My Zazzle Sales and Earnings
Referral Sales and Sales of My Own Products From Zazzle
(Note, I wrote this a couple of years after signing up to Zazzle, and while I'm still there a few years later, it has been somewhat neglected. My sales and referrals still wander in at about the same rate, reflecting the amount of effort I've put into it since. While a few technical details might have changed, most of this article remains accurate).
I've been on Zazzle since 16th September, 2008, and initially, hardly sold anything! I made $12 that November then got lucky with a huge order in December (Christmas-related cards and postage), then hardly anything until the following December. After that it was a year of trickles, not making payout until suddenly, all this year, I've been making payout every other month ($25 or more - I tend to make about $20 and have to wait for the next month!)
By the 16th August, 2010, I earnt $178.35*, and it's slowly - very slowly - going up. I sell maybe one postcard or poster or mug a week, and half of what I sell this year is referrals. This lens lists anything I've learnt about selling on Zazzle that matters (after you've made the items; there are far better lenses about that already!), and lists all the items, of mine and of other people's, that have actually earnt me money. So if you're looking to promote something that has actually been bought... here you go! There are a few consistent sellers, which I'll point out.
You can also have a look at what I've earnt from Zazzle each month - it's not a lot, by a 'professional' Zazzler's standards, but it's slowly increasing as I add more products (I have a huge number of pictures, and never remember to add them to every type of product they'd fit well on!) and as I promote more on Squidoo and elsewhere. I've never reached the volume bonus* (you need $100 in profits a month, my highest is $50) - and I also don't even do more than check for sales for months at a time. Most of the products were added in the first year, after which I've mostly ignored it. I did rearrange all the categories recently, to organise them by picture instead of general 'type' as I had enough paintings to make it confusing otherwise!
* I update this page every month or two, when I've made enough sales for it to be worth it. Currently: $462.68, April, 2011
**I actually reached the volume bonus just after I wrote this - 15% of anything over the threshold, so I got an extra $1.07. I also made it again in Dec 2010
***Haven't updated in ages, but the trend is exactly the same. Some months I make loads of referrals, other months I sell my stuff; Christmas was very kind to me, and I've actually made $70-160 a month from Dec-Feb, but that was highly unusual.
Or do you just spend... time, that is!
Have you ever made money from Zazzle?
My Zazzle Earnings Over Time: Graphed - A pretty graphic version of my Zazzle sales and referrals since I started in 2008, until April 2011
I opened my Zazzle store in September 2008; it didn't really earn much for another year and a half, and I only started picking up steady sales and referrals after using Zazzle on Squidoo. You can see that, while overall it trends upwards, there is huge variation.
I only really promote my work on Squidoo - I link to the same design on Zazzle from RedBubble and DeviantART, and I rarely post on Twitter or my blog, but for the most part, my promotion of my work, and of other people, is on Squidoo.
As you can see, I only started picking up referrals when I started making a point of adding Zazzle products and linking to them - and as the number of lenses grew, so did the number of links.
Obviously, some of my (own) sales are from my promoting - but they may also be from random searches, or from other people promoting me. The referrals are the most honest reflection of effort ^_^ (...still hoping to become so famous and astoundingly artistic that people come rushing to buy my art without me having to do anything at all, of course!)
You don't need a Zazzle store to make money from Zazzle - you can just refer products from across the entire site!
Sell Your Own Art - Or Make Referrals? - Which is the best strategy?
While selling one's own artwork is awesome, and an ego booster (and makes us more money), focussing on making referral sales means you've got a much wider range of products (that might actually sell better) to choose from! It also has the nice karmic result of helping make other artists a bit of money.
Ordering From Zazzle : Shipping and Domains Tips
Make sure you know what to order, how many and from where
Zazzle has a few complications to trip up the unwary. They've branched out into local domains - .co.nz for New Zealand, .co.au for Australia, and so on. Orders are still shipped from the US
However, referrals don't work across different domains, and the prices vary enormously. In almost all cases, it is better to order from the .com site. The prices are increased to ostensibly cover 'import taxes and duties' regardless of whether this is necessary.
You may be better off ordering through the local site, paying more, and not worrying about getting caught with more fees later, but that varies with the amount you order and the country.
The shipping ALSO costs more.
For example, here's a test of ordering one keychain of mine, to New Zealand:
NZ keychain = $5.54 (US$4.12033 USD
Shipping = $9.35 (US$6.95398 USD)
Total= $14.89 (11.0674 USD)
US keychain = $2.95 (3.96638 NZD)
Shipping = $3.99 (5.36426 NZD)
Total= $6.94 (9.33942 NZD)
Adding to the confusion, there are bulk discounts on items, shipping is separate for most types of product, and increases with certain amounts. (For example 1-9 keychains is $3.99 shipping, 10 or more is $12.99!)
Finally, there are very frequent discount offers - mostly on the .com site - which may mean that it's more worth getting the half-price mugs from Australia, than the free shipping from NZ. The only way to check this is to go to each one individually (have them both open at the same time, maybe) and test the prices by adding them to your cart.
Making the amounts and prices clear to people ordering is a labour-intensive but very helpful step.
Zazzle does have very good customer service if something goes wrong - even if you're overseas!
This painting is the most popular - the one people look at, and are most likely to buy. Extending the vicious circle, it's the one I try and feature everywhere! The postcards from this picture are also rather popular, and I've sold several of each.
People seem to like mermaids. Jeez, but this painting was a lot of work - it crashed and corrupted on me when I added my watermark to export and upload to DeviantART (right when I'd finished). It was the only painting to ever do that in ArtRage (latest version, some odd bug). I sent the file to the ambient Design team, who rescued the PNG image file, but I lost all my layers and had to edit out the watermark again! So I'm very glad this is selling, and justifying all my effort ;D
This barn owl stamp is a detail from a much larger work, Woodland Green, which I love dearly, but doesn't translate well to small prints. I have an A2 poster of it, and that is fantastic. An order of these stamps was one of my first big sales!
This one makes me laugh a bit. This, and the Waterlight photo below, was one of my very first products, when I was just experimenting with Zazzle using whatever good quality files I had to hand. I nearly took it down again, thinking no one would be interested, but I figured it couldn't hurt to leave it up. I had very little faith that anyone would ever buy my work! Since then, I've sold four of these bumper stickers!
People Who've Referred My Items
I know they exist - I've submitted or randomly come across my work being featured on people's blogs and websites and lenses - and I can only assume some of them have made me sales.
Sadly, I can't keep track of them - or find most of them! But I appreciate them all very much.
My Referral Sales
Other people's products I have referred!
You can make a referral sale either by showcasing the product, or by linking people to Zazzle with your associate ID in the link and having them go wandering! I do have a few sales that are private (someone customised it and didn't want to share) so I don't know what it was, and I can't show you, but the rest are pretty obviously split between products I picked, and ones I just got lucky with.
The referral is 20% of the sale price - that is, it comes out of the total profit (this is the bit that complicates the maths). Zazzle pays the difference between the total and the 'net' cost. This means that, for the artist, the total profit goes down, so your royalty is slightly less.
How much money do you make from Zazzle each month? (on average)
You CAN refer your own products. If you do, you get your royalty and the referral. If someone else refers it (and snags you a bonus sale) then you only get the royalty. If no one refers it, you get everything.
My Zazzle Earnings
How much I have made from Zazzle
I have made 27 referral sales, earning $67.16 (these are increasing in number as I start to actually promote my own affiliate links, and I earn a much smaller percentage) and 36 sales, earning $177.07 in royalties.
(Note: Zazzle only pays you once you reach $25 or more so each payment below is for the month(s) previously; additional note: apparently you can request payment to Paypal now, for any amount).
If you're logged in, you can view your total referrals and total royalties in one place.
(Earnings from each month are paid out the next month assuming payout is reached; Sales is total sale, not my actual earnings)
$102.69 PAID $43.01
$50.35 PAID $48.61
$112.59 PAID $$26.20
$215.16 PAID $47.99
$63.07 PAID $37.00
$48.71 PAID $37.00
$115.32 PAID $39.76
$25.60 PAID $36.73
$50.25 PAID $41.58
$17.95 PAID $26.02
$1.98 PAID $24.92
Packed with insider tips, practical strategies, and case studies, the editors of the successful Photopreneur blog (blogs.photopreneur.com) reveal 99 creative ways to make money from your photography. Each chapter reveals what to shoot, how to break in, and where to go to generate sales. Discover how to sell stock, approach galleries, host your own exhibition, earn with Flickr, shoot for social networking sites, create and market photo products, form joint ventures, upsell your event photography and much, much more.
My Linkover History
Zazzle linkovers - referral click-throughs
This is just a sample of 'my linkover history'. It's a good statistic to keep an eye on, in a general sort of way - it tells you roughly how many times someone has clicked through one of your associate links, and I found that I didn't start getting regular sales (i.e. one or two a month at least) until it was averaging around 40 a day. Obviously the more visitors, the better! I've made three sets of sales in the last two week (and none for three weeks before that!). Currently I average 3-4 sales a month, about half mine, and half referrals.
If you have a Zazzle account, you can find it here: http://www.zazzle.com/my/associate/linkoverhistory
This is usually a day or two behind, and updates once a day
8/19/2010 5 Referral Sales
8/16/2010 59 1 Sale
8/14/2010 79 1 Referral Sale
8/4/2010 104 2 Sales
8/2/2010 42 2 Referral Sales
Sales From Other Sites
RedBubble and DeviantART
RedBubble and DeviantART are my 'art gallery' sites. RedBubble is my shiny finished gallery and portfolio/potential shop, and DeviantART is my 'everything' gallery with a prints section as I bother/people request. I have made sales from them, in an incidental way, but not many.
I love this site for the quality of their products (very good art printing and stickers and t-shirts) and for the fact that they are based in Australia (although I think they're expanding to the UK and USA). I order all my 'personal' and test stuff from them, as I live in New Zealand - t-shirts for family members and myself, greeting cards, and really awesome stickers. They can also print the full range of RGB colours, so no nasty surprises. Pricey, but quality, so worth it if that's what you're looking for.
I used the 'best' t-shirts that printed (the Tui and the YinYang ones) as displays on a stall at the last convention and they got a lot of attention, and hopefully will garner a few online orders, and I have a bad habit of giving stickers out to people. Unfortunately, they're raised my expectations for print quality a bit too high and I'm having trouble finding somewhere local to create stuff I can sell in person!
Actual sales: All my RedBubble sales have been in the past couple of months, and they sent me my thirteen pounds (somehow I set my payments to pounds when getting started and it's a pain to change) the month after without any problems. RedBubble buyers apparently like mermaids!
Four greeting cards: Morning Flight(2); Blue Waters; Colours of the ImaginationOne framed print: Blue Waters
DA is also good quality, and it IS an art site, so it should be. They recently changed the commission structure so that it's actually fair to the artist, so I will stop trying to drive my buyers elsewhere now! I've had my earnings sitting a couple of dollars under the $25 payout threshold for a while and most of my sales were during a DA-wide sale . Mostly prints, but once a jigsaw puzzle, and a mug! Most of them are also Blue Waters, oddly. (I don't think I've ever sold any of that painting on Zazzle!)
Zazzle Promotional Codes
Keep an eye out for the regular promotions Zazzle offers and post the discount codes where people can see them. On the lenses is good, but I usually just add it to my bio to make sure it reaches everywhere it needs to, quickly!