Category Archives: 4 – Everyday Dragons

Micobusiness Dreams

4 - Everyday Dragons

Bundling Prompts for NaNoWriMo

Prompts by Any Other Name

Prompts by Any Other Name…

On top of the Custom Prompt eBooks, I’m also looking at offering some theme-bundled prompts before NaNoWriMo starts up again. There’s nothing quite as much fun as getting other folk’s PlotBunnies hopping and with the forum reset delay I’m itching to get to work!

As you can tell from the checklist, I’m still pre-prompting my way through the 2015 calendar year, so I’m not at a point where I can easily stop and write new prompts. Thus it’s time to dig into the 1200+ prompts I already have… and try to suss out repeating themes.

Right now I’m going with: Death, Cats, and Sarcastic Banter. *sighs*

But assuming I can find enough prompts, I’m still waffling over the size and final price point. Long ago (and far away?) I did math on how much I should be charging per word and a $0.99 collection should thus run 20,000 words.

Yeeeah, no. There are only 7,000 words in a yearly collection and that’s 250+ prompts. eBook vendors really don’t want to see anything below the $0.99 price point, so I’m going to have to find an equilibrium that works. Right now I’m looking at ‘101 Prompts of BLAH’ just because it’s a fun number, but I’m not sure I’ll have that many unless I go with really broad topics.

But I won’t know if I don’t try, so into the mines! :D (Anyone have themes they’d like to see? If so drop me a comment and I’ll see if I can’t make it happen!)

4 - Everyday Dragons

Small Horse Head Magnets : Costs, How-to’s, etc.

Mix and Match Equines!

Mix and Match Equines!

I’m finally getting ready to start posting magnets to Etsy, so I figured what better time to do a How-to on how I make them, how much they cost to make (and sell).

This will cover all the supplies used, the time and methods for each step, and the accounting bits that go alongside. To be honest I made these just to learn how to cast in plaster, but then I got addicted to all the color possibilities and the fun of rearranging them. Figured it couldn’t hurt to share them in case another office out there was in dire need of a small crazy colored herd of whimsy.

The process of making these really isn’t that hard, but it does take time to learn how to make the silicone molds and to learn how to cast with the Plaster of Paris and wood glue mixture. While it’s still obviously cheaper to buy the magnets from me than to make them, it’s certainly more fun to grow your own! :D Continue reading

4 - Everyday Dragons

Spreadsheets 1, Schedule C 0! (or: Five Minute Taxes)

Schedule C, Have at thee!

Schedule C, Have at thee!

One of the joys of having a crafting micro-business is doing yearly battle with the Schedule C (Profit or Loss From Business).

I might not have pulled in the big bucks last year, but I made it into the black and now it’s time to pay up. Thankfully I’ve learned a trick or two over the years and the actual form only took me a few minutes to fill out!

Stacking the deck for your Schedule C fight is as simple as tagging all of the entries in the accounting Ledger with a code for which line they go on. That way when tax time rolls around all you have to check for is if any costs have shifted groups. Continue reading

4 - Everyday Dragons

Model Horse Listing Rotations: Take 4

Custom Model Horse Rotation 09-16-2013

Round 1, Fight!

I’m starting to run out of 2013 and with my goal to at least break even this year, it’s time to get serious about my sales.

I’ve made stabs at getting a listing rotation done before, but that was primarily looking at the Model Horse Sales Pages and after looking at the traffic results I’ve moved away from that venue.

Which leaves me with just Etsy and eBay to build my scheduling around.

I’ve built up a nice little herd on Etsy and since the main page can only display 24 horses (6 x 4), anything beyond that isn’t going to catch the eye. I’d still like to keep most of the horses in the store, but it’s time to start up an eBay rotation to get the old horses moving out as the new horses move in. Continue reading

4 - Everyday Dragons

Micro Mini Shipping Methods, Redux

Micro Shipping Boxes

I’ve been using USPS Priority Mail for all my Etsy listings, which works out to roughly $6.51 for VA to CA shipping for a 5oz package. The boxes are free and the tracking number is included, so it seems like a good deal– right?

Well not when you pair it with an $11 horse!

It wasn’t until I started working on revamping the listings to match the new custom order prices that it really hit me how much the shipping was. The micros are supposed to be cheap and fun, and 50% markup for shipping is neither. Continue reading

4 - Everyday Dragons

All Paths Lead To Etsy

Etsy Traffic Sources 01-17-2013

Etsy Traffic Sources

Traffic to the Etsy store has died off over the past few months, due to a lack of new customs and general decline in outside marketing. But now that it’s a new year and a fresh start– time to start filling in the potholes.

As you can see the two ‘official’ model horse paths didn’t hold up to well, Model Horse Blab brought in 115 over an entire year and Model Horse Sales Pages (MH$P) brought in a measly 9. I’ve touched on this before, but I think the failure had a lot more to do with lack of time-in-chair than the venues. Continue reading

4 - Everyday Dragons

December 2012 Balance Sheet & Yearly Review

2012 Simple Balance Sheet

The first year of any microbusiness is a bit rocky and I had my expectations set a tad high, but I think 2012 was a good learning experience. If nothing else, I got a much better handle on how Newport News expects me to behave and staying on the right side of tax law is a bonus!

Since the only thing that happened in December was the paying of Etsy Fees ($0.60) and the income that Smashwords is going to theoretically pay my someday ($11.29)… I’m going to skip the monthly sum-up and roll right into the yearly reckoning. Continue reading

4 - Everyday Dragons

November 2012 Balance Sheet

November 2012 Simple Balance Sheet

November 2012

November was a wash, but I’d been expecting that due to NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately the lack of income paired up nicely with a whole flurry of bills, so I’m deeper into the red that I had planned to be at this point.

But on a good note, I now have an official business computer (Chromebook) and the City of Newport News can tax a real $250 computer instead of an imaginary $3,000 one. *mutter* Continue reading

4 - Everyday Dragons

October 2012 Balance Sheet

October 2012 Simple Balance Sheet

October 2012

Another month without sales, but with two more eBooks finished, so it wasn’t a total wash. I need to sit down and get the rest of the monthly eBooks caught up and post some of the new horses to Etsy.

And win NaNoWriMo of course. ;)

Actually the NaNoWriMo novel for this year is the rough draft of a novella that I’m hoping to serialize next year starting in January, so it a much more focused effort than past years. *pokes draft* I’ll be posting it as an eBook as well, so that folks can read it all at once if they’d rather.

Anywho, onto the carnage! Continue reading

4 - Everyday Dragons

Designing a Simple eBook Cover

Saturday Story Prompts 2011 300x400

As the eBooks start to pop up in the shelves of my Smashwords store, I figured now was a good time to take a moment to go over why they look the way they do.

Unlike most of the eBooks out there, my covers aren’t very artistic– and there’s two very good reasons why:

  1. I’m not a good enough artist to create something that shrinks well (from 1800×2400 to 71×94!)
  2. I don’t have the money yet to pay someone that is.

Saturday Story Prompts 2011-06 and 2013-06

So instead of picking up a paintbrush, I picked the simplest way to present the information so that you can read it in any scale. Rectangles and text FTW!

Once I had the basic idea roughed out, I created a template in Paint Shop Pro and started playing the ‘what shrinks best’ game.

It’s not fancy, but it’s legible and right now that’s a winner in my book. ;)

Saturday Story Prompts 2011-03 and 2013-03 300x400

The top square will stay the same color all year and the bottom four rectangles alternate between a set of complimentary colors. They yearly collections have a slightly different design and will have a different top color to help set them apart.

I may go back and set the yearly collections to be the same top color as the year they were in. But the plan is to come back later and hire someone to make them something a bit more shiny. *crosses fingers*