You can read, listen, watch and learn till the cows come home… but in the end, each and every artist, as well as each and every agent, retailer and manufacturer gets to do it THEIR WAY!

Most people will agree that “doing it my way” sounds like a fabulous way to live – when looking at their own business.

You get to decide what you work on, when you work and when you take a break. you have more flexibility with your time than someone with a traditional job that gives them 2 weeks vacation and a handful of sick days.

Of course there is a different sort of pressure from doing your own thing. You are in charge of everything.  If you don’t get motivated and get some work done, your income will likely suffer…

Many people don’t like the theory as much when it applies to others – especially if their ways of doing business aren’t aligned.

Every so often I get emails from artists or talk to artists who get very, very frustrated with how some other people choose to run their businesses.   They get very upset, hurt, angry etc when their art submissions or emails seem to go into the void – probably having a dance party with those odd socks that have gone missing from the laundry for as long as socks have been around.

One artist told me how the went to the AGENTS page of this blog and contacted each and every one of them.  Of the 28 they contacted, 11 responded.    The comments the artist received from those not interested ranged from a generic “thanks. but no thanks” to some very warm and thoughtful responses. The artist thanked them all for their time and consideration.  The artist was very frustrated by the lack of response, the questions asked that could have been found if the agent took the time to read their entire website, etc.

I get it.  I understand that when you take the time to contact someone, you would like a response.  As my mother often says, “How long does it take to respond to an email? There is no common courtesy anymore.”  To which I say – try getting 100+ emails a day mom and see how you feel.  You could spend your entire day responding and no time working on your business.

I’ve said it many times before – in this business, you don’t always get a response.  If that raises your blood pressure or causes you to lose sleep at night, find another business. Everyone gets to do it their way.  They decide if they respond to everyone or if they only respond to the people they think would be a fit for their business.

I’ve talked to many agents and manufacturers who tell the same tale – there are SO MANY PEOPLE trying to license their art that they can’t respond to everyone.  In a perfect world they would but this world isn’t perfect.  And don’t forget – it’s their business so they make the rules.

You can decide who you work with and how you communicate.  They can too.

I once had a friend who whole-heartedly disapproved of how I communicated with my clients.  “You are too casual – you can’t joke around with clients! You are unprofessional!”  To which I would reply, “This is who I am and I have a good barometer of how to communicate with each person. ”  I’m not sharing intimate details of my life with everyone, but some clients and I have become friends and we’ve had some amazing heart-to-hearts.  It’s how I choose to do business.  I want to work with people who I like and who are fun to work with and for the most part I do. (As I write what comes to mind in this post I realize she wouldn’t like the conversational way I blog either… oh well – it’s my way! 🙂 )

I have had the occasional issue with wasting time and energy being irritated when someone doesn’t behave the way I think they should.  This is especially true when I go out of my way to help an artist looking for free advice or send them links to find the information they are looking for and I don’t even get a “thank you” reply.  To me, if someone helps you, you thank them.  Apparently not everyone thinks that way.

I also struggle with frustration when I KNOW all of the information someone wants is easy to find on the FAQ page of this blog but they prefer to email me and expect a reply.  In my perfect world, I’d answer every email.  In my real world, some fall through the cracks and I have a new policy that is in place to keep me sane.  It is:

Individual Question Policy

I regret that due to the sheer volume of email I receive, I can’t directly answer questions concerning individual situations from artists who are not coaching clients. I am happy, however, to consider your question for a topic for a future blog post or for the next Art Licensing Info Ask Call. By answering your question in public discourse, my hope is that it will also benefit many other artists.

I will add your question to the possible questions to be answered on the next Art Licensing Info Ask Call – find out the date, time and expert at

Need information sooner? Many answers might already be available to you on the Art Licensing Blog. The FAQ tab is a great place to start or use the search box to look for a topic. I’ve been blogging since 2008 so there is a lot of information to be found there!

Also look at the multitude of questions that have been answered since December 2004 on the Art Licensing Info Ask Call Series. Some replays are available for a fee – see all the guests and what we discussed at

I’ll consider all legitimate questions, but I can’t promise anything. (Hey! It’s free!)

Well, I think I’ve meandered around enough for today and hope this gives you some food for thought.  You get to do it your way, they do it theirs.  Find the people that mesh with your business and try not to lose precious time and energy being irritated with the rest.

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed

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