My current situation: EMG has always required exclusive rights to a design, as the product it is published on. It's a selling point that I don't have the same Whelan and Valejo art that every other catalog and online fantasy store has. What you find at EMG is completely unique and original.
The problem: I want my artists to be able to sell their own work, too. For example: if I were doing con circuits, I'd want to hang onto that exclusivity. But, I'm not doing con circuits (yet... big YET), and my contract makes it such that they can't either (with EMG designs). I *want* my artists out selling their prints at cons, and I've had one decide she'd rather sell her own prints so she can do that, than let me sell them while she can't. But she bought said prints via my printing service, so it definitely wasn't me, or the quality of my prints she objected to, just that she wanted to do it herself. More power to her!! I've had another artist stipulate that she wanted to be able to sell a product in person, and only in person, with a version she publishes herself.
I don't want to be undersold. (Duh.) I don't want to lose my claim to exclusiveness. I don't have the time or energy to send work for every artist to cons. I want my artists to be able to do this for themselves, while keeping my exclusivity.
There is an obvious answer I'm missing, I'm sure of it.
Another point: a lot of my artists have their own, very popular, webpages. Yes, they can (and do) link to their page at EMG, but usually those links are buried on some page that people don't visit much. And most of them are now pointing towards their old pages, which are just links to the new webpage now. What does this mean? I dunno, but it occurred to me, so I wrote it down. Come on, you don't expect me to make sense, do you? It's nearly 9 pm and I'm still at work, and I found out I can't go to Costa Rica this month after a gawdawful day of much suckiness, printer problems, overdue projects and general grumbliness.
Which sort of brings me to another point I'm going to have to make some decisions on soon.
Do I set prices? Do I sell via commission? Do I cut artist-prices when I sell this way? What else can give, in terms of profit? Currently, I pay artists full price, sacrificing most of EMGs profit on the items, and I make no restrictions on the customers resale price. Is this a *good* policy? I'm not so blind as to think that just because I'm doing something one way, that's the best way.
I have every intension of doing some serious hard-sell marketing work to retailers, local and non-local, but I've got to ditch this job. It's a great job; wonderful benefits, great people, kick-ass pay, overtime if I want it, flexible hours if I need them, only moderate headaches most days, and writing time, if I'm slick. But it's not what I want to be doing, dammit, and that's starting to drive me a little crazy. I hate feeling like I'm not working towards my goals! I don't want to get trapped in this damn 8 to 5 world. Frankly, I don't even want to work as a freelance artist drawing what other people want me to draw. I want to do my own work, illustrate my own stories, work on my own little business and damn it I will.
I'm beat, and going home, but I suspect there is a part 2 to this little purging of inner conflicts. It shall have to wait until tomorrow.