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:
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?
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)
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.
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:
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:
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?