Obskura Kuriosum

Today, on Halloween, I’m finally revealing a project I’ve been working on for three years – a webshop called OBSKURA KURIOSUM.

The shop is in Norwegian, basically because I noticed a sad lack of proper curiosity shops in Norway. Have a look at it here: obskurakuriosum.no.

If you see something you like but live outside of Norway, just send an e-mail to post@obskurakuriosum.no and I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

The image is a tintype, featuring model Ingvild Eiring, that I shot for the lookbook a year ago.

Happy Halloween, y’all!

BLACK LILY: THE SOUNDTRACK

Model: Ingvild Eiring

Y’all! Those of you who have been following me for a while knows what this means – this being the soundtrack to my next book… It means that I’m just about done with another book! That’s right. I’ve taken my sweet time with this one, but I’m almost done with Black Lily, the fourth book in The 9 Lives of The Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series. We’re looking at release this year, late November/early December. All I have left to do is read through it one more time before I send it off to get proofed and… y’know, all the boring stuff, like formatting and getting it ready for publishing. In the meantime, here’s the soundtrack to Black Lily to get you in the mood for another adventure with the wildest cat in the crazy west.

If you want to be the first to know when Black Lily is available, be sure to sign up to my Mailing List.

My Third Wetplate Birthday

I’ve been making wetplates for three years today!

Since my last wetplate birthday, I’ve done my first wetplate wedding shoot, hosted more workshops, done portrait and model shoots, made almost 100 plates of Ingvild Eirings Bad Mice and even had a few wetplaters from the USA visit my tiny studio in Norway.

I’ve made 900 plates during my first three years in this mad scientist kinda photography. I failed miserably on taking my darkroom on the road this year, I hope to change that next year!

And by the way… I’m having a SPOOKTOBER SALE in my Etsy store. Everything is 30% off the entire month. Check it out here.

The collage features one image from each month of my third year as a wetplate photographer, starting with October last year in the upper left hand corner and finishing with September this year in the lower right hand corner.

A SELF-PUBLISHER’S FIFTH YEAR IN NUMBERS

Finally! Here’s my very belated annual report on how my books have sold and gained reputation during the past year. I reached an epic low concerning book sales in 2018… I guess that’s some sort of achievement too.

I didn’t publish any books in 2018. I meant to (at least) publish the fourth book in The 9 Lives of the Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series, but life got in the way and there simply wasn’t enough time to complete that particular task. I sold a total of 136 books in 2018. I thought 2016 was bad with a total of 170 books sold, but I can thank myself for that. I have done absolutely nothing to peddle a single book since my previous annual report.

I am currently working on the last stages of editing Black Lily, the fourth book in The 9 Lives of the Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series. It will be published later this year, probably in the fall. I’ll get back to promoting my books when it’s launched.

I did, however, get a few things done concerning my wetplate photography. I hosted four wetplate workshops, attended two markets where I made tintype portraits, launched a website dedicated to my wetplate work and got my Etsy store up and running again (this time dedicated to wetplate photography). I also went to my first portfolio review… and I’ve been confused ever since, questioning my art and wondering what direction to take. I’ve come to the obvious conclusion that I need to make personal photographic work that is either meaningful or sellable. Now I just need to figure out what I find truly meaningful and/or what sort of images do people actually want to spend money on – not as easy as it sounds.

I usually reveal my plans for the year in my annual reports here, but I’ll skip it this time. I’ll be darned if I don’t publish Black Lily, that’s all I’m gonna say. I don’t want to jinx any more projects by revealing them too soon. 😉

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My #2018bestnine on my @julieloen profile on Instagram

The Numbers

As you’ve probably deduced from the title, I’ve made four similar blog posts to this one in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Scroll down or hit the “Annual Report” category to find them. I started doing these annual reports and sharing the actual numbers of my success and failures as a self-publisher because I missed this kind of information myself when I published my first novel in late 2013.

Copies Sold 

As always, when I say “sold,” I mean all copies in distribution, including free books, giveaways and gifts. This blog post is about being honest, so I must honestly admit that I’m not making any money off this yet and I’m still very much in a place where it’s all about building an audience. I guess the PDFs will pretty much speak for themselves, here’s the first one: Books Sold 2013-2018

Goodreads Numbers

Here are three charts, featuring the numbers of “To Read”s, “Ratings” and “Reviews” of my books on Goodreads. The numbers are the accumulated total, including all years, for each year. For example: My total reviews received for Embers at Dawn was 8 in 2015, 2016 and 2017. I didn’t get any new reviews those years, 8 are the most reviews of that book for all years combined. Goodreads Numbers 2013-2018

Social Media

Again, as always (it seems) I end up apologising and explaining why I haven’t fulfilled my plans for the previous year, and excusing myself for being the worst. blogger. ever. Sorry! I haven’t entertained WordPress as much as I should, I even quit Twitter. I’m still all over Instagram, though, with three private accounts: @julieloen – a mess of misc. and personal stuff, @polaloen – a gallery dedicated to my Polaroid work, and @studiostandstill – an account dedicated to my wetplate work. You can also find me on Facebook, but Facebook seems less than useless these days, if you want to promote something creative.

Here’s my Social Media Numbers 2014-2018

Merchandise

I wasn’t been much better at selling merchandise than books in 2018, but it didn’t turn out too bad. I sold two art prints at Society6, one book and three sets of postcards from my Tictail store, and one set of postcards and one tintype from my Etsy store. I also sold a few postcards and tintypes at the markets where I made portraits. I didn’t sell anything from my Zazzle store.

I’ll be closing my Tictail store soon (they’re shutting down), and probably move everything (or most of it) to Etsy. I’m considering closing my Zazzle store too.

That’s it for now! Hopefully my next annual report will be filled with big numbers and bigger accomplishments. I don’t, however, consider 2018’s lack of retrospect bravado to be synonymous with failure, it was simply a year of travelling… and I haven’t reached the destination yet.

Another Year of Wetplates

I’ve been making wetplates for two years today!

The first year was mostly about getting the hang of the process. During my second year I leveled up to making 8×10 plates, started to make my own collodion, made an Etsy store and sold some of my wetplate art. I’ve done both commercial and non-commercial wetplate work, exhibited some of my wetplate art for the first time and done my first pop-up event. Studio Stand Still became a thing with its own website AND I kicked off @wetplatedarlings – an Instagram gallery for wetplates.

I’ve made 650 plates during my first two years in this mad scientist kinda photography. I’ve got several personal projects in the works and lots more wetplate related stuff lined up. I’d also like to experiment with flaws and artifacts. I love perfect plates, but (especially for personal projects) I like a bit of mess on my plates.

The collage features one image from each month of my second year as a wetplate photographer, starting with October last year in the upper left hand corner and finishing with September this year in the lower right hand corner. Models are: Janne Ebbesdatter Lavogez, Zialand, Ingvild Eiring, Isabell Lorentzen, yours truly and a dead magpie.

If you’d like to see more of my wetplate work, head on over to studiostaastille.no or julieloen.com or follow my adventures in wetplate photography on Instagram.

Welcome to Studio Stand Still

I’ve got a website dedicated to my wetplate work now! It’s in Norwegian, because Norway is where I’m at. Have a look at my website here.

To see even more of my wetplate work, check out Studio Stand Still’s Instagram page here.

AND I’ve exhumed my Etsy store from its long slumber and transformed it into a shop dedicated to my wetplate work. Buy my wetplate art here.

That’s it for now, just a quick and seriously belated announcement about all my wetplate related stuff going on around the web.

A Self-Publisher’s Fourth Year in Numbers

So, here we are again. Another year has passed and it’s time for my annual report on how my books have sold and gained reputation during the past year. As always, things didn’t go quite as planned, but that’s half the fun, right? …right?!

I published two books in 2017, Whiskey & Whiskers – an omnibus collecting the first three books in The 9 Lives of the Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series and Polafornia – an art/travel book in collaboration with Ingvild Eiring about our trip to California in 2015. I sold a total of 368 books in 2017, which is awesome compared to the epic low of 170 in 2016.

I thought 2016 would be the year I was going to put some serious money into promoting my books, next I thought 2017 would be the year I’d finally get around to do it, but alas, 2017 ended up as the year I spent all my money and then some on wetplate photography. I did, however, get some of my photography featured in a few magazines: Norwegian online photography magazine foto.no wrote an article about Zerelda Glanton, Square Magazine featured a few images from Polafornia and Impossible Project Magazine wrote a great article about Polafornia. I also got invited to the #blihus photo festival in Oslo, where I had a stand with my photo books for two days, which was nice.

I have serious plans for my wetplate photography, so I don’t feel bad about blowing all my money on it, I even have a dedicated website in the making for my wetplate work that I’ll reveal shortly.

My plans for 2018 are as follows:

  • Publish Black Lily, the fourth book in The 9 Lives of The Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series
  • Maybe publish a short story collection (the same one that was on my list of plans last year)

Last year I had in mind to publish a book collecting ten years of self portraits, but I realised I’ve been shooting self portraits since 1999, so if I wait a few years I can publish a mammoth volume collecting 20 years of self portraits instead. In December this year Ingvild Eiring and I will have been taking pictures together for ten years, and by the time we hit December we will no doubt have done more than 50 shoots together. We’re planning to put together a book, and maybe even pitch it to a few publishers. And while I’m revealing my long-term plans, I might as well tell you that I’m about halfway through writing the first draft of the sixth book in The 9 Lives of The Outlaw Known as Crazy Cat series. It might not look like it here on my blog, but things are constantly moving/building/in the making in the house of Loen.

My #2017bestnine on my @julieloen profile on Instagram

The Numbers

As you’ve probably deduced from the title, I’ve made three similar blog posts to this one in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Scroll down or hit the “Annual Report” category to find them. I started doing these annual reports and sharing the actual numbers of my success and failures as a self-publisher because I missed this kind of information myself when I published my first novel in late 2013.

I’ve done things a bit differently this year. In 2016 I threatened to “throw in a pie chart or a line graph,” I actually ended up with columns.

Copies Sold 

As always, when I say “sold,” I mean all copies in distribution, including free books, giveaways and gifts. This blog post is about being honest, so I must honestly admit that I’m not making any money off this yet and I’m still very much in a place where it’s all about building an audience. I guess the PDFs will pretty much speak for themselves, here’s the first one: Books Sold 2013-2017

Promotions

So little is moving over at Amazon and Smashwords, that I’m going to leave them out of this report. Like I admitted earlier, I haven’t done much to promote my books in 2017, but I have hosted a few Goodreads Giveaways and a couple of Free Book Promotions at KDP. I didn’t go out of my way to promote that I was running Free Book Promotions, I left it at mentioning it in Social Media, but most of the copies I’ve sold of Whiskey & Whiskers is, however, a result of KDP’s Free Book Promotions.

Ingvild Eiring and I hosted a belated release party for Polafornia in August (it was released in May), and to be perfectly honest it was an utter flop. It was a one day event at Cyan Salong in Oslo – a Saturday! We were there all day with books, prints, postcards and originals galore to sell. We even had a talk lined up about our trip to California, that gained zero interest. A friend of Ingvild showed up and saved the day, when she bought the book and a couple of prints, but all in all the so-called party was a major letdown.

As you can see, I waited until now to publish this post because I wanted to include the numbers from my latest Goodreads Giveaway.

Goodreads Giveaways

  • The 7th Bullet: Jan 17 – Feb 17. 1220 people requesting – 9 winners
  • Whiskey & Whiskers: Mar 11 – Apr 09. 1799 people requesting – 9 winners
  • Polafornia. May 08 – Jun 08. 1369 people requesting – 1 winner
  • Whiskey & Whiskers: Oct 09 – Nov 09. 2212 people requesting – 9 winners
  • Polafornia. Dec 08 – Jan 08, 2018. 1558 people requesting – 1 winner

Goodreads Numbers

Here are three charts, featuring the numbers of “To Read”s, “Ratings” and “Reviews” of my books on Goodreads. The numbers are the accumulated total, including all years, for each year. For example: My total reviews received for Embers at Dawn was 8 in 2015, 2016 and 2017. I didn’t get any new reviews those years, 8 are the most reviews of that book for all years combined. Goodreads Numbers 2013-2017. For some reason I’ve left out the number of followers at Goodreads earlier, so I guess I’ll start registering that now. I currently have 116 followers and 13 friends at Goodreads.

Social Media

As usual, I haven’t been particularly active neither here (on WordPress – sorry!), on Twitter (I still don’t quite get Twitter) or Facebook. My Instagram, however, is almost booming. I’ve even made two accounts in addition to my main account @julieloen. In October 2016 I created @aetherandinstant, that later became @studiostandstill – an account dedicated to my wetplate work. The idea behind that account was to have a place to record my progress and fails in wetplate photography from the very beginning. It has become my favorite Instagram account and people seem to enjoy it. The other new account, @polaloen, was created in February 2017 and is dedicated to my Polaroid pictures. I made @polaloen because I noticed on my regular account (@julieloen) that Polaroid pictures would often attract new followers, but I would lose them as soon as I posted something other than a Polaroid picture. Unlike @studistandstill, @polaloen is more of a project to shamelessly attract followers, and I only post Polaroid pictures there – no behind the scenes, cameras, equipment or other things that would make sense to post beside the Polaroids – it is purely a gallery. I also delete posts that get less than 50 likes, but I have yet to decide if the project @polaloen is a success or not.

Here’s my Social Media Numbers 2014-2017

Merchandise

Just like in 2016, I haven’t done much to push merchandise in 2017 either, and consequently haven’t sold much. The biggest effort I made was to promote prints for sale in my Tictail store on @polaloen.

I have sold exactly one book from my Tictail store and one print from my Society 6 store, that’s it. I am, however, bringing back my Etsy store very soon – a revamped edition dedicated to my wetplate art.

That’s it for now! As a small token of gratitude to the mad folks who got to the bottom of this, here’s a free copy of Whiskey & Whiskers (Kindle edition) – but be quick! It’s only free for three days.

 

A Year of Wetplates

A year ago I ventured into the world of wetplate photography as prepared as I possibly could be – I had read several books, countless articles, watched I-don’t-know-how-many videos on YouTube and attended a workshop before I went it alone. Still, I had a lot to learn… Still, I have a lot to learn, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

I’ve made 225 plates during my freshman year as a wetplate photographer and learned just as many lessons (or so it feels like). I’ve set plates on fire and made images disappear. I’ve scratched plates and dropped them, spilled chemicals all over my darkroom and on myself, and don’t even get me started on the varieties of working too slow/too fast that’s gotten me in trouble, not to mention the plethora of quirks the chemicals can induce. But among all the fails, I’ve also had quite a few wins. In short, being able to tell what’s wrong when something is “off” and know how to fix it is the biggest win. It took a year to get there, but I’m confident when I say “I know what I’m doing,” now… or, y’know, most of the time.

The collage features one image from each month of my first year as a wetplate photographer, starting with October last year in the upper left hand corner and finishing with September this year in the lower right hand corner. Models are: Ingvild Eiring, Janne Ebbesdatter Lavogez and yours truly.

If you’d like to see more of my wetplates, head on over to julieloen.com or follow my adventures in wetplate photography on Instagram.

Polafornia – Release Party and Exhibition

Polafornia will finally get a belated release party next Saturday on August 26th at Cyan Salong in Oslo. Ingvild and I will be there from 12.00 to 22.00. At 14.00 we’ll give a talk about our trip, if anyone’s interested. The book will be available to purchase, as will postcards and posters. Hope to see you there!

And while you’re still here, allow me to mention that Polafornia is now available at Tronsmo and Cyan Salong in Oslo. If you’d like a signed copy, you can order one from my Tictail shop.

And just one more thing, foto.no has posted an article (in Norwegian) about All the Things a Woman Oughtn’t Do – The Ballad of Zerelda Glanton. Read it here, I think it turned out pretty nice. 🙂