Thursday, September 8, 2011

Calendar Shenanigans

*Back cover of my calendar offered through deviantART.com.  I have similar calendars available through my AuroraWings shop at Zazzle, also.

For those of us who self-publish products with our art using POD companies out there, the base price (the price the PODs list as the starting point BEFORE you add your royalty/commission amount or percentage) is a big factor in determining whether it's worth putting our time and effort into designing a product or not.  Smaller items such as buttons, stickers, magnets, etc. are usually good for larger profit margin, while we most likely settle for lower percentages and smaller profit margins on higher priced items such as hard cases for mobile devices.  Although it is true in my experience that if you have a design that a customer cannot live without, high price will not stop them from purchasing the item, most of us are keenly aware of what's perceived to be 'competitive' in a marketplace.

I've made calendars with my ballet watercolor art for nearly a decade (longest with CafePress's fairly basic interface, and for two years using Zazzle's user-friendly interface), and I've always felt that the POD calendar prices are rather high, even though one can see why this would be the case considering the logistics.  That said, making them at CafePress always felt like it was a fair return on time invested when it comes to the royalty generated from the sales of these (especially for shop sales where you can get the commission you specified for the item ... AND deserve).  CafePress's calendar base prices are $14.99 and $16.99 depending on format.  Zazzle's prices are higher, starting at $17.95 and can be as high as $25.95 for larger format, and that's if you stick with the default royalty rate of 10%.

Today, I decided to make a calendar at deviantART.  I've been there for over 2 years and I've just recently started making regular print sales (for the past 6 months or so), so I thought that calendar offered through them featuring only my most popular pieces might be worth the effort.  They just have one standard size (11 x 8.5" landscape orientation, when closed), and their base price is $19.95.  And this is not even counting your industry standard 10% commission/royalty.  I didn't even get to see the base price until I was done with all the work of uploading 14 images (12 monthly images plus front and back covers).  I haven't had the pleasure of comparing the quality of the paper, and most importantly, the print job of dA's along with other PODs, so I can't say for certain if this price is justified.  All I can say is that with that base price, their calendars had better be top quality.  ^^;  Another issue with them is their general lack of discounts and sales.  There are long dry spells between any kind of sales event at deviantART, unlike the other PODs.  Case in point, Zazzle, in the past, has done a whopping 75% off calendar sale well before the year (during the peak holiday shopping season, in fact), and they make 25%-off coupon codes available for those who bother to look for them.  In fact, now through December 31st, 2011, you can use the coupon code 2012ISCOMING at checkout to get 25% off on any of my calendars at Zazzle.

Here's the price comparison of my calendars.
deviantART calendar $22.98
Zazzle calendar (G-rated) version $20.95  *$15.71 with coupon
Zazzle "coloring" (line art) calendar $19.95 *$14.96 with coupon

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