Fans Now Control the Release Schedule of Comics!
That’s right! That handy chip-in widget to the left of the comic (when it’s not being buggy as Hell) gives YOU the power to speed up the release of the next comic in the queue. And if you can sponsor a comic fully, you can get some perks, including some premium advertising on this site. Go to Support for more on that. Contributions made in other ways (cash is always great) also count toward the goal.
I won’t pretend to ignore the obvious downside. This means the comics aren’t really free anymore. One question I suspect is on people’s minds is whether $40 is really a fair market value. I myself am very curious how often a new comic will get released by that math. To get an idea, it would take $2080 of yearly contributions to get back to a weekly schedule. That’s $10 a piece from 208 fans or $5 a piece from 416 fans, for instance.
I realize this is a fairly unconventional model for a web comic strip so allow me to explain. Back when I was releasing comics on a fairly regular schedule, I wasn’t getting much feedback to keep me motivated. I tried to persist so that I could someday make this site profitable in some way that would at least justify all the time I was putting into it. The traffic of the site wasn’t really increasing at a noticeable pace and seemed to have leveled off somewhere fairly well below most web comics. It’s possible that it’s just a niche subject and that’s the nature of the beast. I’ve got other creative projects now like the radio show (and more on a tv show to come later) that I’m simply more focused on and they’re quite time-consuming.
I hate to go here but it needs to be said and maybe it can change. Even more discouraging was the apparent lack of enthusiasm from a lot of people who claimed to be fans. For instance, I added social networking buttons some time ago to make it easy for people to share the comics, like Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon, and Facebook. Those buttons didn’t appear to be getting much use at all. Back when I first started the site, I could easily spend another hour at the end of a long work day posting the comic on various liberty-oriented message boards, but eventually I stopped. You can only toot your own horn so much before it gets embarrassing (unless it gets you a porn deal). It’s just so much more powerful when fans of the comic create that potentially contagious buzz. So I hoped fans would eventually take up that baton. For the most part, they didn’t. What spoke volumes to me was how I could make a clever comment on Facebook about some little anecdotal event in my life and get 20 likes and a long thread of comments but most of my comic links died amongst the proverbial sound of crickets.
So I’m honestly skeptical that there is enough enthusiasm to raise money for a more steady release schedule, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Maybe I simply failed to make the comics good enough to get that kind of enthusiasm for which I’m willing to accept responsibility. In the meantime, I figure this will at least put a stop to the complaints about no new comics from many of the same people who could rarely be bothered to click “Share” on Facebook or repost the comic in a relevant message board. So if you do consider yourself a fan, but not so much that you want to contribute financially, I understand. I encourage you to go to the Support page and scroll down to the free and easy ways to support the comic and show your enthusiasm in other ways. If there is hope to change the chip-in release model some day, your overt moral support in the form of promotion will likely be the source of it.
I’m also doing my part to simplify the art and streamline my process. If it doesn’t take as much time out of my schedule to do a comic, I won’t need as much incentive to put them out somewhat more regularly. I’m not giving up on this site. At worst, it will remain a hobby with an occasional comic when I’m feeling particularly inspired and have some extra time, but I hope fans of the comic will realize that it’s actually a part-time job when I’m releasing comics regularly and I can’t afford that kind of time right now without compensation.