June 8, 2017


How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist:
Selling Yourself without Selling Your Soul
by Caroll Michels

New York: Allworth Press, 2018. Link to Amazon

This updated and revised classic handbook puts to rest the popular myth of the starving artist. There is plenty of room to make a living – if artists take an active stand in promoting their careers. Michels shows artists how to navigate the often-bewildering corridors of power that lead to success in the artworld.

Written for fine artists who are ready to launch their careers – and experienced artists who want to relaunch their careers. The new edition empowers artists to take control of their careers, create a fulfilling life, and earn a decent income. Caroll Michels continues to demystify the inner workings of the art world and challenge the status quo.

Some new topics include:

– New business models for artists: Going to the extreme.
– The use of social media and website development as marketing and publicity tools:  What works and what doesn’t. 
– Understanding the differences between the “art-buying public” and the “general public.” 
– New suggestions for establishing and calculating prices for artwork.
– Neighborhood gentrification and the growing challenges of securing a reasonably priced live/work space.


Chapter 1. Career Development for Artists: Then and Now

Chapter 2. Launching or Relaunching Your Career: Overcoming Career Blocks

Chapter 3. Launching or Relaunching Your Career: Setting Up Shop and Entering the Art World

Chapter 4. Presentation Tools and Packages

Chapter 5. Exhibition and Sales Opportunities: Using Those That Exist and Creating Your Own

Chapter 6. Art Marketing: Digital, Print, and Social Media

Chapter 7. Public Relations and Press Relations: Keep Those Letters and Emails Going Out and Coming In

Chapter 8. Pricing Your Work: How Much is it Worth?

Chapter 9. Dealing with Dealers

Chapter 10. The World of Grants and Other Fundraising Resources

Chapter 11. Generating Income: Alternatives to Driving a Cab

Chapter 12. Rationalization, Paranoia, Competition, the Overwhelm Factor, and Rejecting Rejection

Appendix of Resources


William Sawalich, “The PRO Files: Making a Living with your Fine Art Photography,” Sony Alpha Universe, October 17, 2019.  https://alphauniverse.com/stories/the-pro-files–make-a-living-with-your-fine-art-photography

Jeff Kent, “ Advice on Prospering as an Artist,” Professional Photographer, March 2019. https://ppmag.com/news/caroll-michels-advice-on-prospering-as-an-artist

Franklin Einspruch, “How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist by Caroll Michels, 7th Edition,” Artblog, February 2019. www.artblog.net/post/2019/02/survive-and-prosper

Niki Kottman, “Caroll Michels Coaches the Creative in ‘How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist’,” Your Observer.com, January 9, 2019 and Sarasota Observer, January 10. 2019. www.yourobserver.com/article/caroll-michels-how-to-survive-and-prosper-as-an-artist-sarasota 

William Sawalich, “The Pro-Files: Avoiding Career Pitfalls For A Fine Art Photographer,” AlphaUniverse, August 1, 2018. https://alphauniverse.com/stories/the-pro-files-be-a-successful-fine-art-photographer

“August 2018 Prime Picks,” Donovan’s Bookshelf, August 2018. http://donovansliteraryservices.com/august-2018-lp.html#ppbp

Jennifer Orbom, “Caroll Michels,” Blog, The Clark Hulings Fund for Visual Artists, July 17, 2018. https://clarkhulingsfund.org/caroll-michels

Michael Rose, “Five Must-Read Art Business Articles for June,” Fine Art Insights, July 1, 2018. https://www.michaelrosefineart.com/blog/2018/6/30/five-must-read-art-business-articles-for-june-2018 

Renee Phillips, “Advance Your Art Career with an Art Press Release,” https://renee-phillips.com/advance-your-art-career-with-an-art-press-release, July 4, 2018

Interview with Caroll Michels, “What Artists Must Know about Pricing Consistency,” Artsy Shark, July 4, 2018. www.artsyshark.com/2018/07/04/what-artist-must-know-about-pricing-consistency

Daniel Grant, “How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist,” Re:Sculpt, International Sculpture Center, June 27, 2018. https://sculpture.org/blogpost/1860266/Business-of-Art?tag=Daniel+Grant

Caroll Michels. “Advice for Artists on How to Make a Living—When Selling Art Doesn’t Pay the Bills,” Artsy.net, June 25, 2018. www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-advice-artists-living-selling-art-pay-bills

James Gurney, “How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist,” Gurney Journey, June 5, 2018. http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2018/06/book-review-how-to-survive-and-prosper.html

“Top Ten ‘Must Reads’ for Emerging Artists,” Light Space Time, May 2018www.lightspacetime.art/top-ten-must-reads-for-successful-artists

 “One Question,” Neoteric Art, May 4, 2018. https://www.jasminedirectory.com/art/detail,1960003838,neotericart.html#more-4908

Caroll Michels, “A Press Release: An Underutilized Tool for Artists,” Light Space Time, April 26, 2018. www.lightspacetime.art/art-press-release-an-underutilized-tool-for-artists-carroll-michels

“Career Coach Updates Book Offering Career Advice for Artists,” Sarasota Magazine, Sarasota Magazine, April 24, 2018, www.sarasotamagazine.com/articles/2018/4/24/career-coach-updates-book-with-career-advice-for-artists

Career Coach Updates Book Offering Career Advice, 941CEO, April, 24, 2018. https://941ceo.com/articles/2018/4/24/career-coach-updates-book-with-career-advice-for-artists

*Katherine Tyrrell, Art Business Info for Artists, April 5, 2018, www.artbusinessinfo.com/news/new-the-best-art-business-books-for-artists


“Much of Michels’ advice for artists applies to professional photographers, particularly her guidance about overcoming fear and negativity and taking personal responsibility for business growth.” Jeff Kent, Professional Photography

“Michels has distilled decades of hard-won experience into a book that is loaded with both edification and sanity. If her subject can’t be taught, it can nevertheless be learned, and her presentation of it remains definitive” Franklin Einspruch, Artblog.net

“(Caroll Michels’) dual expertise stands out in a genre where art is too typically divorced from business savvy, bringing the two together in a guide that should be in every artist’s studio.” Donovan’s Bookshelf

“Michels herself is a long-time artist career coach, and this book does far more than just explain the need to spend money on travel, presentation tools, lawyers, accountants and career coaches. It describes the narrow view of their own possibilities that many artists have at the outset of their careers.”  Daniel Grant,  Re:Sculpt, International Sculpture Center

“I highly recommend this book as a resource for artists who are either ready to turn their art practice into a viable career in the fine art world, or for artists who are already in the trenches and want to arm themselves with relevant information to help them get to the next level.” Peter Harris, Seltzer


“With advice that ranges from how to prepare for studio visits and effectively negotiate with art dealers to self-help strategies for handling rejection – as well as success – Ms. Michels explodes the romantic notion of the starving artist.” Deidre Stein Greben, New York Times

“This field of artist consultancy has more or less belonged to Michels for the last quarter-century, and [her book] in many respects, remains the ultimate reference and the most heartfelt, thoroughly-argued call for artist self-empowerment.” Franklin Einspruch, Artblog.net

“Michels is a tough but compassionate advocate, savvy in the ways of the world and the demands on artists in this materialistic society.” Richard Pachter, Miami Herald

“Learn how to successfully market yourself as an artist, performer, or (shudder) ‘creative,’ through this step-by-step guide.  Michels writes in terse, instructive sentences, and never lets us off the hook:  ‘If you want to avoid fulfilling your potential as an artist, there are many ways of going about it.  Excuses are easy to find [and] the fear list can go on and on’.” Kathleen Massara, HuffPost

“How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist. Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul by Caroll Michels… is the best guide I’ve found that looks at creating fine art as a career.” Chris Farrell, host of Right on the Money, produced by Twin Cities PBS

“She writes vigorously and passionately from several convictions: artists have bargaining power – and they must keep it; there is ample room in the art world for many artists to make a decent living; and artists have to invest in their own careers… Michels is personal and practical… She sounds like Wonder Woman; she is filled with energy, ideas, and sufficient spleen not to be walked on – ever! Her experience is the reader’s bonus.” American Artist

“Filled with valuable information and sound advice…highly recommended.” Library Journal

“. . . Michels provides information on art world politics that artists really need. She also gives a lot of straightforward advice on strategizing…” Barbara Schreiber, Art Papers

”The practical business savvy makes How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist a ‘must have’ for any aspiring artist. . . “ Midwest Book Review

“. . . an amazing book designed to help artists of all genres become self-sufficient.” The Dabbling Mum

“One book stood out from the rest. . . and goes beyond the usual information about self-promotion.. . [Michels] encourages the pioneering spirit of artists to apply their creativity to the practical aspects of the dreams.” Tess Elliott, The Arts Journal

“. . . a veritable storehouse of advice and information by renowned arts career coach Caroll Michels.” Camille Eskell, Woman

“. . . the missing manual for all artists at all stages of their careers.” Richard Donagrandi, Artscope