Kickstarter thoughts.

So. Book 3 is finished. That means it’s time for a Kickstarter, right?

But… I expect at least half of the people backing that to be new readers. That’s how it went for book 2. If the growth of my readership is anything like it was before, I can expect to need to send out about 200 copies of books 1 and 2 along with the roughly 400 copies I’ll be selling of book 3.

I have 600 copies of book 1; I have 80 copies of book 2. Yes. Eighty. I did a second printing of book 1 that I’ve been selling through, and I’ll have to do a second printing of book 2 as well.

This will involve either committing a lot of my own money to reprint book 2, having a scarily large goal in the neighborhood of $12k (book 1 made $6k of a $2.4k goal, book 2 made $9k of a $6k goal, which makes it maybe not so scary?), or… you know, now that I look at those numbers again maybe it’s not so scary. I’d be down to about 400 book 1 after the theoretical ~200 people buying the whole set, and could do a new run of 400 book 2 (same as the first edition) which’d leave me with about 280 book 2, and a similar number of 3. Or a smaller number, I don’t know what the drop off on sales of book 2 to 3 are versus 1 to 2.

Anyway. Numbers aside, I have been considering just skipping book 3 and going straight to the omnibus. Sell book 1/2 at cost at cons until I’m out of 1, then just keep the omnibus in print. It’s tempting. But the big question is what would the people who’ve supported me by buying books 1 and 2 think? They’re my core fans. Would it drive them crazy to have books 1/2 on the shelf followed by the omnibus of all three?

(I am also considering maybe doing two versions of the omnibus: one that’s the same aspect ratio as the existing books, with one page per spread, and one oversized deluxe edition that’s got three pages per spread, possibly at a larger size overall, possibly hardcover. I need to get some quotes.)

If you’re one of those people, please let me know what you think about the idea of skipping 3 and going straight to the omnibus. Thanks a lot!

EDIT: Approved a lot of comments that the spam filter was holding while I was away from the net. If this is your first time commenting here, it’ll probably hold it until I approve it, sorry! Thanks a ton to everyone who’s weighed in on this.

I should also note that I’m only going to skip to the omnibus if I can bring it in for about $20-40 per book. I know that sounds kind of crazy, but at the size of print runs I do, setup can be a significant chunk of the per-book cost!

32 thoughts on “Kickstarter thoughts.

  1. I think in the long run, it’s going to be better for YOU to have the omnibus. People like to read the whole story at once and this story is one that really benefits from this. While we might feel a little slighted, I’d be happy to help fund an all-in-one. And at cons, I think it’ll be far easier to get sales with a finished product. This DOES leave you with a lot of leftovers, though, and that could be a problem for you. Having lots left over of two of three books seems less a wise choice to me. If you can, put something extra at the back of the Omnibus, such as a behind the scenes or something so that those re-buying earlier parts will feel like they’re getting something more than just 2/3 reprints. My 2 cents.

    • Yeah, I’d definitely throw some extras into the omnibus regardless of when I do it. I figure I can dump book 1 at cost at cons to bring in new fans, maybe even a bit below cost. It’s performed its function now, more profit from it isn’t a requirement.

      And ditching books 1/2 is a MAJOR simplification in my life. On book to sell and keep in stock instead of 3.

  2. I personally would be grumpy if I didn’t get a book three. I also prefer graphic novels with less pages as they feel less unwieldy. I’d be more inclined to shoot for a box set… I have 1, 2 and while I’d probably try squeeze cash out for book three, I seriously doubt I could afford a larger book or hardcover.

    I think with so many leftovers, shooting for a fancy box to put all three in would be awesome!

  3. Agreeing with prev. commenter on the idea of the omibus being a little juicier than just the normal books. Maybe annotate them a little? I know Carla Speed McNeill does that with Finder, and it’s suuuper dope. A guest art gallery is always a good idea too, WINK.

    The pragmatic side of my brain says that it’ll probably be cheaper if you just skip reprinting V2 and go straight to the omnibus. You’d inevitably need to reprint enough of Vs. 1 and 2 to match however many you print of V3, since it’s unlikely new readers will jump in at the third volume. (Not to mention, if you still want to do the omnibus, you’d have to do another Kickstarter later…. advertising the same material that you’ve already sold in three other fundraisers…. that you’ve since moved on artistically from. Which eggh.) Alternately, you could do a really REALLY limited run of V3 as part of the omnibus kickstarter, just to satiate fans who already have the first two volumes and/or weird people like smaller, skinnier books rather than enormous graphic novel dreadnoughts.

    RE: doing two versions of the omnibus, btw: DEFINITELY consider going the Iron Circus route here and offering fancier printing options as stretch goals. That way, you guarantee at least SOMETHING gets out, and any extra gravy you get on top of the initial goal just gets poured into making the finished book a more luxurious object… and if this is the go-for-broke Last Rita Publication, there’s really no ceiling to how many stops you can pull out as bonus levels. (Alternate covers! Oversize pages! Cloth binding! Spot gloss AND foil AND that weird latex-y printing treatment! Rounded page corners! An oddly-shaped dust jacket! A CD-ROM full of over 2,000 HIP NEW FONTS FOR MAC in the back!)

    You MIGHT alienate people who have bought the first two books, but you probably WON’T alienate people who have only bought the first book, since shit, they’re still getting 66% new material with the omnibus. And hey! You’d still be able to sell V1 as a cheaper purchase option at conventions!

  4. I would prefer to get a separate volume of Book 3, and after all the dust has settled on that (and all revisions for books 1 and 2 have been Done Forever) then get an omnibus. There should never have to be a second edition of an omnibus. :)

    Also ideally an omnibus would contain a bunch of other bonus content, like fanart and whatever additional “Ask Rita” happens and so on.

  5. I supported the KS for both volumes, and am very happy. Most important is that I’d like to see volume 3 in print somehow, and will support another KS whichever way you decide to go with this.

    The little volumes are a lot of fun to read, but the collector in me has a slight preference for an omnibus. A compromise might be to print v3 and offer a box at a higher pledge level, to retroactively make a boxed set.

    I understand that not having to manage inventory and reprint times would be easier with an omnibus, but wonder how the (I assume) higher price point would affect your sales. Do you have many people buy v1 and then v2 later? These people could be locked out by rolling into an omnibus.

    • I’m probably only going to take the omnibus route if I can bring it in at around $20-40. At my current print runs, setup can be a significant chunk of the per-book cost!

  6. As someone who bought book one and two, I probably would not buy an omnibus. Money is very tight for me and I can’t afford to essentially rebuy two books I already own. No way can I afford a fancy hardcover. The only thing I would go for is a print of book 3 right now. Plus as a reader, I prefer to have smaller, less hefty books to read… I love box sets… I love smaller comics that I can slip into my bag… I can’t lug around an omnibus.

    If you did an omnibus I would hope you would at least offer PDF copies so I could ensure that I have the entire thing around if you take it offline, because yeah… while I would try squeak out the money to get book three and finish the set… sigh. No. I don’t have very many monies. No amount of extras would make me able to get it. I would have gone for it if this was your ONLY Kickstarter. But I’ve already got 2 books. I want the last one.

    Plus it would drive me crazy to have books 1, 2 and then 123 on my shelf. Like why did you even bother MAKING 1 and 2 if not to finish with 3. Couldn’t you just make a nice box and put all of them into the boxes and then only sell the set of 3 together once this is done?

    • I’d only be doing this if I can make a softcover version of the omnibus that costs around the same as the previous books – somewhere in the $20-40 range. Does that change your feelings on this any?
      I’m also not planning on taking the comic offline any time soon; I like people being able to check it out for free!

  7. I would prefer a separate volume three so that they matched, but I’d still buy an omnibus, I’d just be vaguely annoyed. :)

  8. Go for the omnibus, but do something fun with the spine to work with or riff off of those of us that have book 1 and/or 2 maybe? So there’s a reason besides doodles in our book 1/2 to keep them up on the shelf beside the omnibus.

    As for a landscape-orientation omnibus… all of the yes! Seriously, that sounds like an ideal stretch goal, a run of landscape-form Rita would be epic and a fitting end, as well as really give yet another nail-in-the-coffin reason not to do a separate book-3-only book run.

  9. We want a big-ass omnibus! With a slipcase… and some glow-in-the-dark ink… and a pop-up… and a sound chip thingamajig so Rita can talk!!!

    Um… sorry… Omnibus, please.

    • SPOILER: If I do decide to define who Blue Rita’s boss it, it’ll probably be a Kickstarter backer role, rather than anyone seen in the story beforehand.

  10. To be honest I don’t mind (or rather, I’d love) an omnibus book. I would stash book 1 and 2 in the special place I put the misprints in and enjoy a deluxe hardcover version with all three books inside, as long of course as it is of as good a quality books 1 & 2 were (I mean, color and gloss finish were amazing in those).

    After what you went through during your last printing I think it wouldn’t be bad to think about yourself for a bit and going for a single omnibus to stock and sell would make it easier. And us core fans can happily brag about having the “unfinished separate books edition” that no one else will ever have again, y’know.

    All this to say, save yourself trouble, go for the omnibus and make the amazing pinnacle of Rita’s story!

  11. Instead of comments, how about a poll and sign up so you get better answers here and from your existing customer list?

    Omnibus or all three is fine with me as a new reader.

  12. I would prefer to have a v3 and a later omnibus with special features. I would definitely purchase both. The individual books are for casual reading and lending, something that can be easily given or replaced, the deluxe (especially if it is hardcover) omnibus is for me to keep forever.

  13. Belatedly… I would love an omnibus, because I have been woefully derelict in buying the books. *hangs head* However, the people who’ve bought 1 and 2 might not be happy to deal with the hassle of never having a 3! So there’s that.

    There’s also self-care. So. Um… *waves hands vaguely* It’s a balancing act.

    • There’ll be an omnibus somewhere down the line one way or another; it’s just a matter of whether I bother with a standalone copy of book 3 for a year or so before that.

  14. Repeating my Kickstarter comment: Do you have any idea how the pricing works out for omnibus vs reprinting books 2+3 – presumably there’s a significant per book setup charge if you’re only printing a few hundred copies?

    Having bought books 1+2, the completionist part of me would probably prefer to be able to buy book 3 in the same format, but the economics might well meant that the omnibus works out not much more than just printing book 3 in which case it’s not the end of the world…

    (If you print a paperback omnibus, might that mean that copies of Book 1 end up difficult / impossible to sell? What if everyone just grabs the paperback omnibus & leaves you with a pile of Book 1s – does that leave you in the lurch? But I can see that having to print a batch of Book 2s for people who *might* buy them after buying your existing stock of Book 1s is risky too. No obvious right answer here is there!)

    • Yeah, the setup charges are a big part of why I’m toying with jumping directly to the omnibus.I don’t have a quote yet but I feel like the omnibus might be about the same price as book 3 by itself. And I’ll definitely have a softcover option as well as a HC.

      If I skip to the omnibus, I’ll probably end up calling book 1 “prestige ashcans” and dumping them at cost for people who aren’t quite willing to commit to the whole story. They’ve pretty much paid for themselves already.

  15. Sorry I didn’t weigh in earlier.

    I am VERY much in the camp of the omnibus. I was one of the first in line for the Digger omnibus and have typically purchased them. The reason is very simple: they are more bang for the buck. Buying three books is more expensive than buying one– usually. And the perks of additional material makes up for the difference in total price when it isn’t true.

    That said, I will buy pretty much anything you put out. I’m so very, very glad you’re committed to a print run of some sort. There are so many fine web cartoonists who are solely represented on the extremely ephemeral web. (Platinum Grit leaps to mind.)

  16. As a new reader, if you make an omnibus, I’ll be happy, I can get what I want, and there’s a good chance I’d be up for fanciness should there be a fancy omnibus option.

    If you go for v3, then that leaves me uncertain. If it costs roughly $75 to get all three (or more? 1 and 2 are $25 each on your store, I think), then $20-$40 for an omnibus, that’s seems like an awful lot of money. I could just get the three individual books and be done with it, but then omnibus will presumably have cool extras, so it kind of sucks to miss out on that. Or I could skip the individual books and wait for the omnibus. Then I have to wait at least a year and there’s always the chance it doesn’t happen for whatever reason. (You’ve had at least two successful Kickstarters, so that argues against if failing, but still…) So, basically I don’t know what I do if you print v3.

    All that being said, I could totally see why someone who bought 1 and 2 with the understanding that there would be a 3 might feel like the rug was pulled out from under them.

    And on top of that are the economic and logistical considerations, which you’ve talked about above. If they end up making the decision, then I know I’ll support you picking the option which leads to a simpler better life if it means a higher chance of making more awesome stuff. :-)

  17. If #3 is about the size of #1 and #2, the whole thing is going to be thinner than “A Redtail’s Dream”, which I thought kind of unwieldy when Minna was discussing it… but it’s just fine. I would like to see a #3 on my shelf, but given the quality problems with the softcovers I think I would be able to go for an omnibus. I don’t know what I’ll do with my #1 and #2, honestly, I would feel bad about giving a never-to-be-finished-in-that-format trilogy to someone…

    What about the possibility of printing the whole thing as a single fan-fold so you can read all the pages end-to-end as they were designed?

    • Bother, on the last message I put fake HTML “idea type-super-crazy” tags around the last paragraph to indicate it wasn’t serious, but they got eaten.

    • 3 by itself would actually be about 1/3 bigger than 1 or 2.

      And yeah, I’m not sure I’m going to go with the same printer I used for 2 – I got enough reports of the glue failing to make me a bit unhappy.

      As to a giant fan-fold, IF ONLY. I just calculated it and it’d have to be on a 183 foot long piece of paper. (Seriously: 200 pages * 11″ per page = holysmut that’s a long piece of paper.)

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