Recent developments

Well, some bad news happened to me, the company is restructuring and I am being pushed to a new department, one that has terrible hours and coinides with my part-time job, which I will have to quit.

What this means is that financially I take a bit of a blow. There’s also talk of reducing salaries so that’s something else to consider.

Although I am not happy about this in the least, there might be a silver lining in this in that it may be what I need to push me to make online comicking my part time job, and I would enjoy that more than my part time job. The question is, is it possible? Can I replace my part time job by doing depression comix and related work?

That’s a good question, and maybe now is the opportunity to find out. Unfortunately, with the traffic I have now, it’s not steady enough to be a reliable source of income. When Iwas linked by i09 I received over $50 that week in Google Adsense, but the following week it died down so now my average is about $0,50/day.

To add to all the problems, the display on my laptop is dead, I can only get it to work by conecting a HDMI cable to it from my TV, which is not an optimal solution. I will have to buy a new computer very soon.

These problems will have to be solved. The last thing I want to do is give up comicking now that I’m slowly making a comeback. I will have to find ways to make this work.

Why the focus is so business oriented lately

Way back in the day when I was focused on Sexy Losers, the site bounced around from server to server because it always seemed to require more bandwidth than the provider wanted to give. After one bill of over $250US I decided that the only way for me to have Sexy Losers online somewhere is if someone would host it for me. At first, it was the Stile Project, who put the most vile adult ads possible on it. As more and more ads were being placed on the site without my input I decided to move to KeenSpace, another free hoster with ads but the ads were much more managable and less offensive (although the argument is that Sexy Losers was itself pretty offensive, it didn’t take itself seriously but those ads were serious and thus creepier). During this time, I should note that I never made a penny from any of these ads, and at the time I was more focused on avoiding another $250 bandwidth bill than anything.

I ended up leaving Keenspace because even though Sexy Losers was the most popular comic on it at the time, Keen would never promote it or share in the advertising money, despite it saying that it was possible. After a few Keen honchos said some disparaging words about the comic, it was time to leave, and a reader who had a server said I could host SL there if I ran some ads, and that’s where it is today.

I had the opportunity to meet this person last year, and one of the things he had said stuck in my head. He said that the ads on the site helped pay for his college tuition. In my recollection, the ads never made any money, and I received very little ad money myself, although he did renew my domain a couple of times.

Hence the story of Sexy Losers was how I was making money for other people but very little of it for myself. That bandwidth bill scared me so much I let other people host the site and pocket the ad money, while all the time I was working for them for free. Pretty stupid, huh?

I guess the lesson I’ve learned from all this is that if you’re doing work on a free site that collects ad money, you’re basically working for someone else. All your hard work is profitting other people. And you think they’re doing you the favor by letting you host your work there.

After that meeting I knew I had to get depression comix off Tumblr/Wordpress.com and onto a site that if it had to have ads, the money would not go to someone else. Even if the money was a pittance, I would at least know how much money is being made off of my work and would get my share of that pittance.

At some point I’m going to move Sexy Losers to a place I can control. It makes no sense to continue having it online not doing anything for me. I won’t be able to put ads on it probably, but I will be able to link it to a shop that would sell merchandise or something that would have the possibility for some kind of revenue.

The lesson here is that my work should have been more important to me, and I let other people profit by it because I did not believe that it was good enough to make my own money from and that I was just very lucky to have someone host it for me. No, the important thing is to control your own work, and if other people are making money and you’re not there is something very wrong.

New Years resolutions and the business side of depcom

This year I decided to make a New Years resolution for myself: This will be the year I will try to run comics more from a business point, and my personal goal is to make a profit of $100 every month in 2014.

In the grand scheme of things this is both a small goal and a lofty one. It’s a small goal in that $100 a month isn’t going to make me rich or make me quit my job or anything like that. But it’s also a lofty one because I’ve been doing this stuff pretty much for free since 1997, and I’ve always stumbled badly on trying to derive some kind of income from my work. To make a goal like this and try to make it work myself is something really new for me.

I’ve been trying to figure out ways to do this. It’s not easy, but because I’m focusing only on Depcom it’s much easier than it would have been for my other comics. Here’s some of the things I’ve been trying:

1) PayPal Donations: Thanks to the incredible generosity of a number of people, this has been the most successful way of generating income from the comic. There are a couple of problems with this: it’s not stable income and PayPal Japan doesn’t like to allow individuals donations so I can’t make the process any easier — people have to login to PayPal and send money the hard way. The next trip to Canada I take I will reopen my bank account there, and hopefully be able to run it from Canada where the rules aren’t so strict.

2) deviantART prints: This seemed like a good idea, offer people the ability to buy prints from deviantART and I would receive 20%. I spent hours and hours uploading all the raw images and formatting each one for the various print sizes and merchandise sizes only to have one sale. Perhaps this option is not obvious enough on the site, but it has been a waste of time.

3) Google AdSense: This was a bit of a battle to get accepted but I did in the end, and I had it all set up by the time I was linked by i09 and my traffic soared. Google AdSense is not a lot of money at all — I’ll probably average $0.20 to $0.40 a day with it — but it’s money that happens without me having to do anything. Currently I have an ad in the sidebar and one at the bottom of old posts so they aren’t particulaly distracting, and I’ll keep it there.  As a sidenote I banned the ads from Scientology — I do NOT want to send anyone there.

One of the things I would like to try this year is an eBook. Perhaps the first 100 strips of Depcom or A Heart Made of Glass or something like that. I’ve been playing with things like PressBooks (too expensive) but I really don’t know where to start with this, in terms of software, templates, etc. I am truly clueless about this but I know it’s a step I should take.

Anyways, I will write more about this, this is a learning experience for me and I&d like to communicate my experiences in this blog. More to come.