December never disappoints in how awful it is for microstock earnings. This year was worse than December 2011 and 2010. That said, I still made money and it pushed me over into a best year ever for passive income earnings. So, it wasn’t all bad. Anyway, here’s the breakdown:
Clipartof led the way again with 26% of my earnings. It was followed by Shutterstock at 23%. My own site, MyStockVectors, was third at 12%. Dreamstime came in fourth with 9% and Toon Vectors jumped up to fifth with 8%. Can Stock rounded out the top 6 with 6%. The rest were less than 5% a piece.
Well, that’s it for 2012. Hopefully, 2013 is a prosperous year for everyone.
I can’t believe 2013 is only a few days away. I guess time flies when you are creating illustrations. Anyway, it’s that time of year again to revisit how I did on my goals from last year, 2012. I had three goals from last year, so let’s see the results.
Goal #1: Double my stock portfolio (8000 images).
This was a lot of images, but I crushed this goal. I hit 8000 images at the end of September, then I started a project of converting all my images to a black and white version. I ended up with over 15,000 images. I guess it’s good I did so well on this one because it wasn’t as positive for my other two goals. Anyway, Goal #1 was a success!
Goal #2: Increase freelance earnings by 15%.
I definitely wasn’t sure about this goal when I set it, and I think it shows. I really didn’t have much of a game plan to accomplish, and my freelance earnings didn’t increase at all. In fact, they went down. I doubt I’ll rollover this goal either. I’m just not sure if I can really do much with it. Projects either come in or they don’t. Goal #2 failed.
Goal #3: Make $500 in a month at myStockVectors.com.
Another failure for this one, but I was very close. I had a couple months that were over $400, and my site traffic seemed to improve in the last quarter of the year. It should happen next year, but I probably said that last year too. Unless close counts, then goal #3 was a failure too.
Another one out of three year. I seem to be good at those (too bad that wasn’t a goal). Anyway, let’s set the bar for next year.
Goal #1: Get to 20,000 images on MyStockVectors.
Goal #2: Make $500 in a month on MyStockVectors.
Goal #3: Get to 500 Design Files on MyStockVectors.
Goal #4: Earn $3000 in a month with my passive income.
Well, that’s it. Hopefully, I can accomplish them all next year. We’ll see.
Unless this is your first time on this site, you probably know that I create stock art and sell it on the internet. There are a variety of places out there that you can partner with to help you sell your work, but many of them take a large cut of the royalties. So, some artists (like me) have created their own sites and keep 100% of the royalties.
I wanted to compile a list of those sites, so I enlisted the help of the people over at Microstock Group to help. Here are the sites that they listed (in no particular order):
Artist: Cory Thoman (That’s me!)
Description: MyStockVectors is a premium collection of cartoon vector illustrations by artist Cory Thoman.
Site: Real Stock Photos
Artist: Tyler Olson
Description: Real images of real people. I like to shoot candid portraits of professionals and outdoor adventure lifestyle.
Site: Clip Art Candy
Artist: Amanda Bodack
Description: Clip Art Candy sells fun modern clip art and illustrations with an emphasis on people and vector characters.
Site: Jareso Stock Database
Artist: Boris Jaroscak (jareso)
Description: Personal website of enthusiast photographer. Website features selected photos of landscapes, animals and architecture.
Artist: Cihan Demirok – Cidepix
Description: Stock Vector Illustrations and Design Elements.
Site: Denis Pepin Royalty-Free Stock Images
Artist: Denis Pepin
Description: Beautiful and useful images for your home or limited commercial purposes from $2.00 to $10.00. Extended commercial purposes, $28.00.
Site: Travelling Light
Artist: Colin and Linda McKie
Description: Mainly travel/scenic and food images direct from the photographers at microstock prices.
Artist: Elena Elisseeva (Elenathewise)
Description: Diverse portfolio of more than 12,000 stock images covering lifestyle, concepts, travel, food and nature photography.
Site: About PhotoStock
Artist: Colin and Linda McKie
Description: Mainly travel/scenic and food stock photo images direct from the photographers. Rights Managed and Royalty Free.
Site: Cascoly Software
URL: http://cascoly.smugmug.com and http://cascoly.com
Artist: Steve Estvanik
Description: World travel, maps and people from Europe, Egypt, Syria, India, China and the Americas. Patterns, backgrounds and textures.
Artist: jean schweitzer
Description: Stock pictures and local pictures from Denmark.
Site: SweetSham Stock Illustrations
Artist: Melissa Patton
Description: Royalty-free stock food and drink illustrations in jpg and vector formats. A growing collection including cakes, sweets, and food characters.
Site: Pixels Away Stock Photography
Artist: Marek Uliasz
Description: Concepts in business, education, science, internet and self development. Vintage typography. Fitness and outdoor recreation. Healthy food. Colorado and southwest.
Artist: Lisa F. Young
Description: High quality collection of royalty free stock photos at reasonable prices. Areas of specialty include people/lifestyle, business, education, medical, and industrial.
Artist: yuliang & szefei
Description: We specializes on south east asian, chinese and malaysian content. Prices are at microstock level.
Well, those are the ones that people sent me. Hopefully, this will be a useful list for buying illustrations and photos directly from the people that created them. Feel free to add more suggestions to the comments. Please try to limit them to sites run by one or two artists.
It wasn’t a horrible month just not quite as good as the last few months. I guess they all can’t be great. Anyway…
Clipartof led the way again with 27% of my total passive income. Shutterstock was 2nd with 20%. MyStockVectors was my 3rd best site with 11%. It was closely followed by Dreamstime and GL at 10% and 9%. Can Stock and Toon Vectors were 6th and 7th at 6% each. The rest of the sites didn’t make up that much.
Well, there is just one month left in the year. Overall, it’s been a pretty good year. It looks like it will be my highest earning year selling stock art. I’ve noticed a few trends this year. My RPD has steadily improved throughout the year. While my total number of sales has decreased, my income has seem to improve. Some of this might have to do with getting rid of 123RF. Also, I’ve noticed that Shutterstock has slowly been decreasing in both sales and income. I haven’t uploaded in a long time, so this may just be natural. Either way, it will be something to monitor for next year.
It was a pretty good month (my 7th best month ever). A little bit over September, but down from August. With two months left in the year, I’m on track to have my best year with stock art.
Shutterstock led the way this month with 27%. I had a bunch of ELs early in the month that really bumped up my income. Clipartof was my second best earner at 23%. MyStockVectors, my own site, was third at 18%. I had my best month ever there setting traffic and earning records. Dreamstime, GL, Canstock, and Veer followed up with around 10%-4% each. The rest of the agencies were pretty low earners this month, so not much to talk about there.
That’s it for October. Hopefully, November is a good earner.
I added a couple new tutorials on the blog at MyStockVectors. The first one is for making animated GIF files in Adobe Photoshop. The second one is for creating 8-bit style graphics (like the little star above) in Photoshop. So, go check them out:
I was down from August, but it was still my 7th best month ever. Clipartof led the way again with 34% of earnings. Shutterstock (15%) was a distant second, and my own site (14%) was a close third.
Speaking of my own site (mystockvectors), I reached my image goal for the year. I wanted to double my portfolio this year from 4000 images to 8000, and I went over that this weekend. My thought behind the goal was to have a lot of unique images that can only be purchased at my own site and a few other sites that I want to grow my earnings at. It seems like all the work has paid off because my earnings are back up despite having eliminated several major sites. Hopefully, things continue to grow.
That’s all I have for this month. Feel free to discuss below or link to your own results.
It was a good month for earnings. It was my second best month of the year. Clipartof was once again my top agency followed by Shutterstock in second place. GL made a surprise appearance in third, and my own site came in 6th (just behind Can Stock and Dreamstime).
I ended up making good on my threat from last month, and deleted my images at 123RF. It’s strange. Every time I delete a good earning agency, another agency has a record month to take its place. This month GL did that when I left 123RF. It may just be coincidence, but it does make me think.
Well, that is all I’ve got this month. The fall months are usually some of the best of the year, so I hope to see some good earnings.
July was up from June, but it wasn’t anywhere near some of the better months this year. Clipartof was my top seller again at 27% of total earnings. Shutterstock was second at 18%, and my own site was a distant 3rd at 10%. Dreamstime, 123RF, GL and Can Stock followed closely behind at 7-9%. Sales at Toon Vectors picked up this month and they were my 8th best earner at 4% of the total.
On sort of a side note, I’m starting to get concerned about 123RF. Sales have really picked up there. Normally, I would say that is a good thing, but the RPD (royalty per download) is so low there. I don’t really want to eliminate the earnings I get there, but I’m wondering if it is a good idea to remain there for the long term picture. I guess it is one of those unanswerable questions. Do sales there undercut sales I might get at better paying sites?
I’m thinking they do. My reasoning behind that is the quick rise of 123RF. They seem to be doing well with their SEO, and search engine traffic also seems to be the big way that some of the smaller sites like Clipartof, Toon Vectors and my own site get their sales. So, it makes me think that it is hurting my best paying sites the most.
Well, that’s all I’ve got about last month. Feel free to post your thoughts.
I was going over my statistics for first half of the year, and I noticed some interesting things. So, I thought I’d try something new on the blog. No, I’m not talking about writing more than one post in a month, although that is something different. I’m talking about sharing some stats. Besides, I know how much artists love math.
Anyway, I was filling in the stats for my top seven agencies. Why seven? Well, these are the agencies that typically earn me over $100 a month, so that seems like as good a bar as any to judge them all by. My over 100 bucks micro sites include: Clipartof, Shutterstock, MyStockVectors, Dreamstime, 123RF, Can Stock Photo and GL Stock Images. Now that I’ve introduced all the players, it’s time for the stats. Hooray, stats!
Top Earners (% of Total Earnings)
For all of you that love decimals, I apologize that I rounded the numbers.
1. ClipArtof (25%)
2. Shutterstock (21%)
3. MyStockVectors (11%)
4. Dreamstime (10%)
5. 123RF (8%)
6. Can Stock (7%)
7. GL (6%)
You’ll notice that these sites represent about 90% of my micro income, so the rest of the sites don’t contribute a huge amount to my overall total. You may also notice that my own site came in 3rd in total earnings. I know! I’m pretty proud of myself too.
[pauses to do happy dance]
OK, I’m back. Where were we? Oh yeah, earnings. So, how much did I earn? I’m not telling. I will say that my best month at Clipartof came in at around $900, and my worst month at GL was around $70. Hopefully, that is enough to satisfy your curiosity. If not, you can probably dig through some of my old post on this site. Next up, download stats.
Most Downloads (% of Total Downloads)
Again, I rounded. I’m just not that into decimals.
1. Shutterstock (52%)
2. 123RF (17%)
3. Dreamstime (11%)
4. Can Stock (6%)
5. ClipArtof (5%)
6. GL (3%)
7. MyStockVectors (1%)
OK, this is where things got interesting for me. I knew Shutterstock had a lot of downloads, but I didn’t realize that it was over half of them. The other big surprise was that 123RF was my second most downloaded site. Also, you can see that some of my better earners have some of the lowest download totals. That’s because they sell less, but pay more. This brings me to my next stat, RPD (Royalty per Download).
RPD (Average Royalty per Download)
Here are the decimals. I hope it was worth the wait.
1. MyStockVectors ($16.28)
2. ClipArtof ($8.55)
3. GL ($4.11)
4. Can Stock ($1.92)
5. Dreamstime ($1.77)
6. 123RF ($0.78)
7. Shutterstock ($0.67)
Again, everything shuffles around, but there definitely seems to be a correlation between low royalties and higher download numbers (not necessarily better earnings though). I would assume price and subscription models have something to do with that.
Speaking of subs and lower prices, I’m surprised at how much 123RF is starting to look like a mini Shutterstock. I guess that is a good thing if you love Shutterstock because it looks like it has a little brother. For me, I found it a little disturbing. Knowing that the majority of my sales (nearly 70%) net me about 70 cents, makes me a little queasy. Especially since I’ve been trying to increase the value of my work by concentrating my efforts at better paying agencies.
Well, that’s it. You made it through it, and there were even decimals. I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.