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I finished up the 9th Gang of 4 page on Wednesday. Since then I've been doing some housecleaning, both mental and actual.

People who have visited my house in the past few years know that it's usually a great big mess, and readers of this blog may remember that on several other occasions, I've made attempts to get through the backlog of mail and other stuff that has piled up over the years and clear some working space. This time, though, I have a little more time for the project, and I'm making real headway. Slowly but steadily, my incoming correspondence (most of it from my bank and other institutions like that) gets sorted into junk, outdated stuff and potentially interesting, actionable items, and anything not in the latter catagory gets thrown out, as do many other documents, packaging materials, papers full of now-incomprehensible notes and even quite a few crappy doodles and sketches. The actionable items will be looked at on the basis of "will responding to this save me real money or prevent the paper piling up again?" and if the answer is no, out it goes. I'm discounting the fourth category of "official, necessary records" which for the time being I'm just sticking into folders and dumping in the desk safe. Sorting through them will be a matter for next week when I'll do my tax returns. Slowly, because unlike the past few years, I have time. Since Thursday, the surfaces of both my desk and the old, large drawing board have become visible again. The drawing board has been used as an overflow space for the past four or five years - I use a smaller one at the studio.

I've picked up both the two pairs of new glasses and the pack of contact lenses. I didn't get the contacts straight away because after so many years, the specialist wanted me to practice putting them in first. Turns out I can still do that; I suppose it's a bit like riding a bicycle.

I have paid most of my bills (one got lost in the sorting and rearranging, but I've found it again and it's now on my desk) and sent out €2000 worth of invoices to clients and to the studio-mates who I share an internet connection at work with. On top of that, I got an advance from Modern Tales (that's an advance on royalties yet to be calculated, not advance payment for work yet to be done) and sorted out some specifics for a string of cartooning workshops I'll be doing next month.
Getting that sorted out has allowed me to do some back-of-the-envelope budgetting, and it looks like I'm covered for everything I need and some of what I want. Ain't I lucky? Seriously, that's a good basis for planning for the future.

One of those plans is the publication of my first minicomic in a few years, and the first one in full colour. I'm not a big fan of making small print runs of comics, really; I've done too much of it already over the past 15 years. But... I promised a print version to the people who sponsored Headsmen, and now that I'm stuck with having to do it, I'm becoming more keen to do it as well as I possibly could. Right now, I'm thinking of putting out a full-colour A5 or even A4-sized book containing Headsmen and a colour version of Alchemists as bonus material. Adding another colour story wouldn't cost any extra as the pages would be printed on colour sheets anyway, and my test colouring has convinced me that colour does actually improve the art quite a bit.
So I've been comparing prices and doing test prints of individual pages. What I've learned so far is that the price per unit drops dramatically with nearly every extra unit bought if you're going with a local digital printer, much more than it used to do in the days of black and white photocopied interiors. Basically, every extra person I could count on to buy a copy of the book would not just help me make it easier to keep the cost down, but also help their fellow fans get their hands on a cheap copy of the book. With that in mind, I think I should set up some sort of preordering system in which people can sign up for a copy without immediately committing to pay for it, as the final price would be determined in part by the number of people signing up. I'm also thinking of formally reopening the sponsorship drive so people can contribute to both the upkeep of the ROCR website and the initial investment to get the book off the ground.

Of course, I'm still looking for alternatives. There are some promising semi-PODs around that could fill my needs. Ka-Blam looks good although the fact that it's in the US complicates things for me. Wouldn't be a big deal if it was a full POD press, but despite what it claims, it isn't, really. It's a digital small press that's primarily set up to ship batches of books to micropublishers and distributors. But the price is quite good and the fact that it's a fixed, low price per unit makes it a solution that's hard to ignore.

More on that later. I'll have some stuff to show to go into the book soon enough.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 18, 2006 4:56 PM.

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