Money making ventures

Lately I’ve been concerned about how to engage in activities that provide a bit of income. To be honest, my life here in Japan is comfortable. I have a full time job that pays the bills, and on evenings and weekends I do personal English tutoring. I’m not going to be rich or anything, but I’m doing okay.

BUT.

I bet a lot of you know how it is. You do a job that you’re kind of good at, you can do well, and it’s somewhat enjoyable. But there’s that gnawing part of you. That side of you that won’t shut up, and it’s telling you, “you KNOW that’s not what you REALLY want to do.”

And it’s right. Right now my passion is in drawing depression comix. But I want to draw more. I want to draw more Suicide Girl comics. I want to develop some illustrated short stories. And then there’s the Thin H Line, which got put on the backburner because depcom got unexpectedly more popular.

Basically what I want is to justify reducing my work load a little and focus more on the art, like I did in the good old days when I was drawing like five to ten pages a week. Sadly, when I was doing all that, I didn’t give a thought to how to promote myself or try to make money because I thought one day someone would come along and give me my break. This was a stupid, stupid thought and to nobody’s surprise no one came along. It may be too late but now I understand that I have to do it all myself. I have to give myself a future because no one else will. Life never gives you what you think you deserve. And not realizing that has held me back many wasted years and contributed heavily to my depression.

So now I gotta find some way to make this work. I WILL become professional. Somehow.

I have lost something. I’m not exactly sure what it is but I know I didn’t always feel this… sedated. But you know what? It’s never too late to get it back.

— Lester Burnham, American Beauty.

One thing I’ve been working on is the depression comix account at Deviantart ( http://depressioncomix.deviantart.com ). Right now comix 1 to 15 are posted… a small beginning, I guess… but anyone can buy printed art there from high quality scans I made. Art prints, canvas, greeting cards, postcards and magnets. My cut is like between 15 and 20%, but it’s a start to make the work available for purchase. I am also highly considering putting scans of the comic up for sale for home printing, and the cost would be whatever one wanted to pay for it, a kind of gift-donation system. Then it’s on to other comics, perhaps pdf book versions of depcom and Sexy Losers under the same “pay what you want” system. I have other stuff I’m working on too, like t-shirts.

Of course I’m always listening to ideas. Being in Japan doesn’t help admittedly. I can’t attend cons or print stuff locally without asking for mammoth sums for shipping. But I will find a way to become professional. My dream is back, and this time I’m not going to let depression stop me.

My Mess On the Web

Currently I’m managing a lot of sites right now. It’s become a bit of a maze right now. This is what happens when you let things get out of hand.

Content is mainly on three WordPress blogs that I run:

  1. depression comix – this is where depression comix is posted and maintained.
  2. Clay Comix – this is where I put art both old and new. Depression comix also appears here but I also add commentary to the strips, describing where they come from.
  3. “trust me I need this” (Clay Comix blog) – this is where I post things such as news, in progress art and introspections.

In the olden days this would have been more than sufficient. I had a similar setup way back, with the thin h line or sexy losers sites for those comics, a separate site for everything else (it was clayb.com, a domain I’ve lost over the years, then became the backend of the unfinished uwakimono site), and a blog which is hosted at livejournal (still there, get to that in a second). But the web has gotten a lot more social, and instead of hunting down content and visiting a multitude of sites the content can now come to your favorite social network hub. Because of this, my blogs are mirrored on most social hubs so you never actually have to visit the primary blogs.

Deviantart

  • depression comix on deviantart: some comics are here but I will delete them all now that I have top quality scans. The idea was to use deviant art as a small source of income from people who wanted to buy prints of the comics. But will people do this? Are there better options?

Dreamwidth

  • depression comix on dreamwidth: blog #1 is mirrored here, although the blog itself has 0 followers. This is updated automatically, but it’s on the chopping block. Do people actually use dreamwidth?

Facebook

Google+

  • depression comix on Google+: blog #1 is mirrored here, kind of.
  • Clay Comix has a page set aside for it, but Google+ is such a tempermental pain in the ass I haven’t actually started it, and currently wondering if it is worth it.

Livejournal

  • yep, I’m still here: blogs #2 and #3 are mirrored here. This is a journal from the olden days and once I figured out how to automatically send posts here I made it active again. After years of inactivity, I was happy to see that there are people still using this.

Twitter

Tumblr

  • depression comix on tumblr: blog #1 is mirrored here, and this is actually the place the comic started. But it can be an unfriendly place, so to give myself from mental distance from tumblr it is now just a mirror.
  • Clay Comix on tumblr: blogs #2 and #3 are mirrored here.

So these are the links that are currently maintained. Most of these — Livejournal, Dreamwidth, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook are automatically updated so maintenance is dead simple. I plan to redo the Sexy Losers site with WordPress at some point too.

So if you are reading this not on your favorite social network, please add me there, or if it’s not listed, give me a ring and I’ll see if I can make it happen. God knows I love making this mess even messier.

Various updates

I started some things that I talked about in the last update. One, I’ve begun to add gallery and slideshows to the site. I’ve created four so far of groups of twenty strips, however, the advanced settings were incompatible with the theme I was using, so I had to change themes. It’s not as atmospheric as the last one, which is kinda too bad. But this one does have a cool carousel thingie and allows me to have widgets on the main page.

Another thing I’ve done is imported the depcom primer from the WordPress site. It’s quite old and rusty but it I think it will do for the time being. I hope to refine it and add some pretty pictures to make it more visually appealing.

And finally, the rescans and search functions for all depcoms are nearly completed, and will probably be polished off on the weekend.

I know none of this matters to anyone, but I do want to improve the site in a big way. All suggestions welcome. Thank you.

Not much to say, but I’ll say it anyways

Just doing some work on the depression comix site. Rescans have been done up until #118, although only up to #100 appears on the site. Once the rescans are done I’ll be going on to the problem of making the site more accessible to beginners. There are a couple of options here I’d like to try.

One is to come up with a set of consistent tags. I was doing this on the WordPress.com mirror but keeping them consistent was a problem because I hadn’t planned them from the beginning. Now that I have nearly 150 comics to look at, choosing a set and applying it will be easier than making them up as I go along.

A second is the navigation problem. To solve this, I’m thinking of creating slideshows, so that people can read a bunch of strips without much clicking or scrolling involved.

Third, I’ve been thinking of creating a kind of “primer” in comic strip format. Here is a sketch of a sample, although it’s pretty rough:

image

Obviously I have to work on this idea more but the idea is to create a series that look at depression from a more clinical perspective, which would be a starting point for those who want to read the series.

I guess the problem is now that there are too many strips and the organization is random. It needs a starting place, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to give it one.

depression comix #148 in progress

image

Done inking the next comic, but a copier glitch prevented me from being able to color it.

This comic has a cassette tape recorder in it. I wonder if half the audience will know what that is.

I’ve also spent my train time watching Cheers and Night Court episodes. Somewhere, it will always be Thursday night on NBC.

You get busy and you forget to update your own blog

Some things that have been accomplished this week:

  • depression comix’ Facebook page recently passed 500 likes.
  • depression comix’ Tumblr page recently passed 10K followers.
  • depression comix’ main site had it’s best day ever, surpassing 50K pageviews (poor server)

Well, these really didn’t have anything to do with my efforts, per se. The main site got reddit-ed, so that 50K is just a blip. And it took over two years to reach 10K on Tumblr.

What I managed to do this week was put up a couple of new comics (#146 and #147) but they didn’t fare so well on Tumblr. ┬áThe more specific ones never seem to do well there.

On the main site, I finished adding clearer rescans up to #90, and the text inside is all searchable. I hope to have most of the rescans and search capability finished by the end of October. It’s a long process, but I think it may be worth it in the end.

Anyways, just a check letting you know I haven’t abandoned this blog (again).