- Toby Hazlewood sold his first NFT after learning the ropes of how to mint and promote it.
- He gives five tips for people looking to enter the growing market.
- “Your first creation may already exist and turn out to be your gateway into this world,” he said.
I began experimenting with non-fungible tokens as a relative blockchain novice in March, inspired by headline-grabbing projects that were selling for six-figure sums.
I figured out the complicated process of minting and listing one, and after a few months, I found a buyer.
But the sale didn’t make me a millionaire overnight. I’m into NFTs for the long haul.
These are my five tips for people who want to mint and sell their own.
Think about what you’re trying to do and let that guide your biggest decisions
Be clear on what you want out of NFTs from the outset. This is what should drive your decisions.
Are you an established artist with a following who’s drawn to a new medium, or is this your first creative venture?
Are you trying to build an NFT business, or is this just an experiment born from curiosity? Is money your main motive?
If you see NFTs as a part of your creative future, it’s worth taking a long-term view and considering selling low the first time.
Conversely, don’t rush to sell for a low price if you already make work that commands high prices elsewhere. If you have no following at all, you may need to sell at cost, as I did, with a view to building a following.
Don’t overprice your first NFT — remember your following and its value could grow
My first NFT was my first time selling visual art. It was a photo I’d taken of a sunrise on my morning walk near my home.
I arrogantly thought I would attract a buyer through the subjective artistic merit of the photo and hype in the market.
I naively priced my NFT at the equivalent of $20,000 in ether and waited for a sale.
Months later, after the photo generated no interest and I’d done a lot more research, I dropped the price drastically. Shortly thereafter, it sold.
My experience taught me that while the value of art is subjective, reputation and track record count for a lot. New creators may need to price their creations accordingly to build a profile.
One silver lining is that creators receive royalties upon each subsequent sale of their NFTs. I expect to receive 4% of all future sales of my NFT, executed automatically by the smart contract that exists on the blockchain.
If I build my profile such that there’s onward demand for my creations, then the first discounted sale price won’t matter too much.
Remember ‘gas fees’ — and know how to reduce them
Ethereum “gas fees” cover the computing power of blockchain transactions, incurred both in minting and in completing any sale.
Thanks to the hype around NFTs and the corresponding demand for processing power, these can be high, and they might not be something novices are prepared for.
But careful timing can reduce fees. Avoid transactions during US business hours. When I minted mine at 6 a.m. UK time, the fee was $94, down from the $140 I was quoted the previous evening.
NFTs can also be minted on OpenSea using the Solana blockchain rather than ethereum. Solana is designed to process more transactions per second than ethereum, and while it’s less mature, gas fees are often 100 times lower on Solana.
There are also alternatives to OpenSea with lower gas fees, including “Layer 2” NFT solutions such as Immutable-X. These allow creators to mint and trade NFTs on ethereum, but blockchain transactions are batched and processed in bulk to reduce costs. Explore these if you’re minting a collection of NFTs at once.
Factor fees into your selling price to remain profitable.
Identify potential buyers and market to them
NFTs thrive on networking and community.
The marketplace is flooded with sellers, but also with a variety of buyers — from people looking for edgy artwork to the person who ultimately bought mine. Some are drawn by the art. Others are driven by the status and exclusivity of owning something that cannot be replicated.
Think about who the right buyer could be and aim to connect with them.
My aim is to grow my following by sharing my knowledge of NFTs via books and articles. For me, creating and selling NFTs is another way of doing that. The articles and tweets publicized my NFT within them.
I also decided to connect with influencers as a means of finding a buyer. Figures such as Jordan Belfort and Snoop Dogg have reinvented themselves as NFT influencers. I felt lesser-known figures, themselves trying to gain followers, would be more inclined to support a fledgling creator like me.
Eventually, I found one influencer who liked my writing and art and made me an offer. They shared their purchase on Twitter and Instagram, and I did the same. I’m now exploring other cooperative NFT projects with them, bundling my writing with their visual creations.
We hope a bundled creation will be more desirable for buyers. We’re also now combining our marketing efforts via our joint audience.
If you’re thinking of doing this, do it now
If you have a digital creation — an image, audio, video, or text file — think about capitalizing on the interest and mint your first NFT while the marketplace is still in its infancy.
Well-known brands have announced NFT drops, including MGM Studios with James Bond NFTs, Warner Bros. with Matrix NFTs, and Pulp Fiction NFTs from Quentin Tarantino. Interest among investors, creators, and the public is growing.
The barriers to entry are minimal, and for a little money and some technical learning, you can tap into a vast market of prospective buyers.
When I took a photo of the countryside near my home, I was a blockchain novice who liked taking photos and knew little about NFTs. Your first creation may already exist and turn out to be your gateway into this world.