In case anyone was worried, the Protest books arrived yesterday, and they are fine. More than fine actually. I’d even go so far as to say great! I really was beginning to have literal sleepless nights over them, so this is very cheering.
You can see a flick-through, at the chipped nail varnished and multi-silver-ringed hands of my daughter, on Instagram:
The colours are good, the gutters have all worked (*falls over*), nothing’s cut off or in the wrong order. If there’s just one thing I’d alter, it’s probably that the cover still isn’t precisely the brightness/levels I wanted it, but it is better than the proof and to be honest every other thing about it is spot-on, so I am a happy and relieved bunny.
If you find a typo, don’t tell me.
So, this week, my comics work has been:
Figuring out how much to charge
This is a tricky one, based partly on a balance of how much I think it’s worth and how much people are psychologically likely to pay, but of neccessity also taking into account the cost of printing, postage, packaging, and PayPal fees (nearly forgot those).
Getting to grips with packaging
I’d pre-ordered some nice shallow boxes from Kite. The books are 20cm x 20cm and the closest I could find was these, which are 21cm x 24 cm – which works well if people also order the Draw the Line book.
If they don’t, the book rattles around a bit, so I’ve been experimenting with various solutions. My first try was to cut the box down, but that was time consuming and rather unsatisfactory, so now I’m inserting little folded rectanglar cuboids of card to keep everything in place. I guess I could have just wrapped the book in bubble wrap, but this seems slightly nicer.
Setting up a Shop page on my site
Kudos to both WordPress and PayPal for explaining how to put basic payment buttons on a WP site in an easy-to-follow fashion.
These work, although my friend Dave has kindly let me know that the ‘success’ page is broken. Looking briefly at this, it looks like it’s customisable only if you have a business PayPal account, but I’ll dig more into it when I have time – I don’t want every single customer to feel slightly confused as they complete their purchase.
Another realisation: if the title of your book begins with the words ‘Sorry for the inconvenience’, at first sight your shop page is going to look like it’s broken. Gah!
Trying to make sure everyone’s aware the book is available
… which just means lots of mentions on social media and hoping people don’t get too bored of hearing about it. I am trying to intersperse the sales tweets with other stuff! Fortunately I always seem to have spare thoughts rattling around my head, and the cats are sick of hearing them.
It does occur to me that I didn’t include my website or social media handles anywhere in the book, which I usually remember to do. Thankfully my name is quite Googlable so it probably doesn’t matter too much, but I ought to dig out my business cards, and include them in the parcels.
Talking of social media, I took my usual grumbles about time and the impossibility of completing long graphic novel projects onto Twitter this week. I’m not sure why, I was putting on my socks and making the bed and just suddenly felt like airing the topic a bit more to a slightly different audience than you, my dear blog readership.
Some nice advice came in. I’d divide it into the wholly practical (‘get a grant’ or ‘do a little bit each day’) which really just proved to me that I have considered everything obvious without finding the right solution for my particular situation, and the – for want of a better word – spiritual (pondering why we do these nigh-impossible things, if not for financial gain). These were the tweets that provided new food for thought for me.
If you’re interested to read some of the replies, the thread starts here.
I’ve just written a paragraph and then deleted it in case the people involved see it – but dedicated readers of this blog will probably know who I mean when I say: if you send someone a fully worked-through pitch that has taken a few days to put together, and it’s a ‘no’, I wish they’d write to tell you so!
But on the other hand, a really exciting enquiry came my way this week, which I’ll be equally opaque about for now, until details are firmed up. I will just say that I’m pretty certain it’s a direct result of my having reorganised my website to be so clear about the direction of my work and what I want to work on.
It did make me realise that I should perhaps be a bit more welcoming on my commissions page though! I probably have the world’s only ‘Commission Me’ page that actively tells people I’m unlikely to have time to work for them. :)
Have a nice Sunday! Buy my book!