Friday, 1 October 2010
Ways to make money from your Greeting Card designs – Part 2
In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about what I had learned from my experience of trying to sell my Greeting Card designs to publishers. If you’ve had no success with approaching Greeting Card Publishers, or if you are just in too much hurry to wait until a publisher finally chooses your designs, there are many other routes open to you, such as -
Using the services of an online Print-on-Demand, or POD store.
On the whole these are more popular and better established in the US than elsewhere, though the idea is spreading and I have had some of my pastel paintings offered as greeting cards through UK company, yoodoo.com, since 2005.
How does it work?
The American online PODstores all operate in much the same way, though there are a few minor variations in the details of how they work.
Basically, you as designer will create an account and a ‘store’ with the operator of the PODstore. You will then make your images to the exact size specified by the online store (usually 5” x 7” for greeting cards) and conform to the resolution requirements, after which you upload them to the PODstore’s website. This done, you will give your card a title and description, choose keywords that apply to your design and consign it to a suitable category that will aid customers in searching for what they need. And that’s it! The rest of it, the printing and shipping, is done by the operators of the PODstores and when your cards are sold, you will be informed by email and your commission will be credited to your account.
One of the positives about selling this way is that forums attached to these websites mean that you will not feel alone with either your triumphs or your frustrations and there is usually someone who can help you with any technological difficulties you may have. And feedback from other artists can help boost your confidence if your experience of trying to get your designs published has left it feeling a little dented. Although, of course, you are all competing for sales, there is a good feeling of community.
If this sounds too easy, there are a few disadvantages of using this method of selling your designs to be aware of –
· The competition is huge because it is global. Greeting Card Universe alone is currently approaching 400,000 greeting cards on its website!
· You will almost certainly need to spend a good deal of time promoting your ‘store’ and this can be a lot of work! Most artists who succeed in selling their designs in this way have a blog, join facebook and twitter and are constantly searching for ways to ‘promote’ their wares. Although this doesn’t cost money it can eat up large amounts of time that you could otherwise be spending creating new designs.
· The commission is not great! You need to sell a lot of cards to make this more than a pocket-money operation, and those who have succeeded in earning a worthwhile amount have usually built it up over several years.
· The lack of direct contact with customers means that the only feedback about what people are looking for comes from the PODstores’ statistics and they may not answer the questions you have.
· You need to be aware that Greeting Card Universe has a review process for approving your designs. This review is not based on artistic merit but on practicalities, such as avoiding important elements of your design being too near the edge, using accurate keywords or tags, and placing your design in the correct categories. This can be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating but artists are assured that this leads to more sales and I have found that to be true.
· You will only receive your commission when you receive a threshold amount so if you have very few sales, it may take a long time to receive any money at all!
Some of the PODstores you may want to check out are –
http://www.zazzle.co.uk/ (or .com if you are in the US)
More suggestions and comments very welcome!
Next week, we'll begin to take a look at the third main option - making and selling your greeting cards yourself!