It has been just over two years now since I tracked down a puzzle that was released using an image of mine. When that image first sold, all I knew was that it was going to be used on a puzzle, but was given no other information about it. It took close to 6 months for me to find that puzzle out there in the world, but by the time I'd finally found it, it was totally sold out in the only country I could find it being sold. I remember being very disappointed at first because (for many reasons I wrote about in that previous blog), I really wanted a copy of that puzzle for myself.
I was telling a fellow photographer and friend all about it, and about how disappointed I was that I couldn't seem to find it in stock anywhere, when they suddenly sent me a link to another company that still had the puzzle for sale. Well.... in the excitement that followed I wrote that long and somewhat rambling post all about the puzzle, and my photo, and the memories and emotions it drudged up in me and many of you surprised me by rushing out and buying a copy for as well. I think that blog post was probably one of the most personal things I've really ever shared with friends much less anything I have ever posted on the Internet for strangers to stumble across and read. I was worried at first that maybe it was too much and I should take it down, but so many of you sent me really sweet and kind messages about that story, and about how much you enjoyed it. So even though I felt a little silly, I do have to say think you for all the kind words. I'm not really sure if I ever did that as it was all kind of this weird blur to me at the time.
It's been almost exactly 5 years now since my dad passed, and I find myself thinking about him more than ever this time of year. Those memories always bring me back around to thinking about those times we worked on puzzles together and then I think about that post about the silly puzzle two years ago, and now for some reason, I've received at least a dozen different emails in the last month from people asking me if I have any more puzzles for sale. I've had to tell everyone no, as the last three submissions I made to that puzzle company weren't chosen as finalists. Not a surprise to me since they would receive hundreds of submissions and would only purchase 5 photos each time.
I had spent a lot of time one and off, contacting puzzle manufacturers to see if I could maybe just self- publish puzzles through them and most of them told me they would love work with me and do that, but the downside each time was that they required minimum purchases before they would sing on to do the production work. For most of them, I would need to purchase at least 1000 copies of any puzzle I wanted to sell just to get the price point low enough that I think anyone would want to buy one. But there was no way I'd ever sell 1000 puzzles on my own and I certainly don't want to fill my garage with hundreds of unsold puzzles.... I mean even with that first puzzle which turned out to be hugely popular, I think I only know about 15 people that bought one.
Then in the last week, I discovered a company that would allow me to create puzzles from my images, with no minimum orders needed, and then to sell those puzzles through their online market place, where they would then create and ship puzzles as they are ordered. The biggest downside to it though... is that they aren't nearly as cheap as the ones that were mass-produced and sold around the world, BUT I can actually now offer up any photo of mine as a puzzle in any size someone might want, if they want one.
I started off with my two favorite photos from my trip to Vermont this fall. Offering each as 500 or 1000 piece puzzles, and then I also picked two photos I've wanted to do myself as puzzles for a very long time and created 1000 piece puzzles out of them. I really don't expect anyone will buy them at this companies price.... unless I get lucky and a big distributor takes a chance and buys one of them in bulk, but if you happen to be interested enough to take a look, or even purchase one, you can see them at my Online Puzzle Store. If you would like to buy a puzzle from there, I wanted to point out that if you buy 2 or more, you do get a 20% discount which takes some of the sting out of the price. They don't have to be 2 of the same puzzle, so you could buy two different puzzles and still get the discount.
One big advantage of a company like this though, is that if you don't like what you see there or if you happen to like another image of mine that you'd love to have as a puzzle, you can just email me and let me know what image it is, and what size you'd like the puzzle to be, and I can custom create them by requested. If you think the 1000 piece puzzles cost too much or are bigger than you like, I can make a 500 piece version or even smaller for you if you like. The process takes about a day for me to size the image, upload it, configure all the information they need and then have them approve everything and make it available for purchase, and I'd be happy to do that for you. Just shoot me an email and let me know.
If you think the prices are crazy and you wouldn't spend that much on a puzzle, or if you just don't like building puzzles, that's totally cool too. I think I only make about $2 per sale so I will never get rich off this and I'm not doing it for the money. I just wanted to offer it up as I do get asked about puzzles from time to time now. If you've actually read this far... thanks for sticking it out. I know I started to ramble again. LOL
I am going to buy a couple of these for myself now just because ... to be honest.... they are a few photos I've always wanted to see as a puzzle and wanted to put together myself. Maybe I'm just weird.