When you reach a point as an artist where you want to sell your work, generate income, there are really only TWO ROADS to follow.
THE FIRST ROAD is to find a REP, someone who will handle all the presentation and marketing of your work. But first you have to find a rep who is willing to do this, someone who has high regard for your work and who thinks they can sell it. Also you will want someone with a track record who you trust to be able to sell your art. And finally you will want to find someone who you can trust to handle your sales and make sure you get your money.
Of course you will have to pay for this service so this impacts the amount of money you can earn from sale of your art. Moreover it may even mean you have to raise your prices as often times an artist rep may charge a commission of anywhere from 25-50%. But the value of this for the artist is that the rep knows more about where and how to present your work so you can turn oven most if not all the work of marketing and selling to someone else so that you can just spend your time in the studio making art. Obviously this also provides an artist more hours for creating art although it is at the expense of income from their art.
It also goes without saying it is imperative to carefully choose who you employ as your rep. Sometimes one can get recommendations from other artists who have had success with a certain rep, that is if other artists are willing to reveal who they use to rep their art. Some artists don't want to tell who does this for them as they worry if they tell and their artist friend is accepted for representation it will reduce their own sales.
Obviously top reps want artists whose art work will sell well and will carefully choose their artists. They will look at the record of an artist's past sales before they take on a new client. They will also look at the record of past shows of an artist knowing that they can use a prominent show record as evidence of the importance of their artists as well as justifying the prices of art works during sales of artworks. Finally reps may require an exclusive arrangement with an artist so that the artist is not listing artworks elsewhere with other reps or galleries or in other venues that create a competition for sales.
THE SECOND ROAD is marketing your own art work. An artist can take on all the tasks of seeking out sales venues as well as develop a strategy for marketing their works in different venues. The obvious benefit is that an artist will receive and retain most if not all the sale income of their works.
But for an artist the first obstacle is overcoming their own reluctance. Many artists readily admit they do not know anything about how to market their works or make sales. It all seems like a big foggy mystery as well as something very unappealing to be involved with. They are committed to being in the studio and don't want to give up precious time from their art creation and production.
So an artist will have to first find peace with giving up studio hours and second find a willingness to learn about how to market their work. A starting point is to be aware that marketing is not rocket science, it can be learned. There are many artists who have taken on their own marketing and in fact begin to embrace and enjoy it as a exciting part of being an artist. On the other hand those who never develop a liking for it will most likely never do well at it. The bottom line here is that in the end it is your choice to like or not like it. You are not disposed at birth on way or the other, you either choose to like
Often when hearing that marketing will take 50% of their time or more they balk and say that is too much. And then they may settle for spending fewer hours doing marketing and reluctantly accept getting less income from sales.