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.

7 thoughts on “Money making ventures

  1. One thing you might want to do is see if you could get conventions here, Anime and such, to sponsor you for visits. I don’t know how feasible that would be given the airfare back to the US/Canada, but artists can make good money doing that.

    Oh! check out Etsy.com too – a lot of cartoonists sell their work there, and there’s a huge market for art. :)

  2. Thanks for the comment. That admittedly is a tough go — airfare alone would set me back well over a grand, not to mention hotel accomodations and food. Also taking time off work would result in a loss too. I had one convention about eight years ago invite me as a guest speaker but they would not pay for air fare and only 50% of the hotel fee. I’m nowhere big enough a name to warrant that kind of sponsorship treatment, but I do see it as a goal to strive for.

  3. That’s a tough one. Can you look for a job in the states that needs a Japanese teacher preferably on the West Coast? You could always go back to Japan later, but if you want to get your comics off and running eventually you are going to have to come back to the states. Once back here you can start attending conventions and building your fan base. Next would be a book deal I guess.

    • Thanks for the ideas, but moving to a new country is a bigger thing than I can handle. I believe I can do this entirely on the internet, since I doubt my physical presence will have a significant bearing anyways. Perhaps if I was twenty years younger (sigh).

  4. I don’t know how much money it would bring in, but have you considered using Amazon’s independent publishing system (http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?topic=200260520)? The quality of the printed books is pretty good, and the initial outlay to list it isn’t too much. I think the direct-to-Kindle publishing is even cheaper. I don’t know if The Thin H Line would meet their content standards (they sell hard-core erotic ebooks, though, not sure where erotic comics would fall), but Depression Comix certainly would qualify, and the Kindle option alone might be very useful as a low-cost way to publish it.

    That aside, I mainly just wanted to say how thrilled I have been since you started making comics again. I’m an old-time fan from back in the days of Sexy Losers. I loved your no-holds-barred, nothing-is-sacred sense of humor since the day my boyfriend (now husband) read the first Madam X strip to me, and read everything I could since then. When you stopped, every so often I would search online, all stalker-like, to see if you had started back up, and was ecstatic to be able to show it to my husband (once boyfriend) when you did. While I can’t say that your comic brought me and my husband together, I CAN say that it was a great litmus test to see if our sense of humor was compatible!

    I love The Thin H Line and can’t wait to read more, but Depression Comix is really amazing. A lot of my friends are struggling with depression, and I’ve had my own dances with it as well, and your comics hit home really strongly. #148 really resonated with me, as I’ve seen it in action; a friend I know wrestles daily with not killing himself but always looks like he is the king of the world in a group of people.

    You do really awesome work. I hope you make your dream come true.

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