Back when I wrote Paris Letters I discovered along the way that I was indeed an artist. But for a long time I was an artist living on my savings from the big ol’ corporate gig of yesteryear. Now the challenge is to continue being an artist but rely on… drum roll please… THE ART.
Not as easy as it seems, even for a fancy pants author like myself.
Because it takes hundreds of people to buy my book in order for me to make a car payment. It’s astounding how royalties work and how you can be wooed by fame and forget that book writing isn’t the best use of your time if money is on the mind.
Sure there are the J.K. Rowlings of the world.
But they are the exception, not the rule. And I’m closer to the rule than the exception, even though I’ve achieved New York Times best seller status.
Anyway, my new experiment is to figure out how to be a full time artist AND have it be a lucrative situation. If you’re an artist who would like yours to be a lucrative situation too, you might want to stay tuned to see if this experiment works. You’ll especially want to stay tuned if you’re an avid Etsy: Quit Your Day Job reader.
Here’s the plan:
Boost the shop. For a year, I had 3 items in my shop. I expanded that to 6 for another year, then 9 for the year after that. My new plan is to get 500 items up in my shop by December 1, 2015, to see if that actually boosts the bottom line.
Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn’t.
We will see together. Much of this is based on the last two weeks of curating my photo library. I’ve got some treasures in there that could be wrangled into products. A delightful surprise.
I hypothesize that more items = more profit, but who knows. I could totally be wrong about this. I could be diluting the three items that have always sold well. I could be spending a lot of time pédale dans la choucroute (pedaling in sauerkraut/getting nowhere fast). I could be wasting my time. And I’ll report on it here to see if it works out. Then you, dear artist, can make decisions based on our collective learning here.
I sheepishly admit…
This experiment reeks of the direct marketing career I left all dramatic-like at the end of 2010. Back in advertising we measured the success of EVERYTHING. Mail with a red burst vs yellow burst vs no burst. Mail with one fold vs two. Mail with one headline vs another. Mail with one photo vs another. Everything was scrutinized. Everything was judged.
It’s amazing I’m so well adjusted after all that scrutiny.
Jury’s still out.
So, to that end, I have just listed in my shop the entire archive of Paris Letters, Travel Letters and Café Letters. That boosted the total items from 9 to over a hundred. I also added another whole product line: Drum roll again…
PARIS NOTE CARDS:
And because I just can’t quit, a blank one because silence is nice:
I also added other places in Paris that aren’t on this bridge.
Pre-printed masterpieces to delight anyone who likes fun mail.
Goal: 500 items by December 1, 2015
Total shop items to date: 126 on July 29, 2015
Increased income: 0% as I just did this today.
I feel like Bridget Jones at the beginning of her diary.
It’s a little frightening to just BE OUT THERE and ADMIT plans and to see publicly if FAILURE is on the horizon. But what the hell. What could happen?