Thursday, May 16, 2013

PDF Tutorials....All Profit...Right?

Having just answered another inquiry about why I don't write tutorials for certain things I thought I'd explain the cost issues of writing a tutorial.
I had a conversation with the wonderful Mr. Patrick Duggan on this subject just last week.....a little brain picking as he moves into the world of tutorial writing., you want to write a tutorial.

First you need to design it, so that might take a day or two or a week or two for this example let's say it's a 40 hour week.
Design is getting the idea, developing it, beading it, making any changes and tweaks.  Designers in the 'real' world make good money so you you'll want to charge your time least $15 an hour.
So 40 x $15 = $600
Plus the costs of materials...including all samples, most designers make at least two and often three samples.
Say this piece isn't too spendy and costs $20 per sample.
Two at $20 = $40

Running total = $640

Next up is writing the tutorial so you better have your illustration/ photographic skills ready.

As I illustrate I'll price on that.
Graphic designers/illustrators make good money...I know I used to be one, and I know that if I farmed this out it would actually cost me hundreds if not thousands for this service.  But let's go with the $15 an hour.

Two days of illustrating, two days of writing, tweaking, photographing and editing. That's 4 x 8 hours @ $15 an hour = $480

Running total $1120
And this doesn't include overheads. much does it sell for.....price too high and it won't sell, price too low and you'll have to sell a LOT more.....for this amount of work I'd be looking at a $20 dollar price tag.

So....the first two tutorials I sell will pay for the supplies and I have to sell 56 tutorials before I'm paid for the work.  And that can take a week or a year or more.

If you work a regular job, you work for a couple of weeks or a month and get paid...and many times you can't wait for payday to get here. You work and you know you will be paid for that work....not in this business, the reality is you may have to wait 5 years to be fully compensated for a piece.
When you release a new design you hope and you better have a lot of patience, and belief in yourself and your design...because lack of sales is tough on the ego as well as the bank account.

Some designs don't make it to tutorial simply because when tested, photos posted on Facebook, they get a cool response which doesn't bode well for sales.  Sometimes that just requires a change of palette but it does mean back to the drawing board.

Some designs like the one I was asked about this morning, my Armadillo Blossom purse, will never be tutorials because they would take way too long to write and not many people would want to put THAT amount of work into something let alone the $80 the tutorial would have to cost.

For me this is a business, my sole income and when you have no financial back-up (husband, pension, lottery winnings) you have to step back a little from the artistic and let the business side come to the fore.

Some designs are just not financially viable no matter how much you and everyone else likes them.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Unregulated Beads or Why I Don't Design with Gemstones

Conformity is what I'm talking about.
Uniform sizes.
Holes in the right damn place!

Yes....I've been struggling.
Bright little spark that I can be, I decided to work with of those "What were you thinking?" moments after the work was half way done.

Ok...this is the deal:

I designed my Celtic Knot necklace while I was ill last year and am only now getting around to writing the tutorial and of course I needed a refresher on it not to mention a piece to test the tutorial. I made the first Turquoise Howlite version from some beads I picked up at a bead show.
And right there is a what was I thinking a designer who sells a lot internationally I have to use beads that can be easily found or offer 
up a supplier or carry the special beads myself.

So for my second version I found that Artbeads carried the shape and size of gemstone I needed albeit in limited colors....I bought the three they had.
Well....I've been working with them this week and so I could test the tutorial I illustrated the major components before I began beading.

Imagine my horror when it just didn't work.
The holes in the Coral Quartz are about 1mm higher into the stone than with the Howlite.  1mm is not much, a teensy measure but OMG!
It can totally mess with your design.

The result is I've putzed around for a couple of days this week, procrastinated like crazy, been very unproductive and then, of course, guilty for the lack of productivity.

Finally, yesterday, I sat down to work on the 'fix'.
I realized I would have to create a 'flexible' fix because who knows where the holes in you're gemstones are going to be?
The result is good, you probably can't tell the difference....yeah, part of that is due to the colorway change...but had I started with the Coral Quartz this is exactly what I would have done in the first place and the 'fix' would have been just easy and obvious.

My blog is about the trials and tribulations of this business and the problem with holes is definitely one of them.....we all know about the second blocked hole in a super duo bead....if you hear a beader scream these days that's probably why.

Anyway....problem solved.
I'll have to do some more illustrations on the 'fix' but I'd rather do that than have to go through tweaking everything.  On Monday I thought this one was going super fast and easy and would be in my store this week.....oh, how the Powers That Be like to play with me!

And it's always when I'm chomping at the bit to move onto the next project...which is the patterned version of the new Padlock Pendant.

I need to take some new shots with it's rope, a 36" half twist herringbone.
I need so many more hours in the day....especially when a 1mm difference  can take me down!

Oh....and I just opened a Twitter account.
So, do a search for my name and follow me, you never know what you might get to know.  I plan on using Twitter while I'm at the Bead & Button Show so that if I'm sitting beading and someone wants to join me they'll be able to find me.  I plan on doing a lot of my corrugated peyote while I'm there and it's the perfect time to demo the technique....and with the long term project I'm working on you might want to take advantage :)