Rainy Road Warrior Newsletter
June 1, 2022
I Hate Being Right
In the newsletter just before launching the GunEngine Zero campaign I said failure would be catastrophic… and, boy, was it ever!
I tell ya, just when I think there’s no possible way I could feel anymore worthless and irrelevant than I already do, life reminds me that the possibilities are endless.
So, yeah, the campaign ended pathetically. I believe the final tally was 59 backers at just under $900. That averages to $15 per backer. At that rate, I would have needed 266 backers to reach the minimum $4000 required to make the book. So it was obviously never going to happen this time and under these circumstances. There needs to be a massive change before attempting a re-launch.
What went wrong?
As I posted in an update on the campaign, the answer to that question is… I don’t know. I thought I did enough to at least reach the minimum goal but it seemed like I was shadow-banned. After the first week, there was almost zero activity even though I was still promoting the campaign. So, that’s what sucks the most about this: I don’t have a clear answer as to what I need to do to fix this. All I can do is make educated guesses and try different things.
What did I learn?
Facebook and Instagram are useless. Of all the posts I made in all the comic-related groups, it only led to 2 backers. (According to KS.) And Instagram won’t let you post direct links so I really have no idea if any backers came from there.
The ad in Alterna Comic’s books was useless. As far as I can tell, there was no bump in backer numbers whatsoever when those books went out.
Going onto livestreams/podcasts had minimal impact. (Not that I would stop doing them. Because I do enjoy talking to people. About comics or whatever.)
I was also reminded that the comic book industry is full of flaky, unprofessional, self-absorbed people like the jackass who told me he would mention GEZ to his backers but proceeded to put out 3 updates with nothing about GEZ. If he would have just refused or ignored me (like another creator did), then so be it. But he said he would do it.
One positive thing that I learned was that hooking up with other campaigns and creators seems to be the most effective way to reach new backers. Which is why I approached that guy. While he wasn’t reliable or genuine, others were and that led to being able to pick up a lot more backers than I could have on my own. So, this is a strategy I will be focusing on going forward.
What happens next?
I’m still committed to making GEZ happen as a comic book. As I’ve said, it’s already written so reformatting it into a prose novel would not be that difficult. And I’ll do that if the comic book crowd continues to reject me. But I’m still going to push for the comic book version because I think the story fits the medium and there are elements written specifically to take advantage of the format.
And I’ve already talked to Ian about everything. He’s still interested in doing the book and willing to help in whatever way he can. It’s nice to work with an artist who is genuinely interested in a project and not just there for the money.
So, I’ll continue to promote the book by handing out the ashcan preview at conventions, showing off the character with prints, doing podcasts (maybe my own?) to talk about it and trying to hook up with other creators to promote it to their audiences. And maybe I’ll try to re-launch next year. If the economy hasn’t completely collapsed by then.
The Amazing Con-Man - Asheville
Last weekend I had a table at a con here in Asheville. This was in a giant hangar-sized building. There must have been 100 or so vendors. And when I took my son to the bathroom at around 2pm, there was still a line of people outside waiting to get into the event. So there was a pretty significant turnout.
This time we had an 8-foot table instead of the usual 6-foot. Instead of changing the “cage” setup, I just placed my daughter’s stuff on one end of the table, as you can see in the picture.
This con turned out to be the best one so far. (Which, honestly, isn’t saying much.) But I’ll take the wins wherever and whenever I can get them.
And it was mostly due to 1 guy. He spent about $70 on books, pinups, mini-prints, stickers and my daughter’s books. Basically, he got one of everything. That was definitely cool to see someone so excited about the stuff I was offering and willing to part with so much of his cold, hard cash. If I remember correctly, I think it was the ROM sign that initially grabbed his attention.
We sold about 3 or 4 more books to some other people so, at $20 for the table being my only real expense to attend this show, we ended up in the black.
This upcoming weekend, I’ll be going back to Hickory, where I had my first-ever table at a con. Hopefully, this time, I’ll actually be able to sell something. I’ve changed my display setup again so we’ll see if that helps any.
Once again, I also chronicle my convention adventures on my Youtube channel, where I go into some more detail about each event. I’ll be uploading one soon talking about the Nashville and Asheville shows. You can find The Amazing Con Man playlist here:
I’ve decided to offer my books on the GlobalComix website. This is sort of like Netflix for comics. Similar to Comichaus, where you can also find my comics. There are some books for free but most are behind a pay wall. Readers pay a subscription fee then you can read any book on the site, instead of paying for each individual book. As a publisher, I’ll only get a percentage of the money collected depending on what percentage of the books being read are mine. Now, this seems a little sketchy to me, for a number of reasons, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give this service a try. Maybe this can expand my audience and build a much larger fanbase that can bankroll crowdfunding campaigns or self-publishing books.
Right now, I have uploaded six:eight, Neotheric and Book of Legend as well as the 6-page GunEngine Zero preview. Soon, I’ll upload the preview for the adult horror anthology that I’ll crowdfund in a few months.
If this turns out to be a non-starter, I’ll just pull my comics.
Here is my publisher page if you want to check it out…
Speak of the Devil
So, here is the next project that I’ve been teasing for the last several months. Once again, this is going to be a VERY adult horror anthology with stories in various sub-genres like dark fantasy, dark comedy, slasher, erotica, etc.
My approach will be similar to 2000 AD, in that the book is intended to be an on-going series with serialized stories featuring the character below, like 2000 AD does with Judge Dredd. There will also be stand-alone and serialized back-up stories both in full color and black and white.
When the campaign launches, the book will be completed. But I already know that I’ll have a stretch goal to add 10 more pages, which is actually Part Two of this lovely lady’s story. (Her first adventure is broken up into 4 parts. Yes, I already have enough material to do 4 issues of this horror anthology.)
Now, you might be asking, “Why wouldn’t you just put the money you spent into making this horror book into making GEZ instead so you wouldn’t have needed to raise so much money on Kickstarter?”
The answer is that this horror book was basically 50% done before I ever had GEZ ready. Several of the stories were already completed years ago and have been sitting on the shelf until I could figure out what to do with them. I couldn’t put them into Book of Legend because that was an all-ages book. Also, the page rate for the artists that worked on this book was much less than Ian and Anton’s page rate.
In some respects, this horror book will be a sister book to Book of Legend. The same thing but an adult version. So, if things go well, I could continue to tell more mainstream stories in future issues of Book of Legend while doing more adult stories in this horror book.
This Week In Randomness
I like bananas just fine. I used to eat them all the time until I found out that they have a lot of carbs. (I’m doing the Keto thing, trying to cut out carbs/sugar as much as possible.) But I can’t stand banana-flavored anything. Not banana pudding. Not banana-flavored yogurt. Nothing! They literally make me want to throw up. What’s that all about, huh? Because it seems weird to me. Am I weird? Don’t answer that! Because I already know the answer.
~Michael T Gonzalez