Monday, January 29, 2018

Temporary Halt of Monday webcomics

Dear all, I've decided to pause the Monday comic strips in order to concentrate meeting the deadline of book4 (end April) with US publisher. There is a lot of inking and coloring work and has a lot more details than Book2: Eva Goes Solo and has to be all colored instead of half-half. The final size is also bigger at 7.5"x10". Hopefully I can finish the book by April, otherwise the book will only be published in 2020 in order to match the US release seasons. (OMG!)

I will be posting my WIP (work in progress) on my Instagram stories instead. Patrons on patreon will see more WIP images.

I think you all noticed I have lesser and lesser time for webcomics. Initially I thought it was age catching up and more commission work, but I later realise it's the books, the books are killing me. I not only have to spend 7-10months working on a book without pay, but also the editing and marketing of the book when it's out. Sometimes it involves me doing new graphics to promote the events. When a new book is released, I get invited to many many festivals to give talks, almost all are not paid :( Initially I thought it would be good promotion for my books but the sales were very weak. I also had to buy back stock from my Malaysian publisher to sell to gift shops in Singapore and rent booths and conventions because of the falling ringgit. Sadly my royalty was based on the ringgit selling price that was fixed when the ringgit was stronger (SG$1=RM2 that time in 2014). And because I am getting more books, I need to hire logistics to help me move them, which adds up to the cost. It doesn't help when many local bookstores do not want to stock my books or put them at very discreet locations. (That's why you only see Mr. Lee and political books).

In the end, I realised I spend a lot of time on books, but the returns are comparatively little. As I sink deeper into the selling of books, I continue need to take in commission work to fill the hole and I began to neglect my social media channels and content. Gradually my reach declined and I am so busy with the books that I didn't care anymore (which is bad actually). Also no matter what I do, it seems still not many people buy books and the bookstores continue to not carry them even up to my 3rd book. I want to thank Kinokuniya, which has consistently hosted my book signing and carried ALL my titles.

So book4 will be my last book unless I am paid a good amount to do another one. There is simply too much work involved and I cannot change the market and influence bookstores to carry or feature my work. I am sorry to fans who have expressed liking my books and hope for more but in this country with a small market, high cost of living (hence high retail store commission and expensive postage), it just doesn't make sense to continue. I prefer to go back where I started, just good old colorful webcomics. I think 3 local titles and 1 international title is good enough for my credentials and for fans to hold on for a long time.

Lastly I want to thank all my patreons, past and present, for your support to become my financial cushion as I ventured into this non-profitable painful journey. I will come back after April with colorful webcomics again! See you!

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