Thursday, December 31, 2009
This is the year end report for my first year of selling stock illustrations. I was surprised at how much I ended up making. You can see the total for yourself, but it came out well above $3000 between all the sites. Some were successful and others were very disappointing, but all of them contributed towards quite a happy year in microstock.
The top moneymaker and overall good stock site was, once again, Shutterstock. This month was quite a low one - as all across the board (with the exception of Istockphoto) the stock sites stalled out because of the many holidays...but Shutterstock was the clear winner for the year. It was the first site I signed up to and the best overall - I had a steady stream of downloads every day (which prompted me to check it several times a day) and even a large chunk of 'on demand' downloads (which are almost $3 apiece). And, what was quite a happy day this last month, I finally had a referral that actually uploaded images. So far I have a list of about 10 people and it wasn't until last month that one of them actually made it through the approval process and uploaded images.
What's nice about a referral is that they get to live their own separate microstock life, but every download they get, you'll get three cents. I ended up making over 16 dollars from such downloads. I'm also glad that the website that I stumbled upon that gave me the final push to get into microstock is getting 3 cents for every one of my downloads (Thanks again Cory!).
Anyway - second on the list was Istockphoto - I started late with them...and almost gave up entirely. But I kept reading that this site was the hardest to get into and had the most complex uploading process...but that it ended up being worth it. And it's true. It's one of the leading sites for microstock - and even though you end up with less downloads per day, each one is worth more money. And even though this site didn't really get going until May (all my other sites were up and running by March), I still made about $550.
One site that was the biggest disappointment was BigStockPhoto. While they're one of the big 5 or so stock agencies...they have fallen hard. I made $3 last month and half that this month. I believe it to be the fact that Shutterstock purchased them, and people are waiting to see what happens from that...because it wasn't until that was announced that the downloads almost completely shutdown. But it's too bad because they have the easiest uploading process (the bit where you only have to upload your eps files and they'll generate their own jpg preview. All the other sites you have to create your own jpg preview and each site has their own size parameters). Oh - and one other disappointment, but I didn't expect much - there was this site called VectorNexus - I ran into them through a microstock message board. I uploaded a couple of images and had a couple of downloads...but their site is no longer on the web. I believe they went under...but since I only put four or five images on there in the first place, I didn't see it as that much a waste...although they never paid me out for those two downloads....
All in all - I'd say that microstock is quite a fun side project past time. It can be a greater money maker if you're willing to put the time into creating good images. Or it could be a steady stream of extra cash (as it is for me) where you only spend a couple of hours every month keeping things fresh by uploading a few new images.