Stock and image management

I want to come back to writing my impressions and experiences with stock photography. It is a month or so since I last mentioned it on blog. Mostly because it is how long it took me to come back to submitting anything there. The current count: iStock portfolio has 6 images, BigStockPhoto has 14. Shutterstock liked 4 out of 10, but they need to accept 7 on first submission and you need to wait a month before another try. It expired this week. The count should change through the week, as I just uploaded a bunch to each stock. Which leads me to my first observation- I have a month worth of images, and I was barely able to pick up 10 for submission. Some of them were shot with stock in mind, some with learning to shoot food in mind, not very successful, it seems. But I loaded up on books, read a lot on the Web- hopefully it will get better soon.
Meantime, I discovered how to avoid apple problem in BigStockPhoto- if you have an apple (as in fruit) in your title, description and keyword, you can just ignore the red alert on copyrighted brands :). The submission goes through. Anyway, what I want to focus on today is image management and software. At the beginning, I did not have a habit of putting titles and descriptions on my images in Lightroom. Bad decision. The first batch of images I edited 3 times, for each stock separately. What a waste of time. Now, when I pick images to submit, I will post-process them, keyword again with stock in mind (mostly remove technical keywords like flashes and stuff), put titles and descriptions. It plainly saves time.
The next step is submission, and both BigStockPhoto and Shutterstock allow ftp uploads. With well prepared files in Lightroom, it takes minutes to process 10 or 15 images, as all you need to do is pick up categories from pull-down menus and submit batch. I am perfectly satisfied with my workflow here. But iStock has rather unfriendly submission process, the web-page based interface makes you submit large file one at the time, which is tedious. You really wish you had better tools. I tried to search solutions on iStock forums, which are rather famous for their usefulness and loaded with information. Probably, but I was not impressed with my ability of finding the relevant answer. Google search for software was more successful. The first program I downloaded was Image Manager. It allows you to manage first 15 images for free (it is important, not to upload 15 images at the time, but manage portfolio of 15 images!). I used it for two uploads, run out of space, didn’t like the interface much (although it was doing its job) and decided to look for more money worth before spending $20. The ProStockMaster was a second hit. It allows to submit images too many stock agencies, but with iStock allows you to just upload them on site, you need to keyword and categorize on the page (no two-way communication), and they have subscription based pricing (per month or per year, either not cheap). And then my husband came with the idea of looking for Lightroom plug-in. I wish I figured it earlier. It takes some intelligence to figure out how to keyword image, but it takes keywords from metadata and checks them with iStock database. You still need to go through one image at the time, but you can keyword and categorize all of them before upload. If you need to, there is a field to add model releases as well! Same functionality as in Image Manager, but far better fitting in my workflow. It is also a donnationware.