Thursday, December 29, 2016

Listverse, Shutterstock, and More

In my first blog post, My Experience with Listverse So Far, I had just submitted my 2nd list and was waiting for a response. Well…. unfortunately, it didn’t take long to hear back from Listverse, my 2nd list, 10 Paranormal Anomalies at the Skinwalker Ranch, was rejected. Not only was it rejected, but it only took them 24 hours to review it. I’m fairly certain it was rejected due to length since it was right around 2,000 words and rejected so fast. I do have some confusion regarding this. I have seen at least three different word length requirements for Listverse:

1)      Between 1,000 and 1,500 words
2)      No more than 2,000 words
3)      Most recently, not less than 1,800 words

So which is it??? When Listverse rejects your list they e-mail you a cookie cutter template without any specifics (you can see examples in the rejected lists I posted) so it is impossible to know what the cause for rejection is. I figured since my list was rejected so quickly, my first list took a week, it was due to the length. There was a silver lining however.

After I posted my rejected list on my blog, one of the top researchers on the subject, George Knapp, retweeted my blog post and even posted a link to my blog on his website! People flocked to my blog, which was very exciting. I was very appreciative that he did that but it also made me realize that although Listverse didn’t think my list was good enough for their site, many people really enjoyed reading it. This fired up my motivation.
 
On Monday, December 26th I submitted my 3rd list. At this point it has been about 3 days so that is a better sign than last time. When I submitted my list I noticed it said your list should not exceed 2,000 words. In light of the quick rejection on my 2nd list, I kept this one fairly short, 1,300 words. Now I just went to the Listverse submission page and noticed the requirements changed! It says lists “should not be less than 1,800 words”. I sense a rejection e-mail coming.

Once you submit a list they notify you that they have received your list and that they will respond within two weeks to let you know if they accept your list for payment or not. I needed something else to pass the time while I waited for the answer, that is when I stumbled on Shutterstock.


Besides my normal day job, I had been looking for other ways to earn a little extra income as well as tap into my creative/artsy side. Before I had ever heard of Shutterstock or selling your photos for money I always loved taking photos. My wife would always tease me because instead of taking pictures of our kids (or her) I would wander around taking picture of scenery, animals, or other interesting things. When I came across the concept of selling photos online I instantly thought of it as something I would enjoy and could do well at.

When you first sign up for Shutterstock they require you to submit one to ten different photos for initial approval. Before you able to do anything else, one of these photos must be approved. Once one photo is approved you are officially a Shutterstock Contributor and can start uploading and using your account without restriction. If you aren’t approved, you can keep trying as many times as you’d like. Fortunately for me, I was approved on my first try. I started going through all my old photos and uploading as many as I could that I thought people might be interested in. Most were rejected to begin with for various reasons such as poorly cropped, blurry, trademark infringement, etc. Shutterstock seems to be fairly diligent in their review process. Please note that once you are approved it takes a few days for your photos and your account to sync up. A little patience is required.

 
Once I spent more time selecting, what I thought were my best photos, I had a much higher success rate. I also started forcing myself to go on at least one trip a week to take photos, specifically to upload to Shutterstock. I got such a rush a first time I sold a picture! I got a notification on my Contributor app and once I logged in I had earned $.25 for my first download. The satisfaction of selling my “artwork” to someone unknown was much more rewarding than the monetary reward. A few days went by without any sales/downloads but I kept taking pictures and kept uploading them to Shutterstock. Then I sold 3 photos in one day! Here is my most popular photo that I have taken so far, which has been downloaded/sold 3 different times:

 

Today I have 81 images uploaded on Shutterstock and have sold 14 images for a grand total of $3.50 . Although the money might not seem worth it to most, I enjoy taking the photos as a hobby and find it very relaxing. I haven’t sold a photo in 8 days (holiday impact perhaps) but I am not letting it get me down. One thing I have found with blogging and selling photos is that it doesn’t happen overnight and it is important to just do a little every day. Keeps you engaged and motivated and eventually you will be rewarded for your hard work.

 

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