Surviving Ups and Downs of Microstock
In life, things can go up and down. Just like any market, sales in microstock comes and goes too. Over time, I think you can see patterns and trends here and there. Those that are here from the beginning will have a lot more insights. This article is to offer some bit of cheer if you are experiencing a bit of a slum or just feeling down.
In the long run, this will certainly helps in maintaining continuous sales. There are many people here who's portfolio I am simply in awe of and something to inspire. Time can be your friend. It is ok if you have a portfolio, I have a small one too. Just concentrate on what you can do best now and slowly build up over time. Take pride in what you do. :)
Ebb and Flow of Market Demand
Seasonal demands can fluctuate sales. For example, in USA, Europe summer is almost here. Blue sky, flowers may be in greater demand. On the other hand, New Zealand and Australia are going through winter now. Or in December when winter photos are in greater demand than flowers then. Great if you can offer different types of images when needed by buyers.
Advertising, Design and Turnaround Time
I can offer this insight because I used to work in an advertising agency and later to marketing line. Most marketing plans and advertising budget are planned for well ahead before the start of the financial year. So the agency have some ideas what's coming and may download some images ahead of time. So there may be a constant download at one point and then sale slow down. The Creative Department decides on the design and layout. No matter how pretty an image is, if it does not fit the layout and concept, it is not going to sell. A vertical image will not fit into a landscape layout. Offer variation in layout and let the designer decide. Different media have different deadlines for submission. For a monthly print magazine, the ad must reach the printer a month before. At the very latest, maybe 2 weeks before printing. Availability of needed images matter.
Holidays Are Here
I think we all know weekends and holidays can slow down a sale. Take a break too! Go out, have fun!
This applies for both your photography/illustration and personal life. If you find yourself constantly doing the same theme, like photographing tomatoes, do something else instead. How about kitchen utensils? If you travel the same route home everyday, revise - take an alternative route. If you take the bus, stop at two-bus stops before your stop, walk home. Re-organise brain patterns and thought process because brain cells go to auto mode doing repeated actions and that may take away creativity.
During the Slow Time
If it is a slow period now, join the discussions in the forums, comment and write a blog. Someone may find the information useful. A change of ideas may spark off a creative idea and who knows positive thoughts attract positive reactions.
I use my slow time to experiment and learn more on post-processing. There were times when it had been disastrous but the point was to try something new. To avoid multiple rejections, I normally just upload one photo, see if it is accepted. It not, stop for a while, think it over and do something else.
They say laughter is the best medicine. So, don't lose your sense of humour when things are down. For a bit of chuckle, check your spam box - emails or blogs. Such flattery and why would I want things I don't need?
I write this as a reminder for myself as well. Hope it gives you a bit of encouragement. Think positive. Cheers!