It’s been a long month…
You get the entertainment you DESERVE
Allow me to vent would you.
I am so pissed right now I can barely see straight.
Four weeks ago I told you Arsenic Lullaby was about to go away forever, the A.L. website got more traffic than it had in four months.
Three weeks ago I gave you a way to save it…Kickstarter. The website again had a flood of traffic.
I set the goal at 7500.00 making it perfectly clear this was the amount needed to print up the next issue and give this book a fighting chance. The pledged amount is currently over 11,500.00. Now, you would THINK that would have me jumping for joy. Here is why I am pissed. It currently has around 200 backers. I talk to that many readers of A.L. in one weekend at the convention in Chicago, in one day at Comic-con International. add that to the around 8-10 other mid-sized shows a year I exhibit at…plus all the readers who get their books from stores. 200 stepped up to plate over and about the call of duty. Were the FUCK are the rest of you?
Wonder why you can’t swing a dead cat without hearing about “twilight”? Wonder why Ke$hia is about to publish an auto biography? Wonder why hardly any one knows who Henry Rollins is but lil Wayne is everywhere? Wonder why “Deadwood” is off the air but American Idol is on season 117? YOU…are why. The pop culture is full of garbage because lame ass middle-aged white guys with NO sense of humor, art, or ingenuity are willing to pay money to back projects …because teenaged girls are willing to raise hell about what they like and shove it in your face…and YOU aren’t. Those people are working harder than you …period. Those twilight fans are going to let the who world know how great they think those awful fucking movies are and they don’t give two shits what anyone thinks. They, by sheer drive and will power are making “twilight” a pop culture phenomenon that will never be forgotten and will always be tied to and discussed as a “creative” force for this generation, this moment in time. THEY have done that. They are continuing to do that, they are working their asses off. Those awful films are a success, because they made the awful books a success, because they worked their asses off. Right now A.L. has about 5% of its readership doing that.
How about the rest of you? the 4000-5000 people I see a year who tell ME about how much they love this book, who don’t tell anyone ELSE. TELLING ME DOES NOTHING! I appreciate it sure, it’s nice to hear, but imagine for a moment a world where all those people told friends how much they liked the book instead of telling ME at a comic book convention while I give them a free sketch. The free sketches are OVER by the way. For ten years I have sketched for free in books, sketch books, on backing boards, for free. This is something most illustrators charge 10-20 dollars for. I know this, I went around at shows one year to fill up a sketchbook for a friend as a gift. They make you wait and crap out a sketch and charge you 10-20.00 and then act like they did you a favor. Not me, I did it for free…like a chump. I did it for free with the request that you tell someone else, and in my hour of need I currently have around 200 people who remember that I bend over backwards for fans and appreciate it. I have NEVER acted like a jag to my readers the way 95% of the rest of the industry does. I see how other creators treat you…they are flat-out picks. They act like because they can draw lines on paper that you can’t they are above the rest of humanity…they are “ARTISTS” and you are normal. I treat everyone like they are a person and I am a person and we just happen to have different jobs…A mistake on my part perhaps, I have made myself too accessible, removed all mystique, and now when I ask for help I am treated like someone asking for help moving a sofa “maybe after the game is over…see if your brother can help you, and if not get back to me”.
Here is what is fun about the internet…you can see who is helping..and you can see who is not.
The common perception is that I am basically a jerk who doesn’t look out for anyone expect himself and Arsenic Lullaby, as a general business practice. I allow this perception to continue so that I don’t have every Tom, Dick,and Harry coming to me for help. The fact of the matter is I have helped a lot of people over the years. ALLOT. You would be hard pressed to actually find someone who asked me for help …that I didn’t discreetly help, often I make them swear to secrecy, because it is in my best interest to have everyone think I am a jerk and not spend all my waking moments acting as the guardian angel of independent publishing.
I am watching many of these people who I have helped…do nothing in my hour of need. Or, make a half assed effort. I will remember this. I will remember this when you need a dolly to cart your boxes and boxes of books to the table because you didn’t plan properly, when you need advice, when you need some one to open the preverbal door to the industry. I will FUCKING REMEMBER. I asked you for help…and you did nothing or you did the bare minimum. You can help now, or be on your own. The stores are not the only reason Indy projects often fail, they also often fail because we DON’T LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER. Here is a phrase, “a true friend will help you pass him up”. I have helped people pass me up. I am being taught, right now, that such effort will not be returned.
The dollar amount is not the focus now…it is the number of backers.
Right now there are 4000-5000 A.L. readers who either don’t know what is going on or think the magical pop culture fairy will come along and set things right and A.L. will continue forever to be their little obscure guilty pleasure. That would be nice wouldn’t it..A.L. always just below the surface for you to reach down to when you want it. That is not how it works. Things either grow or shrink, they rise of fall. They break through the glass ceiling or they fade away. The funding through Kickstarter is there…but what happens when all the people who ordered through stores, who don’t know what is going on because you didn’t help me tell them, see that A.L. is cancelled? Will they assume that means it no longer exists? Will I be able to find them again, ever? “oh they will go to the website and see it was moved to kickstarter and still exists” …REALLY? THEY HAVEN’T YET. They might not, they might all remain scattered never to be found. Do you think this book can survive any extended period of time with 200 readers?! ARE YOU HIGH?! It CAN’T. those brave souls all kicked in more than they needed to because it was sink or swim for this brand. I can’t declare “sink or swim” every six months. ALSO, A.L. sure as fuck ain’t going to be able to attract the people needed to get a cartoon on the air with 200 people. A.L. is paid for out of MY pocket. The printing, the shipping, the flights, the hotels, the exhibitor booths, the screen printing, the packaging, the posters, the advertising, the mistakes…come out of MY pocket. Not some parent company, not Mad magazine, not the pop culture fairy. This cannot survive long on the backs of 200 people who keep a watchful eye on things. I can understand if you never considered all of this, and I will admit I have been on an emotional roller coaster, but that IS how it IS. Creative enterprises cannot be made successful by their creators. They rise or fall on the backs, mouths, emails, and posts of their fans. I understand that A.L. is pretty abrasive stuff…possible not the kind of thing you’d want your friends to know you read, kinda like you wouldn’t want your friends to know you watch the worst “vampire” movies ever made…oh wait…those fans don’t give a shit, they like those movies and don’t give two fucks what anyone else thinks. There isn’t a A.L. fan who hasn’t uttered the words “I don’t care what people think of me”…and yet only 200 people so far ( plus the people who don’t have cash right now but are spreading the word) who actually mean that. Seems to me there are a whole hell of allot more “twilight” fans out there who TRUELY don’t give a shit what people think about them. THEY are the bad asses right now. Those teenaged girls are kicking your ass. THEY are changing the pop culture, THEY are in charge. Want a revolution? Start FIGHTING.
Because IF you start fighting, I can start doing all the projects on my desk that don’t have the funding…bobble heads, more cartoons, action figures, 3D books, zippo lighters, live action episodes, audio plays ect ect ect. I have more stuff in the hopper here than you would believe, but I don’t have the funding, and I don’t have the time because I spend 30% of my time trying to get you all to understand your part in the success of all this. You think it is ME who made this grow? It WASN’T ME, you knumbskulls…it was YOU. And now you have to fight for it. You can’t look at the tally on Kickstarter and go “oh well I guess it’s safe” and go back about your day, it NEEDS more people! You don’t have to go there and drop 275.00 on original art, pledge a dollar, if you are broke, tell someone about it.You have to find each other. How did you become a fan of this book? You saw a page…you realized this wasn’t quite like ANYTHING else. Show someone else a page. That’s all it will take…it’s not like you are admitting to liking sparkly vampires for fucks sake…you show someone a page and we will either have a new fan or you will have someone who fears you.
As for those of you already doing the lions share of the work, my ill nature wants to tell you to stop and let these other people start doing something…but that would be foolish. Better you keep at it, I suspect once they are done thinking I’m as asshole, they will see the wisdom in my tantrum and help will be on the way.
SEVEN DAYS LEFT
Links to samples to share
OH! I almost forgot, the shot glass…if we reach 13,000.00 in pledges everyone who pledged at least 9.00 gets a free A.L. shot glass.