Yesterday's post Fate Decreed It Had To Return: The Final EVER Posting On The UK Comics Scene And The Way Ahead appears to have achieved two things.
The First, as I predicted, was to totally outrage the "Boys Club" that pretends to be "British Comics" -and a few of its members appear to have almost had strokes. See, it proves everything I've written and said in the past. I've found out a couple other things but I'm keeping those close-to-the-chest and I find it all amusing. What a comic industry we might have if all this energy was focussed on comics creation!
The Second thing is that the post achieved some of the highest views in a very long time. Good. What I wrote regarding building up a comics industry can be applied to any country and that would be a great thing (I'll go uncredited there!).
The Google+ views also shot up by over 2,000+
Frank suggested that £1/$1/1 Euro from each person visiting CBO might be a good way to make enough money to keep the site going. "Patreon"/"Crowd Funding" was also suggested. I think I've made my views on this clear in the past and though I appreciate any suggestions, I know they are good intentioned, I'll explain.
Crowd-funding or Patreon involves people giving certain amounts and each amount would be rewarded with a different "thank you" gift. A few years back it was suggested that the old WordPress CBO have a PayPal donation button because WP were increasing charges. I relented and the total amount of donations in £ and $ was.....Zero.
In a way I was very glad nothing was donated. Comic Bits Online was supposed to be a no tricks, ad-free fan site for comickers. I did not like the idea of people donating money -it goes against my own personal outlook.
At the moment, and it does not matter how many views CBO gets, because those numbers are not important to me, CBO has a "cut off" date set in my head. Now the views don't mean anything. Put 2, 000 people in front of me and say: "That is how many checked CBO today" and I'd be far more impressed. In fact, a few weeks back I took the daily views of 3,000 and used that number of gaming figures to see just how many that was -what it might look like (even if only 25mm people size). I panicked and put the figures away. It looked a lot. When the cut-off date comes all those people are going to see is a permanent Black Tower Comics & Books advert. Simple. that's it.
I think it's 17 years CBO has been going -magazine and various versions. In all that time not one penny has ever been made from it regarding sales of my books: the things I need to eat, pay bills and so on -the "boring stuff". I tried getting comic related advertising but one excuse after another came about "no advertising budget" blah blah blah.
I did hear from publishers that they noticed sales increased following CBO reviews and they were able to monitor that. So publishers and even events did well (no constant publicity for the 2016 Bristol Comic Expo as previously -very poor public turn out). When I asked two of the publishers face-to-face about not wanting to pay for ads (at a very cheap rate) one told me: "We get good sells from the reviews so why spend money on advertising?" I could see his point. Even today, old Cinebook reviews are in the top ten post views and that's true most days and I get feedback on those. The other publisher said almost the same thing -and handed me two more books to review!
Why pay for adverts to get sales when reviews get you sales? It's the "money now" attitude rather than "money now and keep building on that" which makes more sense.
CBO is almost a full time job -look at the number of posts and topics covered -4,480 posts since 2010 when this was an "in case" emergency back-up blog. It does not pay and I get no money from sales of my books so you see why I have the "throw in the towel" date fixed? I can concentrate on other things.
Add a PayPal donation button again so anyone who likes what they read can donate anything from a £1/$1? I burst out laughing about that when I read the suggestion and that was at 04:00 hours (who sleeps??). Look at it this way: each person visiting CBO donates £1/$1 in a 24 hour period -that could be between £2,550-3,000 ($2,900-3,50?). Yes, that would secure CBO in itself. That's views from people coming direct to CBO not the 3-4,000 who visit via other external links. Work that out yourself. It would mean that I had to continue CBO out of obligation.
Now look at this in reality: 5-6, 000 people a day not donating £1/$1. That is how it works. People -especially comic fans- in this day and age want something for nothing. And I know not all comic fans -I'm generalising.
Why would they donate -because they read and enjoyed what they saw and want it to continue? Yeah, right: these are the same people who download hundreds of illegal comic scans each week for free. New comics from every company and that includes the small ones that really do depend on every single penny to survive. When they go out of business do those 'fans' cry or think "my downloading illegal scans that lost that company the money it needed to survive?"
About five years ago a couple of little Indie comic publishers were struggling. They promoted and pushed their books like crazy and then, one day, at an event, some person had one company's latest book pointed out to them. "Oh I got that one two days ago" he said. The publisher pointed out he couldn't have because they only got the printed books back two days ago. Guy pulled out his "device" (not sure whether it was a phone or laptop) and there was the downloaded comic. The man pointed out "it's free" and the publisher pointed out his situation and that sales of the new book were his life's blood. 'Comic fan' -"I'm not the one running the site" and walked off.
The two publishers made the same mistake I made when I looked at old downloads a few years back. They searched the internet. One told me he almost burst out crying. At two events he had sold 20 books. Illegal internet downloads of his books totalled 25,000 times. "If I'd had 50 cents from each of those downloads I could continue publishing". Both men then searched for all their titles on download sites. One ceased publishing after that and the other did the same a few months later.
And there were comic forum complaints from these 'fans' that the companies had not finished off series before going out of business. Publishers, heh? Me -once I snuff it the online store is deleted so no one gets anything. Bastard publisher!
Illegal downloads you cannot stop. These are sites run by nasty little people who are thieves. Look inside books for the legal warnings. They are stealing work to get, incredibly, high numbers of hits. Report them and they get pissed off but simply open another account under another name. Say to them: "You continue but readers pay $1 to read the book and that goes to me as publisher and you are covered." The reply "Uh, I'll take down the download and think about that" Off they move to another site because they KNOW the people visiting their sites are never ever going to pay.
I gave up. It's why you will never find a pdf download of a Black Tower book because they want to offer illegal downloads they pay for the book and do the work! Last figure (2013) for illegal downloads of my books via a previous publisher totalled 1.5 million. A donation from downloaders of 50p/50cents would have meant I don't have to eat shitty basic meals. Comic publishing as a living is good for dieting.
So, a PayPal donation button for CBO? Really? It's depressing enough looking at online sales and to look at another "0"...no thanks. I've a mind to do it just to throw it back at people but....
If anything has been learnt let it be this: everyone wants something for nothing and if you ain't offering free books then screw you. Why should they care if your business vanishes or you can pay bills? That is what anyone has to remember if they think they can make money in the comics business and that isn't just in the UK but everywhere.