Three Weeks On Kickstarter Doubled Arsenic Lullaby's Average Diamond Order
Douglas Paszkiewicz writes;
I write, illustrate, and self publish a comic book called Arsenic Lullaby. It is one of the few independent success stories in recent years, acquiring a considerable cult following, nominations for a Harvey award as well as an Eisner award. Despite all that though, it was getting squeezed out of existence.
You see, most of my fans are young people who are more and more growing accustomed to simply pointing and clicking to get what they want. Getting them to go to comic book stores, to order a book, so the store could order it from the distributor, so the distributor could order it from me?so I could send it to the distributor, who could send it to the store, who could then give it to the fan, was becoming an experiment in futility. Without Diamond figuring out how to streamline their process, or stores learning that they need to be more accommodating to readers looking for something outside of superheroes books, I would continue to see sales through Diamond drop, and as an Independent publisher I couldn't afford to guess at the number of books I would need, pay for the print run, and then have them get bought in drips and drops online. Arsenic Lullaby, despite its clout and quality was facing ruin.
The point of all this is that Arsenic Lullaby, even though critically acclaimed, and loved by fans and respected by peers would have gone away forever if not for Kickstarter. Kickstarter leveled the playing field. It is now, idea vs idea. The screen shot of my best work vs the screen shot of someone else?s best work. Under those conditions Arsenic Lullaby is thriving. The antiquated Diamond process, the lazy store owners, the deluge of advertising from Marvel, DC and others is for the time being?is null and void on kickstarter. I would like you to take a look at the Arsenic Lullaby Kickstarter page. Arsenic Lullaby is, like other good indy comics, a book that is too off beat and bizarre for many stores to promote. If is often ignored because there are no tights and capes. But on Kickstarter the fans are the promoters. Instead of a postage stamped sized image in a Diamond catalogue, publishers can put their best effort on as much of the screen as they choose to fill up. I can finally let the quality of the work speak for itself, and you can see the results here.
I actually wanted to support this but he seems to ignore email and is pretty clearly anti-internationals (highest shipping rates for this size stuff I have ever seen on Kickstarter)...just for fun, go to his website and try to place an order and see how much international shipping is...my lowest quote was $77 to CANADA...and, of course, he ignored the email I sent him about it.
It'd be nice if he didn't spread disinformation to make his points. "The average corporate comic book is only 16 pages of actual story bound with staples." They're on average 20 pages (DC/Marvel) and up to 24 usually. It's good that he found a way to promote interest in his comic though.
Arsenic Lullaby is some damn fine dark humor comics... that I never would have found despite the fact that my local comic store actually carries it (a former clerk championed it) if I hadn't wandered by their booth at SDCC back in 2006. They still maintain a booth there every year, despite what must be crippling cost, and hook people in with a simple, "Hey! You like dark humor?" and an open book to look at.
I have a zombie fetus statue on my desk to keep human resources away. I'm glad they're finding success on Kickstarter, where they're apparently using the same virtual tactics they do at SDCC.
I've always found AL to be hilarious, and as a "Lazy Retailer" I've stocked it for years and years.
I haven't found an easy time SELLING it, however. Beyond a few rabid fans of the work, most of my customers (sadly) aren't interested. There also really isn't that much of it to sell. How many pages of AL exist ALL TOLD? Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the 64 page collection listed above is ALL the pages of Arsenic Lullaby Doug has produced in over ten years.