Thursday, February 25, 2010

A prisoner of the past

I've been thinking about my old books and reprinting them again. I worked out how to do it. My plan is to assemble books 1&2 into one volume, and 3&4 into a volume when 4 is out of print. I can't assemble 1, 2 and 3 together for fairly obvious format reasons.

It's difficult to gauge demand for reprints like this and the books would be, due to their 400+ page counts, more expensive to produce than my usual books, which means more cash up front. But I do feel like it would be responsible of me to put them into print again - I think I frequently lose sight of the fact that someone might have discovered my old work last week, to them it is engaging and new.

I can't start looking at this until the last of the Scary Go Round books has broken even, as that is where all my money is right now. Maybe I should apply for an Arts Council Grant! But I think the Arts Council frown upon rascals like me.

34 comments:

kuro-ishi said...

Well, I must say that one of the things that prevented me from buying your latest books was knowing that I wouldn't be able to get the first ones and would be left with an uncomplete collection.
If you were ever to re-publish those first books, I'd be sure to try and get them !

pko said...

What about the other books? I missed some of them, and judging from the prices they fetch I am not the only one (Heavy Metal Hearts and Flowers goes for $70 to almost $150 on amazon, for example).

mordicai said...

I would be interested.

Snath said...

I owned your first three books, but lost them in a move somehow, so you can bet your bum I would buy these volumes if you were to make them.

Randal Cooper said...

Have you considered possibly soliciting pre-orders via Kickstarter, with a minimum threshold for publication? Is it even possible overseas?

Chris said...

I'd buy these. As as an academic I've seen stranger things than this get funding from random applications. I say go for the Arts council....

Allen said...

Please, please make those reprints! As one of the people who only discovered Scary Go Round after the first three books were out of print, I would really like to get a chance to purchase them.

Lucas said...

I would buy them most definitely. If this "cash up front" thing means preorders would help you, say the word!

Jon said...

Please! By the time I'd read books three and four, books one and two were all gone. I'd happily pre-order books one and two!

John A said...

Thanks for the feedbac!

PKO: Heavy Metal Hearts And Flowers isn't even out of print! You might have to wait a while for Keenspot to send you your copy if you buy it from them but I will enquire on your behalf as to how promptly they can issue it. That is a book I am keen to reprint or offer some other way myself as, infuriatingly, I have been unable to buy the remaining stock from Keenspot for logistical reasons on their part.

Jon said...

Kickstarter would probably be a great way to get this going if it's possible to do in the UK, but if not, just try to remind this "Arts Council" that they have the opportunity to participate in THE FUTURE! Councils like that sort of thing, don't they?

Sigivald said...

Do it!

simon said...

I discovered your work a few months ago. It is certainly engaging and new.

I'd definitely go for the compilations, and I can't wait until Bad Machinery gets long enough for publication!

porsupah said...

Call me new-fashioned if you will, but how about plain old PDFs? Yer pays yer money an' gets yer download.

And then there are folks like Robot Comics, iVerse Media, and ComiXology, who'll happily publish your work for iPhones, Androids, and other wondrous gadgets, with variously cunning stratagems for accomodating flexible frames within ungraciously inflexible physical displays of modest proportions.

saru said...

me me me! i only just started reading from Bad Machinery so I have no clue about your past work... and I am immensely curious. a curiosity i would pay for satisfying with in greenbacks.

Kickstarter is a great idea and Porsupah has something there... I do like books, but maybe that would be the more eco-friendly way to go. Yikes.

Simon said...

I've not really bought such things as webcomic compilation books before, but I can very much say that if there was suddenly something approaching an actual comprehensive thingy available, catching books 1 to 4, I'd be hard pressed to keep my wallet closed.

Will watch this space.

Albedo said...

I'm in the same boat as kuro-ishi, reluctant to buy any of your books unless I could get a complete set. Go for it!

Big Hound said...

Have you checked the Arts Council. You're a struggling artist from The Regions. That is exactly the kind of thing they go crazy for!

K said...

I am still trying to buy them as I can afford them, so yes, I would buy a combined 3-4. (I've got vols 1-2 but not 3.)

John A said...

I've addressed some of the points made on several occasions, so while these responses are brief, they are not ill-tempered:

PDFs: I lack the infrastructure to offer these and they will get pirated up pretty fast if I offer vanilla PDFs.

iPhone/Android etc: I will look into the fellows you mention. Small screens and chopping up into panels don't do my comics a lot of favours, I await larger e-reading machines with interest. I have a feeling that options A and B will converge eventually to give everyone the digital SGR books they crave.

James said...

Mr. Allison,
I am only missing Blame the Sky from my collection of wonderful SGR printed tales, and that is because I lost it somewhere.
Let me tell you however, that if you were to reprint the series in a new format, I would eagerly buy every release.


I am not very fiscally responsible.

pko said...

Hi John,

thanks for inquiring about HMH&F, but it was just an example - I own that one. It seems I forgot that keenspot still exists :-) I'd be very happy with Girl Spy and Scare-o-deleria though...

Maybe you could add some pointers on the site to your older work and out-of-print books?

porsupah said...

I should, perhaps regrettably, note that the issue of unauthorised reproduction is something of a featherless duck. Those who wish to copy a work will do so; they are not the paying audience. It will happen, and does happen, whether movies, music, or printed media.

Please, don't be seduced by the siren call of the MPAA. It's far more productive to be concerned with ensuring that those who do wish to give you money are able to do so.

Witchhunter said...

I would certainly buy them if you reprinted.

dmmagic said...

I've never bought a webcomic book before, but I would happily give my webcomic-buying-virginity for a full set of SGR books.

How insane would print-on-demand publishing be for comics? I eventually intend to publish (regular books) with Lulu.com, but I don't know if anyone has tried it with comics...

Justin Williams said...

http://bobbins.keenspot.com/d/19980921.html

So old. Does the Bad Machinery site have a link to Bobbins like the old SGR site did? I don't know! You don't need to know either because that link will save you the trouble of finding out.

Marvel at Shelly acting like a normal lady sometimes!

Bask in the general squarishness of Tim Jones' head!

Len Pickering at Len Pickering!

I'm not ashamed to admit that on the first and third of every month, I stare directly at the setting sun and hum the tune to Crossroads through my tears. My body wracked with the sobbing, I empty a 40 in the memory of Tim.

Gene Ha said...

Would the Art Council respond to an online petition attesting to your international reach? For making England look cool? For bringing in much needed international sales? The Beatles got knighted for doing what you do, on a larger scale of course.

Anyhow, hope you get to keep everything in print. And hopefully soon iPad/Kindle/Nook technology catches up to your display needs.

David Jack said...

If you reprint, I finally would be able to buy :S

David Streever said...

John I am going to kick you in the shins if you don't just put it up on Kickstarter.

brain said...

I'd be psyched for a Bobbins anthology

also: you are probably already aware of this, but Scott Kurtz went whole-hog and printed this giant "awesomeology" :

http://www.pvpstuff.com/books.html

it's huge. Obviously it might be different for you since PVP is a black and white strip.

Cyklown said...

Count me in for another person who really had no means of getting the origionals who would love to order the collections if they get reprinted. If you did some sort of pre-order to ensure that you don't get utterly burned I'd be sure to get in line for that, with my plastic brandished proudly to put my money where my mouth was.

Some of us didn't really have buying power a few years ago. The most I could do in the past was make sure that I got a "Tupping Liberty" shirt for my birthday. Whole the collectibility of the runs does have it's upsides, having access to the comic in a print form is worth it's weight in (nowrather devalued) American dollars.

For a big chunk of my friends I can't really tell them "go check out this webcomic archive". If they're on a computer they're going to be doing other computer-ey things. Having the books on my bookshelf would allow me to push them on people when they're looking for something that's not as dark as Sandman or Blade of the Immortal while not being as utterly soap-opera-like (with all the potential positive and negative connotations that can bring) as Strangers in Paradise.

Slab said...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

I feel like a shitty fan for not owning your books, but I'm not, really! I just want to have a complete set, so best believe I would buy the reprints. I would do anything.

I would sell my ass.

Claire Connelly said...

I just discovered Bad Machinery a couple of weeks ago, and then found all the older comics, which I'm enjoying greatly. And, like everyone else commenting here, I would love to have the early volumes!

JayeRandom said...

I would definitely buy those. You should seriously think about doing it as a Kickstarter project.