOME REAL MONEY. And she thinks being a 6 figure entrepreneur is not enough, we need to all make millions. Rachel helps you find clarity around your boundaries, she convinces you to outsource in your biz AND your home (immediately!), and to find the projects that make you light up. She insists that pinching pennies (and not buying lattes!) is not the answer to your wealth, and instead we must create new revenue sources. This book is seriously a MUST for every entrepreneur. Start reading it NOW!!!

Year of Knots by Windy Chien

This product was recommended by Beth Martin from Beth R Martin Design

Windy Chien’s The Year of Knots is an inspiring and pragmatic take on becoming an artist and staying focused as a business owner. It can be challenging for an artist to maintain a consistent schedule because there is so much nuance in a creative field. This book has such an inspiring take on how to push through these challenges and use these feelings to your advantage. I encourage any artist to have this on their bookshelf. Windy’s journey offers a fresh perspective on how to focus as a business owner and make the most of creative frustrations. If you’re looking for something different from the traditional business book, The Year of Knots is definitely worth checking out. You’ll also learn how to tie some beautiful knots, which is a great bonus!

How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery by Edward Winkleman

This product was recommended by David Wurst from WebCitz

I absolutely recommend this one as a guidebook to people who want to start an art gallery. This book provides unique value and good information in a pragmatic way. This piece teaches artists what primary and secondary market is, how to create a business plan, how to do accounting, and a lot more. Perfect for artists who want to enter entrepreneurship.

The Artist’s Guide by Jackie Battenfield

This product was recommended by David Wurst from WebCitz

This one serves as a realistic and practical guide to professional success in the visual arts. The author is a gifted artist and writer; she thoroughly shares her life experiences that are very informative and useful to people who are looking to sell their art.

I’d Rather Be in the Studio by Alyson Stanfield

This product was recommended by David Wurst from WebCitz

This book is perfect for artists who want to properly get their work out in the spotlight. The author is an art marketing expert and in this book, she gave clear directions on how to get into the industry and how to properly advertise your work as an artist. Recommended to people who want to take their art career to the level of a thriving business.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

This product was recommended by Bobby Peel from Best Golf Accessories

Julia Cameron teaches us how to let go of our fears and worries, and to live in the moment. She offers practical advice on how to overcome obstacles and make creative decisions. Her method is based on her own experience and draws upon the teachings of many spiritual traditions.

Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist by Lisa Congdon

This product was recommended by Emily Clare from Fine Art Tutorials

This is a great book for artists that are ready to get stuck into the world of art sales. The author Lisa Congdon gives practical advice for those who want to sell their work, which could apply to fine artists, illustrators or designers. Congdon breaks down the process to make setting and achieving goals easier, in exhibiting with galleries, self promotion online, pricing art and understanding the selling process. Additionally, artists can learn the many ways of making money from their art, such as licensing art, print sales, teaching and more! It’s a must read for artists who want to turn their art into a business, but are stuck with things like branding and self promotion. This book gives artists confidence and reassurance to value work for what it’s worth and to start to make a living from what they love.

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

This product was recommended by Emily Clare from Fine Art Tutorials

‘Show Your Work’ by Austin Kleon gives artists valuable tips on how to get artwork noticed in today’s digital age and how to build an audience. The author provides 10 helpful tips that anyone can use to get their work seen by more people. One of the best tips Kleon provides artists is to showcase artwork in a way that feels authentic to them, even for artists who feel like they’re not ready to share their work with the world yet. He advises putting artwork out there for the world to see, even if it’s just sharing parts of the creative process. This may seem like a scary proposition at first, but it’s actually a great way to get feedback and constructive criticism. It can also help artists connect with other creatives who might be interested in what they’re doing.

The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins

This product was recommended by Ivan Brozincevic from Free Affiliate Marketing Business

This book helps us to know about creativity that how we can improve ourselves, society and business through our useful thoughts. The author analyzed each and every aspect related to creative thinkers that can add in the knowledge of artists.

David Friedland

Bit of a gear addict.

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