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Sunday, 8.21.05: Ebay - Sheet Music Workflow

I'm restless this morning. I'd say I was in need of a change of pace, except that I seem to change my pace every day. And yet, at every speed, in every activity, my butt seems to wind up being planted in front of my computer.

Yesterday I spend all day listing 27 pieces of sheet music in my store. Oh, I took a break here and there, to protect my sanity and to avoid repetitive stress syndrome. What saved me from the obligation to do more (I'm working on a pile labeled "1940s") was that I ran out of the plastic slip covers and had to send away for more. It isn't a very creative or even very demanding task. My workflow:

Scan. This keeps me jumping up and down. The scans are slow because the sheet music is printed with halftone screens and I have to use the descreening filter to avoid weird moiré patterns. Number them as I go along and put labels on the bags while I'm waiting for the scan. (File names, photos, etc are all keyed to this sequential inventory number, which makes things go much smoother.)

Data. On the label, jot a note about the date (always on the inside), condition, and price paid. Bag it.

Convert to jpgs. Go to Adobe Bridge, select the ones just scanned and perform a Photoshop batch operation that turns all the photos into .jpg format and saves them to my website folder. (I suppose I could scan them all directly to my web folder, but I like having master copies of everything in the best format -- to play with later.)

Upload. Go to FrontPage (website software). Upload all the photos to the web.

Describe. Get the last description I wrote to use as a template. Enter the data for the new music. This is pretty mindless. Enter... Save As... Enter... Save As... plod, plod, plod... till all the music has a description page. I can usually have on some lame-brained TV during this process. Nothing too interesting or the process slows way down. I should be playing music -- it's more energizing. Harebrain TV and its obnoxious commercials depress me after a while. Why don't I listen to music???

List. Once all the descriptions are written, hop on ebay and start listing. This means copying the code into the ebay template, then adding a title (the most creative part), the price, and the location of the picture for their gallery listing. Their template isn't that efficient -- too much scrolling and too many mouseclicks. I used to list directly into ebay -- faster -- but everything disappears 60 days after the item sells. In the long run, it's more efficient for me to keep track of my own descriptions for reuse. And I can do more interesting things with photographs this way.

Tracking record. When the item is successfully listed, I copy the title and auction number into an Excel spreadsheet, along with the asking price and original price. This is my tracking. By inventory number. When something sells, I will enter all the relevant fees and expenses here to figure out my net.

Label. Write the auction number on the sheet music label.

Store. When my batch is done, all the listed music goes downstairs into the "store" (shelves in my utility room).

I love being a shopkeeper, but it's not all sales and happy customers.




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