Hey there! We just got pages 1 through 7 of What the Mine Gives fixed so that the files are significantly smaller and the page looks more like what it will when we get things packaged for print. Thanks for your patience!
Transparency is important to Vengeful Ghost. Comics is hard business. It gets easier if we share information and our hard-fought lessons learned. In posts like this, Parker will lay out the Ghost’s quarterly numbers and try to provide some context.
We’re at the end of Vengeful Ghost’s first calendar year, which is pretty darn exciting! Q4 brought some interesting developments, some new strategies, and a ton of new data. Let’s get to the data:
Fourth Quarter 2016 (and Calendar Year 2016)
Pages published: 13 (CY16: 32)
Pageviews: 1725 [+372 over Q3] (CY16: 3768)
Average monthly visitors: 128 [+45 over Q3] (CY16: 106)
Patreon patrons (at the end of the quarter): 9 (+1 over Q3)
Revenue: $194.6 [-370 over Q3] (CY16: 764.6)
Expenses: -$1,236.23 (CY16: -$4,405.45)
% of expenses to Ghostfriends: 83.14% (CY16: 74.04%)
Net: -$1,041.63 (CY16: -$3,640.85)
Sold/gifted/traded: 7 [-28 over Q3] (CY16: 42)
The Coriolis Effect
Sold/gifted/traded: 9 [-18 over Q3] (CY16: 36)
Pay to Win
Sold/gifted/trade: 5 (CY16: 5)
There were no digital sales that were not part of a bundle with a physical sale.
Bmore Into Comics Issue #11
VG Books sold: 12
Ghostfriends books sold: 2
Revenue/table fee ratio: 2.84
Project tracker (as of 31 December)
- Launched since Q3
- Pay to Win (formerly Project Jakarta): Web and print published. Ashcan print run, unlimited, negligible costs. No revenue sharing goals reached.
- Mineborn (formerly Project Delhi): Web publishing. Limited print run and digital editions to come.
- In development
- Project Tokyo: In final art production. No change as of 31DEC16…but there has been since then!
- Project New York City: In second-stage editing.
- Project Manila: In first-stage editing. No change, whomp whomp!
- Project Shanghai: In first-stage editing.
- Project Seoul: In outline.
- Thursday Night: Web, digital, and print published. Limited print run of 50. Revenue/Printing=1.88 (+.79). No revenue sharing goals reached.
- Coriolis Effect: Web, digital, and print published. Limited print run of 75. Revenue/Printing=0.95 (+0.31). No revenue sharing goals reached.
- It still feels like early days for Vengeful Ghost. More data means more better analysis, and my understanding is that the publishing world moves on annual cycles–I’ll start drawing harder conclusions in the next 6-9 months.
- On that note, December was a much less impressive showing at Bmore Into Comics than July. Maybe it was because the audience was largely the same and they’d already bought one of my books. Maybe it’s because it was December. Five shows have been announced for Bmore in 2017, so it’ll be interesting to see how they go this year.
- I need to work on in-person marketing. I was practically giving away “Pay to Win” at that Bmore show, but few people took me up on it. Best guess is that the jokey pitch I used for it fell flat, so I’ll try something more straightforward next time.
- Despite our best efforts getting derailed by the…surprising…election, November was still a solid month for Vengeful Ghost in terms of website traffic. We got some return on our investment for the promotions we executed (especially since the cost was pretty darn low!).
- Unique monthly users climbed month over month. It’s hard to tell how many are new month-to-month, but I’d like to imagine this represents a growing cadre of quiet readers.
- More cons = more money (though that’s not always the point). For 2017, I’m shooting for 3-4 major cons and at least 2 or 3 of the Bmore shows or other minis.
- As always, looking closely at these numbers points to just how costly this business can be to break into. Hopefully as the year progresses, I’ll be able to get some higher-margin items into the mix. Is there anything you’d like to buy?
Thanks for reading. Please comment with any questions. If you want to help make those numbers a little prettier, consider clicking over to our Patreon campaign, buying something from our online store, or throwing something in the tip jar.
It’s January and it’s raining in Baltimore. Isn’t the snow supposed to be coming soon? In any case, here’s what I’ve been up to over this mild week.
WORKING: All the baby doctors and nurses are on their winter break, so I am too–from the day job, at least. That has meant more time to edit Project NYC and get a solid start to the draft for Project Makalu. I’ve also been trying to figure out what the next year of Vengeful Ghost looks like. There are two Kickstarters I’d like to run in the near future and I’m a bit behind in my buffer of weekly content, so there’s a lot to do in pursuit of New Year resolutions.
PLAYING: I’ve fallen back into Skyrim, so help me. A friend published his mod lists a while back and I decided to give it a go. I am literally right now feeling a little stupid, though, because I’ve been playing the original, while the Special Edition snuck unannounced into my Steam library a while back. Oh well, I’ll get that downloading and probably start another playthrough. My new character is a hunter, and has already killed two dragons. All my other playthroughs have petered out when faced with the massive freedom of the Elder Scrolls games, a sort of paralysis by analysis, but I’ve got a good feeling about this one. You’ll probably be hearing about it for a while.
And on the roleplaying front, an acquaintance’s stray mention of Spellbound Kingdoms got me intrigued again. It’s a swashbuckling game of political and cultural revolution that makes a couple assumptions about genre conventions–things like Inspirations, the effectiveness of insults, and True Love–and bakes them into both the rules and the setting. Imagine a dystopia where love was magic. Now imagine that the kings and hierarchs of this world knew love was magic, and therefore set about a massive cultural engineering effort to ensure that only the noble and loyal were capable of love. I want to get this thing to a table, ASAP.
CONSUMING: The big news in my media consumption is that I’ve joined two groups of people dedicated to working through The Artist’s Way. If you’re not familiar with the program, I call it a 12 week process of introspection and indulgence. It gets terribly woo-woo at parts, but the lessons and exercises are incredibly useful for developing trust in one’s creative self. I’ve started it twice before (finished it once), and I’m looking forward to approaching the text with today’s eyes.
Oh! And I watched Spy! What a film! I enjoyed it terribly. Melissa McCarthy is hilarious and also empathetic as a brilliant person out of her depth (which I think I’ve mentioned is one of my favorite genres), and it is a funny spoof of super-spy movies that is, in itself, a completely respectable super-spy movie. Loads of fun.
But what about you? New plans for the new year? Let’s chat!
Today’s treat was a “penny pie”, a sort of tiny, homemade pop tart. I think this coffee shop is my new home base. Anyway, here’s how the week’s been!
WORKING: I’ve been editing up a storm on Vengeful Ghost work over the last week. Project NYC went out to editors, and I completed a pretty basic rewrite on Project Manila. I’m going to let Manila sit a few more days and then it will be ready to start going through with a finetoothed comb, tearing it apart according to Shawn Coyn’s Story Grid and making sure it does what I want it to.
I also finished my first draft of Project Shanghai, which is terribly, terribly exciting. It’s the first time I’ve tried, really tried to be funny. I’m going to need some sharp, funny editors to help me actually pull it off, but I think the core of something good is there. Speaking of editors, do any of my readers happen to know any sharp folks who are into comics and are also Sikhs?
PLAYING: Snow in Los Santos is terrible, but Grand Theft Auto is still high on my play list. I also picked up Battlefield 1. Some friends bought it for me as a Christmas gift in order to guilt me into playing it with them. It’s pretty fun! One of my friends pointed out thatthere’s no version of ranked play, no ELO, no real player skill ranking but for achievement and “levels” you can grind. That feature, combined with the fact that matches are massive 32 v. 32 bloodbaths, means that it keeps a much more casual style of play. It’s nice.
Speaking of casual, I’ve also been playing a lot of 16 Squares on my phone. As a piece of mobile software, it’s terrible. It’s life cycle management is nonexistent, there is no persistent save state, and no matter how high you score, the game always tells you you lose. As a game, though, it hits all the same dopamine switches as 2048 and Threes, this slow building of something that becomes too complex, too big to handle. Come to think of it, those games all have a bit in common with the classic Snake, now that I think about it…
CONSUMING: Social engagements have meant I haven’t consumed much of other people’s art recently. I’m working my way slowly through my comics backlog, which is good. I’m no longer three issues behind on anything.
I did watch Deadpool this week (thanks, HBO friend!), which I liked much more than I expected to. That seems to be a theme recently–maybe I should stop being such a snob.
Anyway, what have you been up to?
I’m waiting for a gig to start and overcaffeinating myself with a large cappuccino, so let’s talk about our weeks!
WORKING: Work has been a little frustrating this week. I’ve had to let go of a pitch to an anthology, which is a bit frustrating. I’ve got “submit to an anthology” on my list of goals for March, so I’ve got to get cracking! Especially since there are some other major Vengeful Ghost goals coming up by March (that may rhyme with Clickbarter). I’m also looking forward with a little bit of dread to all the year-end accounting tasks coming up. W9s and 1099s ahoy!
PLAYING: Grand Theft Auto V remains one of the best purchases I’ve made, game-wise. The continued release of new content keeps bringing me back. My wishlist of in-game purchases totals up to tens of millions of in-game currency–better get to grinding those heists! Speaking of, if you play GTA on Steam, hit me up at @parkerdhicks and let’s rob some banks together or something.
My Blades in the Dark campaign is going swimmingly. I’m finally getting the interference effect from an ongoing, open table campaign that I’ve been looking for for a long time. One table of folks took it upon themselves to recover a stolen piece of art from another thief, but only managed to set up the heist before the session ended. Next session, with entirely different players, the thief got nervous and hired the new players as bodyguards to smuggle him out of the city. There was a showdown at the train station and everything! Gaming gold.
I’ve been running RPG happy hours at a local bar since April or so, and the group is getting bigger and bigger. We had four different games running last week, and at least 20 people attending. That’s pretty darn cool, and it’s time to think about how to scale it effectively. It’s going to need some heavier structure soon.
CONSUMING: This weekend was a weekend for movies. My wife and I watched Jupiter Ascending and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., both of which I enjoyed thoroughly. There was the core of something awesome with Jupiter Acsending, and it was way better than I’d been led to believe. It suffered a little from a sort of treadmill feeling in the middle, where the protagonists confronted three similar challenges in the exact same way, but the constant betrayals and intrigue really got me invested. Unfortunately, the intrigue was only kind of teased, and was generally resolved with punching. I think there were just too many factions involved to give them meaningful interplay.
And we watched the pilot of Shut Eye, which is delightfully weird. Jeffrey Donovan is fanatastic as a stage magician, con man, and storefront psychic that is way out of his depth dealing with the LA criminal psychic underground. So much of the fiction I like involves a competent person chucked out of their comfort zone into a situation that they don’t completely understand, having to figure it out as they go along. The ritual and mystic elements of the psychic fraud and Romani underground fascinate me, too.
Enough from me–what have you been up to this week?