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Worked on some more Sketch Fest coding this afternoon during Guppy's nap - particularly on generating statements from each 'Fest so I could see where my time and money were going and coming from. It calculates how much is donated to each of EMG's services, what paypal fees were taken out of each sale (filtered to CC/Paypal sales only!), and gives me a basic snapshot regarding the scaly, scaly capitalist* portion of Sketch Fest.

It's a bit nice to find out that my off-the-cuff estimations were mostly on track; I have used up the buffer built up when I wasn't able to get much programming done due to being a new mom, and even with this month's big ugly security update, I'm a just a few hours ahead of our tip bucket tally.

Unfortunately, with the new sales system, donation percentages have gone down markedly - rare is the artist who puts their donation percentage at more than the 10% minimum (we're averaging about 11%!), and that minimum pretty much just covers fees and actually running Sketch Fest. (I'm draconian about tracking my administrative time and keeping it clearly separate from my own art time... I have learned the long hard lesson about what a time sink doing projects like this can be if you allow it, and how easy it is to lose all personal time into them.) Straight donations have also fallen off over the last several months.

The short result of that? Expect a marked slow-down in Sketch Fest site improvements. We've been running at a really rich pace that the site currently won't support. I don't think Sketch Fest will get less fun - we will still have them monthly or more, and you'll still get site fixes... those fixes and all the new features I want to add will just be a little more spread out, because paying work comes first on my schedule, and the tip bucket is filling fairly slowly so far in 2013.

Want to keep things improving at their current rate? Buy art! Sell your art with a higher donation to Sketch Fest! (You can now set your default percentage on your account editing page... I toyed with making the standard default something automatically higher, but decided that was too scaly even for me!) Make a straight donation to Sketch Fest! Use credits instead of purchasing each piece through Paypal or CC (credit purchases take less administrative time for me, plus, the larger purchases have an incrementally smaller percentage taken out in fees - a $5 purchase runs me 9%, leaving very little left for the tip bucket ($0.05!). A $250 credits purchase costs me 3.02%, by comparison.)!

Want to see what your donations actually do? Boggle at the Sketch Fest history log: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfesthistory.php

ETA: And to clarify, this is not necessarily a plea for more donations or a guilt trip for not setting donations higher - artists have to eat, too! This is much more an explanation of why improvements are going to happen more slowly, so people don't think I'm a slacker, or not meeting my commitments, when that happens.

*(This is sort of an inside joke. One of my earliest artwork comments, eons ago at Elfwood, was a snarky comment someone left saying they had planned to say something nice about my artwork, then found out that I was a scaly, scaly capitalist, and then they didn't want to say anything nice after all.)


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2013 02:46 am (UTC)
Taking part in Sketch Fest is one of those Things I Plan To Do But Never Get Done. LOL One of these days...

I hope donations pick up for you!

And LOL at the "Scaly Capitalist" remark, as if it's a bad thing for artists to be paid for work they do. *shakes head*
Apr. 18th, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
Maybe tomorrow is the magic day? :)

Yeah, the scaly, scaly capitalist remark still makes me grin (if grimly) and shake my head...
Apr. 18th, 2013 03:28 am (UTC)
I don't think you really need to make improvements for sketchfest now that the security stuff has been sorted - I think you've gone above what everyone expects in your improvements and everyone is just happy to participate. You could probably have money going towards upkeep/ maintenance (i.e. critical bug fixes/ hosting costs). I'm happy for my measly cut to go into pure maintenance of sketchfest site. I'll be honest, I leave my % at 10% because by the time I take out international shipping (which is what it is for I think every sketchfest piece I've ever sold), I lose between 25 - 50% of the sale so it has to make business sense for me too. I very much get the capitalist thing. If you need to increase the default %, then do so. I'd like to think the majority of artists would understand.
Apr. 18th, 2013 07:03 pm (UTC)
*nods* The site does what it needs to now, especially since the security stuff is in place. I just don't want people to expect the rather crazed pace of updates to continue, or to think I'm slacking or not delivering what I promise when we drop back to the pace that IS being supported. I've spoiled people, lately!

Definitely no grief for keeping your percentage at the minimum - if I need to adjust that, I will, but I don't *think* I'll need to if I'm not doing more big improvement projects.

Apr. 18th, 2013 03:55 am (UTC)
I wonder if some people leave it at 10% just because that's the default? If so, would income increase if the default was 20% but the artist could change it up or down but no lower than 10%?

Just wondering...

Apr. 18th, 2013 07:03 pm (UTC)
I worried that was too sneaky... so I made the option for artists to change their OWN default % instead.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 18th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! Yeah, jealousy may have played a role, for sure.
Apr. 18th, 2013 01:24 pm (UTC)

Yeah, how DARE you break even - or *gasp* even earn a profit!
Apr. 18th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
The nerve of me!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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