Rather than doing a big run-down of what I did in 2014, here’s a brief recap of last year, and some details about what I’ll be doing this year.
THIS IS THE YEAR THAT WAS
I can probably say that the last eighteen months were amongst the weirdest and hardest of my adult life for a bunch of reasons. It’s been a time of transitions, of changes, of things ending and of new starts and newly discovered ambitions.
This meant that I didn’t make that many comics because of all the stuff that was going on – there was Monument Road in May, and in November I made a bunch of zines as part of #30DaysComics – but strictly speaking it was a fallow year in terms of my output. I thought about zines and drawing a lot, but took some time out to think about other things, too.
That said, I was lucky enough to have my earlier work collected and published by Avery Hill Publishing as DAYS, a book that has been put together with love and care by the publishers, and to also see my work translated and published in Japanese by Sotokaramita Press.
I also finished drawing PLANS WE MADE, my first ever full-length book of original material, and we also ran another successful Bristol Comic and Zine Fair. We’re coming back for 2015, so watch the zine fair website for more information.
In all though, I’m pleased that 2014 is done and I can now focus on 2015 and all the exciting things it will bring.
THINGS FOR 2015
My first priority this year is to get SMOO #8 done. I can’t believe it’s been 18 months since SMOO #7 came out. That’s probably the longest gap between issues since I first started making zines. Anyway, the new issue is nearly entirely written and conceptualised and all that – I just need to get down to drawing it.
PLANS WE MADE will be released via Grimalkin Press this year. I’m really excited about this book. It marks another step in the development of the kind of work I want to make, as well as teaching me all sorts about writing longer pieces, and the world of not publishing things yourself. Once we have a release date, I’ll let everyone know.
I’ve got a couple of other ideas for zines up my sleeve and I’ll talk about them on this blog as they take shape. I’m also hoping to finish my half of the split zine I’m doing with Jason Martin, and a couple of anthology pieces.
I think generally I’ll be exploring other avenues of making things this year; prose, drawing, painting, music, and things like that. What the fruits of these experiments will be, and whether I’ll ever share them, I don’t know.
Finally, I’ll be at Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2015! It’s an honour, as ever, and it’ll be my first visit since 2012. I can’t wait.
CHANGES TO ONLINE SHOP
I’m going to make some changes to how shipping and prices are calculated for my online shop.
In 2014, I made 30 or so zines sales (not including the pay-what-you-like November bundle) and returned a heavy loss. If it wasn’t for sales of original art and the pay-what-you-like special, I wouldn’t have broken even. The thing is, I don’t really want to make things more expensive as I think zines should be accessible, but I do, however, want this business to become break-even. As such I’m making two changes.
Firstly, I’ll be introducing a shipping calculator a the point of payment. Postage prices, and particularly international postage prices, have gone up so much since I started making zines, that it can now cost more to post a zine that it does to buy one. I have up until now got around this by subsidising the cost of shipping – taking a hit to my mark-up to reduce postage costs for the customer. Unfortunately, that is no longer sustainable and I’ll have to find a way to charge full price for postage. This sadly means you’ll probably need to pay more for postage than before.
Secondly, however, I’m also creating a variable pricing structure that will apply to any of my own self-published work. You’ll be able to choose one of three price options for the zine – cost price, mid-point, and full-price.I hope this provides people with the opportunity to pay what they can afford to get the zines, while ensuring that at the very least I can break even on printing and postage.
Again, I’ll post on this blog once I’ve made those changes.
BYE BYE FACEBOOK
I’m leaving Facebook which means that my Smoo Comics page will become defunct shortly. In the meantime, you can continue to follow me in a number of ways – just check out my contact page to see how, or sign up to the newsletter on this website.
I’d just like to say everyone who has purchased zines from me, read my comics and written to, written about or otherwise helped me this past eighteen months. It means the world to me and continually reminds me why I love making zines. You’re all brilliant.
So all the best for the coming year; I’m off to draw something.