Here’s a topic I really don’t like talking about, Money. It became extremely clear to me that if I want comics to be my living, I’m going to have to get used to the idea that selling yourself and your comic is necessary. Up until recently, the only income ARG was making was from advertising and from some commission work. Outside of that I’ve been helping my parents out for a very modest wage which has allowed me to stay afloat with my bills and debt but not really make any headway.
Working a convention is a great opportunity to meet readers and make new ones. It’s also a great place for creatives to finally make some money from their hard work. If you factored in all the work and all the expenses I put into this comic, I’d be making more as a slave labourer. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy doing it. I do. IMMENSELY. Having an opportunity to make money from that hard work is exciting and scary.
I noticed during conversations at FanExpo and over email and twitter that there seems to be a bit of a misconception that ARG is a super successful webcomic. People think I make my living off the comic, which is not the case. One reader even commented on how nice it must be to have all this “crazy comic money”. Where ever that money is, it’s not with me. But I appreciate the vote of confidence. The comic does make a small revenue, which goes to paying for it’s own upkeep, some light advertising and it also covers my groceries. Sometimes.
Even having a successful Indiegogo campaign can be deceiving. With the exception of $2 (I bought a coffee), every dollar of that campaign has gone back into the comic. The books cost thousands to print. Another 3rd of it went to shipping alone and then there’s printing up all the extras. Import fees, processing fees on paypal and credit cards, Indiegogo’s cut and that doesn’t even include my time and labour. After all that, I actually had to pay out of pocket for some things. I’m not complaining though. I knew full well what I was getting into. It comes with the territory.
ARG is a success in the fact that it’s the most creatively fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. It’s been a tremendous learning experience and it’s allowed me to get to know an extraordinary group of people (read:YOU, The Reader). But a financial success it is not. Yet.
Again, I’m not complaining. Not at all. Making a living from comics takes time, dedication and hard work. Three things I’m putting my all into. Not everyone can be a success right out of the gate. I started this thing knowing full well there would be ups and downs and that it would take time and my hard work. The goal is indeed to eventually make this my living. To make this a business I can support a family with and be proud of.
I wrote this post not to beg for donations or to make a desperate plea for you to buy my book. If you want it, it’s there in the store. I wrote this to be transparent. To let you guys know what’s going on behind the curtains when I start complaining about shipping costs and import fees. If you feel the need to support ARG monetarily, those are some great ways. But I won’t beg you guys for them.
If you want to help,the best thing anybody can do is to spread word about the comic. Let your friends know about ARG. Share your favourite ARG comic. Let Nana be titillated with all the flippant weiners. Word of mouth is worth it’s weight in gold. I’d rather have great new readers.
I want to end this post with saying thank you to everybody, not just those that have supported ARG monetarily. You guys make this comic a joy to make and the greatest job anybody can have.