Thursday, February 19, 2009

Red onions at the "folk art jumble sale"

I wanted to write and say that I am really moved by the comments on my "state of the onion" post. I didn't write it to fish for compliments or to tease you with impending doom.

I was also very impressed by the standard of grammar, spelling and punctuation in those comments. I didn't realise that I had cultivated such an audience of upright citizens. I have issued each of you with a gold star.

I tried to address any questions when they were asked but I will answer the most frequently asked ones again.

Q. Will you reprint books 1, 2 and 3? Or do PDF collections like Diesel Sweeties did?

A. I just can't afford to. I only print 1500-2000 of my books at at time and it takes three years to get through a run. This is as true of original stuff as the reprint books. I don't want to make PDFs when you can read the whole archive on the website anyway, it doesn't make any sense to me - plus the bandwidth consumed would be huge.

Q. What about print on demand?

A. Print-on-demand means very high book prices and/or next to no profit for me. I typed in the specifications for "Blame The Sky" into's price calculator. The manufacturing cost was a very reasonable £37. I would aim to have it retail at around £100. I take credit cards.

Q. How about a top publisher such as Farrar, Straus & Giroux reissuing the early volumes?

A. Publishers lose interest when they find out that my ouevre is as visually consistent as a folk art jumble sale.

Q. Why don't you offer premium content on the website and charge people for it?

A. I put the fullness of my faculties into the daily comic and have little left over to generate phantasmogorias of walled-off content. Every time I work out a nice little ensemble for Esther, that is your premium content.

Q. (This was more of an accusation and it was not all that frequently asked) You dump characters all the time and introduce new ones! This spoils my enjoyment.

A. Sorry.

Q. Is the end nigh?

A. No.


~m. said...

£37? *chokes*

I knew lulu weren't cheap, but that's ridiculous.

Fentible said...

Hmph. If it's of any consequence, this reader is happy that Scary Go Round characters tend to cycle out before they become tired or tiresome.

I was as sad as sad could reasonably be to lose big Tim Jones, but it allowed other characters to rise agreeably to prominence. Besides which, I can always read the *several years* of archives featuring TJ if I need a science-hit.

Also: Mr Allison, sir! Let's be having this new project! I'm keen to see what a fresh start built on all the years of SGR experience actually looks like.

Blef. Apologies for the gigant comment...

Fentible said...

I knew - knew - while I was posting that I should check the previous post to see if all I had to say had been said before. I knew I should, so why didn't I?

Roman said...

I'm honestly stunned by the high cost of Lulu's print on demand service, at least for your books. That's a real eye-opener.

Michael Sidlofsky said...

There's also the fact that bookstores and their distributors/jobbers don't generally carry items from Lulu or other print-on-demand publishers, for obvious reasons. Amazon does carry POD books but (a) I don't know whether Lulu or other POD services do the distribution themselves or have the author do it; and (b) online sales alone aren't generally enough to make a profit or just break even, hence bookstores' importance.

Unknown said...

I always enjoy seeing new characters. Having old ones pop in for a laugh or two is also a nice treat that wouldn't be possible without new characters from time to time.

If you ever quite doing Scary Go Round, I'll fly to England and break your fingers. I'd probably read any new project you started, but I'm not going to tell you that because I don't want to tip my hat too early.

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

I've been reading SGR for years and have enjoyed it in its many forms as the art style and characters and stories have changed. Thank you for all the entertainment!

Provided you keep making comics, I will likely be here to keep reading them -- I suspect even if you explore something new it'll have the same great art and storytelling that's kept me reading SGR.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do next! Be it more SGR, different SGR, or something entirely different, I look forward to it.

cmrsalmon said...

Most of the popular webcomics are either two-dimensional "satire" or mary sue-esque semi-romantic fantasy. (somewhat hyphen-tastic there, sorry)

SGR is not. It is unique and brilliant. But we all know that.

I can't do nuffink about the spectre of creative drought, but leave the monetizing issue with us, and we'll come up with something...

Unknown said...

I shall wear my gold star with pride. I may also be making use of the phrase, "as visually consistent as a folk art jumble sale" in conversation.

xhile said...

As a new reader (last few weeks via a link from Dr McNinja) I am thoroughly enamoured of SGR.

The large back history wasn't daunting at all. It made me happy, with hours of reading to look forward to. I haven't yet caught up to 'present day'.

No doubt you've already had plenty of suggestions of how to grow your audience, but if newbies like me keep coming along and loving it, i think there's hope. I'll certainly be telling my friends.

Anonymous said...

I just realised that the Tackleford elections are this year.

I am excited.

Anonymous said...

And then I realised, Tackleford no longer has a Mayor.

I'm not excited any more.