Holy effin’ crap, guys! It’s been 1 year to the day since I started The Experiment (read the original announcement here)! For new readers or old school Fancy Bastard who may have forgotten, The Experiment is my attempt to make a living from my webcomic. Originally I gave myself 4-6 months to try this out after I lost my day job. Since it’s been 12 months, you might think The Experiment has been a success. Success is a relative term. This is certainly the most rewarding job I have ever had, and I wouldn’t trade these last 12 months for anything, but as of today HijiNKS Ensue only provides a little less than half the income my family needs to meet our basic responsibilities. This income comes from your DONATIONS and store purchases. A tiny tiny tiny tiny sliver comes from advertising (almost enough to pay the car note!), and the rest comes from my personal savings. The savings well has dried up several times in the last year, but has been occasionally replenished by tax refunds and other such unexpected allocations of cash.
So now it’s “do or die” time. Phase 1 of The Experiment was all about “make the best comic you can and see what happens money-wise.” Phase 2 (this is Phase 2) is all about “The comic is pretty good, let’s get serious about the money part!”
A big part of the new money seriousness is that the fine folks at Topatoco will now be selling HijiNKS Ensue Shirts along with the shirts they already offer from all of your other favorite webcomics.
This is a pretty big deal for me and it’s great news for you. Topatoco is a top notch operation and all they do is sell webcomics merchandise. The shirts are cheaper than they were before, the are professionally screenprinted and you can save on shipping when you buy multiple shirts from me or any other artist. I’m extremely excited. I really want the Topatoco guys to see they made the right choice in adding HijiNKS Ensue to their roster and a great way to show them would be to pick up one (or all) of the new shirts (hint cough hint).
What about the old store? It’s still there… for now. It’s run through Yahoo Stores and I have ALWAYS hated their back end and every other aspect of using them, so I will be shutting this store down in the next couple of weeks. You can still purchase any of the shirts or prints available in the old store as long as it’s still there. I will be moving to a different store front service (same URL for your convenience) shortly. You will still be able to buy prints there and eventually it will have the first HE book. Seriously. I’m watching my wife lay it out right now. It’s happening. I will probably still offer some of the non-Topatoco shirts in the store but not many. If there’s one you want I would suggest getting it now.
What about the Donation Drive? Your monthly donations currently total a little over $700. I am so freaking grateful for this, I can barely express it. The original idea was to reach a goal of $1500 in monthly donation subscriptions. Then the economy went to shit and the donations dried up. Anyone who has donated any amount, especially those of you that have stuck it out and continued your subscriptions have my heartfelt thanks. I’m not going to be shooting for a specific goal any more with the donations. Instead I’m just going to post the monthly totals in the sidebar of the site. I don’t want you guys to feel like “we are never going to get there” in terms of donations. What you are doing now is already more generous than I could have ever imagined.
What about The Vault? The Vault is the “premium content” site that all donators and subscribers get access to. I have big plans for it in this phase of The Experiment, but you can already get Post Shows for the HE Podcast, Destop Wallpapers, iPhone Wallpapers, unfinished art, behind the scenes/making of type stuff, and much more when you donate or subscrbe.
So that’s the current “State of The Experiment.” Treading water but hopeful. The new shirts, the book, and a few other things I have planned for this year are really going to decide the fate of HijiNKS Ensue. If you want to help (with money) you can buy a shirt, buy a print or subscribe to The Vault. If you want to help (without money) you can tell a friend about the site, post a comic on your blog, or send me an encouraging email. Every little bit helps.
Thank you all so much for making the last 12 months so geektastically amazing.
So no more Holodeck or Godspeed or Dumbledore or LOLFox or Roslin?
I really wanted to see Josh drown.
theyre still available now and probably still will be once I move to the new store. The best shirts will be at Topatoco and the rest (or the ones that dont sell quite as much) will be in the HE store. Just have to figure out the logistics of all of that.
Be positive! These are all good things.
"The shirts are cheaper than they were before, "
Does this mean that HijiNKS Ensue will be getting less profit, or does it even itself out?
Grats on joining Rowland's vast, roving empire! The Topato guys comprise most of my favorite webcomics, glad to see they wised on to your sweet little slice of heaven.
Also, keep up the faith. You've inspired me and many others to pursue their true callings – for that, a monthly donation and some word-of-mouth advertising is a small price indeed. Here's to another year of fighting the good fight.
He's said that those are the ones to buy if you want to help the experiment, so I'd assume more profit from Topotaco (I finally figured out how to pronounce it too!).
yes. that. The deal with Topatoco is fantastic for comic creators. If you are going to buy a shirt and want to support HE, buy it from them.
Congratulations on making it this far man, really. It's great to see someone doing what they love. Obviously I'm old-school (OGFB since '07 mu'fucka!) and I'll miss seeing some of the shirts go, but each time you've changed an aspect of HE I've always given it a chance no matter how trepidacious and it's always payed off. Your fans have come to expect and even anticipate big changes, a rare thing that you've certainly earned ten times over. Congrats man, and here's to another year.
Man there is no way Topatoco does pick-ups, is there.
Joel, I gotta say you are quite honestly one of my heroes. You have been slaving away for your art, taking criticisms, putting yourself out there and helping spread the word of HE with lots of poise, grace and dignity. I'm equally as hopeful as you are (if not more) that The Experiment will turn out well. I know you will do it. Just keep in mind, HE is still in its infancy, it does take a couple of years for a comic to reach its full potential and I KNOW you have what it takes to get it there.
Best of luck Joel Watson, O Great and Fearless leader of the Fancy Bastards.
*wipes tear away, stands up and starts slow-clapping*
Right on Joel. Love those Topataco guys. I will need to pick up a holodeck shirt before they beam away, I guess. I should be able to do it in a couple of weeks!
Oh, I'm still very excited and proud. Even though I don't know you personally, I'm proud.
Glad to see the little-shirts-that-could will still have a home, either on Hijinkensuestore.com or topatoco. But why would you want to put your less popular shirts in a shirt ghetto? Does it cost more to have them on catalog at TopatoCo, so you only want the top sellers?
Congrats on making it through the first year Joel! Can't wait for the book.
Dude, your art is awesome, but how about more t-shirt designs? More variety? Perhaps even post a page with voting buttons and different designs, so that you can sell just the more popular shirts?
I can't wear most of these shirts to work. Wanted to buy one for ages, but nothing really fits (or is work-appropriate). How about something like a bacon-Cthulhu explosion t-shirt? With different shirt colors?
Or here is another idea – allow people to submit design ideas and requests, then vote on the best, and then you do that one. 🙂
My shirts arent work appropriate but "bacon-Cthulhu explosion" is? Id love to know where you work.
Anyway, you're suggestions are all good but costly and time consuming. It isnt fiscally feasible to trow up 40 designs and let the readers vote on them. It takes me about the same time as 3-4 comics to design 1 tshirt. There are still other shirts available here:
While I am rebuilding the store next week, that will still be live. More shirts will follow soon, bit since my new shirts are being screenprinted I have to sell a certain amount or they cant afford to print them.
Business never has simple answers.
I can't wear a t-shirt about holodeck porn or unicorn poop to work. Well, I can, but I would rather not.
As for the rest – hey, its your business dude. IMHO you can do a quick pencil sketch, and let people vote on that. Nothing elaborate, etc. But hey, maybe that's just me and in reality that won't work. 🙂
Joel, I don't post as much on here as I used to but I still check out your site weekly and read up on goings-ons via Twitter and I'm still a really big fan. I wish you all the success in the world, with which you can divvy up some of that success to the people who made you successful so that they may share success with others, et cetera et cetera. Long live socialist communistic success!
BTW, I'm gonna order that "And My Axe!" shirt very soon.
How about if Joel makes you a Tshirt with a nice tall glass of STFU on it?
I saw the inside of a Taco Bell once, you jerks all wear the same uniform. That's the real reason you can't wear any HE Tshirts to work.
Play nice or Im turning this comic around and we're going home.