Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Strong & Free(lance): Updates and...Ads?

I've been talking about going full-time or part-time freelance in the Strong & Free(lance) series.  Here's a few tidbits and updates on where things are headed right now. 

(I think Strong and Free(lance) needs its own header.  Hmm.)

Explanation
I realized some readers abroad may not get the "Strong & Free(lance)" title. I'm Canadian  and a line in our national anthem, O Canada, is "the True North strong and free".  That's the reason for the "lance" in freelance being marked off by brackets.  Sometimes I think I'm clever.

Changes
-Boy, do I know how to pick my timing!  Michelle was switching schools.  We're moving on August 1st to a much nicer apartment. And I have resigned my job and there's a big question mark on the future income.  It's daunting. Doubts creep in. I have never done freelance illustration and fine art full-time, and I'm not sure of the market.

-I'm going to try and keep posting art in progress throughout the move to our new place.  Lots of packing to do, so there may be more in-process stuff than finished pieces.

-That said, Michelle has been really encouraging that it will work out.  If not, as another wise artist said to me, I can always try to get another job in retail management. I may go for something at least part-time to have something steady.

-I am currently still at my full-time job.  The company has been great to me over the years, so I wanted to be flexible with my ending date.  Currently, we're looking at me leaving sometime between August 1st and September 30th.  This has lead to a number of "what year?" jokes at work.

Interest
-There's been some hopeful signs lately that there is a market for what I may offer.  I have seen a marked increase in requests for original oil paintings since The Last Refuge was completed.

-My Facebook fans have doubled recently -I'm not sure why, but it's welcome- leading to more interaction with interesting people.

-I'm currently ranking in the teens in the Life Science category of ScienceBlips. Make sure to click it in the sidebar on the right, and use the AddThis sharing widget I've added at the bottom of each blog entry to post on Facebook, Twitter and more. I'm #18 in Life Science and the time of typing this, which is pretty good I think when you consider I'm an artist messing with prehistoric fauna.

Questions
-I'm making plans for the freelance era of Flying Trilobite.  How does an art book sound?  I think that's a major project I'd like to undertake.  I wonder if anyone would be interested in writing short one-page SF stories riffing on some of my paintings?

-Finally, I also wanted to ask for opinions on adding Google Adsense to this blog.  What's your opinion?  Would it turn you off from reading here?

-I find myself wondering if I should be looking into art grants for the fine artsy stuff, or incorporating my brand for the illustrative stuff.  I'm thinking a lot about concrete definitions.  Is that silly?  Do I need to focus, or throw it all out there and see what happens?


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6 comments:

Traumador said...

not a small pile on your plate :P

let us know how your experience with adsense goes. i've nearly approached it 3 times, but google is SO vague on how it works and what the benefits are i haven't been able to go forward... as it feels like selling out somehow (without knowing what your price is).

Glendon Mellow said...

True enough.

I actually tried Google Adsense once a couple of years ago - only for a few days. It put up ads that were a conflict of interest with my current workplace, so I removed it.

You can block some sites with it. But it can be a lot of management. If you're an atheist blogger discussing religion, a lot of religious ads may pop-up. It's keyword sensitive, but a bit muzzy on context, leading to kind of on-topic/off-topic ads.

I wouldn't expect it to be a huge money maker for me: I get about 120 hits a day, and you only get paid if readers click on the ad. Still, you never know if a post could go viral, so my thought is it would be ready if something did.

Brian Switek said...

Good luck with the move and your freelance work, Glendon. I have been pondering similar questions about freelancing - just with articles instead of art - but I quite like the idea of an art book. I have been dabbling a bit in fiction, lately, so you can definitely count me as someone who would contribute a short story based on one of your works of art.

The trick with self-published books is promotion and distribution - those are things that an author has to take care of themselves if a self-published book is going to be a success. You're already got your blog and a growing online following, so that's good, but coming up with a strategy for getting the word out about your book will be important - it's not the same, but if you can do the equivalent of getting articles in popular publications/on other well-known art sites, you can raise awareness of yourself and your book. These days most new authors have to struggle and push to be recognized anyway, so you would probably go through the same thing even if you were creating this for an established publishing house. Good luck!

Glendon Mellow said...

That's fantatic advice, Brian -Thanks!

I've been toying with ideas lately -early planning- of everything from a coffee table book of current work, to a small 'zine-style comic (encouraged by illustrator Eric Orchard).

Years ago, Harlan Ellison wrote a number of one page short stories for artist Jacek Yerka's artwork. I've always dreamed of doing the same, but with a collective group of writers. It's a lot to ask of people too, I realize. I'd love to make it happen anyway. Thanks for your support, Brian, it means a lot.

Toronto has a number of good local shops I could try to do consignment in, so local could help the internet.

Sean Craven said...

Hey, Glendon!

This sounds interesting. Frankly, it sounds like something I ought to do myself, but I've got way too much on my plate as it is.

That said, I could definitely contribute a piece of flash fiction to your project. Do we get to choose the image, or do we receive our assignments?

Glendon Mellow said...

Thanks for your support Sean! That means a lot!

I think people would choose the image. I'd like the surprise.

One major hurdle holding me back from starting, is compensation for the writers. I have no idea where to start or how to distribute it.

If it was a vanity, self-published book, maybe a framed print with matching story would be enough for some people, but I would rather solicit publishers. If each one was 1 page, I could come up with a fee, but it would need to be royalties linked to sales somehow.

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