Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Status Quo and Upcoming Chapters


Man, you haven't received a proper update from me for several months! I'm really sorry about that and I definitely owe you an explanation. The short version is, that the production of the Wormworld Saga currently is paused until the end of the year and before writing an update I wanted to gain some perspective on what happened and figure out how and when the project will continue. I have answers to these questions now and it's time to share them with you.

I've never told you much about the financial aspects of the Wormworld Saga. From the outside, financing the project must look like a pretty straightforward thing. I mean, everytime I've shared anything remotely related to money it normally incorporated a successful kickstarter campaign or a new potential revenue stream opening up. You've never heard about gaps in the cashflow or times when pure luck helped to continue the production. In other words: you've heard about the ups but never about the downs of this rollercoaster ride. If under the bottom line there was progress I figured that I just wouldn't need to bother you. Well, there's no way to give you a statisfying update now without shedding at least some light behind that curtain.

What happened

So, Chapter 5 was released in March. If you followed the production updates closely you've noticed that this was three months later than originally planned. Chapter 4 had been released in August 2012 and the reason for not starting the production of Chapter 5 right away were the launch preparations for the Wormworld Shop and the accompanying kickstarter campaign.
A proper shop had been on my wishlist for a long time and I figured that setting it up would be a good investment into the future of the project and that its launch would ultimately outweight the risk of delaying Chapter 5. However, chapter releases are my main source of income right at the moment. I receive payments from the publishing partners whenever a chapter is finished. Also sales in the app go up, as well as in the shop, due to increased traffic on the website. So it was a gamble - a new shop for a three months delay of the upcoming chapter.

When Chapter 5 was finally released at the end of March this year I had to realize that the money that remained in the budget would not have carried me through the whole production of Chapter 6. I had to think of yet another card to play. I researched that with a relatively small investment of time and money it was possible to offer the special content from the app directly on the website. My assumption was, that this feature had the potential to be embraced by the fans. A way to access the special features of the app without a tablet had often been requested. I spent four weeks and a couple of hundred dollars for a subscription software license to set up 'The Attic' and hoped that the initial signups would bridge the gap until the next chapter release.

This time I had gambled too high. The initial number of subscriptions stayed way below what I had hoped for. There was no substancial profit gained and the whole process had delayed the next chapter release for another four weeks. There remained a small chance though to get additional funds as the negotiations with the French publisher had advanced pretty far. However, for the time being I had no idea what they would pay and when.

I started the production of Chapter 6 and hoped for the cavalry to arrive in time but in late June I came to the point where I had to pull the plug and start to make some money through freelance work. I was pretty frustrated by the whole situation. The first time in two years I had to stop the full-time work on my project.

What's next

The good thing about low points like these is that from there things can only get better. In the meantime I have visited the Franco-Belgian comic publisher Dupuis in their Paris office. We had a great time forging plans for the French edition of the book and also the French digital version of the Wormworld Saga. Expect more info about that soon. Most importantly, we signed the long awaited contract and I was finally able to see what it will add to my production budget. Together with the German edition and my own digital revenue sources, over 60% of the production costs for another TWO chapters are secured. That's definitely enough to start with and I'm pretty confident that, once on the road, there will be ways to complete the budget. Chapter 6 and 7 are now scheduled for 2014 and are going to fill the third book.
 
So, the plan is now to produce the next two chapters in one big push. I will begin production as soon as possible which, due to my current freelance contract, will not be before January. In the meantime I'm going to spend some of my free time to finish the preliminary version of Chapter 6. I want to be ready to start right into the illustration work when the time comes. Needless to say that in my head I've constantly been working on the upcoming chapter and my feeling is that it will actually benefit from the additional time that I'm able to finetune it. I'm extremely looking forward to Chapter 6 as it will broaden the scope of the Wormworld and give the story a whole new twist. I can guarantee you that I'm doing everything I can to publish it as soon as possible. And now that we're all on the same page again there also will be updates more frequently.
 
In the last months I've received some emails from people asking if everything was ok. I honestly want to apologize for making people worry. Not communicating at all just wasn't a good idea. I had to figure out what this disruption meant for the project and I somehow stupidly thought that noone would bother if I kept silent for some time. I've often asked you for patience concerning my project but of course you can only be patient if you know what you are waiting for. I've learned this lesson now.

Thank you for your support!

21 comments:

  1. Dear Daniel, I am a fan of your work. Congratularions for retake this amazing history, best regards,

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  2. Mach dir doch einen Twitter-Account, so kannst du mal kurz ein Lebenszeichen abgeben, oder so!?

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  3. My students and I are reading Wormworld in Turkey at an American school. They really enjoy acting out the characters... you have 60 new fans.

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  4. Thanks for the update Daniel. Glad to hear developements are returning to your favour, and as any true Wormworld Saga fan, I'll be patiently waiting for the next chapters, knowing that the wait will be more than worth it.

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  5. I just want to give you a hug. As soon as I saw that this blog was posted, my day became a lot better. Even though it rains outside, I don't care, cause my favorite webcomic is still alive! Legen... wait for it because it's awesome... DARY! Legendary!

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  6. cool, only yesterday I was in the site hoping for some good news :-)
    Love your work!

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  7. Hey Daniel! thanks for the update. It sounds like it can sometimes be tough. Looking forward to the French publishing and all the information you promised on that ^^ - I cannot help wondering if we will get the French book by Christmas already ;)
    Good luck with all your work!

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  8. I hope everything will turn out fine! Your novel is amazing and I can´t wait till the new chapter comes out!
    Wish you all the best!

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  9. Hi Daniel,
    good to have you back. I was looking at your Blog weekly and was already a little dissapointed. You should embed your tweets as well to this Blog not only at the homepage. I believe most people don't know that you have already an account there.
    Good luck with the next chapters and look forward to some early views of some panels. ;-)

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  10. Thanks so much for this update! I'm glad to hear that everything is OK with your health and your family, and I want to thank you for the work you've already done! 2014 is going to be a great year.

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  11. Thanks for all your wonderful comments! It shows once again that I'm blessed with a very special group of followers.

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  12. Hi Daniel, good to know whats up with the project. Keep up the good work! Sad to hear of your problems but as you said, there are also good news. Its always hard to stay on focus if problems arise, i'm with you and wish you all the best!

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  13. It's always hard to hear, that lack of money sabotages a great project like this. Sometimes I really agree with the often mentioned idea of an unconditioned basic income... I'm happy that all seems to turn out well in between, and wish you new energy and lots of motivation despite from-time-to-time-downs! :)

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  14. Hi Daniel, you have a great comic, and I guess you also have quiet some visitors on your site.
    Did you think on putting some advertisements on your page e.g. AdSense? That could help to raise some additional funds, and could fit in the page without disrupting the layout.
    All the best for the future!

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  15. Ich hatte ja so von Anfang an meine Zweifel, daß Du das mit den ehrgeizigen Plänen für den sehr lang angelegten Erzählfaden durchhältst. E-Comics sind bisher schon immer irgendwann zum "Rohrkrepierer" geworden. Mich hatte ehrlich gesagt am meisten diese ganze Merchandise-Geschichte gestört. Bevor eine Serie zum Laufen kommt, will das die breite Masse gar nicht haben. Warum auch? Die wollen die Geschichte. Und zwar in überschaubarer Zeit.
    Um es kurz zu machen: In gedruckter Form werde ich Deiner Geschichte bis zum hoffentlich "gutem Ende" folgen. Und über Fan-Artikel, Prints und ähnlichen Stuff denke ich erst ab 10 Kapiteln nach. Bis dahin möchte ich einen guten Comic lesen und sammeln (im Bücherregal). Übrigens hätte wahrscheinlich eine ehrliche Bitte um weitere Unterstützung so manchen Engpass im Vorfeld verhindert. Für gute Comics gebe ich gern Geld aus. ;-) Bis dahin viel Glück und lass der Phantasie ihren Freilauf!

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  16. Hallo Daniel, bin ja froh, dass es Dir gut geht und alles "nur" Finanzkram war/ist und nichts "Ernstes", sprich keine Familienkatastrophen, Erkrankungen, Todesfälle, etc. Ich (und meine Kids) freuen sich jedenfalls, dass es mit der Saga weitergehen soll und sind schon gespannt auf das nächste Kapitel. Alles Gute und viel Erfolg und auch das nötige Glück!
    dr.roach

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  17. Lieber Daniel,
    auch und gerade in Zeiten von Facebook, Twitter & Co. muss man es sich herausnehmen dürfen, sich etwas Zeit für seine Family und sich selbst zu nehmen und ist niemandem dafür Rechenschaft schuldig, und dafür hat sicherlich jede(r) hier Verständnis :) . Kreativität und Druck vertragen einander nicht immer, von daher freue ich mich, wenn vorerst wieder etwas mehr Luft zum Atmen bleibt und Dir die Kreativpause hoffentlich auch gut getan hat!
    Ralf

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  18. Well, thanks for the news! Anyway, I was hoping for a new chapter on Christmas, so it seems to be none...
    However, please, would it be possible to give us at least some little treat on Christmas? This comics was somewhat always connected with Christmas (as first two chapters were published then) and I was somewhat sad that the last year it didn't work out. Are there any plans for this year?

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  19. Beautiful work! I'm a new fan of your work, take care and I'm waiting for more news.
    cya!!!

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  20. Hi Daniel,
    danke für den Eintrag - bin froh zu hören, dass es weitergeht. Wir lieben deine Geschichte und die fantastischen Zeichnungen und freuen uns auf die nächsten Kapitel.
    Grüße

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