A really long post about merchandise
The posters are finally available! I've got exactly 100 of them, and you can order them in the online shop from now until whenever I run out.
I have high hopes for the posters. I hope they do well, because I'd love to do more of them in the future. But it's hard to guess with these kinds of things!
You know, there are a lot of folks out there who are eager to tell you about the "only" way to earn a living in webcomics: Give your comics away for free! Make your money by selling other things on your website! And sure, I agree that it can be a pretty solid model. It's certainly the one I'm using. But it's also a tricky one.
The truth is... not every comic lends itself to hilarious t-shirts. Not every comic makes for a good book collection. Not every comic attracts a specific unified demographic that's desirable to advertisers.
Making this model work is not just a matter of scoping out what one successful comic is selling and then aping it. Even if you have the same number of readers, there's no guarantee that you'll sell as much as they do. Because maybe the readers of "Wacky Space Platypus Pirate Adventures" don't want t-shirts. Maybe what they really want is books. Or buttons. Or gaming-console skins. Or licensed kazoos!
The challenge in this game is to figure out why your readers like your comic in the first place, and then offer them things that appeal to those same tastes. And these posters are my latest attempt at tackling that challenge.
Sam and Fuzzy is a pretty art-focused comic that's full of a lot of big, crazy cartoon drawings. Making those images is definitely my favourite part of this job, and also the part that I think I'm best at. If people want big posters of my artwork... well, there aren't many things I'd rather do than make them.
So here's to the great poster experiment! If you'd like one, they're on sale now in the shop. And if you don't, that's fine too... but don't hold out for the licensed kazoos.