The webcomics blog about webcomics

Kickstarters Come And Go

As Jon and Amy Rosenberg’s Kickstarter From A Multiverse successfully concludes at the high end of the expected range (the FFF mk2 had the midpoint of the range right about at the goal), and C Spike Trotman launches her … I want to say 22nd? … campaign for her latest anthology.

You Died is an anthology of what happens to us after death, and for my money the big news is not the participation of Raina Telegemeier (contributing to a story called A Funeral In Foam) or Caitlin Doughty (and could there be a better choice for the foreword than America’s favorite mortician and scholar of death?), but the price point.

In typical Spike fashion, it’s a simple campaign: the two tiers allow you to get a PDF only, or a PDF and print copy (an early bird tier offered free domestic shipping and cheap international shipping, but is otherwise just the print tier); the one stretch goal (a cover enhancement) kicks in at US$5K over goal (which is the same level that the Iron Circus creator page bonus starts at). Two weeks for the campaign and if I know Spike, the art’s in and the production’s ready to begin the day the payment clears. All of this is bog-standard operating procedure.

But that one tier (okay, and the early bird) that gets you a physical book? It’s ten bucks less than Spike’s ever done before:

A thing I’m compelled to point out: As YOU DIED ((link:…) demonstrates, black-&-white Iron Circus anthologies will now be $20 a pop. This is a 33% price reduction.

The reasons for this: Printing larger runs, distro sales on the back-end, and the Hesitation Point.

No, I don’t mean the vista in the Brown County State Park in Indiana (although it IS lovely). I mean the price point at which potential buyers unfamiliar with ICC’s output will no longer outright reject a book before consideration.

$30 was fine when we were a small press that primarily self-distributed, or sold online and at cons. But now, The books have EXTENSIVE lives after the Kickstarter and con season.

Like… I essentially sold 4 figures (unit count, not dollar amount) in one day, last week.

When you’re moving volume, you print in bigger runs. And when you print bigger runs, the per-unit cost craters. Which is why a mid-range publisher can print, say, 10k units and charge $10 each, but a boutique pub maybe puts out runs of 1500-2000, and the same book would be $20.

All the feedback I get from the distro I work with (and sometimes from the folks I have at the ICC booth at shows) is $30 was too much for a book someone was wishy-washy on getting. I wanna convert the wishy-washy folks into customers. That’s what price cuts do.

And goofy as it sounds, the psychological angle is advantageous, as well. Take the price down ten bucks, and suddenly it’s only one bill out of someone’s wallet instead of two.

Weird? Yeah. But Totally A Thing Regardless? Absolutely.

All those scales and side-effects from distribution will make one other thing noticeably different about You Died vs all previous Iron Circus anthologies: delivery isn’t scheduled until September 2020. When you work at distribution scale, you have to give plenty of notice about your offerings. If Spike turned this book around in six to nine months like previous offerings, a fair number of clients might not be able to take it because they’ve already planned their budgets and spending around books that were announced a year ago.

And if they could place an order that quickly but something (cough, cough, trade war, cough) were to delay the books a week or two past the promised date? Promotions budgets, space on bookshelves, even warehouse stock space would be disrupted. And those buyers that got burned would think twice about ever taking another Iron Circus title.

Spike’s in a whole different world now, and I’m pleasantly surprised to see how well she’s done so far. The number of people that can take a company from one-person garage startup to part of a global supply chain with dozens of inputs and thousands of outputs and not screw the pooch is vanishingly small. Those are completely different skillsets, and the managerial mindset necessary for the post-transition business (especially the importance of delegation) is about 173° out of phase with the fast hustle that’s needed pre-transition.

It’s part of why so many start-ups (not to mention mega-huge Kickstarts that keep growing in complexity) crash and burn — the kind of person that can run the one-person endeavour is usually not only really bad at management, they usually are even worse at recognizing the things that they can’t do (or at least, need to do differently). So sincere kudos to Spike for beating the odds in yet another way; it’ll give her detractors one more thing to cry into their Cheerios over.

Spam of the day:

GET YOUR DONALD J TRUMP COMMEMORATIVE COIN TODAY! Best wishes, Your patriotic friends at Ape Survival

So that’s an Australian prepper supply site getting badly misreading my interests in commemorating anything about Donald Trump other than the monumental crap I’m going to take on his grave someday.

RSS feed for comments on this post.