Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Burnout Stinks

Brown Ginkgo Leaves
Originally uploaded by m.Lee
I've been doing this self-representing artist thing on Etsy for nearly two years now. It has been a great start and really has helped me push myself and build my confidence as an artist. Enough that I am less driven by number of sales as I am by getting what I feel my work is worth. Now, I still haven't figured that part out but I am working on it. Prices may fluctuate for bit while I think things over. But they won't be going any lower than they are now.

But I am so burned out on the whole thing. To stay competitive on Etsy not only does one have to keep prices pretty low to compete with all the inexpensive reproductions but now one must keep listing or renewing at least four or five times a day it seems just to get seen by new buyers. And now there is a $7 a day Category Showcase that looks a lot like a feature that was free back in Beta. And this of course makes the newly listed pieces even harder to find. It is expensive and tiring and I refuse to buy a Showcase spot.

The promotion is so much work. Making the work itself is such a small part of it. Then there is the scanning, backing up the high resolution version and uploading a low resolution image, listing and then promoting and networking. There are so many social networking sites now that I am feeling very overwhelmed by all of them. I have yet to scan a good part of the pieces I did not this past weekend but the weekend before. And now the burnout there is starting to translate into my work.


I gave this piece to my father's wife to give to my sister for her room. She also took a piece to hang in their house. And Liz took a piece the day before. I don't normally give away my work but I couldn't say no, especially to Sara. Giving one to my father's wife was weird since it was her that took down the painting I did (that won various awards) in high school many years ago.

My poor little sister was crying so much when they left yesterday she threw up grape juice in our hall. I felt so bad for her and yes, I did cry after they left. I hope my father saw that coming to Boston isn't so bad after all so they visit again. I want to go to Chicago as soon as we can. Seeing the new great grandparents is first on our list of people for us to visit.


The Aesthetic Elevator said...

Marketing is half of the bit for artists who don't use galleries.

Are you using Facebook? I looked for you there but couldn't find you . . . Not that you need yet another social network *wink* but it's the one I use (though I have logins for five others). However, it may not be the best for marketing, depending on your tactics.

I photographed a couple of prints from my single printmaking class in college last night. Maybe this afternoon I'll get them onto my blog.

m.Lee said...

You are totally right about promotion needing to be at least 50% for a self representing artist. And right now I really don't have the time or energy for that. It takes away from the limited time I have for art plus it is very exhausting and I am now realizing how I haven't been being paid for all that time and effort.

So either I am going to have to put the time in. And possibly lose my mind in the process.

Take a break and let things be even though the holiday pressure is on and I am competitive by nature.

Or start looking at the whole gallery and art scene outside of online selling.

Of course it is a bit of a Catch 22, I am looking because I don't have the time or energy to promote. And I don't exactly have the time or energy to look for galleries either.

I feel stuck.

Sometimes being so productive seems like a curse. Even when I sell very well I make so much of it that I still end up having plenty sitting in my portfolio. And I just hate that, hence the low prices.

Even now that my productivity has gone down it is still very high compared to many artists making original works.

And there is no way to compete with the people that list and relist computer printed out reproductions and digital prints so easily. I have to either suck it up and pay the money to renew an already listed item or I have to make up a listing for something new and that takes time.

I wish I could be happy just being a mom. I love my little girl but this is important to me too. It pulls me out of depression and without it sinks me into depression. So keeping up with it as much as I can helps me be a good mother.


m.Lee said...

YEs, I do have a facebook profile. I signed up maybe a month ago? I like it but don't do much promoting with it really. But it did alert me of a show that I wanted to go to.


Laura said...

I actually really don't like the showcase spots any more I've done the storque and the other showcase and yeilded nothing from it.

I do understand your frustrations at promoting, especially if you have limited time. There must be an answer to the problem some where.

Nutsy Coco said...

I understand the frustration with promoting too. I'm just trying to get started on Etsy and I feel like I need to be spending most of my time marketing myself. Since this is hardly a career for me right now, I finally decided to step back and spend more time on making things instead of promoting myself. It may not make me successful right now, but at least I'm doing something I enjoy.

I can understand how much more you'd get burned out with it though when it is how you earn a living and not something you can ignore.

If it's any help, I think it's amazing what you've been able to get done while taking care of a newborn baby!

m.Lee said...

I am deadset against the Category Showcase spots. All and all I am pretty against the massive increase in advertising on the site. Something they were so against in the past.

I guess things change.