After this recent hard drive problem it occurred to me that I Won't be able to keep files for eternity for the purpose of prints. Not onlythat, I'm sure I won't be printing the same prints in a couple of years. So all of my prints will actually be a limited number, so why not begin to take advantage by signing and numbering prints?
Then I realized how little I know about limited edition prints. Do I need to get some kind of written guarantee from the printer? Can a run be of varying dimensions? Does it have to be below a certain amount? Do unsigned,unnumbered prints invalidate the special editions and create fraud? If they do then I can't sell limited editions of commercial work. Also, if that's the case I guess private commissions are out too since they are provided with a print quality file although it's stipulated that prints must be for personal use. Or maybe client work doesn't harm the limited edition prints because the artwork isn't sold separately,although work-for-hire clients could legally sellprints.Is it implied that limited editions are also archival? Do I need to delete the file afterwards? Can the edition be printed in installments? Could a limited edition piece be included in an annual since it's promotional?
Anyways, I found this link that clears some stuff up and thought others might find it of interest.
It looks to me like I should avoid trouble and just call them special editions. The article also made me question whether I'm just a jackass for numbering in this day and age. Anyways, I think I'll try something a bit odd with prints from now on. I'll announce each new piece as a special edition and lets say each run is 100 and signed. I'll list several different sizes within that edition and price them so that I make the same amount of profit on each piece. For conventions I'll print off part of the edition and this way when people ask about other sizes they can still get a print in the size they want that's within the special edition. Probably won't work out since people seem to abhor any sort of one on one communication to buy their prints online.
In any case, I don't see this hurting me besides for the fact that I will no longer be selling any prints through DeviantArt. I've only sold 20 prints over the course of 3 years though and profits aren't very high through them anyways. That was only $82.54 in profits and the cost of having the print account for three years was $75 so I made nothing from DA. At GenCon I managed to make $250, just enough to pay for the booth so I think the convention crowd is who I need to be aiming for. I'm also hoping the special edition title will allow me to sell those 11x17in prints for $20 now rather than $15. I might choose to cut into that additional profit by making higher quality prints.