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40 Effective Ways To Become a Successful ActiveDen Author

This article was originally posted on the ActiveDen blog and is written by Scott Wills.
We have amazing authors regularly uploading outstanding files to ActiveDen. With almost 9,000 files already on ActiveDen at the time of writing, it’s important to not only make your items stand out amongst the competition, but it’s also important to make yourself stand out amongst the crowd. Why not check to see if you’re doing everything you can to maximize your opportunities to make profit, contribute to the marketplace in a positive way and lead the way? Here’s our guide to becoming an even more successful ActiveDen author, no matter if you’re a brand-new author, or an author that has been around for years.

  1. Update your profile pageAdd an image to your profile page. It shows you care and it shows you mean business. Although the default graphic looks awesome, don’t just leave the default graphic there. Your profile page should be your identity. Your personal brand. Make it look good. Add a little information to it to add a little personality and to tell customers and fellow authors who you are and what your passions are. Think of it like the author bio at the back of a book. By using it, you step a little closer to your audience and make them feel welcome. Also consider adding links to your best-selling files from this page. You don’t want potential customers to overlook your best content and the profile page is an ideal way to promote your strongest files.
  2. Brand your Files/ThumbnailsWho would ever have thought how important an 80×80 pixel thumbnail would ever be?! The thumbnails you use for your items are very important! Aim for consistency so that when you release a new file, everyone will know it’s one of your files by the branding you’ve applied to your thumbnail. It should be a visual representation that somehow ties into the branded graphic you added to your profile page.
  3. Say “Thank You”When someone leaves you a positive comment on one of your files, respond with a “thank you!”. It’s simple, it’s positive, and it shows appreciation. Good manners still go a long way in today’s world, particularly in business.
  4. Follow your comments via RSSRespond to comments politely and respond to comments quickly. Although support is optional, customers tend to buy files again in the future from authors who treat them well. One easy way to treat customers with respect (you know, the people who purchase your files and put money in your account each month) is to answer the questions they ask. You can keep on top of all the questions customers ask by following your own RSS feed! It looks like this: http://activeden.net/feeds/user_item_comments/YOUR-USERNAME-HERE.atom
    For example:
    http://activeden.net/feeds/user_item_comments/digitalscience.atom
  5. Become Exclusive!Exclusivity offers you significantly greater commission rates and also encourages you to upload content more regularly. Did you realize that 19 out of the top 20 authors on Envato are all exclusive…? Why sell files for 25% profit when you can attain between 50% – 70% as an exclusive author? The math should be fairly obvious. :)
  6. Be Positive!Be positive and stay positive, particularly in the forums! Help someone out, say something nice. And if you don’t have anything nice to say, consider not saying anything at all. And if you have something constructive to say to someone, send the comment privately. Remember: Reputation, reputation, reputation! Once you lose a reputation, it is tarnished forever. It takes the same amount of effort to be nice as it does to be bad.
  7. Quality Over QuantitySpend your time producing quality files. This has many benefits such as getting yourself listed in the ActiveDen Files of the Week roundup, the Top Authors list each month, as well as having the honor of the Featured Author or File of the Week selected by the site manager. Always remember that the tortoise always beats the hare. Sure, it’s a race, but it’s a slow race, and you should be focusing on the highest quality attainable content you can produce.
  8. Write Simple yet Effective DocumentationHelpful documentation not only helps your customers, but it saves you time in the long run. Instead of continually answering the same questions over and over and over, make sure all frequently asked questions are answered in your help documentation and then simply refer any questions customers may have to your help file! A well written help file should reduce the number of questions you get asked by e-mail or via item comments. In turn, this then frees up valuable time you can better use producing brand-new, top-quality files!
  9. Embrace ALL Promotional OpportunitiesIf ActiveDen ever contact you for an interview for the blog, or for a quote for a newsletter perhaps, respond! We have thousands upon thousands of visitors to our blog each day, and we have thousands upon thousands of customers visiting ActiveDen each and every day: That kind of exposure is priceless, so get your name and files out there at every opportunity!
  10. Effective TaggingThink about your tags/keywords in each of your files and use them effectively. They help SEO which means, when search engines index ActiveDen files, your tags/keywords will help your files be indexed in the right way. When someone searches for something they are looking for within ActiveDen or via Google, you want your own file(s) to be ranked as high as possible. Do not underestimate the power of effective tags! Read How to Correctly Tag your ActiveDen Files
  11. Home Page Exposure is NOT the Holy GrailDon’t rely on the home page for all your exposure! You are putting all your eggs in one basket if you do that. A smart author will produce an awesome file and not give home page exposure a second thought. If a file is good, it will sell no matter how much time it spends on the home page. Sure, home page exposure is fantastic! But do not ever think it is the key to huge sales, it is not. Create the best file(s) you can. Do everything you can to let people know your file is out there, and sell your file to as many customers as possible.
  12. Become a Top Author of the MonthEasily said than done, sure! But with the right dedication, it can be done! Save a bunch of your new files for the same month for example, skip a couple of months of uploading content, and blitz the marketplace during one month. This will maximize your opportunity of high sales and increase the likelihood of achieving enough sales to catapult you into the best-selling author list for the month when the stats get updated!
  13. Be Aware of StrategiesThere are certain strategies you can aim for and experiment with, but come with no guarantees. But it’s worth being aware of them. For example, did you know that most files are sold on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or the “middle” of the week? Analyze your own stats alongside what you observe in the marketplace. What day are most sales made? What time are most sales made? Try hard to time your uploads to get approved during the most popular time periods, but do not rely on these times. There are a whole host of reasons out of your control and out of the file reviewers control why your file might not get published on the day you want. But be aware of these strategies and try to use them as much as you can.
  14. Get Featured in the Files of the Week RoundupAgain, easier said than done. But increase the chances of getting your file chosen by concentrating on a file that looks good, is useful, offers something new, or is simply better than anyone else’s file that week. The extra free promotion that your file gets will be worth it! Blog posts stay around on the Web forever, not just for a day, don’t forget that!
  15. TwitterHate it or love it, you’ve got to use Twitter. It’s probably the quickest and most easiest way you will ever market your files, and it is the cheapest publicity you will ever get. It’s so cheap it’s actually free. And any free publicity you can get is a very good thing. :) Announce your new files on Twitter using bit.ly, a service that shrinks the URL of your file so you don’t waste valuable space in your Tweet.
    Be careful not to oversell your files, people may get tired of your constant promotions, so use it wisely, frequently, but do not oversell an item.
    Also, be sure to follow Envato employees on Twitter, particularly Collis Ta’eed. Sometimes you hear breaking news such as an invitation to beta sign-ups for new sites (such as the imminent 3DOcean for example). This gives you an opportunity to be one of the first people to prepare files for the new site giving you a competitive advantage. Take every advantage you can!
  16. FacebookJoin all of the Envato Facebook groups. Join all the Flash Facebook groups you are interested in joining. Even consider starting your own Facebook group! That extra exposure will pay dividends when you start announcing the release of your new files. Your Facebook announcements about your new ActiveDen files will be instantaneously broadcasted to hundreds and hundreds of potential customers.
  17. Upload your files to Adobe ExchangeAdobe Exchange allows Flash developers to list their Flash projects, free or commercial on the Adobe Web site. And Adobe allow you to do this totally for free! And part of becoming a successful author is marketing your files. Market them for free on Adobe Exchange, get your file listed, and you’re opening more ways for new audiences to see your file on ActiveDen.
  18. Upload your files to HotScriptsWhat I just said about Adobe Exchange also applies to HotScripts. Make it part of your process to list your file at Adobe Exchange and HotScripts every time you upload a new ActiveDen file. Read How to Promote Your ActiveDen Files on HotScripts
  19. Make the Most of your Referral LinkMake the most of your referral link. It’s an opportunity to make even more money! If you append your Envato marketplace username to any marketplace URL, you can make commission from any new customer that makes a subsequent deposit or purchase on any marketplace. So always get into the habit of appending any marketplace URL you use with your own username.
  20. Stay Informed with Latest TrendsStay informed of Flash trends by going to sites such as thefwa and other Flash design resources, by reading Flash blogs, particularly those by Adobe employees, and reading Flash-related articles both online and in print. While you should never directly copy a latest trend or design in any submission to ActiveDen, you will become a more successful author if you are aware of emerging trends and functionality and implement them in an original way in your own future files.
  21. Learn ActionScript 3While AS2 files still sell pretty well on ActiveDen, a day will come when AS3 will rule the industry. Most authors are already very fluent and comfortable with AS3, and there’s no time like the present to convert if you have hesitated up until now. Buy a book, teach yourself, watch free online tutorials like those found on ActiveTuts+, do what you need to do to teach yourself the current and future scripting language of Flash. When the day comes that ActiveDen files are predominantly AS3 based, you will have a huge advantage if your current library contains killer AS3 files. While dealing with “today”, always keep a careful eye on tomorrow and what the future may hold.
  22. Stay Ahead of the GameTap into the latest techniques and innovations that only Flash Player 10 can utilize. Those files you create today that tap into those new features will be the hot, wanted files of tomorrow (if they are not popular already). Being aware of innovative new features and utilizing those techniques in your files will get extra attention and publicity to your files and put you in a good position down the line in the future too. Be an innovator and lead the way.
  23. Use an APIGoogle, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter all have APIs that you can use in your Flash files that you can sell on ActiveDen. Realize that as social media becomes even more prevalent in our daily lives, the need to embed, use and mash this date up inside of Flash becomes more desirable. Once something becomes desirable, you’ve got an instant market and audience already looking for a file like yours that you’ve hopefully already uploaded to ActiveDen… Read Be Inspired with Flash Twitter APIs
  24. Update your Old FilesWhile it’s great to sit back and enjoy the residual income coming in from your existing files, top-selling and successful authors also realize that there’s money to be earned in updating existing files. Adding new features to existing ActiveDen files not only impresses and rewards existing customers (who are then more likely to purchase other files from you) also reaches out to brand new customers. Let’s say you created an image gallery that sold pretty well. If you updated this to add new video functionality for example, you’re now opening up your file to a potential new audience. Someone overlooking your file originally because there was no video functionality may now be interested in your file because of the new features. Think about what Apple frequently do with their products. They re-invent them. Same product, just a new skin and some new features. It’s a philosophy and paradigm that transcends well to stock Flash files too.
  25. Listen to your CustomersThe feedback you get, even if it sometimes can be negative, should be listened to carefully. This is a great way to find out cool new ideas or things that customers want to see in files. Think of feedback as a way of interacting with your audience and learning what they are looking for in a file. Don’t be afraid to take time to read what customers are saying about other author’s files too! That could also help you improve your own work. Turn a negative into a positive. If a customer comment really angers you, even if it is an unnecessary comment, try to think about the extra mile you could have gone to have avoided that comment. There is a lot of truth to the saying, “the customer is always right.” Even when they’re wrong. ;-)
  26. Diversify into Other Envato Marketplaces!Chances are, if you are a creative Flash producer, you also have a talent for music, HTML/CSS, graphic design or video production. Diversify your portfolios and reach out to other Envato audiences. Don’t assume that all GraphicRiver or ThemeForest users come and visit your portfolio over at ActiveDen. They probably don’t. They probably don’t even know about you! So change this by putting your high quality work into other Envato marketplaces.
  27. Use Collections to your Advantage!Create collections that contain outstanding files and put some of your files in there too! It adds exposure to your work and increases the chances of more people seeing your work! Read Collections: What are they and why should I care?
  28. Take File Rejections on the ChinDon’t be dismayed by rejection. Be determined! If your file gets rejected either through your own fault or because ActiveDen concludes that your file does not meet our criteria, do not give up. Don’t ever give up! Take it on the chin and learn from it. Let’s say you get your file rejected for a design reason. Analyze those weaknesses. Identify ways to improve. Come back to your file in a day or two when you can look at your design more objectively and not fueled by the anger you felt when your file was rejected. Realize file rejection is never personal. Ask the site manager politely (via a support ticket) if they could give some help or more specific reasons why your file was rejected. And then resolve all those issues with your design and upload again. Never give up and never stop improving.
  29. CollaborateCollaborate with someone! If you are a developer, team-up with a designer, and vice versa! This allows authors to specialize in the niche they are an expert in, and also speeds-up development time!
  30. Blog Post CommentsLeave relevant and/or encouraging comments on blog posts! This applies not only to Envato blogs, but to other relevant blogs in the Flash industry. Link back to your ActiveDen portfolio, and why not add a referral link while you’re at it?! (Note: Referral links only work outside of the envato marketplaces.)
  31. Create your own Web Site or BlogUse your own blog or Web site to self-promote your own work and uploads to ActiveDen. You’ll be surprised about the extra traffic that reaches your ActiveDen portfolio or individual files via your own personal blog. Your file or blog post may get linked to by another blog and before you know it, a whole new audience have been drawn into your amazing ActiveDen work.
  32. Use the WordPress Referral Widget on your BlogEnvato really make it easy for you to make money, don’t they?! :) Make money on your own blog by installing a WordPress widget that pulls in your own content and automatically adds your very own referral link! Read Referral widget for showcasing items on your website.
  33. Support Your FilesAlthough support is not required for anyone uploading files to any of the envato marketplaces, go the extra mile and support your files! Customers who purchase files from authors who support their files are more likely to purchase from you again.
  34. Create something with the Envato APICreate either a free tool for fellow customers and/or authors using the Envato Marketplace API, or better still, create a tool in Flash based on the API and sell it on ActiveDen! Either way, tap into an immediate audience that is staring you in the face – the audience of 0.25 million (and growing…) Envato marketplace members. That’s nothing to be sniffed at!
  35. Beta Test Someone Else’s ApplicationIf you don’t have time or don’t know how to use the envato API, then what about demonstrating good community spirit by beta testing someone else’s application? The marketplace forums are the best place to find out news about new applications based on the envato API, and your feedback could be worthwhile to a fellow marketplace member! Enhancing your community contributions and demonstrating your ability to share and interact with your peers is extremely good for the development of your brand and persona.
  36. Use Envato API ToolsUse tools that have been created with the Envato Marketplace API to track your work! Track sales via ThemeForest plugins/Javascript, Mac OSX widgets and tools such Sales Donkey. These tools will provide statistics about sales and will also encourage you to make and sell more files as you see and hear the cash from residual sales come rolling in!
  37. E-Mail SignaturesAdd a link to your ActiveDen portfolio in your e-mail signature. It’s so simple it hurts! ;) Whether it’s friends, family or clients, they’re nosy by nature and love to click on e-mail signature links to find out more about you and what you’re selling.
  38. Create Packs of your FilesCreate a pack of existing files and sell them at a discounted rate (rate determined by Envato.) This not only promotes your original work, but it gives customers the opportunity of purchasing a collection of your files for a discounted rate. Important: There are certain rules to this to prevent gaming the system. But basically, any one of your files can only appear in one of your packs. So if you have Files A B C D E and F, you can put files A B C in one pack, but you can’t put C D E F in another pack, because C is already in another pack. Packs can only contain a restricted number of files and must all be from the same category. All-in-all, it’s another great tactic that you can explore to maximizing and ensuring continued success.
  39. Asset Library ContributionsConsider creating assets for the free asset library! Contact the site manager first before doing so, but if your files are accepted and they’re useful, you’ll get a lot of credibility and appreciation from your peers!
  40. Enjoy Being an AuthorThe most important tip has been saved for last. Enjoy what you do. Immerse yourself and dedicate yourself to being a positive contributor to a successful marketplace. Surround yourself with positive people and be thankful for the customers and success you have achieved. But do all of this while enjoying the experience. Creating and selling stock is not a sprint. It’s a long-term marathon that needs dedication, patience, and a smile. Make a file. Upload it. Let it generate money for you short-term and long term. What can be more financially rewarding than by continually selling something you created a long, long time ago? That’s your ultimate goal. But be sure you enjoy the ride. :)
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