How to Keep Learning

Before reading any of the following, know that I despise April Fools Day jokes, and will not subject you to one on this site.

Recently I mentioned that online ad revenues are way down, and asked you to use my Amazon Affiliate links (Available for the US, the UK and Canada). In the time since, lots of you have used the links (Huge thanks, by the way!), and many of you have sent me ideas about how I can increase my income from the comic. More on that in a moment.

If I seem to be radiating extra urgency regarding my finances, it’s not because I’ve suffered some horrible shortfall, or that I have a loan-shark threatening to “take my thumbs.” It’s just that I recently put you all through over a month of partial reruns, which I find unacceptable. As Charles Schultz once said, “I didn’t work so hard to get this job to not do it.”  During the same period I had a secret writing opportunity come up, and I was not able to put the time and effort I’d have liked into it. All this was due to the amount of time I have to spend at my day job (which, I admit, is a pretty nice problem to have).

So, I have a catch-22. I want to put more time into the comic so it will do better, but I can’t while working full time, and I can’t stop working full time until the comic starts doing better.*

I mentioned that I was sent some ideas. Many of the ideas were quite good, and all were well-intentioned. Having read them all, I have devised a three-pronged plan.

Prong 1: The return of the donate button.

It’s back. It’s up there in the upper-right corner of the site. It’s self-explanatory.

Prong 2: Sponsorship.

I had a reader who has a blog of his own generously offer to sponsor the comic for two weeks!
In about a week all of the ads on the site will be removed and a large banner leading to his blog will be placed at the top of the page. There will also be a text link to his site after the comics posted during that time.  

Prong 3: The Basic Instructions Subscription Service.

The site will continue to be free, and the posting schedule will remain unchanged, but for the trivially small fee of $2.50 a month (that’s $30 a year, roughly the cost of lunch for two at Red Robin) I will e-mail my comics directly to your inbox at a higher resolution that you get on the site, at least a week before they appear online. I eventually plan to start offering special subscriber-only content, but I don't know right now what that content will be.

I have set myself a lofty goal of 800 subscribers (I have, depending on how you count them, around 20,000 regular readers, so 800 subscribers is ambitious but realistic). If I make my goal of 800 subscribers, I will be able to scale the day job back to part time and start giving the comic the full time attention it deserves. That means more time spent on writing, on products, on related side projects, possibly on conventions and appearances, and definitely more time spent on proofreading!

The downside for you is that I am going to be shamelessly flogging the subscription service every chance I get until I reach my goal. As with the donation button, the subscribe button is in the upper right corner of the Basic Instructions home-page.

Thanks for your patience.


*I didn’t call this a chicken/egg problem because THE EGG CLEARLY CAME FIRST!! Life forms were laying eggs MILLENNIA before anything we’d recognize as a chicken EVER EXISTED!!