Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Don't You hate when a good opportunity ends up being a dead end?

Don't you hate it when all your good opportunities end up being dead ends?  As individuals, creative artists and writers and many other great talents, we all have so many opportunities that end up being a dead end.  Nothing comes from it.

No matter how hard we try, our hopes that something will come from it ends up being another prospect down the drain of life.

Life always gives us hard knocks that sometimes can drag us down.  And we end up sticking to a dead end job, or something else, when we wish something else good would happen.

Haven't you ever had opportunities knocking on your door?  And you are anxiously waiting to take on a new job or a new freelance job, and then it falls through the cracks and you never got the chance to do the job?

I've had several opportunities that slipped through my fingers.  Once when my children were growing up, a neighborhood mother was writing a children's book and mentioned us collaborating.  It was just a thought that got mentioned but then never again got brought up.  Our lives got busy.

Then, when my kids were younger, we used to get the neighbors children to babysit.  One of the neighbors kids had an older brother that was writing a children's book and he wanted me to illustrate it.  He called me up and we started talking about it and I was like, "Yes.  I'd love to try my hand at it for you or something like that.  They had seen my paper dolls and he seriously wanted me to do it.

That phone conversation sparked me to write my first novel.  I think it was the thought of him writing his book that inspired me to write mine.

I'm not sure if he ever published it, but he never got back to me about doing the book and never brought a copy over for me to do the illustrations.  At the time, I asked his sisters a few times and they said they had to get after him about it.  And then, after a few times of asking, I just dropped it and figured it wasn't going to happen.

I did illustrate a children's book for a girl in Maine once.  She wanted a Twas Turner book done on her grandfather.  I think the theme was some how around the idea of the night before Christmas or something like that.  It came out cute.  Her grandfather had passed away and the book was going to be a Christmas Present for her family.  It was quite challenging as I had never done something like that before.  And I was still a young artist.

But how true is it that when opportunity knocks, it ends up not working out.

I can't begin to tell you how many things I tried as an artist and I failed at a lot of it.  I tried to make my own greeting card catalog of my photo cards and blindly sent them out to gift shops in Vermont, Maine and other states.  I ended up getting one Queen of Hats shops in Maine ordering about eight to ten of them and that was it.  But that one order was exciting.

I tried to do the same thing with a few flyer's on my paper dolls.  No luck.

I've advertised in the OPDAG paper doll trade magazine, with mostly no luck.  I did get one or two mail orders for a few sets of my paper dolls.  Once again, got lucky once or twice.

I sold a few of my greeting cards with Ebay once, but then tried my paper dolls with no luck.  Same with Etsy for the paper dolls.  No luck.

Paper doll websites earlier this year.  No luck.  I've got a new cheaper paper doll website.  Still no luck, but am going to stick it out for a year or two years at the most.  Sometimes it takes a while for that.  And I've heard that heavy advertising plays a part.  So if I can't afford heavy advertising (paid), maybe I'm out of luck.  And paper dolls are a specialty.  Not a necessity.

I've tried my hand at craft shows, and usually have just barely made back my fee to do the show.  Many people would rather just go to those things to look and not buy.  Or they would rather buy something else and spend money on the food and drinks.  It just depends on who is there and what they are looking for.

I did try to list one of my paper doll sets on ebay recently, but no luck. 

It really dampens people's attempts when all these opportunities end up falling through.  Or a clever thought to make some money ends up being the wrong thing and it didn't work out.

Same with galleries.  Many galleries are looking for a certain type of artist to represent and many artists get turned down and have to keep searching for a means to an end.

And some of these places that you think you can sell your photos at, end up not working out.  Like Backprint and Zazzle.  Nothing happened with either one.  But I have since learned that you have to do your own heavy advertising at both places.  And at Zazzle, if you only want 10% your items are cheaper.  But most of us at least want 50%, and then that makes the price of the item go up and nobody will want to spend a lot for it.

Go figure.

I'm waiting for my opportunity to knock.  Hopefully the online writing to earn will reap some results with time and patience.  And I am going to patiently wait for my paper doll website to get going.  But even with that, I won't be able to wait forever.  I wouldn't be able to go on for years and years on end and have nothing happen.  There's got to be a point when one has to stop and then try knocking on another door.

So also remember the old saying, When one door closes, another one opens.  We have to be optimistic that something good will come our way.  And we can't always wait around for it to happen.  We have to do something about it.

Jennifer Jo Fay

Copyrighted January 18, 2012

A picture of a cannoli cake from the brides wedding last summer.  It looked delicious.  She loved her pictures.

If anyone likes paperdolls or knows someone who likes paper dolls, check out my paperdoll post on each of my blogs where my paper dolls are for sale:  The Official Paper Doll Blog 


  1. Hi, Jennifer! I was reading your post about selling your paperdolls and I can relate. I'm making and selling doll patterns and it's not a big market. I'd like to see your paperdolls. Have you thought about selling them directly on your blog? I wish you all the best and success!


  2. Thanks. I never thought of putting them on my blog. I think I will try that. I have a friend who was making doll clothing for those American Girl Dolls She was doing the local craft shows. I'm not sure how well she did, as now she maintains some regular jobs and I don't know if she does the craft shows anymore.