Alright, fans... It's time for my annual confessional about making Nix Comics. Below is the reality of what I spent and how much I made. The good news? I'm in the "plus" again. I worked really hard and came out $19.77 in the black. Woo hoo! Bad news? I have compromised myself in a way that I didn't think I ever would: For the first time in 9 years of publishing, I'm actually behind on some financial obligations. on't get me wrong, I've lost a lot of money over the years putting out Nix Comics, but it was always MY money. I don't care about that so much as long as I keep my promises. This year breaking even came at the expense of other people and that bugs me.
The biggest debt I owe is the Kiva loan I crowd funded in 2017. Basically, sales were crappy this year and I had to reduce my monthly payment to something I could afford with my part time job. (From $278.78 to $150.00) I have a balance of $5.083 on that loan and I want to get back on track paying that off at a reasonable rate this next year.
The biggest emotional wound is that I have fallen behind on paying an artist. I've only paid $300 of the $500 I owe Artist Rick Brooks for Nix Western Comics #4. Basically our agreement is that I will pay that debt off as sales of the comic allow. Sadly, Nix Western #4 has had bad sales... even for a Nix title. (I dunno why; I like it.) Sort of along the same lines, I am holding on to $100 for Sexton Ming. That was more at the artist's request, since I don't think he was expecting to get more than the 10 or so copies I sent him out of the deal.
Anyways, here's the breakdown of stuff with some notes that you might find interesting. I did, anyways:
Art and artist payments $521.50
Transaction Fees $591.88
Loan Repayments $2,143.90
Prof. subscriptions $20.00
Supplies: Shipping $159.59
Supplies: Art $98.56
Event Table Fees $210.00
Art and Artists Pay: This total includes art for publications as well as postwer art, licensing fonts and consignment sales for local artists. Kind of a weird hodgepodge, I'll grant. Also, a weirdly low number for Nix in general... Usually I'm pretty good at paying for art and turning that into some sales. Thing is, it's always a risk, and since I was "under-employed" in 2019, I was pretty risk averse this year. Also, I was wrapping up the 2017 subscriptons and had already paid most of those artists.
Website Costs: I really need to consolidate my two websites (nixcomics.com and nix-retail.com) and save some dough. Might also take a step down in plan level on my wix.com retail account, having fewer items, but saving some monthly costs.
Transaction Fees: Counts Paypal, Square, eBay, Discogs and Kickstarter fees. The cost of doing biz!
Shipping is high compared to shipping charged (below) That's kind of a hidden marketing costs because I used a lot of free shipping deals, most notably running the kickstarter without adding shipping to any of those pledges. It worked OK, but shipping rates are on the rise again this year and it may not be a viable option for next year.
Table Fees for events total is mostly my CXC table fee. I usually pay for the next year's SPACE table the year before, but haven't done so yet. Anyways, I concentrated on free to particpate and my own self run events this year. This coming year I'm likely to do the WFMU record show and have applied to the East London Comics Arts Festival (ELCAF) but will probably otherwise stick to local and cheap events.
Ads & Sponsorships $155.00
ICF Table Fees $220.00
Nix Comics Merch $3,651.90
Other Merch $2,954.39
Shipping Fees $742.10
ICF Table Fees: Every year that I run the Indie Comics fair at the Ace of cups, I always ask those participating for a payment at the end of the day based on what the show "was worth to them." Its a pretty good model for a small DIY show like that, I think. Also... I used to run 2 or 3 small shows a year and should probbaly get back to that if I can make $200 (or so) a pop for running them.
Nix Merch: This year I opened up little bit on swag... Printing some stickers, opening the threadless shop, selling more of my own picture sleeve drawings. Its not a huge amount added, but it definitely helps pad the total. This total includes all of the kickstarter funds, so technically includes cash gifts and some of JT Dockery's art and poetry books, which I didn't make or publish. The latter should probably be broken out into the "other merch" category, but I guess I'm being lazy about that,
Other Merch: After reading the Bill Schelley biography of Jim Warren, I realized that what I do is very influenced by the old mail order catalog, which often kept Warren afloat through lean times in actual magazine sales. Selling records and used/collectible comics is a big part of what I do to keep the coffers filled.
So, in the end, I made about enough to order a pizza.