Errant Story Donation Drive

Michael Poe, creator of Errant Story, and his girlfriend(wife?) are experiencing some financial trouble that they hope to deal with by doing a donation drive.

For those of you who missed the thread on the forum, Poe and I are facing some rather serious financial difficulties at the moment. This is largely because this month we have a lot of single-time expenses associated with running the comic, that the comic has not brought in sufficient income to cover. This is not something minor. In fact, what with various last-minute expenses and taxes and advance payments for conventions and the like (a breakdown of most of the payments needed can be found here), we have to pay out well over $10,000 this month!!

Read on for quotation madness.

The drive aims to collect money from donations and sales of original art and has so far collected $11,840.

Our goal is to bring in around $25,000 by April 15th, because that way we’ll have something remotely resembling a cushion for upcoming expenditures over the next few months. Otherwise, we may have to go on an indefinite hiatus while we earn enough income to keep our bills paid.

The forum thread has further information about their financial situation.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what most of these payments are:

$1000, Payment for the coding that got the store active, due immediately
$1000, Payment to our lawyer, also due immediately
$3000, Reserving dealer’s space at 3 major conventions (fortunately the conventions will hopefully earn this part back for us when we sell stuff there four or five months from now)
$1500, Semi-Annual Property Tax (found it buried in a bunch of junk mail, and now we have to pay late fees, too)
$3000, Standard Monthly Expenses (including house, car, utilities, hosting, food, medications, etc.)

In addition to that are income taxes, which as self-employed people we greatly benefit from paying someone else to do, but as broke people we don’t actually have to pay a whole lot of so long as that someone else finds us every conceivable deduction. There are also various expenses associated with running the store, accepting credit cards, etc, etc, etc. All in all, running a business is very expensive and so far we’d been doing fairly well at keeping costs down, but lately we’re just slammed and we’re out of credit because we used that to cover us while the store was closed and the donations were down.

The forum also provides a look at what their operating costs and needs are overall.

In my perfect world, we’d sell advertising in sufficient quantity that we would be able to pay our personal bills and a lot of the business expenses from just that, and the store and donations would be a wonderful bonus that could be used to add new products and update the websites, or even *gasp* take a day or two of vacation, such as going on the honeymoon we just sortof deferred due to lack of funds. Since, despite our continued best efforts, people aren’t buying much in the way of ads, though…

In the real world, our ideal minimum income situation barring ads or royalties should look something like this if we want to keep doing this full-time:

$1000+ per month in donations
$100 per day in store sales, not counting shipping or tax (our average order is for two books, so this means five to ten orders a day)
$300 per month in extra auctions (such as original lineart from the donation wallpaper/prints, or even one-shot pieces made for auction)
$500 profit per non-guest convention weekend, at one or two conventions per quarter.

That comes out to around $4000 a month income, all of which would need to be used to cover living and business costs and those ever-so-pesky income taxes, with an additional $500 income every few months which could be used to add new products or cover one-time expenses. No matter how much money that looks like on paper, that still wouldn’t exactly be a profit-filled life, but it’d at least be sufficient, progressing, and current on the debts we have, without any major risk of incurring much more debt.

But… even if this drive makes us the $10,000 we need for payments in JUST this month, we’d still be way behind thanks to not having pretty much ANY income for six months last year. The $25,000 we asked for is a VERY real goal in terms of what we actually need to make by April 15th if we want to keep doing this job, and since the auctions haven’t completed yet and the store is working on paying off a few of the products still, the PayPal number shown on the site is pretty much the sum total of where we’re at so far.