The Future of Daron’s Guitar Chronicles: Please Weigh In!

So the posting last week of the DGC “annual report” has led to a lot of discussions both in the comments on that post and in emails back and forth between me and various readers, fans, and supporters. That prompted me to post this as an anchor post for discussions about some stuff for this coming year and to solicit your ideas and wishes for the future of the site.

Some topics on my mind:

Kickstarter:

Anything in particular you guys want to see as swag or rewards if we do a Kickstarter this year? It *is* time to do the volume 6-7-8 omnibus. T-shirts? What else? And what kind of stretch goals would you enjoy seeing?

Also when should we do it? Both previous Kickstarters had a March/April timeframe so I’m leaning toward that again?

Earnings:

Many of you expressed dismay that the income from DGC is so small compared to expectations and/or what the big web comics (or even some of the best-known webserials) make. As you could see from the annual report, I’ve taken various steps to monetize but none make very much. Right now I project Patreon to be the biggest source of income in 2016, and donations overall to dwarf any other income. Got any other ideas for how to either pump up donations or other income streams.

Currently money comes in from:
• donations (both Patreon and the Paypal “tip jar” on the site)
• ebook sales (mostly Amazon)
• audiobook sales (although that’s trickled down to basically nothing)
• merch sales (negligible except during a Kickstarter)
• ads on the site (earning only pennies a day though)
• paperback sales (small but growing)

Publicity/Promotion

I hired a publicity company last year to help me with overall writing career stuff and one of the things they handled was the launch of DGC volume 8. They got me a fairly good slate of coverage within romance media but not much outside that. Got any ideas? Should I be doing more with the gay press–what’s left of it, anyway? gay bookstores? Anyone have contacts with HuffPost Gay or AfterElton/AfterEllen? Traditional media? Going in another direction: I got a certain amount of traction on Wattpad and then seem to have stalled. What else should I be trying? What else could I do to bring readers in and get them hooked?

Fan Engagement and Fun

I’m super-happy about all the fanworks, as you know. They’re soooo fun and creative and wonderful. So whatever you guys want to do in that regard: I’m likely going to say yes. :-) We’ve also now got a fan forum on the site and a chat room that actually works. Should I be doing more to encourage their use?

One idea that came up in a comment thread recently: folks who have been inspired to learn an instrument or play their instruments more, what do you think about a monthly time for “practice” with Daron? An hour at a designated time when everyone can hop in the chat room to say hi, then we all go play our instruments for an hour, then get back in the chat room to talk about how it went? Whether you’re practicing scales or exercises in a book or you’re writing songs or just noodling around for fun, anyone can join in. What do you think?

Fans are also doing some things I know I wouldn’t have time to do, like filling in the wiki (so far done by s, Ver, and JB) and posting to Wattpad everyday and making quote-art (Chris). You guys really helped out writing Amazon reviews, too, which technically should help the books sell better. Are there other things I could delegate to fans? Other things you guys would enjoy doing?

Any other ideas? Feedback?

We used to sometimes trigger bonus story posts when I’d set some goals like 50 comments that week or 50 retweets and links on social media. Would you like to see more of that?

What should we do when we get to 10,000 comments to celebrate? It’ll happen sometime in the next 6 months, I believe. (We’re about to hit 9200.) Should the person who makes the 10,000th comment win something?

This space is for brainstorming. There are no “bad” ideas, merely ideas, so don’t be afraid to suggest anything. Please be respectful of each other’s ideas, too, if we have a dialogue going–I love that you guys are passionate and enthusiastic! Just try not to trample each other with your passion and enthusiasm. There’s no one right to be a fan or to show your appreciation.

Have at!

-Cecilia

JANUARY 8: UPDATES AFTER SOME DISCUSSION AND IDEAS:

Okay so here’s the proposal. I spent a couple of hours last night setting up a new Paypal account, first of all, that’s DGC exclusive, so that it can be live-linked to a payment meter plugin which I installed (thanks Lena!) and voila:

Olimometer 2.52

The way this one “resets” to zero is I empty the money from Paypal into my bank account. So we could keep everything the same as it has been, where the current system is each week we start counting again at zero and only in the weeks when $50 comes in does a bonus get triggered. OR we could try something new, where the amount is cumulative with no time-limit but EVERY time it gets to $100 there’ll be a bonus post. What think? Here’s a poll:

How should bonus posts be triggered?

  • Anytime the cumulative amount in the tip jar hits $100 (92%, 11 Votes)
  • Only on weeks when the tip jar hits $50 that week (current system) (8%, 1 Votes)
  • A third idea I'll propose in comments below (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 12

Loading ... Loading ...

Personally I really like the idea of raising the threshold but guaranteeing that some bonuses will be triggered, and since the site shows automatically how much has come in, you can all see how close we are to topping off. The tip meter should be visible in the right sidebar near the top of every page, too!

The thing is, if we get to $100 a week in pledges on Patreon, then this system will stay in place to trigger a FOURTH story post a week instead of a third post. OK?

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Comments 11

  1. Bill Heath wrote:

    I intend to commit $300 this year to DGC Tip Jar donations during weeks that can trigger Saturday posts with $50 total tips. I’m relatively new as a participant so I don’t know what all the protocols are. I don’t want to pressure ctan if she plans to have a Saturday reading of goat entrails at a Druid ceremony in Stonehenge, or if Daron is flying off to East Absurdia to enter the Hypolocrian (yes, there is one) modal composition contest.

    I plan to make all donations on a Wednesday when ctan and Daron are willing to do a Saturday post. A total of $20 already donated will trigger a $30 donation in such a week. If there’s a clamor for a Saturday post and no donations by Thursday I’ll put up to $50 in the pot. If anyone else wishes to join me feel free. You can find contact information for me by clicking my underlined user name

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    No one really has to check with me whether it’s “ok” to trigger a Saturday post. If I’ve written a week or two ahead (which is my preference) then it’s not difficult to just shift posts forward, and I don’t have to be home or even on Wifi to post on a Saturday since once the donation threshold is reached I can set the post to drop on the designated day & time without me being awake or on the continent. I can even do it from my phone.

    [Reply]

    Posted 06 Jan 2016 at 3:24 pm
  2. Bill Heath wrote:

    1. I routinely hire people to edit, proofread and do sanity checks of my own books. The first two categories require some professional background, the last one does not. If you’re interested contact me and we’ll work out a payment to you that I’ll match in a donation to DCG. I write nothing that should compete with DGC.

    2. I am a music theoretician and composer. I’ll answer your questions about those topics, just write. For example, Daron once referred to Phrygian. It’s a Greek (and sort of a Liturgical) mode, or scale, that is half step-whole step-whole step-whole step-half step-whole step whole step. It’s one of seven. Today we call Ionian “major” and Aeolian “minor.” I’ve been experimenting with Mixolydian a capella choral music lately.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    1) I’ve got a longtime pro proofreader I use preferentially but I’ll keep it in mind.

    2) Grin. I will confess I actually don’t do much in the way of research on music because everything Daron says about it comes straight out of my own background. Although my undergrad degree is in cognitive & linguistic sciences, I took basically all the classes necessary for a music degree as well (but my college didn’t allow double majoring). Instead I worked at the music department as a sysadmin, TA for composition & theory classes, and electronic music lab director. (In fact I think I took more classes in music than in my actual major…) But thanks for the offer. I may pick your brain on music theory at some point just for the fun of geeking out over music theory.

    [Reply]

    Posted 06 Jan 2016 at 3:39 pm
  3. Amy wrote:

    This is a lot of questions!

    – I’m willing to keep doing fan art as I have time, if people want to suggest who’s next (and then someone give me a description, since D is terrible at that sometimes).

    – I’d love t-shirts in the KS, I will give in and get the boy size this time since the “woman” shirts are perpetually sized for tiny, tiny women.

    – My DGC contribution will continue to be my wee Patreon payment + the KS, since I’m an artist on a budget. ;)

    – I finally remembered to unblock you, so you’ll get a few more of my ad-pennies. You might remind the rest of your readers with adblock to unblock your ads!

    – I feel like Wattpad has gotten a rep for being the site where girls post self-insert 1D fanfic? I don’t know how to overcome it, it just seemed relevant in the stagnant growth discussion. Their terrible tech issues don’t help, I get erratic emails, sometimes the chapters vanish only to reappear later, etc. OTOH, I am loving the excuse to reread it!

    Either way, thank you for keeping this up despite it not being your big moneymaker! I love the story, and would be very sad if it petered out before Daron gets his happily for now (if not a happily ever after).

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    RE; t-shirts, the trend in both men’s and women’s t-shirts seems to be skinnier but longer, and women’s even skinnier but even longer. I guess because the layered look is a thing and also since everyone wears &%$#*# lowride gapped jeans a super long T-shirt that tucks in is the only way to avoid plumber’s butt…?? (I saw someone today with their jeans riding down and underwear showing and their T-shirt TUCKED INSIDE THE UNDERWEAR okay I am officially old bc that was officially the stupidest fashion choice I can remember…)

    I’ll see if we can’t get some different variations though. Seems like scoop neck baby-doll shirts for big-chested women kind of disappeared but maybe I need to shop around more.

    Wattpad *is* the site where girls post self-insert 1D fanfic, but as in all places where fanfic thrives there are millions of slash readers (they call it boyxboy) and they seem to like original fiction quite a lot (even the stuff that isn’t thinly veiled 1D pairings). LiveJournal never really had much in the way of original fic communities/writers whereas Wattpad has tons. Only a few have traveled out of that walled garden and app to read over here, though. I was hoping for more of them and that knowing they could read more of the story faster (we’re still months ahead) would spur them to jump over here. But it doesn’t seem to have drawn very many.

    Speaking of LJ, it still exists and i still post there, and the one time we had the biggest jump in new readers was when someone posted about DGC in a big original fic recc community there. Unfortunately they don’t allow repeat recs, although they might allow each ebook to be recced separately?

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    P.S. No way is this story petering out anytime. :-)

    [Reply]

    chris Reply:

    I laughed when I read the comments about Wattpad.. because when I go in to help post, sometimes… I might accidentally *BLUSH* might stumble on some 1D or Adam Lambert 12 YO Girl Fan Fic…and kinda sorta read it. Shhh… don’t tell, it’s my dirty little secret!

    [Reply]

    Posted 06 Jan 2016 at 5:08 pm
  4. s wrote:

    What if we designate a certain Saturday each month as the bonus Saturday so that everyone knows we need to make sure we donate that week to get the bonus post? And maybe increase the total since everyone will be donating then? Especially if Bill is going to automatically throw in $20. When Saturday posts are mentioned everyone seems ready to donate so making it a set day would pretty much guarantee we’d meet the threshold that week. I know that’s not a lot of money but it’s a start…maybe.

    Donations for all bonus scenes, even ones like Bart’s Christmas story doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    None of that increases new viewers though, which is the goal if we really want DCG to be the next Harry Potter. :)

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    Great idea. And if we go over $50 so much the better. In addition to increasing new viewers one must also retain and invigorate current viewers. Invigorated viewers invite new ones.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    I dunno if it makes sense story wise to have it always be the first Saturday of the month or what, though, since I think the urge to donate should be driven by the story. The last big drive for an extra post that wasn’t for a sex scene was when they were in the middle of an epic argument that ran for more than one post, i think? So I think we might want to wait for that?

    There’s also the possibility that the patreon will meet goal, but I assume it’ll take several months to get to that level…

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    I take back what I said about designated Saturday. That can have the effect of limiting donations in other weeks, contrary to the purpose of increasing DGC revenue.

    I’ll watch comments about people’s donations and desires and if there’s money in the kitty by Wednesday I’ll drop a few bucks in and see what happens. If I’m desperate for a Saturday post I’ll just drop fifty dollars in on Thursday afternoon.

    By the way, triggering a Saturday post every week with $50 in donations would double ctan’s annual net from DCG.

    [Reply]

    Lenalena Reply:

    Is there a widget we can have in the side bar that shows donation levels that week? Like a glass being filled, or a thermometer rising, or an hourglass? Something that catches the eye and visualizes the donation process?

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    I’ve tried to install something like this a couple of times but none of the ones I’ve tried worked all that well. Some didn’t synch properly with Paypal, others charged a fee to use them and donations had to be made *through* their service, and all needed to re-create a new counter widget each week and reinstall in order to re-set it to zero. So it seems this tool doesn’t quite exist yet, not in a way that would be automated enough that I wouldn’t have to be doing a lot of non-writing work to make it work. Alas.

    [Reply]

    Lenalena Reply:

    This is a Word Press site, right?

    How about instead of resetting the counter to zero each week (requiring a reinstall), up the amount needed and let it count through until a post is generated, so you’ll only have to reset the counter when a post is generated? This may help people feel better about donating in weeks when we’re not going to hit the target, too, because their donations still count towards a post in the future.

    I’d be willing to look into some different counter plug ins, to check their functionality, if you want.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Yeah, it’s WordPress. I haven’t found a donation counter plugin yet that worked but I haven’t tried them all and I’m sure people are making new ones and/or improving the old ones all the time. It’s probably been 6 months since I last looked at them, maybe more like a year. It would be awesome if you research them a little and let me know?

    I see what you’re saying about just upping the target but that would mean trusting me with arithmetic. (I know, music is math, you’d think I’d be good at it–and I am great at algebra and most parts of calculus, just terrible at adding accurately.) And the way it’s supposed to work is that if we don’t reach the threshold to trigger a post, it goes back to zero each week, so former donations don’t continue to accrue. But maybe I should let them accrue? Or let all non-Patreon donations accrue, anyway? Hmmm, must ponder this.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I guess my thought was that a bonus Saturday would be an incentive for people to donate. I don’t know how much people are donating each week (other than the Patreon set amount), but if donations are say $10/week and we set a specific bonus date, then we know the donation would be $50 for that week, which is more than the $40 normally coming in for the whole month. See what I mean? And if we increased the required amount for the bonus, that amount would be even more and practically guaranteed. Does it matter if all the donations come in one week instead of spread out if the total for the month is larger?

    As far as Saturday posts being during big plot times, does it really matter? I’m actually asking this to the fandom. I told you before, Cecilia, I would still be reading if we were dealing with 90 year old Daron and Ziggy fighting over silly things like Daron moving Ziggy’s dentures. And I mean that. For me, getting an extra chapter is a bonus, and I don’t care if it’s not a major plot event. But maybe that’s just me. Maybe everyone else does care what’s going on at the time…

    My final thought on this is to maybe let us know on the Thursday post each week where we stand on donations. As I said, I have no idea how much money people are donating regularly. If you gave us that information (if you feel comfortable doing so) then that may do a couple of things. 1) Inspire us to donate to push us over the threshold for a bonus post. 2) Guilt us into donating more because you definitely deserve more than what you are getting for this story.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Me mentioning every Thursday where we are in donations at the top of the post would probably be a good idea though — it’s not as fancy as a widget that shows donation level and it’s not as organized as a monthly campaign but it would at least serve as a reminder.

    That’s of course if I can remember to do it! :-)

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I can remind you in the comments if you forget…(provided I remember! Lol). Shit, I comment on every post anyway, so it shouldn’t be a big deal ;)

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Yes, but can you remember what day of the week it is? (I’m only marginally better at Daron about that, which is to say he’s wrong on what day it is about 50% of the time and I’m only wrong about 30% of the time…) LOL

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Lol, I have a M-F day job. I know what day it is. I’m also kinda creepy stalker-ish in that I have the site pulled up on my phone and read the chapters as soon as they post on T and Th before going to work…so…yeah…

    ctan Reply:

    Having a M-F job never helped me keep track of what day it was. I’d still mess it up. LOL!

    But I think you won’t have to remind me on Thursdays because Lena found a plugin that will keep track of a paypal account in realtime, and I set up a dedicated DGC-only account now. Check it out in the sidebar!

    s Reply:

    That’s a great idea!

    chris Reply:

    I feel the same way… I want to be sitting in my diapers reading about Daron and Ziggy fighting over lost dentures because I never want this story to end! Even the thought of a happy ending is depressing!

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Hehe, when I saw the notification and read the message, I *knew* it would be from you before I even looked at the name! Are we ridiculous? This is one of the few stories I’ve ever read that I don’t want to know how it ends. I’m not turning page after page to see how it ends. I just want to know what happens day to day with these guys. Every day. Forever. *sigh*

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Exactly, which is why I set the Patreon goal of $100 I’ll just go to 3 posts a week permanently (or as long as the donation level stays up). But if that goal is never reached or it takes a while, intermittent surges in donations can still trigger Saturday posts.

    [Reply]

    Posted 06 Jan 2016 at 6:45 pm
  5. sanders wrote:

    I will be picking up the monthly fanworks challenge again. The fall ended up being more ridiculous than I could have anticipated but I’m working to get that back on track. One small thing there is potentially building a collection of text works on AO3. It won’t result in a huge jump in readers, but may get a few people interested in finding out what on earth the source canon is. It’s also my goal to see DGC as an offered fandom in Yuletide this year. I don’t know, sometimes seeing an active fandom in other places can generate some interest.

    Some kind of outreach and promotion to independent bookstores of any kind might help. I mentioned it on the other post just a little bit ago, but Louisville does still have a fantastic locally owned store that does regular author events. I’m wondering if it would also have any impact, for those of us who would buy the paperbacks, to make the effort to do so through our locally owned stores both as a counter to Amazon (I can’t help it, Amazon irks me because I *love* funky local bookstores) and to prove to those stores there’s an interest in seeing the books stocked. I just don’t know if there are enough of us in any given place to make a dent without it being part of a broader promotional strategy for a city.

    As far as swag ideas, all I can think of are buttons and keychains. Maybe, if Amy were willing, some stickers with her images on them, because I’d love to have those for my laptop cover. The tote bags are great, too. I’ve been getting a fair bit of use out of mine, but sadly the only person who’s asked me about it is my little brother.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    I definitely get interested in other media when I see fans I’m connected to starting to post fanfic. THat’s how I got sucked into both Hikaru no Go and Death Note, come to thing of it.

    Yuletide would be fab. ZOMG.

    [Reply]

    Posted 07 Jan 2016 at 12:20 pm
  6. Lenalena wrote:

    Must. Have. New. Kickstarter. T-shirt! Preferably with tour dates on the back.
    The long skinny ones work really well for me. I am very large chested (why I need long), but my waist is not as thick, so otherwise the thing looks like a mumu on me.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Well, it does look like Daron and Ziggy are hitting the road… *ponders shirt design*

    [Reply]

    Lenalena Reply:

    I could also go for the Tracks cover art on a shirt. Or, of course, the as yet unnamed trio.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    You’ll see what Ziggy’s idea for a tour shirt is when the aesthetician comes in. :-)

    [Reply]

    Posted 07 Jan 2016 at 4:07 pm
  7. chris wrote:

    OMG… so many questions and so many interesting comments already! The tour tee shirt idea is fantastic. I have one from the previous kickstarter that I won’t wear because I know I can’t replace it. Note to self: next time order sooner and get TWO! I prefer ones with the tour stops/dates.
    Other ideas – custom guitar picks; laminated back stage passes; autographed set list. autographed 11×17 concert poster, medium/small stickers that can be used on luggage.
    I have not set up to contribute through Patreon because to be honest I can’t trust my checking account balance on any given day! I like the idea of a minimum contribution for the “bonus posts” that go behind the scenes and add details to certain chapters… the sexy stuff! Maybe encourage through various incentives… most re-posts through social media gets “x”.
    There are quite a few social media groups, for example the M/M Book Rec group where authors and supports post links to recommended reads. Planting seeds…seems to be working for authors who either participate directly or have supporters who do.
    I’m happy to support in any way that I can!

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    I confess I’ve had a couple of custom guitar picks sites bookmarked for a while now. :-) They’re so small, though! We’ll see if I can get a reasonable-looking logo on them.

    I plan to keep the adults-only posts for donors only. I send them out automatically now to the Patreon folks and a couple of other major donors and then piecemeal to individual donors as they come in.

    But yeah, I’m definitely thinking of some extra posts from social media shares and that sort of thing. I used to do more of that and should get back to it. :-) Anything that helps grow the readership grows the income in the long run. And we’re definitely here for the long run…!

    [Reply]

    Posted 07 Jan 2016 at 5:10 pm
  8. cayra wrote:

    Kickstarter: I think practical merchandise would be best; Tshirts and tote bags are always cool, though I own too many of them already.
    How about some note- or sketchbooks? Band logo pillowcases? Stickers are always fun, too.

    Money: I’ve voted for the culmulative 100$ option, seems the most sensible to me. Not sure I will be contributing to that though, now that my job situation is somewhat stable I opted to join the Patreon instead.

    Reviews/Promo: I’ll copy over my Amazon reviews to Goodreads/Smashwords some time, but I can’t really help with the Itunes reviews; I tend to stay away as far as possible from the whole apple format shebang.

    On that note, I’d love to buy the audiobooks some time, but I can’t get them from Audible, since they only provide them in Itunes format.
    If you ever sell them as mp3 or on an actual CD, let me know.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Yay Patreon!! A couple of people who were already in the Patreon also edged up their contributions and so before fees we’re actually up to $40.25 now! Thank you so much for jumping in to contribute, too!

    Re: Audible… I could’ve sworn they sell MP3s. I think they give you a choice of MP3 or AAC. Maybe it depends what country you’re in? They also sell *through* Amazon as well as on Audible.com directly. I was under the impression people who want them in iTunes format bought them via iTunes and for other formats you went to Audible directly, but maybe I’m wrong.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Oh and notebooks or sketchbooks is a great idea!

    [Reply]

    Posted 08 Jan 2016 at 8:47 am
  9. Bill Heath wrote:

    Cumulative $100 triggers a bonus. I thought of that but knew it wouldn’t work without a counter. Thanks, Lena.

    For Kickstarter, can we think big? A number of us have some skills that can be monetized, e.g., graphic arts. If I contribute $XXX can I get a new custom logo?

    My typical business planning price is $4-5K. I doubt anyone would contribute that amount, but I’d be glad to do one for someone contributing, say, $200. I’ll task my research division to do work for a contributor, need to think about how to do that and how much.

    There are a number of writers among us. For a book I invented a mythical erotic/romance story writing computer program (think “Your Child’s Own Story!”) that would write e-books with some customer input. Perhaps for $75 someone could get her or his own 8K word erotic/romance story starring her or him!

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    I guess the one caveat with Kickstarter is technically the person or artist running it is supposed to be the one to provide the services (though I’ve seen that rule bent a lot). One thing I’ve always offered as a sponsor incentive but could add to the Kickstarter is to write people *into DGC* for a high enough contribution, though. (The price of a speaking cameo is currently $250 and a non-speaking cameo is $200.)

    [Reply]

    Posted 08 Jan 2016 at 12:02 pm
  10. Bill Heath wrote:

    1. You don’t manufacture the swag. I’ll give you a transferrable gift certificate to do with as you wish. If you don’t need a business plan, you can give it to someone who does. Or, you can pay me a dollar so I manufacture this “swag” and you do with it as you wish.

    2. I’m changing my tack and donating $5 per week in the hopes that others will also donate. If nobody else donates, it will be twenty weeks to the first Saturday post.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    I can always list a reward and if they don’t like it, they’ll flag it in review and tell us to remove it before they approve it.

    I’ll make it a point to remind people of the counter from time to time this year. That will help, I’m sure.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    You won’t be the only one donating! I usually do a few times a year and just did at Christmas. Gotta get Christmas and an assload of medical bills paid off before I can donate again.

    If you are going to do $5/week, would it be better to join patreon and get us closer to permanent 3 chapters/week?

    Also, ctan, why does your reply have your name and Daron’s image? That’s weird. Lol

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    s, I’m already on patreon. That’s a permanent commitment, so changing it in tight months is a “negative option.” The other is one that I can suspend easily because it’s an “affirmative option.” I

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    Bill’s already on Patreon–now he’s talking about “salting the basket” also. (A busking term — where you put money into the hat and when they see it other people feel motivated to put in, too.)

    No idea what’s up with my avatar…

    [Reply]

    Posted 09 Jan 2016 at 1:48 pm
  11. sanders wrote:

    I like what Bill’s going toward here, with some of us kicking in some incentives for the Kickstarter. I would certainly be willing to source and work up some guitar-themed earrings or necklace pendants or something similar, or some kind of limited gift basket (thinking guitar cookie cutters, black nail polish and hair dye, Elvis tree ornament, small things that have been referenced in big ways throughout the story).

    Tripping Over You (a lovely boy/boy comic) is doing holiday cards as part of their Patreon. I’m wondering if something similar, like a Kickstarter incentive that’s a digital or physical monthly postcard or notecard from one of the characters would be workable, with some kind of “bonus” line or two from them. The other idea with this could be turning some of the memes into a limited edition postcard or notecard set.

    Have you given any thought to having a sort of permanent merch collection available through a third-party fulfillment site? I know there are some–I’m blanking on names–where you set up the store and they take care of printing, shipping, whatever, take out their fees, and then pay you, with pretty limited upfront costs.

    While I’m thinking about it, I would absolutely go for a DGC coffee mug, too, but one that’s of a realistic size for people who live on coffee and tea.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    OK. I’m pencilling in the Kickstarter to run March 22 through April 22 with fulfillment to happen hopefully shortly thereafter, and I’ll start pinging folks about reward items, etc. I’ve seen some campaigns get flagged before but we’ll go through their review process and see what they’ll let through, eh?

    Ooh. Hadn’t really thought about the memes as a card set. Hm. And yeah, I’ve mulled over the idea of having a “premium” tier on Patreon where people at $3 a month and up or something would get something that everyone else doesn’t. But I’m not completely convinced yet–I’m so used to giving away the story I haven’t quite wrapped my head around there being more besides the “adults only” stuff that people might access or get. I’m not sure. Daron is coming down hard on the “power to the people” side of things and not segregating content by money. I’ve almost always tried to give people alternatives to cash as a way to earn perks because for so many years I’ve been the one with no extra money, I worry about pinching people. But I do see other creators on patreon doing that sort of thing and so it’s clearly something that works for some. Definitely thinking it over. Something I should ask Patrons in particular, too.

    And yes, I know the sites you mean. CafePress is one of the best known, Zazzle is another. The thing I’ve objected to about Cafepress is they basically say OK, you put a design on a shirt. If your fans pay $30 a shirt, you get like $5, and Cafepress keeps the other $25. While I wouldn’t mind making $5, I know the production cost of the shirt is closer to $5, so I think to myself, if I made shirts (like in the Kickstarter) and they cost me $8, and I sold them for $25, I’d make more than three times per shirt what CafePress pays. tl;dr those sites just seem really overpriced to me. But maybe I should quit worrying about that and let people who want to throw money at something do so. :-)

    There are also short-term T-shirt runs like at TeeSpring where I could do a thing where I put up a design, it’s only available for a limited time and it only triggers if a minimum of a certain number of people buy in, like you have to have 20 or it doesn’t fly. That’s an idea for the times when no Kickstarter is going on, perhaps? And/or for the “classic” Moondog Three shirts that we offered in previous Kickstarters but people can’t get anymore?

    great ideas. Great great ideas.

    *ponders*

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    A reissue of the classic items feels fitting since it happens with real life band merch so often these days.

    I don’t like the idea of money-restricted items at all, mostly because I’m perpetually broke and I like alternative economies as a life principle. Bartering needs to make a serious comeback. Maybe a physical mail option for Patrons, or a weeks’ delay between release to Patrons and everyone else on something like a digital postcard? I think that’s one of the things Silver Bullet Nights/Smoke, Fur and Stone have done, but it’s easier for them since it means releasing things like draft character art, and isn’t as adaptable to a text work.

    The main thing I’m thinking about is having a way to have merch available through out the year for things like birthday gifts and whatnot that may not line up with the Kickstarter and likely will get lost before the use date rolls around.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    A reissue of the classic items feels fitting since it happens with real life band merch so often these days.

    So true!

    And yeah, you get me. If I do anything that’s only for the first class cabin, as it were, I want to find a way to offer it to the folks in coach somehow, like I’ve done for various things in the past where you could donate *or* put up reviews, tweet, etc. Until I figure out what the perk will be though it’s all theoretical… :-) But good thoughts.

    You guys really make me think. And that’s an excellent thing.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    I think part of the reason those companies charge so much for individual shirt orders is because of the set up. It’s cheaper to order a bunch because they set it up once and then print however many you want instead of having to do the set up over and over. Unfortunately that means you have to either let them get most of the money or buy a whole bunch for less cost and potentially sit on them for awhile until they sell.

    Personally I’m still hung up on the Ziggy unicorns and Daron and Ziggy tattoos. I would love to see any of those 3 items on a shirt, mug, necklace, whatever. Maybe we could start charm bracelets (not the cheesy 80s kind but not the expensive Pandora kind either), where we can collect important little images from the story? These 3, the band instruments/mic, etc. I’m talking off the cuff and still half asleep so this might be the dumbest idea ever…but maybe someone can make it into a good idea. Lol

    [Reply]

    Bill Heath Reply:

    Rather than cheesy or expensive, the charms should be cheesy AND expensive.

    If I can get the “create new topic” function to work in the forunm I’ll create a fund-raising topic so it’s all in one place rather than buried here in comments to a post. My first thought is that a consortium of volunteers could run the merch shop on behalf of DGC. I might be able to capitlize the thing. It’s not expensive and it’s not rocket science.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    If you want ctan to see it use the “off topic” forum. She stays out of the discussion one. That’s just for us. But she gets involved with the off topic one.

    [Reply]

    marktreble Reply:

    Hi, logged in under my alias. I’ve tried starting new topics in both discussion and off topic and get an error that my subject cannot be blank. I fill in subject line and it says subject cannot be bank.

    Once I figure that crap out I’ll post the new thread. I’m at half speed or lower through the end of March due to cancer treatments, and I don’t want to interfere with attention given to the Kickstarter. So, late April I’ll get serious about setting up a merch store.

    [Reply]

    s Reply:

    Hmm that’s weird. Guess the site’s being temperamental today. Maybe ctan can work her magic once she sees this…

    Sorry to hear about your health. My dad was just diagnosed with cancer. I’m trying hard not to fall to pieces about it, and mostly failing when I don’t keep myself distracted. Cancer sucks. Hope your treatment goes well.

    ctan Reply:

    Update: I was just able to post a test post in the forum with no trouble. I did refresh the settings in the plugin so maybe I fixed it? It worked for me, anyway.

    ctan Reply:

    Hm, I wonder if I need to update something in the forum? It worked a couple of weeks ago… I will dig around in it shortly.

    ctan Reply:

    Yeah, exactly. I still think they overcharge–it’s not like they’re doing a full screen printing/offset. They’ve got the technology to do one-offs. But they charge what the market will bear.

    Hm, not sure about charms but I do like the idea of a collectible set of something! So much to ponder!

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    Temporary tattoo sets should be added to the possible swag list. The org I used to work with had them for cons and as a donor gift, so I know they’re possible to custom order.

    Secondary promo thought: as fans we can always, if attending cons, propose panel discussions on DGC or Cecilia’s body of work or something.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    YES of course temporary tattoos of my and Ziggy’s tats would be perfect. Gotta add that to the list.

    [Reply]

    sanders Reply:

    And of the band’s logo. I’m actually thinking about getting the little guitar in it as a small permanent piece.

    [Reply]

    daron Reply:

    I should tell you the little guitar in the logo is a stratocaster and the image itself came from a font that’s all guitars. Yeah, all guitars. Lemme see if I can remember/figure out what letter it is and what the font name is… Aha. Font is called “Screaming Guitar” and the Strat is the letter v.

    Should I tell you what my next tat is going to be or should I let it come out in the story? Hm. I guess it would be a spoiler to tell. Suffice to say I’m not stopping at one, and neither is Zig.

    s Reply:

    Sanders if you decide to get another tattoo in/around Louisville and want company hit me up. I’ve wanted another one forever. I wanted the Deathly Hallows symbol for what, nearly 9 years and decided awhile back to add something DGC related but wasn’t sure what I wanted. Then I fell completely in love with Ziggy’s tattoo idea, so if Daron and Ziggy don’t mind, I’m thinking about adding that to it. I’ll have to put it somewhere I can add to it on the off chance I find another story that means as much to me as HP and DGC…

    chris Reply:

    Sherrilyn Kenyon has a charm bracelet based on her Dark Hunter series that’s pretty nifty. However, all the charms, while related to the story are also pretty stock items, nothing that needed to be custom made. If ctan has a guitar pick designed, an option would be to get the pick “frames” that turn the pick into a key chain, necklace or bracelet.

    [Reply]

    ctan Reply:

    ooh you just reminded me I need to do more research pre-Kickstarter. After I finish this rewrite…and write the next DGC chapter!

    [Reply]

    Posted 10 Jan 2016 at 3:39 am

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