Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million

Sketch Fest thoughts...

I'm catching up on Sketch Fest things, sending out notifications of sales... and poking around at ideas for improvement. I have no lack of ideas, just... a few hesitations about implementation.

Right now, I allow folks to post their sketches (and pieces finished from their sketches) as donations to the site - they can offer prints or originals, most people offer the original, but it varies. (I've done a few as progressive pieces, where people can buy time onto the sketch and get the original - more on that topic in the near future!)

We've made a tremendous push on the webpage, and you guys have made it all possible. I am so excited by how far we've taken the project in just one year; I could not have done it without you.

I want to balance 'giving back' and helping folks out against 'making a living' and not confusing business with charity. I want to continue improving the site (Better commenting features, with replies! More pretty! Better admin tools!), so I will still need donations towards that, and folks are also given the option to donate to EMG-Zine and Commission-Control, all of which also need the assistance to keep going.

So, one idea I'm tossing around in my head is allowing artists to list their work with partial donation to the site. All the shopping would get done at my site, as it is now, but the artist would accrue part of the purchase amount - whatever they choose, with a 10% minimum donation. (They'd still be welcome to link off-site and sell it for full prices wherever else, of course!) That covers fees and hassles, and tips a little to the use of the site. They can pick any other values that they like, if they want to donate more, and I'll still accept straight donations.

The biggest problem I see here is a pretty significant one: I'd be taking money for something I have no control over delivering. This always makes me antsy.

I can program in a few double-checks - for example, they wouldn't get the credit for the sale into their total credits until they had pressed a button verifying that they had already shipped the artwork.

But it's still a lot of trust in the artist, and I'm the one holding the risk. I'm risk-averse.

One of the things I like - a lot - about this idea is that it gives artists a credit pool that they can use to micro-tip other artists - and the writers and artists at Torn World and EMG-Zine. One of the things I hate about crowdfunding is that the little direct tips really just add up to a whole lot of business for Paypal - sometimes you'd like to be able to put just a dollar or two - or even just some cents! - into someone's tip bucket, but you know that it's worthless to everyone but the money transaction company. This would be a way around that - and artists/authors could withdraw the funds when it was worth it to them.

So... yeah, that's what's going on in my head right now. I'd love your thoughts.

More daily updates, art and photos when I get back from the gym...

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