This is the last segment: the aftermath of our first Kickstarter!

How much did we actually make? How much did we have to do before and after the Kickstarter?

So, first of all, THANK YOU SO MUCH everyone who backed us and shared our campaign. It meant a lot to us, and we’re excited to say our book is being shared with just shy of 140 people!

A good fraction of our backers were friends or family – thank you so much for supporting us!
Most of those who backed were complete strangers, and that was pretty cool.

As you can see, we exceeded our goal of $3500 CAD ($2500 USD roughly). With 139 backers, we cracked $5871 CAD (about $4375 USD) and two stretch goals!
Kickstarter takes %5 of what you earn, so we were left with $5187.

Now, here were the breakdown of costs, two of which are still estimates at this point.
All physical backers got books, charms, and stickers. Around 90 people got physical copies. 
Others got pins added to their tier.
Others got maps.
We counted all of these backers up to determine costs.

The shipping fluctuates cause some backers were outside the U.S. and Canada. But we made $12 the average shipping cost.
Shipping is weight-based.

Charms – 335.30 CAD (Stretch Goal)
Stickers – 169 CAD (Stretch Goal)
Pins – 523.42 CAD
Maps (8 backers + 2 for self) – ~10 CAD
Books (90 backers + 110 inventory = 200) – ~$2700 CAD (estimate!)
Shipping – ~ $1200 CAD (estimate!)

= 4851.50

So, as you can see. Toben and I take home a whopping $250 CAD for our 140+ page book. That’s about 700 hours of drawing, not including all the edits, lettering, graphic design, and book formatting. That’s gotta be another 100 hours, give or take.

And then incorporating time it took to design and format charms, pins, stickers, and prints to be printed and manufactured… another collective 10-15 hours? 
Except that stinking map I swear has taken me well over 10 hours alone.

I will be spending even more time drawing interior cover sketches and a bust commission for backers!
That’s a lotta drawings! How many hours will that be?
Hopefully less than 30.

Most of the work done for this was done before we launched. I think I was at the middle of issue 4 in March when we went for it. We also asked some artist friends to do pin-ups for us, and color covers for us.
— And you won’t believe this —
So there’s five commissions in the back of our book and a sweet cover on the front because we paid artists to do.
And those costs were not taken out of the breakdown.
If they were… we’d be negative $200 or so. 
So really, we took home nothing.

Now, I want to stress that what Toben and I do, we do because we want to tell stories. It breaks our heart sometimes to see indies in the industry fall prey to the ‘I don’t care about the product, or the people I work with, I’m here to make money’. 
This has lead a few clients to join some shady publishing and comics groups that we will not mention, that we for sure don’t want to be involved with, and on occasion, have left jobs over them. You still have your morals as an artist!

The point of the Kickstarter was not to make money.
It was to create a beautiful, professional looking product we love and believe in for YOU.
While we do need money to survive, we understand that what we are building is typically profitless, but NOT fruitless. We are taking a chance on making our comic free to read online, but this only ensures that people know exactly what they are getting before they buy. And when they buy, they already know they will like the product.
Since first posting last April, we have finally reached about 175 subscribers over four different comic platforms.
It doesn’t have to be a lot. It just has to be consistency and progress.

Does that mean with all this working for ourselves for free, we will work for clients for free?

With clients we’ve worked with, we love them, and loved their IPs to want to help enthusiastically. They also paid us because they valued our skills. They are working individuals, and they understood that we are ALSO working individuals. Those jobs come first. If someone is paying us, you can guarantee we will hit those deadlines first and do our best.
And then we’ll go right back to building.

There was mutual respect.

To have a good relationship with your clients and artists, there has to be a shared mutual respect. If there isn’t, it becomes very apparent very fast. Don’t be afraid to ask an artist questions!

We have also faced many clients who did not value us and took advantage of us. They did not understand the business, nor did they care to.
Contracts are important! Gut feelings are also important.
I’m making these posts to make that understanding easier.

While we are hustling building a castle in the background with a big tarp over it, we gotta make sure we work, and are paid, to continue building that castle. People invest in us, we invest in our product, we invest in fellow artists to help us where we cannot help ourselves (colorists, pin makers, sticker wizards, charm alchemists, etc).
Not to mention materials for conventions.

— Quick note on cons: Last year, we went to ten conventions. We usually broke even with s smidge of profit on table and travel, or less than table, which is not ideal at all. We were burned by some cons that were supposed to be great for everyone and weren’t. It happens.
We also learned to make less product than what we think. This way, you burn through inventory and make profit, and then have room to make more inventory if people make a demand for it. It’s better than having hundreds of copies of something sitting in your closet.

Bundle deals are where it’s at! If you wanna get rid of leftover inventory fast, make bundles. People like good deals and ‘freebies’.

But we are still building, and as we build and keep up a presence, things will improve. But we have significantly cut down until we can see where we stand with conventions we know we do well at.
A Kickstarter may be more beneficial to us in the future than a convention. We shall see! —

We want everyone to buy our product of course, because we want everyone to know about our product and enjoy it. This is why we do what we do.
We’re jaded with some of the mainstream work out there and we want to make our own stories.

We learned a lot from this Kickstarter – what things we need, what things we don’t. Things we can do better. Where to get things made. Who to talk to. How much to charge. How much our goals should be.

We did well for our first campaign. I was very hesitant we wouldn’t get funded. I was ecstatic when we did. I didn’t expect to take anything home. We may be able to once we hit the printers this weekend and get an exact cost, then again when it comes to shipping later this year. It will probably still not be much, but hey, that’s a good chunk of rent right there!

We may never make it big. This is okay!
It may not be until our 40s or 50s that our work takes off.
This is totally okay.
Artists, no matter where you are in life, you ARE making a difference and the work you are doing is going to pay off. Be consistent. Be present. Make friends. Try new things. Toben and I are also here to help anyway we can, despite our own sometimes limited knowledge.
This is your journey. Don’t settle.

If not us, Clients, I have LOADS of lists of artists you can hire to make your creative endeavors come true. Pay them, and they will pay you back with their heart and soul.

Thanks for reading or skimming through these posts!


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