2014-01-14: State of the Comic 2014

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2014-01-14: State of the Comic 2014

Postby The Comment Golem » January 14th, 2014, 3:17 pm

Discussion thread for State of the Comic 2014
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Re: 2014-01-14: State of the Comic 2014

Postby Itterind » January 21st, 2014, 3:29 am

I'm nearly broke at the moment, but I'm getting a steady job again in September, so I'll either be buying all the books soon after if they're out by then, some other goods or make one-time donations. I'm sorry, but I can't promise a steady stream, as I can't effectively foresee my long-term situation while balancing my grades and part-time work.

As to the situation in general, I'm a bit scared to say this, especially as it's probably already painfully well understood, but I'm not sure how much the situation can be salvaged by conventional (non-viral) means. Only super hardcore webcomic readers and bibliophiles with long memories and a high tolerance for frustration are going to be willing to keep reminding themselves to buy a set of books 2 years or more after the series ended. And the devotion required to donate on a rolling basis is much higher.

I advice a Kickstarter with some solid lead time to spread the word. There's a lot of people who love ES out there who've forgotten about it, but if they can be mostly rallied to engage in viral word of mouth, then perhaps not only can the old fanbase be mostly reactivated, but new fans captured with commensurate immediate financial benefit.
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Re: 2014-01-14: State of the Comic 2014

Postby Imp-Chan » January 21st, 2014, 9:07 pm

This is not a matter of temporary financial shortfall. It's a matter of being unable to do all the work ourselves. In order to hire people, you have to be able to pay them, and that requires not just having some money right now, but having a sufficiently steady stream of money at all times to both justify the cost of paying them and justify doing the work in the first place. The Patreon campaign is the best way to do that, as a Kickstarter is not appropriate for that kind of fundraising.

We could do Kickstarter to actually print the books, when they're done... However, the books at this point may never happen. I cannot continue to work on them the way that I have been, because you're right that the market is smaller the longer it takes, and I'm too slow so I frankly can't justify that level of stress for that length of time. We cannot produce these books without help, not by September, or September several years from now, and probably not at all. If we can't make our goals, we flat-out can no longer produce Errant Story. It's not a matter of not feeling like it, it's just the reality. We only have enough resources to make one comic at a time. So until we can hire help, we're done working on Errant Story.

-_-'
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Re: 2014-01-14: State of the Comic 2014

Postby Graybeard » January 24th, 2014, 10:15 am

Imp-Chan wrote:We could do Kickstarter to actually print the books, when they're done... However, the books at this point may never happen. I cannot continue to work on them the way that I have been, because you're right that the market is smaller the longer it takes, and I'm too slow so I frankly can't justify that level of stress for that length of time. We cannot produce these books without help, not by September, or September several years from now, and probably not at all. If we can't make our goals, we flat-out can no longer produce Errant Story. It's not a matter of not feeling like it, it's just the reality. We only have enough resources to make one comic at a time. So until we can hire help, we're done working on Errant Story.

(My emphasis added.)

Impy, you're among friends here, and friends like to help friends. If you could give us some idea of what "help" would be needed -- extending, in principle, all the way up to doing the whole shebang -- I think you would have very little difficulty in finding some help, although I will not guarantee sight-unseen that that help would be sufficient to bring it off. You're very good at project planning. Just what steps would you need "help" on, and roughly, how do they segment into pieces that prospective helpers among your readers might find digestible? You might find that you can get enough helpers to make at least the first book (which, if nothing else, will suffice to maintain Errant Story's marketing position for a while) happen, and prop up your position, both financially and artistically, until you're out from under the load a little.
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Re: 2014-01-14: State of the Comic 2014

Postby Imp-Chan » January 26th, 2014, 3:02 am

The books are slated to be released as a collection, since I think we can get the funding for that if we have the books ready to go. Originally, I did want to release them one at a time, but frankly, I don't believe we could fund them individually now that everything has gone to hell since the coma and such. We're in a position where the fans who like the comic really really do, and we're profoundly grateful for it, but there just aren't enough people still reading. We can manage one big marketing push for a collection to find the people who used to read and convince them to make a one-time purchase of all the books, but at this point we can't manage that for each book individually. Plus, printing as a collection allows us to do much better quality than individual printings would allow, and allows us to do some awesome stretch goals, when the time comes. Yes, I do have that planned out in detail, of course, though the actual numbers involved will move around over time.

In terms of what kind of work we're talking about... I need someone to work in the office with me, scanning original art, doing line art cleanup, and page layouts according to my specs. All of those require basic design skills, familiarity with Photoshop, and sometimes an on-site presence. It's also full-time work, though I certainly hope whoever we hire would be a LOT faster than I am at it. I would then need to hire a professional letterer to letter the pages, which does not require a local, but is significantly costly. Oh, and it would require reformatting all of our scripts, since the CeltX system only works for in-house production, and if we want to work with the industry at large we have to switch over to industry standards. Once the scripts are edited, reformatting is a thing I could easily delegate. That's just the production work, though... there's also office work, none of which I am currently able to do. Basically, I was doing the jobs of like seven people, and now I can't even really do the job of one. We need to replace me, and replacing me is expensive and requires a considerable range of skills (though that makes me sound a lot more awesome than I actually am, since I wasn't the best or the fastest at any of the things I was doing). We don't necessarily need the best or fastest now, but we do need professionals who are capable of working to the quality and deadlines we need, and we need to pay them a fair rate for doing so. Before we can do any of that, though, I need to be well enough to at least supervise, and right now I am not.

Aside from transcribing the comics, which is already being done, or reformatting edited scripts which will have to wait until I have edited said scripts... I can't really think of much that a fan could do to help with the actual work. I'd much rather fans put their energy into making more fans who can in turn support the Patreon campaign and buy our books when we can finally print some, since a personal recommendation to a handful of friends is worth a lot more than any ad campaign.

^-^'
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Re: 2014-01-14: State of the Comic 2014

Postby Itterind » April 1st, 2014, 3:46 pm

OK, I understand.

I look forwards to buying strips and other things in September.
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Re: 2014-01-14: State of the Comic 2014

Postby Itterind » April 3rd, 2014, 2:40 am

Anyway, I hope I haven't given the wrong impression.

A lot of us will be here for the two of you for as long as it takes. And if you can't produce the books we will understand I am sure, and support your next project.
Anyway to put my money where my mouth is I guess I'll join the Patreon thing after all rather than waiting for more cash flow, just a tiny amount really, but every bit helps out I've heard : )

PS. Seems like some of the most effective campaigns out there go with the monthly model, though personally I'd contribute almost the same on a by comic basis.
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