Saturday, March 21, 2009

Careful What You Ask For

An email inquiry

I received an email a couple of days ago from an Italian magazine that found my work via a Google search. They asked how much for four of my Animal Antics photos. I replied $250.00 per image per 1/4 page and $350.00 for 1/2 page of use. They wrote back that they had a low budget. Could I do the whole thing for $600.00, and they needed the images right away. Their English wasn’t the best, and I got the feeling they also wanted some of the original images used to create a couple of the composites. I inquired about that and they said yes, they needed the original files for two of the images.

OK, I began looking through my archives. Six hours later I had found and un-archived a few of the original files, but most were either missing or corrupted. The images had actually been composited using Live Picture, a photo manipulation program which went out of business over a decade ago, and which I no longer had on my computer, so I also spent some time tracking down an archived copy. I needed Live Picture to convert Ivue files back in to a format that Photoshop could read. In addition, they also asked for a fifth image to be included at that original price.

Careful what you ask for

The message here is that I am clearly not ready for a lot of traffic! I started this journey four months ago with an average of one person per week. I am now averaging over 200 a day, which is still insignificant, but already starting to be a drain on my time. I have made two print sales, sold about one mug a week, licensed a couple of stock images, and seen quite a few people directed on to stock sites handling my work. I have received one phone call regarding licensing of an image (I directed him to the appropriate agency), and had two email inquiries, both of which required some back-and-forth communications and neither of which resulted in licensing, but did take up a fair amount of my time.

Automation and procedures

I can see that I need a greater degree of automation and or a better set of procedures for dealing with prospective clients. I wasted far too much time in the last effort, probably too much time even if I had succeeded in licensing the image. I not used to dealing with such inquiries as virtually all of my work is handled through stock agencies. Six or seven years ago, when I was doing assignment work, I had all of my negotiating and licensing handled by a rep. Negotiating has never been my strong suit and for this effort to work for me I will need to have mechanisms in place to prevent my having to interact with those interested in using my work. I plan on getting thousands of people a day to my site and having to deal with even a small fraction of those people could bring my business to a stand still.

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