BEES!

Bee-Distances-to-forage1

Yay! My bees are awake and they’re flying around my cherry tree and they’re using their little bee house and everything! Plus I’ve noticed that my artichoke plants, which didn’t even bother putting out new leaves for all of last year are doubling in size every time I look at them. I feel like Luther Burbank and it’s not even summer yet.

Some of the more perspicacious amongst you might have heard rumblings that we are going to try this Kickstarter thing. Indeed we are. It is time to print Girl Genius Volume 12 (Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg), and everyone tells me that this is the best way to raise the money, which will make a nice change from sharecropping or drawing people’s pets at petting parties, which is how I worked my way through college.

Everyone says that print is dead, but if that’s the case, the funeral is proving mighty expensive. Now I will admit, we produce a high–quality publication; a nice, high–clay paper, printed in the good old U.S.A., and this time we’re shooting for stitch binding instead of the way cheaper “perfect” binding. (When you spread a book open too wide and the spine cracks and pages start dropping out? That’s a perfect bound book– and a mighty cheap one at that) Plus, we are a bit of a victim of our own success. Our initial print run will be around 9000 books.

Normally our initial print run is 8000, and this lasts us around 2 years, which is just about right. [You don’t want to tie up too much of your capital in books that sit around in your warehouse for a decade or so not making you money. This is a trap that a lot of newbie publishers make, as they realize that if they print a few extra thousand books, their per unit cost goes down. This is true, but no matter how you parse it, printing 5000 books cost more than printing 2000 books, and you probably could have done a lot more interesting things with that money in the short term. Trust me, I learned this the hard way, and I have the stuffed warehouse shelves to prove it. (http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TO&Product_Code=GEN-BUCK-4STORIES&Category_Code=GEN)%5D However, when we printed 8000 of Girl Genius # 11, we sold out in less than nine months. That’s too damn fast. So we’re printing 9000 of the darn things and that’s going to cost a pile of money. To add insult to injury, our printer, with whom we’ve had a long and mutually beneficial relationship, insists on money up front. Their excuse is that in this lousy economic environment, established publishers are flaming out all the time. Can’t argue with that. However, I believe that it’s really because we are first and foremost cartoonists, not business majors, and they are not idiots.

We’re in the process of putting the thing together, and I assure you that you folks will be the first in line to hear when it goes live, which will be mighty soon, as we want to get these books out in time for San Diego. Wish us luck.