Wednesday, March 31, 2010

But What About Print Copies?!

On a comic message board, I was recently asked why I'm not providing print copies of Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess as a part of the incentives for this campaign. After all, this is a campaign to generate funding for that comic, so why aren't print copies of the comic being funded a part of the rewards for the awesome folks who are helping make this possible?

It's an excellent question, by the way. And it's a question I wrestled with a lot while determining the incentives for the campaign.

For all of the levels of support, you'll receive a digital copy (PDF format) of the book.

While looking at the possible rewards, I realized that fulfillment would be a potentially big expense. Here's a quick breakdown of some fulfillment costs:

1) Shipping the trade paperbacks to the bindery to have the custom hardcovers made.
2) Printing of custom hardcover wrap, binding hardcovers
3) Shipping of hardcovers back to me
4) Production of sketchbooks
5) Shipping everything to backers

In this instance, all fulfillment could be handled with 30 days of the campaign ending (hopefully, depending on my hardcover provider's queue).

However, if we add in copies of the mini-series (2 issues), we're looking at adding a lot more shipping expenses (and/or much more time).

The Kickstarter campaign is 2 months long. Once the Kickstarter campaign ends, we're looking at 2–3 months until work is done on the book. It could be 1-3 months to get The Volcano Goddess on the publisher's schedule. And then issue 1 would have to be solicited, releasing 2 months later. A month later, issue 2 would release.

Let's look at the 3 potential timelines and check out the logistics of our shipping options:

1) Ship everything after issue #2 of The Volcano Goddess is printed and released. This would allow me to use the greatest portion of the funding to actually fund the comic, rather than spending the majority of the money on shipping expenses. The downfall to it is that you would be receiving the physical rewards for your pledge 8–12 months after pledging. And, in order to accommodate having issue #2 of the series in the shipment, issue #1 would have been released and would have been on the shelves of your local comic shop for a full month before you get your copy.

If you think that's bad, how bad would this scenario be for the folks whose rewards were a piece of art? These are backers who pledged large sums of money and they would be be rewarded by waiting a year to get that art.

2) Ship everything as it's competed. This would satisfy everyone receiving their rewards as soon as possible for each phase. Unfortunately, it would also mean that I would be spending 3 times as much time on shipping, buying 3 times as much packing material, driving to the post office 3 times as much and would be spending considerably more on shipping. When I was setting up the reward levels, I tried to not set the bar too high and wanted to keep the expenses low, so that a greater portion of the money went to financing the book.

The way I see it, you folks are backing me to make a comic, you're not backing me to keep the Post Office in business. ;)

3) Do what I'm doing now. Provide PDF copies of the book and send them out via email (which is no cost) and provide rewards as quickly as possible after the campaign ends.

While not a perfect solution, I felt that option #3 found the best balance of fast receipt of rewards and lower expenses.

Sorry to ramble so much. I hope it's clear.

Thanks a bunch for your support, everyone!


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