Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Earning Royalties From Print On Demand: Make Money With Your Artwork

One of the first questions everyone wants to know about print on demand is: How do I get paid? And that’s an important question! The answer is, you get paid in royalties. That means that every time an item with your design on it is sold, you get a small percentage of the sale price.

The percentage of royalties that you earn varies from site to site. Some POD sites have a fixed royalty percentage. Other POD sites allow you to determine your own percentage of royalties.

There are pros and cons to having both fixed and variable royalties. Probably the biggest pro/con has to do with having variable royalties. If you set a royalty percentage for yourself that is too high, there’s a possibility that you will get fewer sales, especially if you make the price much higher than the norm. This can be a touchy scenario, and if you have no prior sales experience with selling your own work I advise you to stick to a lower, more standard royalty to start.

Here’s the thing… This is important to remember: you’re not selling the original where that design is gone forever once it is sold.

This is not a once and done situation as it is when you are selling an original one of a kind work of art. You’re selling POD, you are merely selling multiple copies of the same piece of art, and you retain the original. Therefore, it’s important to remember that you are NOT selling the original, so your price really should be reasonable. But in the same breath, I will say that it can be a smart tactic to slightly increase the prices on your most popular items, but not by too large of a margin.

For me personally, I’m very happy having a fixed royalty percentage because I think it is fair, and affordable for the customer. It’s like the happy medium where everyone wins. I would rather have constant sales at a fair price as opposed to an occasional sale at a bit higher price.

Society6 has an interesting royalty structure. They have a fixed royalty on all items except for prints. On Society6, art prints, framed prints, and canvas prints all begin at a fixed royalty rate of ten percent, but they allow you to adjust this royalty rate to whatever percentage you desire.

Here’s an example of current royalty rates of a few popular POD sites:

Art prints - % determined by you
All other items - fixed rate royalty, around 10%

Default royalty rate of 20% that is adjustable

Design By Humans:
Rate varies per item. Example: Royalty of $3.00 for a $25.00 t-shirt and $4.50 for a $48.00 hoodie

Adjustable rate.
From the Zazzle page, 

"Zazzle has standard and maximum royalty percentages for every product type offered. Designers may set their royalty rate to be any number in between the standard and maximum royalty percentages."

No matter which POD site you decide to work with, it is important that you read and understand the site's royalties structure. Also, be sure to do your homework. On POD sites that allow you to choose your own print royalty, take a look around at how other artists are pricing their prints. Top selling designs are almost always a bit more expensive. Discover the delicate balance and find your own happy medium.

Just joining us now? Then be sure to check out the other parts of this blog series about print on demand:

Pin this post! 

Part 1 of this series:

Part 2 of this series:

Part #3 of this series:

Part #4 of this series: 

What do you think?
Do you sell your artwork on a POD site?

Have a great week!

Article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love for Dishfunctional Designs™ 2018
all rights reserved

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

10 Best Practices For Selling Your Artwork On Print On Demand Sites

Welcome to part four of my series on learning about print on demand sites. In my last post I talked about how to sell your artwork on print on demand sites and I shared with you some of the basic tools that you need to get started.

But once you open up your POD shop and get started, your designs won’t sell themselves, they need your help! There’s certain things that you can do to help your art be seen and for your POD shop to get more sales. These things are called your best practices. Today we’re going to talk about some of the best practices for selling POD. 

In no particular order, here are 10 best practices for selling Print On Demand:

Read the POD site’s policies and adhere to them. This includes following guidelines such as using the correct size images required for each product, as well as following legal policies such as not infringing on anyone else’s copyright. You’d be surprised how many people replicate copyrighted logos and characters. They eventually get in trouble for it and ultimately can lose their accounts by violating copyright laws. Know what is legal to do and what isn’t. Don’t just guess or assume anything. Do your research! If it isn’t 100% yours then you can’t use it. In a nutshell: Make sure you know the rules.

Promote yourself from within the site. Your success on a print on demand site is largely determined by how you promote yourself and your work within the site. When a shopper visits a POD site, they have tons of designs to pick from. How will you make yours stand out? One way is to make sure you use all the right tags and keywords in your artwork’s description. By doing this you are promoting your artwork within the site. I’m always miffed when I come across a design where the artist didn’t bother to type in a description of the artwork, or any keywords, which is what helps your item get found in search. Read: fill in all the blanks! You are only shortchanging yourself if you don’t.

Promote your artwork and your POD shop externally through your social media accounts. If you don’t already have social media accounts and you plan to sell your artwork, you really should set them up. Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are the main social media spots where you should open up accounts to promote your work. You can share pictures of your POD mock-ups with your designs on them. You can share photos and links when you put up new artwork. You can also share other peoples artwork that you like. Remember: Closed mouths don’t get fed!

Promote and follow other artists on the POD site. Your success on some POD sites depends on artists promoting each other. On some POD sites, when an artwork is “liked“ it is moved to the top of the heap therefore getting more views and attention. It’s kind of like an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” system. Promote other artists, and they will likely promote you back! Follow another artist, and they will likely follow you back.

Understand that POD is passive income. It’s not a way to get rich, but it can be a nice little supplemental side income after you’ve been doing it for a while. The amount of royalties you earn from your sales differs from site to site. Some POD sites have a fixed royalties percentage. Other sites allow you to choose your own royalty percentage. (more about this in a future post!)

Have patience. Don’t expect instant success. Understand that it takes a while for your shop to gain traction. I think in my first month I only made about three dollars in royalties! A year later I am making much more than that per month, but it is continually growing and it does take a long time. You have to have patience and you have to keep putting up new artwork and promoting yourself. I read somewhere that it usually takes a year or two for your shop to really get moving, and I have found that to be true. That might seem like a long time but before you know it, a year has gone by. It’s like the old weight loss adage: if you think losing half a pound a week isn’t much… a year from now you’re 27 pounds lighter! Baby steps.


Don’t limit yourself to being on just one single POD site. You can list the same piece of artwork on different POD sites! Once you create those high-res quality files of your artwork and upload them to your POD site, don’t delete them! Store them on your computer or on an external hard drive because you might use them again.

Know that some POD sites you have to be juried into. This means they want to see your artwork ahead of time before you can join, or they want to know that you are at least semi-professional at what you do. DesignByHumans requires this. It keeps their site offerings high-quality and their site looking sharp.

Check out POD site DesignByHumans

Only put your best work on POD sites. Of course, not everything we create is perfect or turns out exactly the way we’d like it to turn out, but when you’re going to offer that design to the public you want to look its best. I often see people uploading massive amounts of designs, some of which look unfinished. This just clutters up your shop and makes it look messy. Make sure that every design you put up in your shop looks its best. Quality, not quantity! No chicken scratch!

Be professional. When you open up a POD shop you get to choose a shop name and most sites also allow you to upload an avatar and/or a cover image of you or your logo to display on your shop’s homepage. There usually also is a place for you to write a short bio about yourself and your work. Keep it neat, clean, and professional! 

Follow these guidelines and you will be off to a great start! 

So to wrap things up, in Post #1 I talked about and explained what POD/print on demand is, in Post #2 on the subject I talked about why you should be selling your art on POD websites, in Post #3 we discussed the basic tools that you need to start putting your artwork on print on demand websites, and now you know some of the best practices for selling your art on POD sites!

Join me again for part #5 of this series, where we will delve into things a little bit deeper when we discuss the differences in royalties in print on demand sites.

Pin this post! 

Just joining us now? Then be sure to check out the other parts of this blog series about print on demand:

Part 1 of this series:

Part 2 of this series:

Part #3 of this series:

What do you think?
Do you sell your artwork on a POD site?

Have a great week!

Article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love for Dishfunctional Designs™ 2018
all rights reserved

Friday, April 6, 2018

How To Sell Your Artwork On Print On Demand Websites

In my last two blog posts I explained what print on demand (POD) was, and I offered you some reasons why you might want to consider selling your art and designs on POD websites.

Today I’m going to talk about how to go about selling your artwork on POD sites, and I’ll tell you a little bit about what tools you will need to get started. So let’s get talking about the first steps you need to take to get your art from your hands to in front of the eyes of thousands of potential customers.

To sell your artwork on print on demand websites there are a few things that you will need that are essential to getting the job done. 

At a glance, they are:

  • An account with a POD site
  • An email address
  • A PayPal account
  • Your own original artwork
  • High-res digital images of your artwork that you create by using either:
  • A flatbed scanner
  • A quality camera
  • A Computer to view and edit your digital images 
  • A photo editing program on your computer for tidying up your images
  • Optional: an external hard drive to store your large image files
  • A little bit of time and patience to learn how to do it

Let’s get started.

First and most importantly, you need artwork to sell. As long as it is your own original artwork that you created, you can sell copies of it on products. You can sell all different mediums artwork: paintings, drawings, graphic art, collages, etc. As long as you created it and as long as you can scan it or photograph it, you can sell images of it.

Second, you need high-res digital image files of your artwork to upload to the POD site, so you will either need to scan or photograph your artwork so that you have it in digital form. 

Your high-res quality images also need a DPI that is determined by the POD site you are going to sell on, so you will need to read the site’s instructions for that exact information. Society6, for example, recommends that your image file be at least 6500px by 6500px or larger, at 72dpi or higher, with the file size being smaller than 150MB. So you need it to be big, but not monstrous. All you have to do is make sure that you keep within their image size parameters.

If you’ve never done this before it might be a little bit confusing or overwhelming at first, but trust me, once you learn how to do it it’s really easy and it becomes second nature.

You will need a computer with enough memory to process and store your digital photo files. A small external hard drive can come in handy for storing those big files. I picked up one for about $30 and it does the job. I save all of those large photo files to my external hard drive so that they are not taking up tons of space on my laptop, therefore slowing it down.

Why the big files? You need to have big, quality files of your images so that they are large enough to print on large items such as large sized prints, posters, and things like blankets, shower curtains, and comforters, without losing quality when the image is enlarged. The last thing you want is someone to buy a tapestry with your artwork on it and then when they receive it it’s completely blurry and pixelated because you used the wrong size image file. As I said earlier, each print on demand site will have instructions for what size images you need for their products. You can even make multiple copies of your same artwork images specially sized to fit on different products. But more on that in a future blog post!

Another thing you will need is a photo editing program on your computer that will allow you to touch up your photos. You will want to make sure your artwork looks perfect before you upload it to the POD site, so you are going to want to check the colors and make sure it’s a nice clear, bright, sharp image. Photoshop is great, but GIMP is free and does all of the same basic things.

If you need help learning how to clean up your photos and how to use that photo editing program, there are tons of free videos on YouTube that will show you how. I use the free GIMP program and taught myself the basics just by watching a few YouTube videos. It took me a little bit of time, practice, and patience, but it has really paid off because now I can just whiz through my photo editing pretty quickly.

Lastly, you will need some patience. It takes a while to get your artwork up on a print on demand site. Like I mentioned before, you may need different sized images for different products, especially for extra large items such as tapestries, comforters, and window curtains. Making these files can be a little time-consuming but it’s worth it.

Here's a tip: 
You can upload the same images for sale on multiple POD sites

Once you have your image files ready, the next step is uploading your images to the POD site and then situating and positioning that image onto each item that you want to sell your artwork on. These photo examples of what your art will look like on a particular item are called “mock ups.“ Here are two examples of my artwork on mock-ups:

Uploading your designs and positioning them on each item can take a while because sometimes the sites run a little bit slow, so you have to have a bit of patience. You want each of your images to look just right on whatever product you’re putting it on, so take your time and make sure that everything is centered and straight and looks its best!

You will also of course need to register with/open an account with whatever POD site you are interested in selling on, so you will need a valid email address and you will also need a PayPal account so that they can pay you. I have found that most print on demand sites have pretty clear instructions for how to get set up. Make sure you read all the FAQs and directions that each site offers.

So to wrap things up, in my first blog post I talked about and explained what POD/print on demand is, in my second blog post on the subject I talked about why you should be selling your art on POD websites, and now you know the basic tools that you need to start putting your artwork on print on demand websites!

Check out POD site DesignByHumans

Join me again for my next post where we will delve into things a little bit deeper when we discuss some best practices for selling your artwork on print on demand sites.

Pin this post! 

Check out part 4 of this series: 

What do you think?
Do you sell your artwork on a POD site?

Have a great week!

Article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love for Dishfunctional Designs™ 2018
all rights reserved

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Why You Should Be Selling Your Art On Print On Demand (POD) Websites

In my last blog post I explained what Print On Demand (POD) was, and what it was all about. (If you are just joining us now you can read that article here.

Now I'd like to talk about some reasons why you should be selling your art on POD sites, what you can get out of it, and how it can help you grow as both an artist and as a business person. Feel free to jump in any time with questions or comments below. 

Print on demand websites are not only a great way to get your artwork out and into the public eye, but they can also be a great tool for assessing your work.

For example, if you put up a variety of your work on a POD site, over time you will find out which of your designs are the most popular. You can determine this simply by keeping an eye on what sells, and by seeing which works get the most attention according to views and likes.

Each of these bits of information gives you insight into what types of artwork you might want to sell on a POD site, and also what things in your work you might want to improve upon.

Perhaps even more importantly, putting your work on a POD website helps you to “let go“ of your artwork, allowing you to go in new directions and create new things.

You’re not ever going to just paint one great painting, or two great paintings. Art is a process of continual discovery and growth, but to be able to grow you need to be able to let things go.

So don’t worry about being afraid to list one of your art works on a print on demand site because you think it is too precious. Then share it! If it is amazing and precious then allow other people to experience it too.

Don’t horde your artwork. Get it out there, let it be seen! Don’t be afraid to say, hey, this is me! Or, hey, look at where I have been! It is only when you do this that you’re able to go to new places with your art. Make some room in your heart and soul for your blossoming creativity and your new artistic creations.

Letting go of your artwork can be very freeing and refreshing. Take a chance and experience it and you will see what I mean. This is a renewal of you and your creativity. Create create create!

Maybe you are reading this and you think that print on demand is not the direction that you want to go. That’s fine, because it’s not for everyone. But just realize that it can be a way to actually help you expand creatively.

Even though the POD site takes care of all of the customer interaction and business transaction side of things, there’s still lots to be learned by selling on POD. If you have an interest in trends, what’s popular, and things such as surface design, POD sites offer an amazing wealth of information. Take a look around and see what’s trending and popular. How about starting a trend yourself?

POD sites are great for artists who dabble in multiple mediums. Maybe you are a painter at heart but you dabble in photography just as a side hobby. If this is the case, it can be a lot of fun to put your photography on a POD site and see how it goes. You never know, you might be inspired to create something that you usually wouldn’t create. On POD sites, you are completely surrounded by all different types of art, so inspiration is everywhere.

And remember, there is no investment for selling your art on a POD site. Unlike paying to have your own prints made to sell yourself, or to have products made with your artwork on them (think t-shirts, stickers, etc) that you probably have to order in bulk and might not even sell, POD offers you a stress-free alternative. If you need some prints to sell in person at an event, you can buy your own at a discount from the POD site. 

In a nutshell, you can learn a lot from selling your artwork on a POD site. So pull those paintings out of the closet and dig those drawings out from your old sketchbook and give it a try!

Check out POD site DesignByHumans

Selling your artwork on POD sites is probably a lot easier than you think, and in my next blog post, I'll delve deeper into the topic and I'll share with you the basic tools that you'll need to start putting your artwork up on POD sites so be sure to check back!

Pin this post!

You may also like part #1 of this series:

Now go to part #3:

Do you sell your artwork on a POD site?

Would you ever consider it?

Have a great week!

Article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love for Dishfunctional Designs™ 2018
all rights reserved

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

What Is Print On Demand? Print On Demand (POD) For Artists Explained

What is print on demand? Print on demand (POD) for artists explained

I’ve had a few questions from readers about my print on demand (a.k.a. POD) websites that I mention on my blog from time to time (some of which include Socity6, Redbubble, DesignByHumans, and Zazzle), so I thought I would take some time and write a few blog posts to explain what POD is and what it’s all about, and how to get started with POD for your own artwork.

First of all, POD stands for Print On Demand

What exactly is print on demand? 

In the broadest sense, print on demand is exactly what it says – it’s selling prints of your artwork (whether it be your painting, drawing, graphic art, collage, mixed media, or photography) through a third party company that offers POD service, and each print or item with your artwork on it is only made/produced after it is ordered by a customer.

...And you sell the same artwork over and over again on whatever products customers wants to buy...whether it be a t-shirt or framed art print or travel mug or what have you...

What that means is, if you’re an artist or a photographer, it’s a way that you can sell prints or images of your artwork – as well as many other types of other products with your artwork printed on them (think bedding, home decor, wall art, clothing, etc.)– but everything is handled by a third-party company.

On your end there is no stock to produce and store, no money to invest, no shipping to take care of, and no interaction with customers. 

Every aspect of the sale is taken care of by the POD company that you partner with. They put your artwork on the item, they make the item, they ship the item to the customer who buys it, and they take care of any returns, etc.

From original artwork...

....To this:

All you do is upload quality images of your artwork to their website, following their directions for specifications of file sizes needed, and then you use templates found on their site to position your art on the items the way you want - and they take care of all aspects of the sales! 

You retain ownership of your original artwork and copyright.

When they sell an item with your artwork on it, you earn a royalty, which is a percentage of the sale price. The money you earn is collected by the company and then deposited to you in your PayPal account—usually monthly—this depends on the POD website and may differ from site to site, as each site has their own procedures and policies.

There are many different companies/websites for print on demand services. Each is a little different from the next, but they all pretty much do the same thing: they are an easy way for you to sell prints and other items such as T-shirts, pillows, and phone cases with your artwork on them, and you earn a royalty on whatever you sell.

I’ll get deeper into the topic in my next blog post so be sure to check back!

Pin this post!

Have a great week!

Article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love for Dishfunctional Designs™ 2018
all rights reserved