Monday, February 20, 2012

The Subscription Experiment

I know that a lot of people are interested in my subscription experiment, and that I should write a little something about it - at the very least to say thank you to all the people who have taken the time to sign up.

I wanted the experiment to be low key. I posted once about it on Twitter, at the weekend (and at a time when most US readers would be asleep), and put a small post on my site under the comic. It's not a Kickstarter, there is no goal, merely a push toward sustainability through the website at a time when I probably won't be able to start putting Bad Machinery book collections out (a substantial part of my projected income in any calendar year) until 2013.

In the week since I announced it, I have raised about £4000 (around $6000). This will make a huge difference later this year when a glut of book work for the above collection will make it difficult to do commissions, freelance or prepare special items for conventions. It will buy me a two or three month holiday from near-constant anxiety.

I expected most people to subscribe at the lowest tier, £2 or $3, but the majority of donations were in the middle. The fact that readers were willing to commit to an annual donation greater than the baseline was incredibly encouraging. That several people chose the maximum annual subscription really surprised me.

I've been looking at sales graphs for a decade, the early spike is pretty much the default setting for things I have done over the years. But that people responded at all, and with such generosity, to a quiet request for support, is something for which I am very grateful.

If you enjoy my work and want to support it with a subscription, you can still do so on this page.

Thank you again to everyone who has contributed.

16 comments:

gg said...

Paypal only? I'd like to contribute but can't use Paypal.

Wood said...

I did not know this thing existed. Didn't notice your tweet, or the text below the comic. Buying a subscription right away.

spugmeistress said...

john - i've signed up for the £2 level as i can't afford more this month, and can't guarantee that i'll be able to afford more this time next year either. but i'm pretty sure i'd be able to afford £2 a month, and was wondering whether this could be an option?
plus it's easy to forget you've subscribed to something over a whole year, but not so much over a month, so that might reduce your anxiety a bit about everyone getting a surprise next year! don't underestimate your fans willingness to pay for something we love and would hate to see go away :)

Luke Surl said...

You managed to keep this very low key indeed! I follow Bad Machinery through RSS and I didn't notice anything below the comic - did it appear there?
Anywhoo, I'm signed up now.

Nate Barrett said...

I was looking forward to a post like this. Glad to hear it's done you well so far!

Rosalie said...

I am so glad you posted this, since I don't follow you on Twitter. Seconding spugmeistress's idea for a monthly subscription! It would be easier for me to pay a bit less each month but more overall. Anyway thanks for a painless way to support your awesomeness :)

Pete Ashton said...

Just seen this. Was thinking I'd like to pay £10 a month or something but £120 in one go is a bit much. Can you consider this a vote for monthly subs? For now I'll throw a note or two in the tin and try and remember in a few weeks to do it again.

John A said...

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I'll look into all these things. There were dull reasons why I didn't do monthly payments, but I'll look at that again.

Stephanie said...

YAY, I'm really glad it's worked out well! Scary Go Round and Bad Machinery are some of my very favorite comics. A dude who gives us such funny, amazing web content with perfect regularity deserves to be secure in his finances. Also, to have seconds on cake. :D

Sam said...

Jack Cayless (you are both British, so you must know one another) trades donations for graphic illustrations of the sexual escapades of your degenerate forebears, with a predictably Victorian fixation on prostitutes.

The recent cast are a bit young to provide a counterweight to this, but Shelly Winters is a modern lady, clearly she knows how to have a good time while maintaining her boundaries and self-respect. Instructive documentation would have meritorious social value for your female readership, as well as helping to bring in more donation dollars. Just saying.

Edmund Ward said...

John, so can I run with the headline "CONFIRMED: Bad Machinery books out in 2013"?

John A said...

Edmund: I can't confirm anything yet. I will when I can!

Virtualbri said...

I'm just positioning myself for when we switch to a gratitude-based economy and then I'll collect.

And I'll be rich! Rich I tell you!
--Brian

A Clark Randt III Production said...

i'd much rather pay a subscription for your comics than the new york times.

Jam-Wah said...

So I'm late to this and I can only really afford the lowest tier at the moment, but I had to do something to show some support and make even a token gesture. Love your comics.

Fangz said...

It would be nice to show a little 'total donated so far' box or something. Might help break down the bystander effect for those considering it.