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.