Saturday, February 02, 2008

Scary Go Round book 6 news

I spent today laying out Scary Go Round book 6. It comprises stories 35-40, which runs from Crowley in love through to the ghost cube halloween thing.

Reading back through the whole Super Crisis Quests thing today, I get the sense that I wasn't at my best. I tried hard but it didn't quite come off. If I had another stab at it, I could probably do it a lot better, but such is the peril of a daily comic!

I suppose what I really want to know is, is anyone that bothered about the collections any more? There's nothing special about a book of Scary Go Round comics, I've released about ten. You've been kind enough to read them on the web, which is all the indulgence I ask.

I'm getting tired of bellyaching about merchandise and I bet you're getting tired of hearing me bellyache about it. But I worked out last night that if every reader paid one english pence a week for Scary Go Round, I'd not have to sell anything at all. It felt like a sad statistic. The people who read the blog are probably paying hundreds of those 1ps each, wouldn't it be a lovely world if you didn't have to?

A world where a unicorn was President of the United States of America.


Benjamin said...

I'm pretty sure that Barack Obama is a secret unicorn.

Ryan said...

I for one am still loving the compilation books. It's so much better having them in your hand, and the stories are really nice when read in a big block. I give them two thumbs up!

And once I sell a kidney and pay the rent, I will use the leftover monies to purchase the last book! And book six! Hoo-ray!

Rene Engström said...

I would definately pay you a monthly fee for your comic. Do you even have a donation button? It is a problem with webcomics being too dependant on merchandise because it isn't very environmentally sound. What is a poor cartoonist to do? If I come up with a good answer I will let you know.

John A said...

Rene: The monthly fee would be 5p or 50p a year (you get two weeks free). You can give it to me in London in March if you like! Please have exact change.

I don't have a donations button because people get "blind" to site elements that are there all the time. There's a very nice fellow who keeps telling me to have an ad box at the top right of my page that rotates the available products each time you refresh the page. I had to point out three times that there was one!

Gene Ha said...

I follow a lot of political blogs. Every now and then they post about their latest financial crisis, then remind people of the existence of their Paypal button. The story should be entertaining, with a vague threat that you'll have to stop drawing if we don't help. Ungrateful bastards...

Another nice option is Paypal subscriptions as another button. If you do make one I'm willing to click it so as to lead by example.

BTW, webcomics good, collections better.

Malorie said...

I personally prefer having the books. But then again, I have always preferred things in print.

I would gladly pay a fee to read your comic. Hell, I would even just donate. Your comic has provided me with lots of amusement over the past years, so I would gladly do what I can to try to return the favor.

About the donations button: Even though people do become blind to static elements on the site, couldn't it potentially be better to have one and proceed as usual with the rest of the comic? It won't magically solve the problem of blindness, but at the same time it would allow a facet for those readers that do wish to show their appreciation through such a means to do so. I just thought the reasoning behind not having one was rather interesting as the button requires very little maintenance and it is an opportunity to potentially accrue more revenue. But then again it might just be more hassle then it is worth.

I am finished rambling now (sorry).

Rene Engström said...

John: Have you considered making your rotating ad box slightly more flashy? Maybe with a bit of animation? As they are now they blend in perfectly with the rest of the site's lovely design. If you had to point out 3 times that there is an ad box there, then perhaps you should change it's appearance. There is a reason adverts have chucky, yellow, star-shaped signs reading "CHEAP". They do grab your eye.

50p in my pocket. See you in March!

Anonymous said...

I definitely am a fan of having physical objects like books, and it is especially delightful when it is made up of your comics. I also get great enjoyment out of your t-shirt-making skills. I just wish the US dollar was a little stronger. To be honest, I would also donate (and since people who buy things know your PayPal email address, they surely could just donate on their own without you having a button), but a monthly fee would make me a sad monkey.

Anik said...

I am repeatedly tempted by the books, but as someone who moves house often (must stay one step ahead of those meddling detectives), I really don't want more stuff to cart about with me, it's much more convenient to have it all on the internets in vivid pixellated colour. And I must admit that Firefox shields my impressionable eyes from the adverteasements what puts bread on your table.

I did buy a couple of the shirts, and will probably get more for when the ice finally breaks up and it will be warm enough to go out without the parka, but postal rates being what they are, it always feels like I'm paying a ransomer for the release of their victim.

What I'm saying is if there was a donation button (and if I actually noticed it, being an absentminded sort you'd probably need to mention it, don't be shy now), I would happily contribute a few years' worth of subscriptions. At 1p/week that is value-priced joy, even with the exchange rate!

Anik said...

Oh dear, I just re-read that and it sounds wrong, I meant to say it's like the post office is holding the package ransom, not you. This English, she is hard to good speak.

Stephen said...

Webcomic reader people are more often that not, not interested in printed words I'm afraid, unless those words are printed on a shirt. I talked to a friend on AIM who complained about how you (John A) had the audacity to release a book (Ghosts) without putting it online, so you had to pay to read it on paper. How dare you John.

But I also know people that don't read the comic online, and wait until the books are made so that they can read whole chunks of Tackleford lore in one go.

Have you tried getting the book into comic stores, so that the average comic nerd may possibly start reading? Or is this already happening or been tried or impossible? Perhaps there is a local market you could take a gaggle of books to, and set yourself up a table for possible selling to the masses of asses? To answer my own question, however, you're busy enough as it is without lumping around a table and books for sale to the market.

There may be other options than just selling on the internet. There must be an untapped market our there, just waiting for a faucet to be strapped to their heads!...

Audiobooks! Hire Stephen Fry to read the comics out, and lend even more flair to the series...OK, this one isn't serious. But would be kind of cool.

Tranquil said...

I like to read the compilations in book form, it is kinder on my LCD ravaged eyes. And allows me to read high quality Scary-Go-Round stories in the bath, without the risk of electrocution.

John A said...

The books need a bit of work for the "real world" of publishing if you like. Mind you, they're probably no harder to pick up than One Piece book 14 or something like that.

Here's something that may amuse you, it is also pretty pathetic. On several occasions publishers (some large) have approached me saying "John you are the top man, let's do something together", to which I have had to reply, sorry, I can't because I am busy drawing a free internet comic strip all the time so I can sell tshirts in order to be able to keep drawing a comic.

Let's be honest here: that's an insane statement to make. The sad thing about the internet is that even popular content has become worthless, and you're forced to man a stall by the roadside no matter how good you are at drawing and stories. It's like being the best plumber in town, but you have to make balloon animals to actually make money.

I used to be quite down on webcomics who held donation drives, and vocal about how I didn't like it. But now I think maybe it was a far purer method than the one I employ. WHO KNOWS EH

Wood said...

I like to have the books, because i'm paranoid about WHAT IF THE INTERNET SUDDENLY DISAPPEARS WITHOUT A TRACE ?

But maybe that's just me.

Paul said...

I have to say that I love the books to re-read the strips in a place of comfort not in front of a screen.

More importantly, they are also a great way to introduce people to SGR via the medium of present giving (and thus resolving present quandries in the process). I have 'converted' a number of people into being daily SGR readers in this way.

I would totally support the donation button - and I guess that having it there is unlikely to make you and *less* money so worth trying, provided you are happy with the approach - though agree that it would work better as an occasional addition rather than constant element.

Would a mailing list be a good thing? Not sure - but it could be used to tell people who don't regularly read the blog (or have got blind to site banners)about new merchandise, original art sales on ebay etc - I for one would be happy to sign up, but I guess the very fact that I am typing this means that isn't very surprising...

Timothy said...

I have all of your books lovingly displayed on my bookshelf, right above my computer. In addition to the bonus text and their many other sparkling tangible qualities, it is handy to refer to them when a character or event that is vaguely familiar pops up, but has not been in the comic for some time.

I also enjoy the personal character sketch in each book. It is a fantastic deal, even with the weakened $.

Kitten said...

I think you should have a donation button. It couldn't hurt and I would click it. At present I have enough t-shirts and a small wardrobe, even though I want to support SGR.

Mike said...

I'd buy the books - I always do - quite happily, because they're lovely things to hold, and they're easy to read and one can buy multiple copies and give them to people (who don't read webcomics) as presents. I just wish you had a wider distribution, like into comics shops, or if Jonathan Cape picked up your collections. I love Simone Lia, but really your stuff is orders of magnitude better.

Anyhoo, if you have a tips jar in March I'll throw a couple of pennies in.

Donna Marijne said...

I enjoy SGR way more in book form! The trouble with reading it daily is that 24 hours worth of other stuff getting piled into my head between each strip makes me quite lose the plot. By the time the book comes around it's like I'm reading totally new material, and that's well worth my overvalued £s.

Also I think books make it more memorable. In ten years' time I'll have forgotten most of the web sites I read now, or they'll have disappeared (like the ones I read ten years ago). My books will always be around though.

I'm amenable to getting shaken down for the strip. Try one of those subscribers-don't-get-ads or subscribers-get-it-a-day-early deals for a couple of quid a month if you don't want to make a charity case. Even if only a handful of people stump up you'll be ahead.

Wen said...

I like having the books and tee shirts as a physical manifestation of the love I have for your webcomic.

Steve said...

Please don't take away the printed word. I enjoy collectible material possessions.

I for one would also be okay with you taking a hiatus to do another project. Something perhaps more accessible to the common man. But only if you promise to come back.

matt said...

I like to have the books both for fear of the intertron failing, and the fact that big SGR reading sessions are easier with a book. You don't have to hang around for pages to load. So yeagh, I for one would be gutted if you stopped doing the books.

And yes, I realise that as one of your regulars of course I'm going to say that.

As for charging a subscription to view the comic online, I'm not sure that's a good idea, as it presents a barrier to new readers, even at such a fantastic-value price as 5p a week. For a start it'd prevent me from evangelising about comic to my mates by sending them links.

However, seeing as how us loyal blog readers are pretty much a dead cert for buying most SGR merch, books and the like, why not try charging for the blog or something similar. You know, kind of lik Sluggy Freelance's Defenders of the Nifty program?

The daily strip and its archives would be free for to snag the newcomers, and we truefans could sign up for a subscription to get access to extras such as additional artwork (eg the playing cards), fun side stories like Ghosts and Girl Spy and possibly a few percent discount on merch? Ooh, and a badge and phrasebook like the Dennis the Menace fan club! Yeah!

I know I'm hardly an impartial party in this, but I reckon you could get away with a good quid-a-month or tenner-a-year for that.

Anyway dunno if that's a goer, like I say, I'm biased. Perhaps it'd be a good idea to test demand in the wider market by taking pre-orders and letting people know that it'll only hapen with X many pledges (where X is enough to make it worth your while).

Anyway, just a suggestion. Whatever you do, please keep a-drawin' my good man.


dale o'flaherty said...

I have all the compilations except for "blame the sky", I'll definitely be getting book 6. There's something so nice about having the books all lovingly displayed on a shelf. I prefer the books over internet, it will be in colour won't it? I heard you mention something about how expensive colour printing was.
As for donating, I'll be happy to send a couple of euro your way each year, if everyone does it then...
The problem with that is some people wouldn't donate or if you block scary go round and give passwords out, it'll be hard for people new to the strip to pony-up cash.
I didn't get into american elf for that very reason.

John A said...

Mike: I'll tell you someone else who'd like it if a publisher like Jonathan Cape picked me up - ME. Also Faber & Faber. Or Farrar, Strauss & Giroux. Or PINGWING (Penguin).

My attempts to woo Condé Nast by making fun of them may have shot my hot future in publishing in the foot.

Drew Falconeer said...

Books rule.

mordicai said...


Lisa said...

My husband and I love the books and purchase every one.

sleek said...

Personally, I thought "Super crisis quests" was going to be your magnum opus~but was disappointed by the ending.

It was like watching a heaist movie, say one of the "Ocean's" ones, where they put together the crew, come up with the plan, then decide not to rob the casino after all and just go home!

I suppose that's in part because of the serial nature of the strip and not wanting to have a single story take months, but dammit, man, you should go for it...just do one story that is more of a serialized book than a series of one-pagers. We'll stick with you, I promise!

But, yeah. Collected books=good. You just gotta take a page, (haw, haw, ho), from The Perry Bible Fellowship and get those suckers into "real
bookstores as opposed to hawking them to the online converted.

John A said...

Sleek: it was meant to be a magnum opus, but I learned over those months that feeding out work like that a day at a time is actually quite agonising.

Unfortunately though, almost any climax is going to be an anticlimax in Scary Go Round because at the end of the story, the story continues, and I'm not going to employ any more stodgy melodramatic devices to add some cheap sense of "moment" at the expense of characters I like. Does that make sense?

sleek said...

That's about what I figured...honestly, it was building so nicely I was a bit worried you were going to end the strip the anticlimax was, in a way, a relief.

...but it's that high wire act that's thrilling, you know? "How will he top this?"

I think you've got it in ya...but you may have, perhaps, too much taste and restraint. (Insert smiley here).

I (and Nike) say go for it! Let loose the dogs of war! Kill 'em all and let

Seriously, though, I wouldn't worry about the narrative having nowhere to go, because you have an enormous amount of good characters, good situations and a built-in premise for things such as resurrections, abrupt scene changes or even characters who were previously written out often marvelous forms.

It could even set up a change in tempo, you know, following something bombastic with something low-key and personal, perhaps even from a different narrative view.

Whether you realize it or not, you are compiling your life's work as we speak. Don't be afraid to make it exquisite. (Not that it isn't.)

BTW, if you were to do a "director's cut" of SCQ for the collected book with the big Michael Bay action-porn ending, I will personally buy at least one copy...think about copy...for sure...

James said...

Daaaaamn, John!

I only have a couple of the books (been planning for months to get the rest, but it's alays 'when the next student loan comes in...' ;-))

Been a fan for years, and I do enjoy actually having SGR in a physical form. Vey uch so. In act, hell, I'm going to order a couple of books this afternoon!

rob said...

I adore the books and have found them the best way to get my friends into Scary-Go-Round. They're willing to give an hour to a book and then they're hooked and come to the site.
Mostly they just all look lovely next to the Calvin and Hobbes on my shelf!