December 28th, 2010


Today, on the chopping block: Artist Webpages

Our last chopping block post (at least until I start another project... hahahahaha. Okay, that's not as funny as it sounded in my head...)!

I've built several of these now: for $500 you get a hosted site (unlimited space and bandwidth) built for you to manage artwork and writing. It's a little more focused for artist than your average wordpress build, and includes shopping cart tools that can all be safely and securely managed through the EMG backend. In some ways, this is a crowd-funded project, because with each site that I build, I not only supply the basic features (galleries, libraries, shopping tools and category management), I also add more features. For every new artist that signs up, each of the existing artists get the opportunity to have these upgrades added to their existing sites. Future upgrades will include: A centralized wholesale database, for those artists interested in selling wholesale. (A wholesale client signs up and is vetted with me, then has a directory of artists that they can shop with, with wholesale pricing and shopping access on their individual sites.) Detail images. Direct submission from their own site to EMG-Zine and Fantastic Portfolios, complete with an automatic link back to their page. Better search and browsing functions.

These take only the time that I'm getting paid for. The first several were not worth it to me in a strictly time for money sense, but I've gotten past that investment stage, and I've become comfortable with the flow of setting them up and interfacing with the clients. I will continue to do these as I am paid for them!

What does this require of me? Marketing. Too many people don't know about this service, and it's not well documented anywhere that I can send them when they have questions - the ones I've done have been directly word of mouth. I need to build a page, update the lilypad, and get the word out there, and also make it more intuitive for existing clients to get their upgrades, set up some karma rewards, and work out standardized payment plans for folks who find $500 too much to plunk down at once (which is understandable!).

I would love to have these keeping me busy over drafting and programming less interesting things - it feeds neatly into my desire to help artists and I really enjoy this kind of coding. The possibility of teaming with someone more interested in the design aspect of it is also intriguing to me, especially if I get busy with more of them.

And... with this entry, we come to the end of the chopping block series. I'll tackle the wrap-up of the process next, and go back and look at some of the issues I left outstanding. It's tremendously useful to have these all laid out and tagged like this! You can view all of them here: and note that your comments have been very, VERY helpful in determining where outside interest lies. If you have any last minute input to add, make it soon - the executioner is sharpening the axe now! :)
ellen with wrench

Tuesdaily - with holiday laziness

I had a lovely Christmas, and hope all of you did as well (or whatever holiday you chose to celebrate, of course!). I got an iPad! It is lovely and shiny, and it took 2 hours to make a connection with Apple's servers to download iTunes because a hundred million other people also got iGadgets. I also got my long-coveted Tardis USB port! *squee!*

I got Jake a remote control helicopter to torment the pets with, and also an external DVD drive and a cable that allows him to use his iPhone to connect to the computer in his truck (or any modern vehicle) and diagnose and reset warning lights. (The check engine light periodically comes on when it's 40 below or colder, and has to be taken to the dealer to be cleared, even though it's not actually a problem!)

Yesterday, I took my sister to Chena Hot Springs, and we had a lovely soak-lunch-soak. Despite the assertations of the staff that Monday is their least busy day, I overheard a harried lady at the front desk telling a customer they could not find a room for that it had turned out to be their busiest day ALL year. The locker room - too small at the best of times - was a madhouse for the second soak. Elbow to naked elbow, and not enough lockers - I had to stuff my bag on the top of the lockers. Our server for lunch (which was remarkably fast considering the number of people queued up outside the restaurant) asked if we were twins. :P I'm glad we went early - the first soak wasn't crowded at all, and actually the second wasn't either... it's a nice big rock pool, at least.

I have a new Torn World story up for supporters: An Apple With Kick.

And a reminder that we're collecting artwork, fiction and poetry with the theme of 'rabbits' for the February issue of EMG-Zine until Jan 1! Earn EMG credits that you can use towards sponsoring stories, buying coloring books and anthologies, buying anything from Ellen's personal site, or getting subscriptions to EMG-Zine or Torn World. You can also donate your credits to another author or artist that you'd like to support!

Some paid coding now, laundry, cleaning, more logs on the fire, and general forward progress on the day now...
ellen with wrench

Chopping Block - Master Overview


These are the projects that have clearly survived the cull. They are strong, active projects with loads of potential, a lot of creative energy, and inspiration. I will continue to work on these things, and invest my energy in them.

Artist Webpages
Torn World
Coloring Books
Sketch Fest
Portrait Adoption

In Danger

These projects are still under threat of axe... there are some flaws or limitations with them that I still need to address and either fix or declare broken beyond repair.

Printing Services
Fantastic Portfolios
EMG Forums

Chopped Up:

These are the projects that are gone completely, or on indefinite back-burner pending a miraculous change of technology or life. They are not feasible for one reason or another, no longer inspiring, or have lived and completed their life cycles. I may revisit them in the future... but not in the near future.

Custom Tarot/EMG Tarot
Convention Collective and Conventions in general
Fantasy Art Shop
EMG Anthologies

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I hope you enjoyed taking this chopping block tour of my projects with me - I know I gained a lot of excellent perspective from it, and I find it interesting that the projects fell out so evenly. I've had a lot of fun sharing the process with you, and your insight has been valuable and welcome. I am excited to see where 2011 takes us all...