Hey everyone! As you know SSSS will continue tomorrow (yay!) and if you've red my Twitter and stuff you know that I managed to ship out the last aRTD books to backers on Monday, and now I'm back home in Sweden. As planned. But there is one change in the plan, which is that I'm going to postpone opening the preorder for the leftover aRTD books (of which there are about 750) for a while. Simply because I'm just too close to a burnout depression from the last few months' book business.
Just to make it clear though: I'm not burnt out or depressed, I just came a little bit close to that bad place and I don't want to risk falling down there by opening the preorder so soon, even though I promised people I'd do it right after sending out the backer books. I don't want to break another promise so I'm not going to set a date for the preorder, maybe I'll be feeling up for it in a couple of weeks, maybe next month. I'm partly writing this post to give a sincere explanation to why I'm going to just sit on the remaining books for a while, but I also want to warn any starry-eyed lone creators out there who might be considering doing some kind of Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign for their own thing. Because, whoo-boy, add my voice to the group of people saying that success can get really overwhelming if you're an artist jumping right into the business side of things for the first time.
Ever since I started my campaign in September last year I promised myself that I would do my best not to write whiny posts every time I felt a bit tired or stressed out about something, because I didn't really feel it would be professional. And, let's face it, people with way more stressful times than me bumbling around printing some book manage to not whine constantly about it. And I think I did a pretty good job at that, although I did notice that I started to slip up a bit last month during the culmination of shipping out the books. But now that it's behind me I feel like it's a suitable time to "reveal" that it's been pretty nerve-wrecking all the way from the beginning. Like seriously, since October the tell-tale sign that I needed to vacuum my apartment again was not dust in the corners, but pools of my hair building up in every nook and cranny. Ew.
The biggest source of that stress was by no means the physical work of putting together a book, wrapping some cardboard around each copy and gluing some stickers on for shipping. Oh no, it's the business aspects of the process that got to me, and all the anxiety of messing around with other people's money doing things I had no previous experience about. Registering two businesses in two countries, dealing with three printers at once, ordering tons of shipping supplies and coordinating things with the Finnish postal services, it all made me so nervous and I was sure I'd mess up some crucial part any day that would end up breaking everything apart. And during it all there was a terrifying lump sum of way over 100000 bucks sitting in a separate bank account, leering at me every time I logged in to pay some random bill with my regular account, symbolizing all the things I needed to get done and all the wonderful, generous people that I would let down if I failed. I had this horrible, irrational fear that one day I'd log in and all that money would have vanished, along with any possibility to pay for the books.
But of course it didn't. Everything went well. I simply want to underline how terrifying this all can be for a first-timer even when everything goes as planned. I think my biggest bumps along the way was when the company that I rented my postage stamping machine from forgot to include the adapter that would actually let me tranfer funds to it. That caused a one week delay, and I was annoyingly sick for another week during the shipping process (still working, though, I was just really grumpy) and the book plate stickers that I had printed turned out to be slightly too glossy for me to draw on properly so I had to sandpaper all of them by hand. That's pretty much it! Now the books are sent out a month earlier than I projected during the campaign, my budget for everything held tight so I got to keep a nice chunk of profit, and the book itself turned out really nice.
I've read so many heart-wrenching updates from other people with webcomic campaigns who are getting completely burned out in the middle of everything, about huge delays and problems with their printers, misbudgeting things and ending up with debts of up to tens of thousands of dollars, and just last week I'm sure many of you heard of that one poor soul who had a complete breakdown and started burning books rather than shipping them out to the remaining backers. I can't even imagine how bad I'd feel if I had ended up in any of those situations. But it's tough, everyone, so prepare yourself mentally if you're going to try out the crowdfunding way yourself.
Well, well, that was a nice and long blog post for you guys! I guess I'm making up for the fact that I've been too tired to write a new entry since...early January, yiiikes. It felt good to vent this time, later once I've healed a bit I'm sure I'll want to write a bit more practically about the ins and outs of a project like this, I'm sure it could be beneficial for some. In the state I am right now a post titled "the dos and don'ts of crowdfunding campaigns" would just be "DON'T do a crowdfunding campaign. DO flee into the woods and become a hermit, you know you want to.", eheh.
But yeah, even though this might have all sounded way negative, I've definitely not soured on crowdfunding at all, it's awesome and I'm sure I'll do this all over again for the first SSSS book. There never would have been an aRTD book without crowdfunding, and because of everyone being so generous I now have money left over to pay my rent for a good while (not sure how much, I haven't dared to check my final bank balance yet. But I know there's good money there!). And for the next project I've learned some things that'll ease my work load a bit, plus the fact that I've done all the business stuff once will surely lessen my anxiety for the second round.
So most important thing: chapter 1 of SSSS starts tomorrow! EEEE!! Now that makes me happy! And to underline once more: I'm not depressed, just mentally super tired. I can get up just fine in the morning and I'm happy to be back home and drawing again. :3