Money is gross
But we all have to deal with it, we NEED it at this point, so we should probably talk about it, right? Finances and disability is a huge topic unto itself, and I really wanted to tackle that for this campaign, but I’ve had to break it into manageable chunks, and I figured it’s best to sort by relevance. The preorder campaign brings me to discuss financials of self-publishing and being an artist, so I’m starting there.
Before I attempt a more detailed breakdown, I want to acknowledge that I’m not poor — I’m broke. I live in Canada, and I was born here, so I have access to health services for minimal fees (if any), and many social services that are plentiful in urban centres such as downtown Toronto. My parents, though deeply in debt themselves (due to education, owning their home, and raising three children) are able to help me financially, and are happy to do so. Though I live in a very expensive city, I found a cheap apartment that suits my needs, and I am surrounded by people who love, support, and celebrate me. Looking at that, it’s impossible to say that I’m poor. But…I have no money.
<bullshit> Heightened Need = Bad, Minimized Capacity = Bad, Dependence on Others = Worst </bullshit>
I had a serious injury that was never taken seriously by the only people who supposedly knew what was going on: my doctors. Since nobody would tell me what to do or how long to expect to be in pain, I planned for only a few weeks, and then a few months at a time, always expecting that recovery *could* be just around the corner. If I worked hard enough, on my own, blindly and by feeling, I *should* be able to get better. That’s the story, right? To triumph against adversity?
At no point did I think welfare should be a longterm solution, or that I should be retraining for a brand new career that didn’t require my voice. If I’d had that kind of foresight, I might have been in a very different position today. Two years later, I’m just realizing now that I need to dedicate myself to a new career path, one that will actually allow me to care for my voice while working, and to pay back all the debt I’ve incurred from trying to hang on just a little longer, just ‘til the next opportunity arises. So much has felt completely out of my hands, for such a long time. How are you supposed to heal with no security? No safety net?
Comics are a part of my healing (I’ll get into that in Dumb #10) so doing this is very important to me, far beyond a “career” or having money at some point in the future. Serialization and printing are two very deliberate decisions I’ve made about this project, and how I want to share it with you. The only way to make it happen is to sell them in advance.
After last year’s printings, I had almost no books left over (wahoo!), so for the launch of Dumb #4 and #5 at TCAF, I had to redesign and reprint #1 - #3. I shopped around town forever to find a good cost for printing my books that I could sustain until the end of the series, and TLAC gave me better service for what was nearly the same quote I got everywhere else. I made 350 of each issue, and it cost $4550 total, including taxes, which I borrowed from my sibling (thanks again, E!).
I ran some numbers first, to make sure I knew what I was getting into, and you can see some of that in the images above. After thousands of dollars changed hands, I was really nervous about sales, but it turned out to be a great year! Sold a little over 300 books at TCAF (praise be), some at the full rate and some on a PWYC basis, because I’m doing my best to keep my work accessible without shooting myself in the foot. All my travel was paid for by the sales on each trip I made, but I was also not working during those periods and it didn’t totally even out. The boost from TCAF allowed me to pay rent in June, but the other shows didn’t contribute to my life beyond the travel to be there. BUT getting the comics out there and meeting people is really important, and I’m happy that the money allowed for that.
I’ve got to keep it minimal. There are no more people to borrow from, and I haven’t even paid back the people I owe, so I’m only going to be printing as much and as creatively as this campaign allows for. Everyone who orders will receive their books — but beyond that, who knows! I’m still working on it though, so &fingers crossed& I find another way.
So for one more week, you can secure yourself the complete collection of minis! Check it out, if you’re interested: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/get-dumb-done/x/1685860
And after all that: Remind yourself that you don’t need to be producing things to give yourself value to others. Sharing what you choose to do is a beautiful thing, but sharing yourself, your presence, your time, is an immense gift on its own. Independence is a myth. Embrace the ways in which you lean on others, and let them lean on you in return.
Thanks for letting me share this with you. <3