ZOMBIE FORUMS

It's a stinking, shambling corpse grotesquely parodying life.
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 Post subject: Holy Gods, we're in trouble...
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:26 pm 
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We just did the math and figured out that what with various last-minute expenses and taxes and advance payments for conventions and the like, we have to pay out well over $10,000 this month!!

After spending half of last year with almost no income, there's no way we can manage that. As a result, for the next thirty days we will be frantically liquidating all sorts of art and pleading very voluably for donations. 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.

If you can help, please do. If you already have helped, thank you! There is absolutely no way we can afford to keep running the comic unless we can start making enough to pay all our bills, so your help is not only appreciated it is the key to the comic's continued survival.

O.O'

Edit: Here are the first few auctions.

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120095267909">Early Riley Concept Sketch</a>

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120095272600">Meji Print Original Lineart</a>

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120095275046"> Sarine Print Original Lineart</a>

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120095279475"> Spring Print Original Lineart</a>

Edit 2: Here's the second round of auctions.

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120096605613">Original Poster Lineart (unfinished)</a>

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120096700840">Giant Meji Banner</a>

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120096707361">Kawaii Original Lineart</a>

Edit 3: Here's some Exploitation Now auctions.

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem=120096827514">The VERY FIRST Exploitation Now Comic</a>

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120096829523">Ralph and Bimbo Original Lineart</a>

<a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120096831431">Early EN Character Concept Sketches</a>

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Last edited by Imp-Chan on Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:09 am, edited 11 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:22 pm 
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This is wrong! This is ALL WRONG.

Clearly, we need some massive publicity. I will do what I can to help.. but this month is a lean month for me. :\


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:57 pm 
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Shit.

If I hadn't just lost my job (for arguing with the store owner over some stuff I felt was unethical, etc, etc) I'd buy something.

Hopefully, I'll have a regular paycheck again before April 15th.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:00 pm 
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I'll help, but a couple of other suggestions. First, is there anything "in kind" that people might be able to do for you? Printing services? Tax preparation? That kind of thing.

Second, if it's income tax that's causing the problem, consider filing for an extension so that the bite doesn't all come at once. That's one of the things extensions are for (BTDT...). It won't negate the expense, but can help make it more manageable by spreading it out.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:12 pm 
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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.

-_-'

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:31 pm 
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I'm just a college student not even breaking even at the moment, but I've got some savings I'm sitting on so I've just chipped in a little bit for you.

Out of curiosity, how much does it cost you guys to print up those over-ten-dollar donation gift buttons? I.e., out of a ten dollar donation, is half of that going to printing and shipping the gift? Cause I could waive my right to the button, or chip in a little more to cover it, if that's the case...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:26 am 
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I'm very sorry that I cannot help you, but after going six months without any form of stable income it isn't anything that I am in a position to do.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:47 am 
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Forrest wrote:
Out of curiosity, how much does it cost you guys to print up those over-ten-dollar donation gift buttons? I.e., out of a ten dollar donation, is half of that going to printing and shipping the gift? Cause I could waive my right to the button, or chip in a little more to cover it, if that's the case...


It costs more to send a letter than it does to make a button. We buy our button parts in bulk, and then print the images in batches. It's extremely cost effective, the shipping really is the majority of it.

Besides... we want people to feel we're giving them something back when they donate. A button is a little solid real-world reminder that they helped keep the comic running.

^-^'

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:04 am 
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Bid on Sarine lineart. Would bid on Meji too but I don't think my mother would approve next time she was over if she saw half-naked jailbait hanging on the wall.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:33 pm 
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Just bought all 4 books.
Wish there was still an option for Done With It All, but I guess I missed the boat on that one.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:53 pm 
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I can kill your bill collectors for you.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:48 pm 
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I would help but alas no one will hire me untill june when I turn 18 and become a wage slave. But when I do I will most definately help out lots. Fuck WoW, EQ, and DnD suppliments Poe and Impy and Errant Story are much more important.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:00 pm 
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I've been meaning to paper my town with inappropriate flyers but advertising for ES would probably be much more appreciated.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:10 pm 
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You probably don't want advertising advice, but really, have you considered either AdSense or Yahoo Publishing Network ads? CPC advertising can pay off bigger than CPM if you've got a motivated user base.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:19 am 
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Actually, I'm totally open to any suggestions about increasing our ad sales, but please understand that I've put substantial amounts of time and effort into researching our options and trying to generate interest, so a lot of these things I've heard a hundred times by now. I still appreciate the input, though, 'cause eventually someone's bound to have a great idea.

As for CPC ads... We are not eligible for Google AdSense, as the comic's content violates their TOS. Ditto for Yahoo's version, but with the addendum that their contract sucks and I wouldn't advise anyone to agree to it because the language is entirely too one-sided (seriously, I bet half the people signed up never even read the thing).

^-^'

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:36 am 
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Yorik wrote:
I can kill your bill collectors for you.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:08 pm 
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That's a generous offer, Yorik, but wouldn't actually help. Their heirs would inherit the debts, afterall.

^-^'

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 2:59 pm 
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I just sent 5 dollars through PayPal, although not the donation button but by manually finding your paypal e-mail and sending it that way, because I think donation buttons take money directly out of my bank account rather than taking the money I have waiting in my PayPal account, and currently I only have some 6 dollars in my checking account I'd like to not touch except for emergency gas. I just got hired at LaserQuest recently and although I haven't worked much yet and am saving up for SakuraCon, I'll be sure to donate more.

Where do you guys stand right now with the money? I see you got over $2200 so far... how much have you got left until you've at least covered current debts? If you don't mind my asking.

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 6:39 pm 
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I asked for some donations back in December when i was studying in Japan and my scholarship was dwindling, so I know the feeling. ;) There's still some trickling in every week or so, so I might as well redirect a hundred bucks or so.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 6:48 pm 
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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 <i>VERY</i> 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.

Hope that answers any remaining questions.

^-^'

P.S. Should we make a larger donation meter for the news section so that people can see progress against the $25,000 goal right on the main site? Any ideas for what it should say if we did make one?

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