eBay adjustment [new cheaper sale prices!]

EBAY AND ETSY PRICES LOWERED… AGAIN.

Some of my fixed price listings have been sitting for a full year without any orders.  It’s been just over a month since the last sale I made on eBay.

So – all of that considered – I think it’s a good time to lower prices a bit.

So if you’re interested in an original work by Matthew Lyles Hornbostel, now’s a good time to order one.

Most of the custom made-to-order art on my eBay shop is now 10-20% cheaper.  So go take a look!

Also – the Etsy items are also on sale still and cheaper than they were.  An automated Etsy notification was sent to me actually warning me that based on the statistics for similarly sized items in the category, “you may be substantially underpricing your work” and that most other items in my category are priced higher, and therefore able to make a viable profit.

WELL THANKS A LOT ETSY, BUT THERE IS THIS LITTLE THING CALLED A “LOSS LEADER” BUSINESS STRATEGY.

I am well aware of the fact that my prices are low and that I may be losing money on many of the items I make.  That is intentional.  I did that on eBay too for the first three years or so, so I could gain the first batch of ratings from customers and establish my shop as a credible, trustworthy venue with a positive reputation!  After that I could start to incrementally raise prices over time – while still keeping them lower than almost all other vendors’.

Quite frankly, I would rather make under $3-6/hr doing painting or pastel work, or visual effects, video editing/post, game art assets, etc – than make the same level of income doing long strings of tedious tasks like transcription of audio & video recordings for subtitles or other purposes, or repetitively tagging the content of image files on Mturk so people can search and sort through them easily [on various websites, search engines, etc].

And by the way, I HAVE done those things, and they’re a mind-numbing waste of the [creative] talent I have.  But they do pay the bills in times when nothing on my web network is selling, and they do keep the whole thing afloat and inching forward during rough stretches.  I think it needs to be clarified that such income streams, while taxed by the government, are not applicable to [paying actors].  That should have been stated in the actors’ pay post, it was a detail I overlooked… the fraction of my income generated outside of and unconnected to my web network and unrelated to creative work is not considered ‘web network’ revenue and none of that goes to cast members.

ACTORS TAKE NOTE OF THIS FINE PRINT:

This distinction matters; it means that the total revenue generated by the web network I run is the baseline that determines the size of residuals in a given year for each actor on each video or other project.

So while transcription and other similar grinding non-creative ‘in between’ work have generated around $1260/year the past three years, for me, on average… that doesn’t add onto the other income made elsewhere.

The only numbers that count for actors are the other revenue sources that now constitute the majority of my income:

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-eBay sales [avg. $360/year the last 4 years but generally trending upward over time]

-Art sales I make locally at craft fairs, or elsewhere, or on this website shop, including DVD/Blu Ray releases of video collections and video games. [booming like crazy – over $400 the last 12 months locally, but no success on this website shop yet]

-Etsy sales [none yet despite a strong effort to list items and promote them there, at really low prices.]

-third party or affiliate ad revenue if ever applicable [negligible – under $5/year the past 5 years]

-Freelance work involving creative effort; i.e. videography, vfx, 3d game assets, web graphics, previz, etc. [$240/year on average, over the past 3 years.]

-printed swag like T-shirts on Zazzle/CafePress [minimal so far]

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Do keep in mind that most of the art I’ve sold on eBay ‘made to order’ has resulted in enthusiasm, even ecstatic responses, and that if you buy something there you’re likely to be happy with it [judging from past patterns] but that while I am able to do fantastic pet portraits and landscapes, cityscapes, water scenes, still lifes, fantasy/sci-fi work, etc, lots of things I work on turn out well but portraits are a bit of a risky thing to ask of me as the depictions of the people involved will often look a bit ‘off’ from the real people I’m trying to paint/draw, despite my best efforts.

PROBLEMS PAINTING PEOPLE

It’s well known that the human face is generally the hardest image for artists to recreate correctly by hand, due to the enormous portion of our human brains that is wired specifically for the purpose of recognizing who other people are and identifying their emotional states.  Our minds are finely attuned to facial recognition of [humans] and that’s why the phenomenon of pareidolia is so common [seeing faces in randomly patterned things like clouds or wall textures] and why we can tell hundreds of people apart very easily but can’t tell individuals apart anywhere near as well when it comes to other species.  If the image of a non-human subject is very slightly off, nobody will notice.  If it’s an image of a person, though, the image will seem ‘wrong’.

For example, there’s this portrait of my sister Sarah and her new husband (they got married a few days ago – as of early June 2017 – and it was a beautiful wedding.  We jokingly called it the Sarah-mony.).  The portrayal of the couple in pastel looks a little odd and most people will say so but few can say exactly why; it simply doesn’t quite capture the appearance of the two people I was trying to depict.  It’s close but not close enough to break through beyond the uncanny qualities.

Sarah and Sean have gotten married. I recorded the wedding on video and also made this (somewhat botched) oil pastel portrait of the couple.

So yeah – keep all of this in mind.  There are amazing bargains on custom, made to order work on my eBay shop.  However, there is a risk that portraits (in particular) which I make may, despite best intentions and a lot of careful effort, may not look quite like the people I am attempting to draw.  But I’m generally getting better at it over time.

By the way, remember to take a look at my still art section on TriumphantArtists.com for other examples of the amazing affordable art I create!

And to all those of you who want to see my video work, I’ll begin posting it on a little domain I’ve acquired (HornbostelVideos.com) well before the end of summer 2017.  There’s also another new domain – SpiralSkiesGame.com – showcasing the new minigame I’ve been developing, and while nothing’s loaded onto either domain yet the websites will both become active soon enough with a bit of content at first and more posted over time.

 

Windfall

I’ve been given a large batch of old art books by my grandparents; they’d been owned by my grandfather Daniel, and after he passed away they were handed down to me by his wife Sharlene.

I didn’t think much of it at the time but apparently these old 1960s publications – I Maestri del Colore – are fairly valuable.  Not extremely valuable, but there are a lot of them in my house [almost 90 issues] and they’re worth anywhere from $5 to $150 each.  Most are valued around $10-15, but some issues are worth more and some less.  So I’m selling them off on eBay right now in batches.  If you stumbled across this blog post by searching for I Maestre del Colore for your collection of antiquarian books or whatever, and are actually here actively looking for that Italian magazine, then by all means take a look at my eBay shop:

My eBay shop — also, if you are interested, please take a look at some of my other projects on my various websites, as they’re likely to benefit noticeably from the sale of these old art books.  I won’t be able to launch the stock footage I’d planned to, any time soon, but nonetheless my new video channel, new handmade art on Etsy, new comics/graphic novel content, and an update on my Spiral Skies game… all of those things are still on track for a release in mid April 2017.

Just to generate a bit of curiosity, maybe get you all a bit excited even, here’s a little .GIF pulled from one of my upcoming videos:

‘Storm 2’ animation, vfx shot

MEMBERSHIP PLANS ACTIVATED

You can show your support for my work by becoming a paid member, for a really low price.

You’ll find it’s actually a very impressive bargain given that all the products on the HornbostelProductions.com shop are 15% off or more for members, with free shipping also.

Take a look here.

I know, I know, the auction thing I tried last week didn’t go well.  I figured it was worth a shot.  Maybe I’ll try it again in a month and see if anyone is interested then.  A lot of ideas have been suggested to move my creative work forward – and most of them have been underwhelming.  Ad revenue?  Less than $2 per month at best, even with a few thousand regular visitors, so not a viable option.   Art sales work great, on eBay, but that fluctuates wildly and eBay’s fees aren’t great.  The subscription option I’m opening up for you here right now, plus the poll I mentioned earlier, seems like a good way to smooth that out – encouraging people to buy on the HornbostelProductions.com shop instead of eBay, by giving everyone great deals.  It’s worth a shot and I’m optimistic about how it’ll end up playing out.

Two artworks added to ‘Still Art’ page and new eBay auctions posted!

Two more artworks (one from 2015 and one from 2016) were just posted on the Still Art page.  More archived stuff will be uploaded later tonight, plus a couple of alternate sorting methods will be set up soon beyond the current chronological method [images will be sortable by art medium, and by size]

If the Still Art page looks really screwed up briefly at some point around 11 pm to midnight, that’s because that’s when the HTML and JS stuff is being actively changed.

Also, three auctions just posted on my eBay shop, all priced under $4 for the opening bid.  Haven’t done actual auctions in a while so I figured now was a good time for that.  Check that out!

Incidentally, I’ve just ordered some new art supply materials.  More pastel pencils, and a few other things.  I’m ready for the next wave of orders.

Shop details

Date the below entry was originally posted – June 21, 2016.  If you don’t know why the old copy was lost, check this post:  Website Port and SSL upgrade completed

PRICING

The price of items on the shop here will be based on the eBay ‘Buy it Now’ pricing, with typically only a slight 1-4% reduction in price per item. That’s not thrilling in itself.

The good news is there are a ton of additional discounts planned – discounts for repeat customers, aka loyalty rewards, and also if you refer friends to the blog, there’s a discount. If there’s a sale going on, then there’s another discount on top of that. You’ll even be able to join our affiliate program, which means if you refer somebody to the shop, and they buy something, you get a small percentage of the sale amount!

Basically, I will want the people who are fans of my work – the content on TriumphantArtists.com, PanoramicWorlds.com, etc, to spread the word about this shop because if it takes off I could potentially raise a lot of cash – enough to finish a long list of lingering projects that I really want to complete.

TIMING

The first sale on the shop will be an opening ten-day sale – from June 22 to July 2. There’ll also be a one-day sale on July 4th on a few items, but the broader sale will be in the initial ten day timeframe.

NEW PRODUCTS

-Local event services. If you want some sort of service in the Houston, TX area, especially near the 77023 zip code, such as videography of a special event, mural/wall/large surface painting, or group events/workshops, I will make some of those services available through the shop.

-Unique miniatures in N scale. Got a special place in mind that you want recreated in miniature? I can actually craft a miniature replica of a special location chosen by you. You might want your home recreated in miniature, or some other local building there is no premade kit for. The item can be sent ‘as is’ on a flat surface, for integration into a model railroad layout, or it can be placed in a display case with a painted backdrop, or it can be embedded in a snowglobe! Pricing and other details will be viewable on the shop before too long.  The miniature category will also include a lot of premade designs to choose from.

-DVDs and Blu Rays with either video content or interactive media/games… found nowhere else and made by me!

-Prints of handmade art I’ve designed, i.e. posters and postcards and other similar items.