As hard as it is to admit (or even believe, from where I’m sitting), Cura Te Ipsum is an investment. Time, energy, output, technology, and all manner of strategy go into its creation. If it’s any good, it’s a result of these things. If it stinks, it’s not for a lack of them.
So far, the reaction and patronage you fine folks have given to this comic has been nothing short of flooring. I had no idea this comic would be such a success thusfar, and I’m so damned grateful for all of you who have been coming here and giving it a shot, falling in love, commenting like mad. It’s AMAZING.
I want this to be the best possible experience for EVERYONE. What does that mean? Well, I think it means a good story. Good art. A good website (as you can see, we’re taking steps to improve what was already a pretty rad design).
And then there’s that kind of uncomfortable subject, the last thing on the list of what makes this thing a great experience (as it should be): Dex and I recouping our time, energy, creativity, and effort in the form of breaking even or (dare I say?) PROFIT.
I’ll be frank (and apologies if it’s too frank, but I want to be honest with you guys). So far, we’re not breaking even. The trades made more than they cost to produce by a few hundred bucks (which is AMAZING!), but the art itself is costing far more than that, to the tune of thousands of dollars (which is it TOTALLY worth, in my opinion). Still, thousands of dollars is thousands of dollars, and I want to see what I can do about that without imposing on you folks.
Right now, we are here, in phase two, using the famous gnome metaphor from South Park:
We’re having a blast, work is getting done, but we need to find our way toward profit and most of what I have is a question mark, being a writer more than a businessman. Actually, I don’t even want profit, really, I want to break even. Profit would be spectacular, but at break even, I can do this indefinitely without worry. I can almost do that now, but it’s at a great personal cost in terms of standard of living. Writing is sacrifice, I can live with it, but if I don’t have to, I’d be a fool not to. Does that make sense?
Make no mistake, I’m not laying down an ultimatum. This is not me saying “Pony up or else the comic dies!” NEVER. I am merely sharing this with you so that I can see if there’s anything we can do together (you as audience and me as creator) to reach that benchmark.
To that end, I have added a very long poll to the right side of the site asking you all what you’d like to see more of (you can pick multiple items). Merch sales have slowed up quite a bit, and since the release of the trade, sales have pretty much stopped. I’m not blaming you guys or trying to whine, more I just want to see what I can do to fix that. Maybe I’m not offering something you want. Maybe there just isn’t any demand for stuff of yet, and I have to wait longer. Maybe folks want a different kind of trade. Maybe _________, which is what I want to find out, and is, to wit, the point of this post.
Please let me know, either in the poll or in the comments, if you want something you’re not getting.
Also, I am well aware that the comic is fairly new, and needs time to build. To that end, if there is nothing that I can provide you that you would want to pay for, I would like to ask, provided you’re willing, that you do the best thing you possibly can to help this comic (even more than cash)…. spread the word! Tell three friends. Loan out a copy of a trade. Write up an article, like Kate did (thanks, Kate! You rock!).
There would be nothing cooler to me than to be able to offer the comic indefinitely simply because I have enough ads to pay for it. I’m not there. I want to be.
Heck, I want to be doing five pages a week, a goal I believe we can get to, with time.
If you know someone who owns a website or writes articles/reviews on pop culture, let me know. I’ll get them a trade. If you’re a professional who can offer a sentence or two of a blurb, by God, I will kiss your feet. Write-ups provide an invaluable bump, and they’re very hard to get if you spend all day in an office writing instead of marketing (which I want to get better at, but alas, lack talent in beyond creating work I can believe in and stand behind).
For my part in this bargain, I will promise to keep on knocking the comic out, even at a financial loss, for as long as is humanly possible, and keep giving you free stuff either way. Don’t feel guilty if there’s nothing you can offer, but if you can, please do. Make sense?
In the meanwhile, enjoy THIS (click to embiggen):
This is our first PAPER DOLL! Special thanks to Jen Van Meter, of Hopeless Savages, Black Cat, and Black Lightning fame, for the wonderful idea.
We will be releasing a paper doll a month (on the first), every month. This month is Charlie/Dark Everett, and next month (September 1) is Charlene. When we have enough, we’ll make a magnet set and throw them in the store!
Simply print it out on a piece of paper, cut it out, and have at it! I’ll be posting a picture of Dex playing with a finished version here shortly…
Thanks again, folks. This comic has been the best experience of my professional career because of YOU.