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Character Art I decided to pay for some character art. I wanted simple in a cartoon style. What do you think? (see original blog post payhip.com/OpheliaKee/blog/ophelia-kee-speaks) I love her, so I asked the artist to craft the tiger, Luke Mendez, and the direwolf for A Pack Forms for me. I think I want to craft a character study video for each character in the saga. So Look for more videos. Shout out to WeStudio Design! Thank you so much for these awesome renditions of my Female MC. (Very reasonable, negotiable pricing, and super easy to work with. Fast returns. Search for them on Twitter if you need graphic designs..) I was thinking about merchandise or give-aways for conventions or book signings if I ever get a chance. I need bookmarks, keyrings, mugs, art prints, etc... I was even considering adding my Printful store link to my Payhip store and posting the merchandise for sale there. Cross your fingers on that one. I need to call in the big guns (my brother) for that idea. Marketing Some of you who follow the blog to see what I do next as far as marketing may be wondering if this was a wise investment, do my books sell enough to warrant such an expense, and what I might expect the return on my investment to be? So I will answer you with the truth as always. I don't think it was a wise investment because I didn't buy the art for marketing. Make no mistake I intend to use it as such, but I bought the art for myself. As much as I would love to write full-time. I can't. So I'm forced to consider my stories as a hobby. God knows my obsession takes up half of my free time. People spend money on their hobbies and enjoy them. Just because I created mine doesn't mean that I can't have a bit of fun with it. When the Draoithe Saga does earn-out, the character art will already exist. Loss now, Win later. The books don't sell enough to warrant the expense now. The four images of the two main characters will cost me $300. That's hard-earned money from my day job that I may never get back. Should I have spent the money more wisely and paid for newsletters? Maybe, but I don't have enough guaranteed income to be able to continually supply that idea for long enough to see if it will work. I need a few grand before I start down that road. And if you have been keeping up with the crazy business of my life then you will know that gas prices and repairs on my truck took my nest egg for that idea back in March. I have to start again. Back to that drawing board later. My long-time readers will nod at these next statements as I have stated them before. New readers will likely scratch their heads and wonder what I'm doing. Character art might not be a wise investment now, but I love the merchandising potential for the future. One day my stories may have a greater reach. Then I would likely be charged more for the art. I prefer to be prepared, pay less, and have the luxury of time to do that. Hopefully, my conservative approach will pay off in the long run. In the short run, I'm reasonably assured that I won't starve to death and I will still get my character art. First, allow me to note that when I discuss promotions, I mean FREE things that I'm not paying money for. Like this blog post, tweets from Self Publist and Ebooklingo, and posts or videos on social media such as Facebook, Tumbler, Instagram, Youtube, or Tiktok. (I may have paid money to purchase a program, art, or internet access, but those things aren't necessarily expensed purely for promotional use. They would be operating expenses.) When I discuss advertisements, I mean paid promotional tools such as pay-per-click ads or paid newsletters. Second, I don't buy things I don't understand. That's why I have yet to invest in NFTs. I also don't spend money I don't have. This is why I haven't embarked on my scheme to use paid newsletters to advertise my books, yet. Last, if I spend money on my books, it's hobby money. It's the money I would have spent on frivolity. Had I accidentally lost it in the street, I might have cried over it, but I wouldn't have starved or failed to pay my living expenses. When I tried pay-per-click ads and previously used paid newsletters, I was following this principle. It works for me. I can't say it is what should be done. I simply never wanted to allow my hobby of writing to see me homeless even if I have dreams of one day being able to write full-time. -OK
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