Passive Income - How To Make Multiple Sales From The Same Artwork

By Ron Coleman

A strategy today's cartoonist might consider as a way of beating the massive amount of competition in cartooning today is by using passive income to supplement active income. I saw this approach discussed a while back on a YouTube video and I think it's well worth considering for use in cartooning.

Cartooning has always been a volume business. Back when we all used to mail our cartoons to editors, the more cartoons you had in the mail at any given time the more sales you were apt to make. Of course the cost of postage was the real killer.

When the internet came along, and digital production techniques along with it, the need for postage disappeared. However, in its place competitors came out from the woodworks. To make sales today's cartoonist has to stand out in a very large crowd. Large volume production appears to be the best approach to competing in today's market. If you have to work that hard you will want to maximize your return on your labor and one way to do that is to consider passive ways to increase your returns.

Active income is that which you receive from work you are currently doing. You take on a cartooning assignment, or you submit a cartoon and you get paid. Passive income, however, is an ongoing form of income from work you've done in the past, and can be recurring income as a result of additional sales of the same artwork.

For example, I sell reprint rights to my cartoons through an agency in the United Kingdom, Cartoon Stock. These cartoons were originally sold to magazines or trade journals and a few of them are cartoons that were never sold - my rejects. Cartoon Stock has about 600 of my cartoons. I get a few sales every month. If I had more cartoons uploaded I know I would get even more sales. I base this on what I've been told by other cartoonists who do have more cartoons with that agency. Several of my cartoons with this agency have been resold multiple times. Here, for example, are two cartoons which sold 11 times each:

Clip art agencies would be another source for passive ongoing income, and again I think volume is the key to success. Several of these clip art services are listed in my market list which is available to those who are subscribed to my email list. It's likely that a cartoonist can find elements from cartoons he has sold in the past which would make salable clip art.

Another source of passive income would come from product designs which you upload to sites like Cafe Press or Zazzle. Here is an example of a tshirt design I created for Zazzle which has sold multiple times. Originally I did this drawing for a coloring book for which I was paid very little.

Baby Pig Baby's Tshirt
Baby Pig Baby's Tshirt
by Colemantoons

And then we have print-on-demand books and ebooks. Createspace (an Amazon company) and Kindle (another Amazon company) are two good examples of platforms which give cartoonists the opportunity to create these products. The royalties I receive from my Kindle ebooks are small, but I've been receiving them for years.

Your inventory is your goldmine. You just have to figure out the best ways to extract that gold.

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