September – recovering

The Etsy Labor Day sale was not super successful. Indeed, the data-recovery efforts mentioned earlier – getting new external hard drive storage media and downloading cloud backup files back to local storage where they can again be used… plus some other assorted work, costs and issues resulted in delayed payment of a few bills and certain things going down visibly, including the Etsy shop itself for a few days post-sale, and the website MiniatureMultiverse.com which hit its expiry date but was still well within the ten-day grace period when I renewed the domain. Both bills have since been covered and things have indeed stabilized around here.

While customers online have continued to buy things at a gradually growing rate, the really key thing here has been the support of family and in-person connections. I am being paid by my sister Katie to do videography at her upcoming wedding, for example, and am assisting my dad with illustrations on his workbook (a church small-group workbook he’s putting together based on the Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard, I’ll show some of that later…) and all of that I’ve been really trying to do well. I’ll show more of that material soon. In practice, that means over $300 made in the past week between those things and a few sales online.

I’m even doing 3d-animated menu stuff for Katie’s wedding DVD and BluRay, based on what her wedding and reception sites look like:

Reception hall
Sanctuary in 3d
Another view of the sanctuary
Another view of the reception hall

It’s not enough pay to be outright transformative, but it absolutely did get things back on track a bit and it did allow me to cover some new stuff which will result in some things moving forward a bit more. I’m optimistic now, for example, that the stock-media packs I’d planned will be available by Halloween 2021, along with an initial launch of Panoramic Worlds. I’ll also have the first asset pack of mine on Unity’s Asset Store by then, assuming they actually have enough sense to see that it’s good, and approve it.

I am actively making more artworks, listing them on Etsy. Don’t be surprised if there are over 45 listings total on the shop by November 2021… and over 60 by the end of 2021.

That will be not just MANY paintings but also a LOT more papercraft listings showcased with some lovely new dioramas – the urban inspirations for the new sets are Venice, Paris and Amsterdam, so that gives you some sense of what’s planned by end of 2021. I may even have a couple of Greek sets up by the end of the year with both modern Greek structures and ancient Greco-Roman ruins and structures. In case you wanted to make an ancient Rome or Athens and not just stuff from the medieval or later eras. There are a bunch of mini supplies inbound largely for this purpose and a number of those materials may yet find secondary use in wrapping up the physical assembly of remaining areas in ‘Miniature Multiverse’ as well.

HERE ARE MORE NEW PAINTINGS, SEEN ON ETSY:

Lighthouse artwork -this painting sold within just four hours of being listed.
Hummingbird painting – also on stretched canvas

Basically, things are improving for me. And despite some depressing missteps a few days ago, and my opining that I might never have a career success at all given the risk of climate-change related collapse over the next 25 years, right now things are looking up. And while I still believe environmental issues could cause a massive wave of volatility and instability in the coming years, for now I’m feeling like the end of 2021 and the start of 2022 might not be terrible. I might actually have a shot at some sort of success here, and I’d love it if that meant I were able to help people struggling with lack of access to food, medicine, education, etc – all the people already on the brink in this world, who’ll face tremendous adversity as things start to unravel. These people will need our help. Nature, too, will need our help. We will have to dig deep and make sacrifices for everyone and indeed for the planet itself, if the world is to hold together in the coming crisis. And I want to believe that America and Americans can show global leadership, instead of petty tribalism, greed, short-sightedness, and self-absorption. To that end I’ve begun giving more to charitable causes this month than I was even earlier this year… raising the giving level from around 11% of my monthly budget to 23%. I want to make the world better. And I’m hoping that I can do so while also still making creative work that you all will love, at a rate that’s unprecedented. If things continue improving, there’s no reason I couldn’t continue to push my giving upwards as well, which I would love to be able to do.

If you like that idea please continue to support my work – buying on Etsy, Itch.IO, etc – and ideally also reviewing what you’ve bought. Next sales are Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and I think you’ll be excited to see what will be available during those events. Or – you know – you can also buy things quickly at full price if they show up and look interesting. Like what a recent buyer did with the lighthouse art – they saw something they liked, a one-off unique item – and they immediately grabbed it instead of waiting and running the risk somebody else would claim it.

Labor Day art sale!

Etsy: All original handmade artworks at 25% off Papercraft printed kits 50% off. All digital items 70% off. New items posted.

Itch.IO: Everything available at 45% off [individual asset packs] and 90% off [bundle deal]. Note that for various reasons most planned new content won’t be there at time of sale. I’ll explain that in the next paragraph.

Why some items are delayed: It’s not just the fact that attempts to bridge the buyers on Etsy and Itch.IO with a cross-incentive in August failed utterly. (They’re two very different audiences of buyers!)… or the fact that I can’t afford to shoot any new, high-quality VFX 4k stock-media elements packs just yet. No, it has more to do with a deluge of hardware issues on my desktop PC. I’ve had three external drives run into issues in the last two weeks. So that is a huge distraction. It would be heartbreaking and an utter disaster, except for the fact that it is all backed up in the cloud by this point [using Backblaze, which is an amazing service for that kind of thing.] so it’s just a matter of getting new drives as needed and downloading over 11 TB of data back onto the new hardware. I’m struggling because I am focused on that entire process and covering the new costs, and it inevitably has also stalled some projects critically dependent on files which were on those drives. If you want the new collections or anything digital of mine to move forward faster – as usual, buying things from the above shops DOES help keep my work going. There’s a tendency for many of you, an understandable one, to wait until a cool thing is done before buying it – yet somehow be unaware of the practical reality that those big projects like Panoramic Worlds or Miniature Multiverse or whatever else, are often limping slowly along and that financing them in some limited way before launch will in fact help get them wrapped up faster. Buying a thing from me does generally push me to make more like that thing you bought. So if you want more stock media, buying my existing stuff will encourage further work on that. Same with art or miniature papercraft on Etsy, or gamedev efforts, etc. One of the better ways to ‘cast a vote’ for a certain type of project is to buy my entire collection of stock media on Ko-fi for $3.95 – through my Ko-fi shop. You can choose what project type the funds support and I will put them towards creation of content within that category. Same idea also applies to website traffic but to a lesser extent; the more busy a site of mine is, the more it gets prioritized for future updates.

SO, considering THAT LOGIC – obviously we’ve got a problem:

mTurk microtasks and freelancing for others, constitute the SOLID MAJORITY of my online earnings and that pushes me to pursue those more than I’d like. Even though they result in no new creative content of mine usually visible to the public.

In distant second place, Etsy, which has gained a lot of ground over time. Third, eBay, even despite my rarely listing things there lately. And fourth – Itch.IO – indicating exactly why I’m struggling to justify gamedev and stock media as major priorities so far. Limited response to a category slows it down usually, and big success somewhere pushes that category faster. And then there’s the last-place category, ad revenue on my websites. Clearly not a ton to be gained from posting a lot of frequent website updates. Nonetheless, I am going to be pushing forward on that a bit as it seems the sites do drive some 15-20% of the activity and sales to Etsy and Itch and eBay so… in that sense, worthwhile?

And it’s not like earnings are what matter most to me. But they are needed to make better creative work and even to keep things online consistently. My websites went down for a couple of days a month ago… my Etsy shop has just gone offline as well THIS MONTH. And all of that is me scrambling to cover hosting bills, shop fee bills, etc, while also dealing with the cloud backup, local hardware issues, etc. It’s a mess and if things were to go badly it could all easily come crashing down. That’s why I’m having to prioritize some things like mTurk that in a better world, I maybe wouldn’t have to.

Not that I am starting a crowdfunding campaign or any such thing, but… I’d like to see a few of you do simple things like buy something cheap on one of the existing stores during the sales I am going to run, and also rate the item you bought fairly. Maybe leave a comment on the Itch page or an Etsy star rating or something? The more people see feedback from existing buyers, the more they’ll feel safe buying something. Which means your review of an item on my Etsy shop or Itch.IO shop might be an immense positive factor as far as funding goes and thus completion of additional content and updates. Look at what happened on Etsy. My Etsy shop ran from 2015 up to early 2019, no sales, tons of views and no sales. In late 2019 a brave person bought an item, loved it, reviewed it. That was the start and the more reviews were posted the more of the viewers and visitors on Etsy would actually buy something.

From 2015-mid 2019, 0% of visitors on my Etsy shop bought something. This is what happens when a shop has no ratings or responses or comments or any sort of engagement from the customers. My experience on Etsy was that the percentage of visitors who buy anything has gone up by 0.25% after each additional review, so far. Now that four ratings exist, it means 1% of shop visitors will buy an item. Four reviews took the monthly sales level from $0.00 to a new record of over $50 in August 2021. And that sort of thing tends to snowball once it gets moving, so I am asking YOU to look through the items I’ve listed and to find something you like, buy it, review it, and get things accelerating dramatically here.

I realize that every review dramatically increases the odds of any given visitor later on, making a purchase.

I recognize that both my Etsy and Itch shops have thousands of visitors every month now.

I recognize, finally, that if the rate of purchases increase as they have so far on Etsy, in response to reviews – that an added 10 reviews on each platform will mean an added 20-30 sales a month likely in months that follow.

So I can pretty much promise that if a few of you post reviews of things you bought, and looked at once they arrived (either digitally as downloads or as physical items) that those reviews will be transformative in my capacity to get everything moving forward faster and on a larger scale in the near future. I hope this goes well.

Heck, I almost made an offer to donate a certain sum for each review posted, to an array of charitable causes but I did the math and cannot be sure it wouldn’t cause a cascade or collapse of my entire web network. So… no specific numeric promises there but I will be donating whatever I can reasonably spare because as much pain and frustration exists in my life, and yours, there are others even worse off in the world and they do need our help. I can pledge this: If my total earned income ever somehow climbs above $7k a year, which is well above the current level, at least 50% of everything above that, will be given to others who really need it.

I’ve been trying to make things work for 20-odd years now. I’m closing in on my 35th birthday. Really hoping for a breakthrough.

UPDATE now that the [Labor Day] sale is going on:

Here are two new artworks on Etsy:

Western lake
Desserts

More to show up soon.

BRIEF UPDATE, JUNE 2021

I am working on a lot of different things, but the unavoidable result of that is that each individual effort progresses more slowly. That said, here’s a breakdown of where things stand:

  1. Microtasks. These have become higher-priority as I’ve found some work [off and on] that pays more, as in an average of $7.20/hour. And it’s work that’s available about half the time, each week so… I’ve made $400+ so far this year doing that, most of it since mid-May. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it earth-shattering, or life-changing, but rather pathetically this – minimum-wage part-time work – has a better pay rate than anything I’ve ever really landed in my life before.
  2. Miniature papercraft. I’m updating it a bit in the next couple days with a modest amount of new material tacked onto existing listings. You’ll see more soon. And best part is I do actually have a large-format printer with fantastic print quality, it can go up to 13″ by 19″ poster size. This means my papercraft will be available in TT and HO scales soon and not just the smaller scales (T, Z, N).
Nigel’s Pub, with an optional ‘outdoor seating’ addition. One of several new structures being tacked onto the British papercraft set in the next few days, across multiple scales of printable papercraft. Is there any name more stereotypically British than Nigel? Certainly not a name that is at all common in the USA!

3. Blood… the blood particle effects I have for free on Itch.IO just got an update. And it’s one of a number of updates showing up over the next week there. Watch for about 30-40 more assets to be added across some of my texture and 3d asset packs before the July 4th sale. WHICH IS ONLY ACTIVE FOR ONE DAY – JULY 4, 2021! DON’T FORGET IT!

Blood. For all the horror fans on Itch.IO.

Speaking of July 4 – I absolutely am working towards a gigantic sale on Etsy that will coincide with the Itch one and it’ll be good too. And though promotional efforts have been sort of modest this past month, they’re likely to be substantial starting a couple of days from now.

As in, I’ll be spending approx. $55 on ad campaigns, just between now and the end of the July 4 sale. That is, $35 over the two weeks leading up to that date and $20 on the day itself. It’s extremely likely to produce massive results based on past test runs.

Recall that in the past three years, between Etsy and Itch.IO, I’ve made over 60 individual sales worth over $500 total… almost all of them the direct result of active ad campaigns that were about $150 in all. So given that track record, I figure making over a dozen sales across these two venues in one day… July 4th… is fairly likely. This also means that some of the popular oft-viewed, oft-favorited listings on Etsy should finally sell by the end of that day. If you want them, but have been holding off… seriously, grab them now before someone else does! (Or take a chance on that, and wait until the morning of July 4th, and get the item you want then at 20% off if it happens to still be there.).

In preparation for the new sale I’ll be increasing the total listing count on Etsy to over 20 total listings, 20 different listed items. Granted, some of the new listings will be print stuff – the model railroading stuff appearing in a couple of larger scales they have not yet appeared in. But there will also be some new paintings showing up by the start of the sale.

Final notes: I am still working on both “Miniature Multiverse” and “Panoramic Worlds HD”. As for the latter – in the past month I’ve scrapped the old scene load/unload system and set up a new one with nicer loading screens, I implemented ad and ad-free versions of that loading-screen transition, did some playtesting, identified some situational bugs and fixed most of them, did a bit more graphics polishing in various spots, and in another few days will be doing further playtesting with a handful of other people (mostly close family) and will note any glitches/bugs they find, or any places that are confusing or that get them stuck. I’ll try to fix whatever issues they find, and also will post some trailer and video material on the web (Youtube, Vimeo, the PWHD website, the Itch.IO page, etc.)

Despite numerous failed deadlines, many delays and numerous bugs found and quashed, now I am still very optimistic that it’ll be out there by the time the sale hits. As in, during the week leading into the sale. Keep an eye out for that! It shouldn’t be more than 12 days off now!

Also, I’m working on a MAJOR update for HornbostelVideos.com to go live after that sale, some time in early July. Just know that that is still in the works. I want a lot more of my archived video content accessible but… still, not everything. There are basically going to be several tiers/categories of stuff for legal and other reasons.

New Etsy art items & more

Quick updates:

  1. I have listed two new paintings on Etsy. European scenes, acrylic, big ones. And there is a sale scheduled there (Feb. 4-14) but it is now effectively not only over, but there’s a weird issue with my Etsy shop by the end of that sale that’s led to it being shut down / suspended for a few days. I should have it back up very soon though. https://www.etsy.com/shop/MatthewLHornbostel
  2. While no ‘Valentines Sale’ is technically planned for itch.IO, I will be actively discounting everything for the recently announced ‘Lunar New Year sale’ which spans a week that includes Valentine’s Day and begins Feb. 8. I will use that sale to support people around the world who are in need, eg this one focuses on charitable donations, and I give a lot of what is raised to those who need the money more than I do. Take a look at that sale here: https://itch.io/s/45319/93-off-sale-2000-assets-for-097
Montenegro coastal scene in acrylic – a painting on Etsy.
Another item new on Etsy now.

A final note – as some sort of apology for anyone who had issues with the sale on Etsy… I will be running more sales in the future for St. Patrick’s Day 2021 [From Mar. 10 to Mar. 17] and Easter 2021. [April 2 – 8] and will be careful not to mess those up.

There’ll be new content posted on both Etsy and Itch.IO by then too.

Like:

-an early release version of Panoramic Worlds and more material on the ‘minigames’ page, plus a bit of new stock media added to existing collections, on itch.IO

-Some new artworks beyond these recently revealed ones, plus some new print products, including the miniature papercraft efforts mentioned earlier.

-Also, expect a reviving of my eBay shop by early April if all this goes well. I might also be revealing more of a weird side project of mine then, too [Redeemer historic church tour in 3d] potentially.

ONE MORE TIME: Remember that the Itch.IO sale, at the time of this post update, has less than 32 hours left. If you want to support my continuing work, and help people in need as well, while getting an amazing bargain along with that, it’s about as good a chance as you’ll ever see here.

https://itch.io/s/45319/93-off-sale-2000-assets-for-097

Papercraft miniatures

I’m moving forward on a range of print products for sale on Etsy.

Art prints, posters, booklets, and – interestingly – papercraft miniature designs for use in model railroads and other scale models.

Related to that news, I’ve redesigned NScaleScenery.com, a long-dormant website, with a new layout and new content. Take a look at that if interested.

Some products, we’ll note, won’t be active until I have a high-quality large-format printer at home. So don’t expect big poster art or cardstock print sets above N scale until about a month or two from now.

The plan as it currently stands:

N, Z, T scale papercraft designs, the first British set anyway, will all be finalized and all listed – I’m pretty sure – within the next 48 hrs. The N scale listings already are viewable on Etsy.

I’m continuing to make some slight adjustments and these explain the occasional inconsistencies in the existing posted photos on Etsy. The clock on the ‘town hall’ building is now smaller, and not oversized. The church is being reworked to change the tower to a [more conventional looking] bell tower. And print contrast and sharpness has improved due to a few recent changes as well. Expect the showcase photos to be updated in the next day or two to reflect the last-minute improvements.

Posters and booklets are a ways off, but I can say that the booklets are VERY extensive and cover a vast range of my artworks over the past 20 years, in four volumes, and they’ll include a great deal of material not accessible to the public elsewhere. Some really cool and quirky stuff will be shown there. There was a cover design rendered in 3d for this, that incidentally is viewable and has been for some time, somewhere on one of my Pinterest boards. It’s the design titled ‘The Triumphant Artist’.

Posters – I noticed that creative maps are popular on Etsy and I’m well aware that the ‘cartoony’ stylized depictions of states, cities, and the landmarks within them, are perennial print sellers. I have been developing a concept of ‘3d-rendered’ versions of those sorts of things. The first one I’m doing? Texas, as it’s a huge state with a lot in it, and it’s a place that has a sort of independent state-pride streak that few other states have. So I’ve taken it upon myself to create a map graphic in 3d, complete with dozens of notable landmarks depicted in a somewhat stylized sort of 3d style, relatively prominent form all over the 3d, topographically realistic terrain. The map as a whole is very high quality, purely in pixel count terms we’re talking about a resolution of the source digital file, that is over 24k total image resolution. In other words, sharp and packed with details even though it’s covering an entire 13″ by 19″ poster surface!

More European building-set designs for papercrafters will arrive on Etsy in time for Valentine’s Day in February, potentially including some of the following:

-French city and rural buildings like those seen in Paris.

Amsterdam styled colorful buildings. And a windmill?

-Swiss Alps, architecture

-Venetian / Italian coastal town architecture

-Greek architecture as typical of places like Santorini, plus some ruins.

-Castles, with modular walls and drawbridges, of a generically Western-European sort, complete with banners and other medieval detailing.

If the miniatures sell decently out of the gate (even despite a few issues admittedly at the start) I might be able to justify expanding the product line to include HO and O scale by the end of February. I will also make an effort, in that event, to add other parts of the world beyond the European styles I’ve started this with. If you’re wondering what all this looks like, here’s one of the early diorama photos I’ve posted:

N scale diorama with some of my [admittedly somewhat shoddily assembled] buildings.

I encourage you to check the new website:

www.NScaleScenery.com

And maybe browse Etsy for cool new products this next month? There will be some interesting new things there, and yes, including a few new handmade original artworks soon as well. I haven’t given up painting!:

Etsy – watch for a new sale to start in early February up through Valentine’s Day!

In answer to a couple of recent queries:

No, no sale for Valentine’s Day on Itch.IO – sorry. But I haven’t stopped work on the stock media or the indie game dev stuff. Far from it! Right now, in fact, I’m about to submit the first collection of my stock media content to the Unity Asset Store! And then on the game dev side, well, just know there’s a great deal going on there too, and while I failed to post much new in December-January there should be some major updates put online for all to see, by late February, including many new images, GIFs, and video content as well. There’s a ton of work going into those games but right now the public-facing focus is squarely on Etsy momentum and print products, and I’m really hoping that goes well.

Christmas 2020 to New Year 2021

Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas, to all of you out there.

We’ve – that is, my family the Hornbostels – had a pretty small holiday celebration due to the 2020 pandemic but hopefully, next year will be better?

Anyway: A few notes as of late December 2020:

– a modest volume of about another dozen additional textures have been added to the 2020 texture asset pack.

-a batch of minor updates (new 3d assets) has been added across various 3d asset collections. (well over half a dozen new 3d objects)

-A set of new artworks have been posted on Etsy lately with another one or two at least, likely to show up around the end of December 2020 and a few more beyond that in January, bringing the total count above 15 (which is still admittedly a small inventory as far as Etsy shops go)

Flower, dropped in rainfall

Amazon Rainforest

-I’m making a launch of much of my Itch.IO stock media on Unity’s asset store a priority during the next month or so, but that doesn’t mean it’ll get approved immediately or all at once. I would not expect any of that to go live until the end of January at the earliest. And if the first batch of the content’s rejected for some trivial formatting reason I’m missing, maybe even later.

-Next planned update to Itch before the current Christmas to New Year sale ends on January 3rd, is more about game productions than actual fresh stock media. I am trying to, even if the games themselves still need a lot of work still before launch, at least set up a bunch of new GIFs, video, stills, etc, relating to the game dev projects so the pages reflect the current state of those projects – especially a lot of materials relating to the four minigames that have been teased forever with nothing new to see – and a lot of that should show up in the next few days, by Dec. 31.

-I’ve been running a ton of lean, efficient ad campaigns quietly for the past 50 days and they seem to be generating escalating levels of good-quality traffic on Itch.IO… at a rate of at least 40 new visitors a week. These campaigns will be expanding in rate of acquired traffic at least 4-5x from tonight through to the end of the sale. To put the data in perspective: expect close to 200 more people to visit my Itch shop by the end of this sale. But traffic’s never been my Itch shop’s problem. I’ve had 5000+ visitors since the shop opened. The issue is not sales either, though that’s sort of an issue. But I’ve made over 40 sales there total, and at least half of those have been in the year 2020. No, the real issue is a lack of useful feedback from customers. I have never seen any of my asset packs actually reviewed. Not once. I’ve had two commenters and that is basically it. And one of the two comments was to let me know that there was a link defect in some of my .MTL files. (I’ve since fixed that everywhere it was an issue.) So I’m convinced that if a bit more feedback arrives from buyers, it’ll massively improve the rate at which visitors become buyers, buyers respond to the product with additional comments, ideas, suggestions, and/or reviews, and that? That could cause a massive deluge of new activity there. It could be a positive cycle that means the whole endeavor grows on an unprecedented scale. So I’m really hoping that works out soon. It’s why I am running this campaign but… also why I’m offering this: for every bit of feedback left on my Itch pages from December 2020 to March 2021, I promise another 3d asset posted for free to everyone. Note, at least four of those itch pages have free downloadable stuff already that can be reviewed or commented on. So if even 10% of the people who download there, and 10% of my buyers, leave feedback in the next 3 months, that equals – likely – between 12 and 25 free assets posted as a result. When I say ‘asset’ I don’t just mean a singular file but either: [a seamless texture map + any other useful related maps for PBR use] or [a 3d mesh in .FBX and .OBJ format plus a custom-designed PNG texture map UV-mapped onto it.]

Whether any of that works out in a big way, is up to all of you.

HERE ARE THE RELATED LINKS:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MatthewLHornbostel

https://matthornb.itch.io/

Labor Day Weekend Sale

All of my SALE content online – INCLUDING NEW 3d ASSETS – ARE ABOUT TO BE DISCOUNTED TWICE! First, LAbor Day WEEKEND, Sept. 4-7, 2020! And again WITH THE SAME GREAT DEALS for Halloween 2020, Oct. 29-31!

  • https://matthornb.itch.io/ – On Labor Day weekend, from September 4th to 7th, I’ll offer 50% off all my [already underpriced] stock media asset packs, and 90% off all of them in a single bundle! So for just $1, you can get 1600+ seamless tiling texture maps, 160+ video VFX elements, 120+ 3d assets! More now there than ever before – I’ll be posting an added 20+ 3d objects, in both FBX & OBJ formats, and 100 new texture maps across all those collections, between now and Sept. 1, 2020. This is the single best part of the Labor Day sale. But there are other cool things going on sale then, and the deal will repeat for Halloween 2020 as well, about 45 days later. There’s a ton of amazing stock media here… and it can save you a ton of work if you’re an indie game dev, or a video creator or some other type of digital / 3d or VFX artist.
  • This site shop, HornbostelProductions.com – I’m offering a staggering 15% discount across the shop for those two huge sales timeframes. This is in addition to all the other discounts available for loyal customers. Pretty much any customized art variant you might want is available, but not just personalized artworks – I also have stock media DVDs and other amazing deals, including made-to-order game levels! (Not joking at all, this is great for those of you who have zero skill in 3d art – this is an offshoot of another thing I’m doing at CrowdsourcedAdventure.com and you may want to give it a look. You can place an order for a 3d level / gameworld made to order – you provide your ideas, I sculpt them into 3d content, and together we’ll form a beautiful finished 3d environment that is explorable, and which I’ll ship directly to you! This, like the personalized handmade art listings, could make a memorable gift for any significant occasion!)
  • My Etsy Shop [Handmade, handcrafted acrylic paintings at really low pricing!] The items I’ve listed on Etsy are going to include more than half a dozen new paintings, added in the weeks leading up to the first sale, and all the old art items will be discounted 20% throughout the sale, new ones by 10%. When the sale ends, I’ll take the unsold old items and auction them off on eBay. Unfortunately, a lot of my eBay buyers are still seemingly unaware that almost everything I sell on eBay I also sell cheaper elsewhere. (Not their fault, really – eBay doesn’t allow outbound URLs so many people who find me via eBay never realize most of my stuff isn’t sold there and what is there is more expensive lately.) Generally, I can, for fee reasons, offer the best possible prices on my own shop (here on HornbostelProductions) or with digital-only shops (Itch.IO) but there’s usually 7% higher pricing on Etsy, and almost 20% higher on eBay, largely because of all the fees involved on those platforms.
  • My eBay shop – I won’t mince words. I saw a fiasco earlier this year, way more so than anything on Etsy. A wave of Q1 2020 buyers – arguably, scammers – took advantage of my defective and far too trusting refund policy that allowed full refunds on sold items, including high-value ones ‘for any reason’ without photographic evidence of any actual item damage, or any evidence of claimed loss or misdelivery. Once a wave of items sold and had to mostly be refunded due to certain buyers’ greed, I found myself in a position where I genuinely did not have the cash on hand to ship out the second wave of legitimate orders that followed in any sort of remotely timely manner. Worse, as delays have mounted the amount of additional swag sent as my apology to each of those poor irritated long-suffering honest buyers has climbed. As of August 2020, the last of these delayed legitimate orders are finally being resolved, with full refunds being sent out plus extra and also the items requested being shipped with extras included. I will be shipping out the last packages [plus some extra stuff & a full refund] to each and every one of them, by August 25, 2020. My successful clearing of the order backlog coincides with the launch of some new eBay listings finally, and unfortunately a less lenient refund policy and slightly higher pricing in the future. I wasn’t convinced to do this by the fact that I made hundreds of sales over half a decade with no profit in all that time. Rather, the final straw was seeing my ability to provide good customer service to decent customers, being dragged down by my lack of any sort of emergency reserves. Being able to deliver all of what I promised to all of you, at a price that’s really reasonable, is important to me. And this mess on eBay was a disaster in that [delivery and customer service] regard. And I am genuinely sorry about that.
  • The eBay incident caused immense damage to my reputation as a seller and to my own financial status, not to mention months’ worth of delays inflicted on my indie game project ‘Miniature Multiverse’ due to the hundreds of dollars I’ve lost there in 2020. I will continue to emphasize that eBay seller fees mean that eBay items are always going to cost more than the equivalents on any other storefront I’ve got. Plus, from here on out, refunds will require photographic evidence or tracking data showing the package was not delivered successfully. And you know what, you might opt to choose eBay anyway and still pay the premium instead of buying stock media on itch, or art on HornbostelProductions because my eBay account has run longer and has ‘social proof’ insofar as there are 387 positive ratings [100% positive still, like on Etsy, despite my enormous missteps in 2020] on my account there. But eBay is now the weakest choice available for my products and I want to remind everyone of that. You’d be generally smarter to buy my content anywhere else.
A typical example of an item of mine – an older one – currently on Etsy.
My stock media DVD – available on HornbostelProductions.com and eBay but cheapest on itch.
The other side of the DVD case
Another Etsy artwork example.
Less than 1% of my texture maps/ materials [examples via itch]

Again, the shop links are:

-https://matthornb.itch.io/
– HornbostelProductions.comMy Etsy Shop
My eBay shop

Other notable links of mine include but aren’t limited to:

TriumphantArtists.com

MiniatureMultiverse.com

Thank you so much for reading! Hope you have a great day, and I hope that if you decide to buy anything from any of my stores, that you’re thrilled with how the purchase turns out!

Crowdsourced Adventure

A new domain – and a new game – are active right now.

CrowdsourcedAdventure.com.

The site includes a small ‘Myst like’ gameworld with four simple puzzles. It’s playable right now. [As of Aug. 4, 2020] and between active player support via Ko-fi, and more passive indirect player support via banner ads, I’m hoping to raise a ton of cash not merely to finance the development of the game over time – which I’ll do at a ridiculously low pay rate – but also to give to worthwhile charitable causes, and creative productions, beyond my own in the the broader gaming scene.

All Ko-fi support – every $4 – backing this also gives you as a supporter some cool benefits, not least the entire set of the stock media and other content I have on my itch.io page. [a $14.45 value] plus you’ll be able to contribute ideas of things you want in the future worlds of the game. [And you can have your text message added into the game, 30 character limit, could be your name, username, a URL, whatever.

For those who are wondering when my next sale is, it’s on Labor Day 2020.

Check my Etsy and Itch.IO shops then. There’ll be some fantastic discounts that day only, [Sept. 7, 2020, for those unclear on when Labor Day is.]

Etsy and Itch.IO [minor updates]

A little bird peering through a window at a floral vase. Acrylic artwork, on sale currently [Etsy]
Landscape with wildflowers. Also on Etsy.

Basically, the good news is that I’m posting a LOT of new art items on Etsy over the course of this week. The two seen above are just the start. There’s a sale arriving on Itch.IO later this month and a lot going on on Etsy too, and I’m promoting both venues very heavily.

I’ve ordered a fresh batch of stretched canvases, about 20 of them (!) and some of those are 18×24 inches – I also have 25-packs of 16×20 inch and 18×24 inch shipping containers/mailers and a ton of bubble wrap and packing tape ready to go. On top of all of this, a $30 ad campaign has begun [between Etsy’s own ads and some other fine-tuned banner ad campaigns] that should result in approx. 450,000 impressions [ie. almost half a million people across the internet will see my ads] and, even with an expected CTR (click through rate) of only around 0.1-0.3%, that’s still hundreds of visitors showing up on my Etsy storefront. This campaign should be running from June 6-June 26 roughly, and what that means is if you were on the fence about buying something from me on Etsy, GRAB IT NOW.

Especially given that I’ve refined my pricing to take cheaper sourcing of bulk art supplies into account and reduced my effective pay level to a bit below $2/hr on Etsy artworks. Everything’s cheaper than usual right now. It’ll especially drop in price noticeably – an additional 15% – at the same time my Itch.IO sale is active [June 21 to July 4] so keep an eye on that!

ETSY SALE – June 21 to July 4, 2020!

ITCH.IO SALE [93% OFF!] – June 21 – July 4th, 2020!

I’ve also been very active on social platforms lately including YouTube. I comment on blogs, forums, YouTube videos, social media. I’ve spent hours posting replies and hyping all this stuff that’s going to happen. I’m trying to make it take off in a big way. So if you don’t buy the item you want on Etsy now, you’ll probably lose it as it’s very likely that someone else will claim it where you hesitated. And if they don’t, eventually it might end up in a bundle on eBay [some of the older items I have had on Etsy for a while will shift to eBay soon after the sale end on July 4th, 2020]

Now for the downside of this frenzy – my ‘minigames’ are being pushed back on itch.io. I’d indicated an attempt to release a set of four minigames by late July 2020 and that won’t happen. It’s unrealistic given that the first half of June is going into making art for a giant Etsy sale, and much of the third week of June into modest updates to some 3d asset and texture asset content on itch.

So what should you expect in game development terms if I’m focusing on Etsy art / stock media updates primarily in June?

Tricky – I still have a few bugs to quash and things to implement in each of those games, and if the bugs are not easily fixable this may get delayed further, but the basic expectation here is that ‘Spiral Skies’ goes live by July 4th, 2020 in both its SD and HD premium forms, plus there’ll be a lot of new teaser / preview material for other game projects posted by then as well.

I think Easely needs another week or so of actual dev work, eRacer two weeks, Vortex 2.5-3 weeks. That’s ideal, and that’s if I don’t run into last-minute barriers. The new Panoramic Worlds has about a month of additional work involved before launch. Same with Vivid Minigolf 2, and Miniature Multiverse has about three or four months of development work to go. So, in theory at least, these games can all be launched by the end of 2020.

In practice, that might not be feasible. Funding’s a persistent issue, and if this Etsy sale is successful, along with the Itch sale in late June, I can still get these games all done this year. I’d love that. I am hoping to raise around $400-500 between those two efforts. That’d actually recover the time this month that I will have spent painting (and then some) as I would be able to focus on gamedev pretty near full time, and would not be stuck doing $2-4 per hour microtasks at all. If these sales fail utterly despite all my efforts, however, I would expect only some of these games to be out by end of year, and others not until early 2021.

The relevant game pages on Itch will soon reflect this.

New Itch.IO pack [furniture]

The newest asset pack – a furniture and indoor objects collection – launched during the Memorial Day sale.

Furniture collection showcase render

If you missed that sale, don’t worry, everything I have on Itch.IO will be bundled in a gigantic sale once again from Fathers’ Day 2020 to July 4th, 2020.

(That’s June 21 – July 4, for those who don’t know when Father’s Day is.)

Expect all my content on the platform to once again be available for just under $1, in one colossal bundle of 12 products ranging from asset packs to game preorders, asset packs including a vast array of 3d modeled objects, seamless textures, overlays, decals, and stock video elements. Don’t miss the next sale!

AGAIN, THE LINK IS HTTPS://MATTHORNB.ITCH.IO/