In a recent post I talked about my thoughts on Microstock sites. My experience with them started about three years ago when I signed up with several and started uploading my artwork. Even though I haven't uploaded very much artwork since then I have still gotten some worthwhile results.
The information I found coupled with the trends I've seen over the last three years helped me come up with a list of the best performing Microstock sites according to the people who contribute to them. The list was split up into top, moderate and low earning sites. I dropped the low earners completely and the resulting list was 10 sites ranked in descending order. These 10 sites seem to be pretty consistent. Over the course of the last 3 years they have shuffled around slightly, but the top 8 have always been there. I was excited to see that 3 of them were sites I already contributed to. Not surprisingly, those were the ones that I had the best sales from.
Here is the list and a little info about each site.
The best earning site, but difficult to get into. They require a critique of 10 of your best images. I haven't submitted yet because I'm waiting to finish 10 exceptionally good images. When I do eventually submit my 10, I’ll let you know what happens.
This site makes you take a test and submit images for critique but after looking into them I found that all illustrations have to be in vector format (digitally created). Almost all of my work is hand drawn and scanned in so it wouldn't meet their standards. I plan on doing digital illustrations eventually but I haven't gotten there yet.
No critique, just sign up and start uploading images for review. They seemed a little picky at first, but after I figured out what I was doing there wasn’t a problem. I have made quite a few sales with this one.
No critique here either. This is the first one I started with because it is the easiest to get into. They have accepted almost all of my submissions and I consistently get sales.
This is the first of the middle tier sites. Not quite as profitable but still pretty good and definitely worth the effort. No critique, just sign up and submit images for approval.
No critique on this one. Just sign up and start submitting. This one took a little while to see any results from.
This site requires a review of 5 images. I haven’t submitted yet.
For this one you have to read several pages of info and take a test. I passed pretty easily and got started the same day. I haven’t had any sales from this one yet, but it hasn’t been that long either.
This site wants to critique 4 of your images. I submitted my images and they got back to me pretty quickly. I’m happy to say that I passed. They seem to require the images to be higher resolution than most of the other sites so I had to stop scanning my artwork at 600dpi and start scanning at 800dpi. Now that is my standard.
No critique on this one. Just sign up and start submitting images for approval. This is the bottom of the list. According to my research the earnings dropped off quite a bit from here down. But this site seemed to be worth it. I haven’t had any sales from it yet, but I’m hopeful.
The trend used to be that only photographers were accepted to micro stock sites, and some still operate that way, but many are now accepting work from artists like myself. It takes a little while to figure out what is required for each (keywords, image size and format, etc.) but I think I have a good handle on it now. I've even started making my art with the Microstock sites in mind. Now that I have a good list to work with I can “assembly line” each image and upload it to all of the sites in one session. I’ll be sure to post my progress in future posts to show you how it’s going.