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.

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