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Something Profitable?

After R K MilHholland challenged his readers to pay his salary for the year so he could devote himself fulltime to Something Positive, it appears that Milholland's faithful may in fact help him to quit his day job.

MilHholland reported this week that his donation drive was closing in on $20,000.

Re: Something Profitable?

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I have a spelling camcdisorder. Are you mocking me?

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Re: Fear of obligation.

Okay, I stand corrected. You didn't threat your readers. You merely said you were going to make your archives unavailable for free if you didn't get the money. I don't really se a difference here, but if it really bugs you that much, there you go.

Now don't get me wrong, Carson. You have the right to do whatever the fack you want to do with your work, even if it's at the expense of your fans.

I just don't think it's fair that you compare yourself to Randy, that's all. The difference between you two lies right there.

Re: Fear of obligation.

Okay, this is going to be my last take on this. I'm stepping off this discussion because:

a)R.K. Milholland doesn't need me to step ahead and put words on his mouth, and;

b)I'm a just a n00b without a clue of how the big industry works. And I don't know if money and popularity will be matters of my concern someday. I just like pretending they do. That said, I'd like to comment just one thing:

I don't think anybody was even remembering the controversy you raised with the Elf Life fundraiser program. If it wasn't for you in the first place, I don't think this discussion would be back on topic. You like to pretend you're not comparing yourself to Randy, but you are, Carson. At least for the average clueless reader (me) you seem to be holding a grudge against the cartoonists that did not support your attitude like they support Randy's. You like to think this is all an irony, like you said yourself in your own blog, specially because Randy was the first one to criticize your methods. Nobody here is pointing to the fact the you're not allowed to make more money than the necessary to foot bandwidth expenses. The problem was how you went about it, and this is the fact you seem to ignore when you pretend to be a victim of the big meanies that should "mind their own business".

That said, I'm sorry I put words in your mouth. I've read the comixpedia article again, and somehow I got the idea you were going to charge for your archives. That's not true.

"If we don't start seeing a bit more activity, some more nibbles, suggestions, something, I'm afraid I'm going to have to make myself be mean, and start taking whole blocks of the Elf Life archive back offline" were your actual words. I apologize for that and for sounding so agressive in my previous message. Sometimes I wish Comixpedia had a way to edit comments so I can change my mind whenever I regret acting like an asshole.

Re: Fear of obligation.

Then why not just let this die and carry on with your life? I understand that you are still upset with some of the critiques you suffered. But you just have so much to look forward to, don't hold yourself back because of what happened. I still do not agree with the measure you were going to take if you didn't get to solve your financial problems, but I see now that it wasn't just a matter of doing it just to get back on the readers because they were not willing to buy your art.

I take back what I said about you threatening your readers. Let's not gnaw on this old bone while we can cherish the victory of a fellow webcartoonist, right? :)

Re: Something Profitable?

Webcomic success stories like this are so few, that I'm actually cheered on by this. But I can't help noting that many, many people piled on me during my "art sale scandal" by reasoning that I have no business making any money off my comics beyond my bandwidth bill, and since Keenspot pays that I deserve nada -- even if it's from selling actual, physical art with real value.

Though stinging from the irony, I'm glad that R.K.'s readers realize that making lots of good comics actually is work, takes time and resources, and has value.

Re: Something Profitable?

Heh, OK, RPin. Unsurprisingly, you fail to see a parallel that I never made. The fact that I never made it might explain why it's invisible to you. The parallel I made wasn't between R.K. and myself, but R.K.'s readers and a class of webcartoonists who insist that webcartoonists have no business making money beyond their bandwidth bill.

Re: Something Profitable?

You know, it's generally considered common courtesy to spell the name of the guy you're writing about correctly.

Fear of obligation.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

I don't think there's been anyone who believe webcomic artists have no business making money beyond their bandwidth bill. The difference of opinion seems to be over the methods employed to generate income. Ad models, merchandising models, subsciption models, donation models or assorted combinations there of. It would seem that it was the "threaten to quit if you don't give me money" model that become the hot topic of debate.

Has for R.K.'s little plan. It thrills me to no end to see him succeed with it. More power to him. Given we've both more or less got the same readerships it's nice to know that I'd have a pretty good chance of pulling in 20K from reader donations should I ever reluctantly be forced to quit my dayjob. Granted I don't think I could ever use that model myself.

In my view R.K.'s a pretty brave soul to take on that kind of responsibility. The sense of obligation after aquiring that much money from my readers would completely overwhelm me. I'd probably be paralyzed with fear. One of the reasons why I love creating a webcomic is because it's not something I have to do. Sure I stick to a weekly schedule but I don't have to, I'm not obligated to anyone to stick to a weekly schedule. I can drop and pick up my comic as I please. My readership would drop if I started dicking around with the schedule too much but what the hey, I'm not under obligation.

I can't help but feel that the pressure to deliver quality strips each and every day of the week would burn me right out if I were to do something like that. Probably because I'm a professional accordionist, not a professional artist. I make my living playing music but I don't feel the same presure to produce even though I get paid to do what I do. This is most likely because I am extremely confident in my abilities as a musician to deliver professional work. It's what I've studied, and trained, and practiced for almost all my life. Drawing, however, that's a whole other thing. I have no formal art training, hell no art training at all. I'm able to compair my own work to that of my peers and pick out my many flaws with ease. I think this lack of confidence in my own artistic abilities would contribute to the anxiety I would feel making a living (or as much of a living as 20K a year will get you) off of my webcomic. You're a braver man than I am Gunga Milholland.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not adverse to making money off my webcomic. I once auctioned off a watercolour of one of my characters and got a very pretty penny for that. That was cool. Laziness and the realization that if I flood the auction market with my works they won't get the same big bucks has kept me from trying that again, but I probably will do so, someday.

I even set up a Cafepress store, not that that makes any real money for anyone other than Cafepress. Mostly I set up those stores so people would stop e-mailing me asking "when are you going to sell T-shirts?". Didn't really work. Now they just e-mail me asking "when are you going to sell T-shirts from a company that doesn't suck ass?". Oh well, I get my cheque every month or two and it keeps me in pencils and paper.

I guess in some ways now that I'm responsible for selling the adspace on my comic (way to go Aryan Jesus) I do have an obligation to maintain a high readership, but that's something I have confidence in plus if the pressure ever gets to me I can just stop selling adspace and go on hiatus or even stop my comic, so my obligation is only limited to the period I've actually got a sold adspot running on the site. Granted, the pressure I first felt when advertising on the site became my responsibility was pretty intense. It's one thing to piss and moan when you're powerless to actually do anything but once you're given control and you've got nobody to blame for success or failure but yourself it becomes a different story.

I've had a lot of webcomic artists tell me that with the numbers my comic has a donation button would pull in a nice little sum of money for no work at all. Still the idea of a donation button scares the crap out of me. Granted I'm a proud man who hates like hell to take charity, but I don't view the donation button on a webcomic as charity. To me the donation button on a webcomic is like the open instrument case of a busker (street performer/musician for those unfamiliar with the term). It's there for people to show their appreciation without obligation to do so. That's cool. I've worked as a busker many time. Hell of a great way to make some fast money. Heck the City of Hamilton at one time used to pay musicians $20 an hour to busk at special locations throughout the city (marked by a gold star). Most places in the city I could easily make an extra $20 an hour from the money tossed into my accordion case and if I was lucky enough to get scheduled to play at the Farmer's Market I could make well over $100 an hour just from the coins tossed into my case.

Ah, the Farmer's Market was a sweet deal... except for the one year where the city accidently scheduled musicians to play there on days it was closed. Then it felt like you were banished to the Mongolian steps. There was absolutely nobody around. But still, you got $20 an hour to stand there and practice your instrument. Anyways I digress.

Let me just say congratulations R.K. on reaching your goal. You're a brave, brave man.

Re: Something Profitable?

Heheheh... This is all I needed to finish RKM's card.

Re: Something Profitable?

You still missed a Holland, Xerexes.

Re: Something Profitable?

I fail to see the pararell here. RK Milholland never threatened to lock the archives nor discontinuing his comics if he didn't get the money. He merely asked for donations so he can quit his job and spend more time working on SP.

Re: Something Profitable?

a class of webcartoonists who insist that webcartoonists have no business making money beyond their bandwidth bill.

I can assure you I'm not a part of that "class of webcartoonists". I never said such a thing.

Re: Fear of obligation.

"I don't think there's been anyone who believe webcomic artists have no business making money beyond their bandwidth bill."

I know, it came as a shock to me, too, although it was in a different forum. Still, the argument was made, and it went something like this: Pete Abrams had to raise money for his bandwidth; Sluggites with little prompting donated lots of money to cover those bandwidth bills (get ready for the head-spinning leap, here); Keenspot pays Carson's bandwidth bills, therefore he has no right to expect to make any money.

Now that I think of it, though, there is one very direct comparison that can be made between me and R.K. When I was first told about R.K.'s plan, it was presented to me as a "rant at his readers" about how they're not sending him enough money, and that's why he can't spell better! I went and read what he actually wrote, and I found that what he really said had been taken out of context in order to make him sound bad.

Just as RPin here continues the same old unfounded characterizations of what I said (although probably innocently)... "threatened to lock the archives and not to make comics any more"... close enough to the truth to smear me, even if only heard second hand, but not what happened or what I said.

I took the time out to make sure I understood where R.K was coming from, although a lot of people would not extend the same courtesy to me.

Re: Fear of obligation.

No, please, don't be so hard on yourself, RPin... as I said, I believed what you were saying, you were saying innocently. And I appreciate that you've revised yourself, here. That's more than I could ask for.

Any comparison I would make between me and R.K. would be for the purposes of illustrating *differences*. That last quote of mine that you post show my state of mind at the time: I was tearing my hair out in frustration because I was broke and couldn't get people motivated.

As for the *why* in taking down the archives... I know it's harder to follow in my blog, because it transpired over a period of time, instead of being one coherent announcement like R.K.'s... but I was trying to illustrate the point that I was in danger of being evicted, as I was evicted during the production of Elf Life in 1999. That's no reason for anybody to shed a tear for me, but an explanation of what was going on. The point I was trying to illustrate was that if I was evicted, it would take me a much longer time to get back on my feet this time, having run out of relatives, and having no friends in a new town. If I were homeless, looking for a place to live, still looking for a job, obviously I wouldn't be producing new comics on the web! That wasn't a threat, but a simple fact.

And I'm sorry to belabor this point, but this has been a long and frustrating road, and it really did hurt me to have so many of my "colleagues" gang up on me at such a critical time. Things still aren't going so well, but at least we're surviving.

Re: Fear of obligation.

If you would be so kind as to point me to the thread or article or blog file where you made whatever statement it was you made about archives and money. So I'd have a better understanding of what you actual said and the situation. I read an article here at Comixpedia about it a few months ago and I do remember going to your site to blog in question. However, I've seem to have forgotten some of the points. Don't get me wrong I understand the basics of it all, I just want to make sure that what I remember you saying is in fact what you said.

That out of the way I'll make a little comment here based on what I remember. I don't think people felt you didn't have a right to make money beyond bandwidth, I believe they didn't like the way you chose to do it or the words you used. That's the way I remember feeling anyway.

Depending on what you said what I think about it changes. I thought you said something to the effect of "I'm going to have to pull parts of my archive off-line unless I start receiving some cash for my art sells" You may have actual said you'd have to start charging a fee for your archives as RPin said. In that case what I'd have to say would be completely different. But for now lets assume you said the first, not in those exact words but the feel is the same.

Since Keenspot pays for your bandwidth the maintenance and upkeep cost of your archive is already taken care of. So therefor taking down parts of the archive, for money sake, isn't going to earn you any large or small amounts of money other than readers paying because they want to keep it up. Since the archives are over and done with you don't have to work on them or worry about them. You're finished with them. You don't have to pay for them being online so you don't really have to give two seconds to think about them. If you had said that if you don't start getting money soon you'll have to get two jobs to pay for living expenses thus would have no time to make any NEW comics I doubt anyone would have had any problem with it.

I was actually more annoyed by some of the cartoonists that supported you in their beliefs around a reader. They would say how it's your comic and you can choose to do what you want it. That's true, you could have taken down your entire archive for no reason at all. That you have no responsibilities or obligations to the readers. And that is also true. However some of these same cartoonists went right around and acted as though it's the reader's responsibility to pay for a cartoonist's work on a comic. I'm sorry but you can't have it both ways. If you want the readers not to expect anything from you cannot expect anything in return from the readers. Yes you're putting in hours of hard work creating a comic but a reader doesn’t have to do a damn thing. Anything they do is because they WANT to. Sending you email, drawing you fanart, buying your stuff, giving donations, etc. All those are things a reader does because they like you and your comic and want to do not because they feel they have to.

You said on your site that you're "on the outs with the webcomic world" I feel I'm more on the outs seeing how I tend to side more on the readers view points than with the cartoonists. I guess that's because I realize that without readers a cartoonist is basically nothing so it's best to look at their standpoint a much as you can

-Ete
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As deadly as a cobra and three times as crazy and nine times as dumb