I’ve written quite a bit before about the financial pitfalls of self-publishing and freelancing. Unless your name is Grisham or King, it will be some time before you can live comfortably solely from your creativity. You could go many years before your bank records emerge from the red.
In the world of politics, recent administrations have federal employees constantly wondering when, not if, the next shutdown will occur. And when it does shut down, as it did just the other day, you have to wonder exactly how you’ll pay your bills.
Imagine you’re in both scenarios, and you (or your significant other) works for the government and you self-publish.
Like we do here at DFP. (Which is one of the reasons we maintain a Patreon campaign to help with expenses.)
While the most recent shutdown was resolved fairly quickly (well…quickly for the government, anyway), it still caused us to start thinking about our plans for 2018. Given the expenses we normally incur exhibiting, and the costs of things we wish to finish his year, we were forced to make some difficult decisions.
So, for 2018, we will be trimming our budget and focusing on three things for DFP:
- Formalizing Our Business Effects
- Focusing on Local Shows
- Making A Major Push for Our Books
Business Effects: We’re in the process of finalizing a couple of things to fully transition to making DFP an LLC. This will make us, in the words of Daffy Duck, “all nice and legal,” and hopefully simplify our taxes. We hadn’t decided to make our little venture into a formal business until last year, after it looked like Shakes might actually have a future. It’s a lot of paperwork which is very time consuming, and we’re in the home stretch.
Local Shows: This is the hard one. Really hard. The primary casualty here is HeroesCon, which has been both a working show and a family vacation for the past five years. We have made so many friends at that show that we really do view it as the family reunion we want to attend. Shelton Drum, Rico Renzi, and the whole Heroes crew do an amazing job.
Unfortunately, we just can’t afford to go this year, which stinks. Believe me, we did not make this decision lightly. Shoot, there are some new fans we earned last year we won’t get to see because of this decision, and we feel bad for letting them down!
But, by focusing on local shows, we can broaden our customer base while eliminating our travel budget almost entirely, saving us…well…thousands. We are also hopeful that doing more local shows gets us, or at least me, on the radar of local educators for school presentations, which can always help the bottom line.
This means that, as of right now, our convention calendar looks like:
- June, All Star Comic Con (Tyson’s Corner)
- July, FredCon (Fredericksburg, Application Pending)
- August, Faifax Comic Con (Fairfax, Application Pending)
- September, Baltimore Comic Con
(Organizers! If you have a show within 90 miles of DC and want us to be a guest, please email us!)
Major Push: This last one is interesting.
I used to envy folks who worked in comics, and thought I could never work in comics because there was no way I could ever come up with enough ideas to do more than one comic. Ever.
I’m currently working on books 8, 9, 10, and 11. Seriously.
I recently took part in a webinar and was given some disheartening advice: publishers don’t care about self-publishers, unless you sell thousands of copies per book. So, since they won’t care about Shakes, I should come up with a new idea if I want to sell anything to a real publisher.
Already working on so many Shakes and Stanley ideas, I figured it would be a while before I had any idea that I could pitch to publishers and agents. Months or even a year.
And then I took a shower.
I now have a partial manuscript in the works.
That “big push” will be a strong focus on getting 10 to 20 pages of this children’s book idea finished to submit to publishers all over and try to get my hoof…foot…in the door.
As you can see, 2018 is going to be a busy, and different, year for us.
And, while the shutdown is over this week, I am still VERY open right now for commissions! DM me for details! (Every little bit helps!)