Many of you pups already know I’ve been concerned with Paypal’s policies in regards to my livelihood, especially in the realm of The Heavenly Bride. Let’s face it: their ideas of security just aren’t friendly to the individual entrepreneur. I might even dare to say they are becoming less friendly to the independent worker by the day. I happen to be an independent worker.
To wit: for my paying job, I am a graphic artist. That is to say, I primarily create e-book covers for aspiring self-publishing authors. It’s the only job I’ve ever really been able to stick out, mostly because when I get sick (which is often) I’m still able to work – in my pajamas, sniffling, and with the option of going back to bed without worrying about getting fired. I’m able to handle last minute “emergencies” with my daughter without, well, worrying about getting fired. I also don’t have to worry about made up reasons for getting fired on my 89th day at work, which is what happened to me at my last “real” job. In fact, at this job I not only have been able to stick with it, people tell me I’m GOOD AT IT. I don’t get that luck at other jobs. I get screamed at on other jobs.
I do sometimes find time to write, obviously, but the bulk of my income has been through this art outlet. It’s not a large income by any means, but then again neither is fast food. Considering my husband’s pay is 1. cut short because we’ve been dealing with pay errors for over a year now and 2. tied up in certain allotments, my pay is all that stands between us and starvation at times. Currently I’m trying to earn money for food while recovering from being sick (as usual) and raise the funds to pay for our internet connection and phone. It’s a race against time.
When I get paid for something I do, the money is gone within the hour. I can’t afford to let it sit and build. I get paid, I deliver the goods immediately, I go to the next job. I work long days. I don’t get to take walks or play games. My life is e-book covers and comics. I think the last time I sat down to play MTO was before we moved here to Louisiana.
Imagine my concern when I opened my paypal account last week to a big notice stating my received funds would now be held for a period of time, and if I had any questions I could consult their scantly-written holds policy. I gave them a phone call after not finding any answers in their FAQ and was told that since none of my transactions occured on eBay, I had nothing to worry about. This was a security measure to ensure quality. The sale happens, the funds are put on hold, and once the item is shipped with a USPS confirmation number from priority delivery the funds might be released. Otherwise during that hold the customer has the opportunity to complain, which would tie the funds up even further.
Okay. I don’t work with eBay. I rarely go to eBay for anything. I’m safe. Right? Wrong. As of today the holds began. So. This is how it works from my stance.
I make a cover. I deliver it by e-mail, which means I get no USPS confirmation number. My funds remain on hold despite me reporting the item shipped. The customer now has 21 days to take opportunity, if they so desire, to raise a stink. Even if they told me they were happy with their merchandise.
And if you don’t think people are that crooked, I have almost 20 unpaid invoices I’d like to show you of honest-seeming people who never paid up. Then I’d like to show you the location of one that not only never paid up, but stole some of my artwork and claimed it was made by a dead guy in California. (Which means I not only moved to California but changed my gender without knowing it.)
So now I have 21 days to go hungry, not pay my already weeping credit card bills, or lose my internet connection and thus my livelihood.
What this means for you pups, other than I’m obviously under even more pressure to stop being an artist and give up webcomics, probably is nothing. It means my fears are starting to come true: I was very worried about how Paypal would impact how I’m able to survive. I admit I thought perhaps they’d shut me down because of HB. They’ve done it to other webcomics. I wasn’t expecting this crippling act of discrimination. But I’m not surprised much.
I have looked for Paypal alternatives, but the only viable one as far as webcomic support is Alertpay, who turned me down for credit card processing because of Heavenly Bride. I am currently at an impasse.
On the whole, Akashik and Heavenly Bride receive next to no support. What comments I get I am always grateful for. The rare donation always makes me smile. Being able to share the Akashik donations with War and Conquest makes me feel good, very good. So as far as Paypal’s new policy goes, this only affects them if the situation forces me to get a job in fast food. (The only job there is around here. This is a slum town.)
But I’m telling you about this because if you do decide you’d like to support the comics in some generous way, please. Please. Don’t use Paypal. Screw Paypal. I effing hate Paypal right now. I’d like it to become my last resort.
On the support incentive sites I have a P.O. Box listed in case anyone ever wants to help out by sending art supplies. Please use that. Ironically, getting things through snail mail just got a hell of a lot faster than Paypal.
Thank you. Peace out.