The webcomics blog about webcomics

Pruning

It didn’t finish where it started (or maybe it did, and wandered in the middle), but “Hurricane” Erika Moen went into deep Twitter musing mode last night, touching on the practical question of how much you can keep in print, and the more philosophical question of what it’s like to have your work visible. The former started simply:

Looking over the inventory we have left of the DAR! books, just down to several boxes of each.

I think I’m gunna have a final “get ‘em while you can!” sale and then discontinue selling them online, sell the remaining copies at cons.

Ideally I’d like to collect everything into one giant uber book, but I’ve got so much going on that I don’t know when I can make it happen.

Stick around long enough, that’s a question you’re always going to have to ponder: when to let things go out of print? Ask Mr Kellett or Mr Guigar about their ever-growing sets of books and how much fun it is to keep them all in inventory and truck ‘em to a show. After all, if you’ve got books 4 – 8, who’s going to buy them if they don’t already have books 1 – 3?¹ Heck, Mr Kurtz put together one enormous digest and let all the constituent books go out of print years ago. But then Moen’s musings took a turn:

If 20-year-old me could have seen that 31-year-old me would still be selling actual BOOKS with ISBN #s of my inane journal scribblings…

The first thing cartoonists always ask me is how to get a bigger audience, how to get people reading their stuff.

It’s like DUDE, enjoy your anonymity while you have it! Get all your stupid and bad comics out of your system now while no one’s watching!

Enjoy figuring
out how you tell tell stories. Make totally pointless, self-indulgent work. Find your voice while no one’s paying attention.

Because then
when people do notice you, you’re not given any leeway. You’ve got standards you have to live up to, judgement to shoulder.

Once people start paying attention and ripping you to shreds for every single word and line you make, creating is not so spontaneous anymore

You don’t
just BAM make a comic, you’ve gotta analyze every possible angle it could get attacked from & decide in advance if it’s worth it.

Heady stuff for the early morning hours, and it shifted again to a monologue on how permanent work should be:

I don’t know where I’m going with this. 20yo me just never imagined that people would buy collections of my angsty scribbles a decade later.

I guess that’s why I’m ok with letting the DAR! books go out of print for a while. My work is so intentional and thought-out now, …

…but back then I was just farting out comics without any forethought at all. Just: BAM! I had a thought? MAKE IT A COMIC.

It’s kind of a relief to think that the 20yo version of myself can go in hibernation for a while and just let me be a 31yo for a while.

The nice
thing about keeping a journal webcomic is that you have this specific time of your life frozen in amber.
The bad thing about keeping a journal webcomic is that YOUR DUMBASS KID SELF IS FOREVER PRESERVED IN AMBER FOR ALL TO SEE 4 EVER.

But she brought it back around to the starting point and stuck the landing:

Anyway, so I guess this is my unplanned, soft announcement that I’m discontinuing online DAR! book sales Sept 30th http://erikamoen.myshopify.com

So go get your DAR! books while you can. And for the record, I like Moen’s thought-out work as well as what she considers (I don’t) to be “farted out”. Oh, and if you weren’t smart enough to get in on the Oh Joy Sex Toy Book-Kicker, she’ll have those up for regular purchase soon. In the meantime, check out her advice for gettin’ you a threeway. If anybody manages that because of Moen’s advice, she will be my hero even more than she already is.

Oh, and for those heading to suburban Maryland next month for SPX, they’ve announced their programming; as usual, it’s a highly-curated, quality-over-quantity slate (one program at a time, at hourly intervals, for thirteen total presentations), with a Q&A spotlight on Raina Telgemeier on Saturday at 1:00pm. If I make it down there, I want to ask Raina if her publishers buy her an ice cream cone for each week one of her books sits on the Times graphic novel bestseller lists. If they don’t, they damn well should.


Spam of the day:

There are numerous other varieties of business letters with each possessing its significance and relevance within the association held between diverse parties.

That’s … that’s almost recognizable English. Good job, blogspammer(s)!

_______________
¹ I despair to think of what Professor[essa]s Foglio will do, what with more than a dozen Girl Genius books in print, and the story only about halfway done. They’ve made comments about starting over again from Book #1 for the second half of the story so as not to scare away customers.

In the 15 years:

That I’ve been doing webcomics with hardly anyone noticing, I’ve firmly come to believe that anonymity is even better than privacy. :)

Mike

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