POD: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

So I did some research and got a Society6 account pretty recently.

In my journey to find a site to sell art on, I encountered the term POD. And I had no idea what it meant. Or rather I had no idea I actually did know what it meant all along. POD in this case stands for “Print On Demand” and often refers to online services that do just that. There are a bunch of different print on demand websites which include (but are not limited to) Society6, Redbubble, Zazzle, and even DeviantArt.

THE GOOD – What could possibly be better than a print on demand website?! I just upload my artwork, it gets slapped on everything but the kitchen sink, and I don’t have to pay a dime for the printing and the shipping. It gets printed as soon as someone orders it. All I got to do is just sit and wait and collect the check.

THE BAD – My design has been up for a month. Well okay… Three months. A lot of people have liked it, favorited it, promoted it, or equivalent. But no one bought it. It never got printed. The check has not been collected. What’s up with that?

Why hasn’t the design sold? POD websites sound great at first, like a golden solution for making money while simultaneously getting your art out there. But there are several drawbacks to keep in mind as well.

THE UGLY – Your direct competition is also featured on that POD website. And let me tell you there are A LOT of contenders. A potential buyer might stop to look at your art but get distracted by something “similar to” and then you lose the sale. And because there are so many other artists represented, there is a chance your art might never get seen at all, especially since the SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) on these websites isn’t always the best.

POD websites are not get-rich-quick plans. They’re not as easy as sitting and waiting for the money to come in. But there is a trick to it. You can make it work (or so I’m told through numerous Google searches and forum posts).

THE TRICK – Making a POD website work for you means working your social networking skills to the max. When you’re getting that account on S6, you do so thinking people will come to you, but in all actuality, you have to bring them to you. The people that make the most money on POD websites are (generally) the ones that promote it the most. So get to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and all those other sites and let the world know that your art is available for sale on everything but the kitchen sink. I know I’m certainly trying to spread the word.

As for which POD service is best for you, Redbubble and Society6 seem to pop up the most (but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best). Do your homework on each different site’s base prices and what your potential profits could be and then make your decision based on that. Or don’t choose at all. Double, triple, or even quadruple-dipping might be just as good.

Well, that’s about all the information I can impart. But before I ride off into the sunset, what kinds of experiences have you had with POD websites? Is there anything else that I might have left out? Leave a reply and let me know.

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