Sunday, December 24, 2017

The state of the Studio, and some thoughts on Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve, and I'm trying to get tonight's page lettered before my Mom comes over for dinner. Some years we post a wallpaper or a funny picture or something else that means a little less intense work leading up to the holiday, but this year it's just another page. There have also been years when we've put up a secondary story and told everyone that we've "gone on vacation." Once or twice that's even been true, we have had a couple of guest artists. Usually, though, it's a joke: of course we're not actually on vacation, since we're still writing, drawing, and posting something on the same schedule.

The three J├Ągermonster portrait charms arrived yesterday, not the samples, but the actual big heavy box of charms. We are still waiting on the J├Ąger sigil charm, the final proof will be showing up a day or so after Christmas, and if we like the new finish on it, we'll go straight to production. When all four designs are here, we get to bundle them up into sets and put them into the nice little cloth bags, and off they'll go to TopatoCo, to wait for the medals to arrive. When the medals come in, they'll all get shipped out, and we'll be done with that side of the Incorruptible Library Kickstarter.

My office is full of cardboard mailing tubes, the last of our old supply. I had hoped to get the original art shipped out before everything shut down for Christmas, but it didn't happen, so my new goal is to get this cleared out before the New Year.

I'm going to have to do more to let people know that we don't actually have their addresses for mailing Kickstarter rewards until they've filled out a survey. I've talked to a couple of people who just don't realize that we NEED the campaign survey filled out. Kickstarter has their address, but WE do not, and the only way we get it is through the survey, whether we use the very simple one that Kickstarter provides, or a slightly fancier one like BackerKit. (We used BackerKit this time.)

James and Carol from Cheapass Games came over on Thursday. They brought the card list for the new version of The Works card game and we spent several hours going over the attributes of each character represented on the cards. We also made some decisions about which characters to include, and which could safely go by the wayside or at least wait a while. It was fun, and we only got about halfway through. Next week, we're all going to go see Star Wars, and then, if we can talk about anything else, go over the second half of the list. I think James is hoping to have this new edition out by San Diego ComicCon 2018, which would be lovely. It will be nice to have something new on the table that isn't an expensive high-number volume of an monster ongoing series. Heh. I should probably talk about that in another post, sometime.

So, I'm off to get the last of my work done. For those who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a very happy Christmas indeed, and for those who don't, I wish you a nice normal day of health and good cheer. As for the New Year, which rolls along no matter what we do, I hope it's a wonderful one for all of us!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

First Post: I'm starting this blog to talk about the business of publishing and crowdfunding the Girl Genius comics

Welcome! I am Kaja Foglio. With my husband Phil, I am co-owner of Studio Foglio, LLC, and co-creator of the gaslamp fantasy series Girl Genius. 

At the time of this writing, Studio Foglio has put out three Girl Genius novels, and sixteen volumes of the Girl Genius graphic novel. Both series are ongoing. The novels are published by outside publishers, so all we have to do there is get them written...but the comics are self-published. That means that a lot of work has to be done that no-one ever sees. I'm starting this blog partially because people have expressed interest in the workings of a small comic book company, but mostly because I need a central place to lay out information about our crowdfunding campaigns, both past and present.

Our company has done five Kickstarter campaigns to date. I have been in charge of running the last two of them. I've made a lot of mistakes, but overall it works very well for us and I'm getting better at it every time. Right now, the rewards for our latest Kickstarter campaign are shipping, and a good thing, too, since the need for the next campaign is pressing. So you're joining me right at the fulfillment end of one campaign, just in time to follow me through the next one. It might be pretty boring unless you're one of our Kickstarter backers, or looking to run your own company yourself, but here it is.

I won't be able to write up long, well-thought out essays on everything. It will mostly be little updates. There's always some emergency nipping at my heels, and that doesn't give me a lot of time to spend blogging. For instance: right now, I need to wrap this up so that I can go letter the page of the comic that will go up tonight at, where we post new pages Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I also have a few other things to take care of before I sleep. For instance:

With this campaign, (for The Incorruptible Library: volume 16 of the graphic novel series) we have signed up with BackerKit to handle our campaign surveys. It has proven to be a very useful system indeed, and one of the wonderful things it can do is allow us to allow people who missed the campaign one last chance to get in on the exclusives. This is especially good since our last campaign was such an emergency "do it now" affair that several people did indeed miss it. So, now that most of our campaign backers have filled out the survey, I'm off to open the BackerKit store to our readership. I'm hoping that allow a few of our sad readers to jump on the campaign, and also that it will noodge the last few actual backers into filling out their surveys.

Before I can open the gates, I must:
1) Check in with Chris, who keeps an eye on our email, to make sure that any backers who are waiting for problems to be sorted out are taken care of (before I add more to the pile.)
2) Check to make sure that there are enough posters left that I can offer the "Envelope of Madness" without having to go back and print more.
3) Make sure the shipping for new backers is calculated properly. Calculating shipping is horrific. I try to make sure we're not overcharging anyone, but I run the numbers and it still looks wrong. So I run them again. Then I take packages to the post office and have them do it. Then I go lie down with a cold cloth on my head. It costs ridiculous amounts to send the simplest things to Australia, for instance. It seems like I ought to just take the stuff there myself and save money...and then I'd be in bonus! I'll definitely write more about shipping at some later date. It's a major concern.
4) Make graphics for the web site to let people know about the BackerKit store.
5) Post the graphics and add proper links.
6) Steel myself to wade into social media to tell people about it. Those who have followed our Studio over the years will know that I am not good at social media. I don't have time to answer all the questions, and then I feel bad about it and people get mad at me. So I mostly stay away. Still, it's a great way to let people know what we're working on. Hence, this new blog.
7) Do the laundry. Seriously, things are getting piled up. At least I can watch movies while I fold clothes.

So that's it for now, I'm off to get to work. Thank you for reading!