#1013 "Back to the present"

August 8th, 2012, 3:40 pm

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Reply NtKGar, August 8th, 2012, 4:30 pm

This is the start of a short story. Trust me, it's going somewhere.

Thanks to everyone who said nice things about Neko for the ten year anniversary yesterday, and a special thanks to everyone who shared it online!

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Reply RaeofSunshine, August 9th, 2012, 12:45 am

Hahaha I already got any of my Facebook friends that would read to read XD but I will keep trying! for Neko! And for future print version of the comic <3 *hint hint*

Reply NtKGar, August 9th, 2012, 3:19 am

Thanks Rae! You're one of the top Nekolytes (but of course you already knew that :P)

As for a print run, pretty much any NtK merch is a numbers game. The percentage of a webcomic's audience that will buy merchandise is typically somewhere around 2-5%. I'm also at a geographical disadvantage because living in Ireland. Amongst other concerns (I don't have a U.S. shipping headquarters), that means I don't have access to Kickstarter, which you need an American address and bank account for.

To do a print run, I have to pay for it myself and recoup the expense. While several people have expressed interest in a book, the website audience simply isn't large enough that I'd be confident in getting my investment back if I were to go to print at this time. Trust me, nobody wants to see Neko in print more than I do, but the numbers just aren't there yet.

I'd be looking for around a threefold increase in the current average daily audience before a book becomes a serious possibility. That's why I've been getting more vocal about wanting the audience to help promote the site.

I've never really tried hard to run Neko as a business before. I'm pretty broke, so in terms of assets I've got my audience, my talent, and whatever bond of friendship connects the two. If the Man in Black were here, he'd know what to do.

Neko can't storm the internet on his own you know.

Johnny Cash was awesome in The Princess Bride.

Reply moirla, August 9th, 2012, 4:42 am

CreateSpace? would you be able to use something like Createspace or Cafepress to do merch on demand? I've got no clue how that stuff works internationally.

Also, love Alice's startled karate-chop pose!

Reply NtKGar, August 9th, 2012, 6:26 am

Print on demand is...OK. The stuff is expensive at the consumer level, and most of the profits go to the POD company. Conventional wisdom is it's not worth it to do a book run through POD. You're not paying any overhead expense, but you lose about 80% of the profit on the sale of each book you would have made if you'd gone with offset printing. They're good for calendars and seasonal items.

I was on Zazzle for a while with T-shirts, but they were expensive, I only made about $2 per sale, and, according to a couple of people who got shirts from them, the shirts themselves weren't of great quality. I've been meaning to open a Spreadshirt store for a while, I've heard their shirts are good quality for Print on Demand. I'll have a look at Createspace as well.

The best price-to-quality ratio for t-shirts, as with books, comes from working directly with a printer. It's the same principle as the books, you get a bulk order from the printer and sell the units yourself. Most book printers offer discounts on orders over 1,000 units, whereas t-shirt places start offering discounts on orders as low as ten units, and the discounts go up the more you order. Selling on ten shirts won't get you that much more profit than going through Print on Demand unless you really gouge on price and/or get the cheapest t-shirts available, but the bulk discount on 100 shirts is fairly substantial. That allows for the use of higher-quality shirts while retaining a good profit margin on each sale, so a batch of t-shirts is 100 shirts.

It's a balancing act. You want to provide the best quality product possible at a price your customers are willing to pay, while making sure you don't lose money on the deal yourself. You don't want to gain a reputation for poor-quality or overpriced merchandise, because that hurts return business, so you need to ensure as low a unit cost from your suppliers as possible so you can sell each unit at a decent profit while not having the retail price be 'too expensive'. Buying in bulk means you get a lower unit price from the supplier, but it also means you've got to sell more units to cover the cost of the bulk order. Once you break even, though, everything else is profit.

You also need to make sure you're not selling shitty merchandise, so skimping on production values is usually a bad idea. That's the difference between "cheap" and "a good deal".

Like all business, it boils down to 'try not to get screwed over'. Whether or not you try to screw over anybody else depends on personal ethics. Ordering a print run of anything right now would be screwing *myself* over, and that's just bad business.

Tell you what, I'll open up a spreadshirt store over the weekend and put in a couple of t-shirt designs. I can use the sales data from that to see what size shirt sells best and what kind of designs people like. That way when I can afford to switch to offset printing I'll know what size to order the most of :)

Reply MegaNurch (Guest), August 9th, 2012, 8:47 am

herrrp... Neko = funny. Ive been a fan for a long time now - but your site design is real bad - looks bad on 3 browsers I use. You want social site referrals when your site looks that bad? Come on!

If you're trying to make money doing this - do it right at least. Comic good - site bad. tee shirts wont matter if people are put off by the fact that the site looks like it was done by an amateur!

Reply PMC (Guest), August 9th, 2012, 9:15 am

Money Making Instead of books, what about TShirts, greeting cards, calenders etc.

Reply RoboKitty, August 9th, 2012, 9:25 am

Neko Neko Neko! @MegaNurch: I think the only real site related problem is the fact that you have to scroll down half a mile to get to the strip, which might put off new reader, but overall he has some good ideas with it. I like the favorite strips thing.

@NtKGar: I think NtK merch would be totally amazing! I would buy as soon as I had money to do so. I've also been sharing Neko strips on my Facebook, but so far I think I've only got a few friends reading it, but definitely not for lack of trying. It's pretty much the coolest webcomic ever. So, keep up the good work and I'll keep sharing the strips when one particularly catches my fancy and I can think of a good caption for it on Facebook.

Reply NtKPaige, August 9th, 2012, 9:38 am

@MegaNurch: The issue seems to be resolved for most folk. It seems to come down to screen size and resolution at the end of the day. On my 17inch high def screen the layout looks perfectly fine, I don't even have to scroll down all that much to view extended comics, and not at all to view the normal three panel comics. However, we log and refer all the bugs and complaints to our intrepid webmaster for investigation. Can you offer any more helpful criticism than "looks bad"? What are the issues you are having with it specifically? Are the ads overlapping the comic or are you unable to see comments, etc?

Reply MegaNurch (Guest), August 9th, 2012, 9:47 am

On windows - buttons not appearing (little red x box), comments half a mile below the comic strip.

Firefox - buttons again not showing (different computer), comments way below strip

iphone - comments not scrolling - different load mechanism, shows like a lightbox function, but the comments don't scroll down so can only see the first 3 lines of the first comment

The ads are behind the strip for me at least, but even if the design was functioning correctly, its just not an appealing design...doesnt look professional.

If youre going for a professional site, or trying to make money from it - gotta be professional...

Reply MegaNurch (Guest), August 9th, 2012, 9:49 am

also - if youre gonna try and bring in more readers - you cant expect them to resolve their own resolution settings in order to view your site correctly. there are plenty of coding tools out there to detect the browser with which a reader is checking the site out with...shouldnt be having a one size fits all solution when there is no one size fits all browser...

Reply NtKGar, August 9th, 2012, 10:14 am

@MegaNurch: OK, we've got some helpful troubleshooting here now. The site coding is being done by a volunteer from the audience.

This is a learning project for our intrepid webmaster, and this is good feedback if this site is going to be a part of the strong portfolio I know he can make.

You mention coding tools to detect resolution settings etc., can you link to some resources? Having established that you're being properly helpful, I think there's a best possible outcome whereby PiMaster learns some good tips and tricks about coding and site design, and NtK gets a better site across multiple platforms. If you can create a smackjeeves account and liaise with our webmaster that'd probably be the most helpful thing you could do.

Reply nekonian (Guest), August 9th, 2012, 10:57 am

i cant use social sites yet, but i can e-mail everyone i know. Neko shall soon be supreme jerka**! (rank +1) he said he was a normal one, so he shall be SUPREME!

Reply Morena, August 10th, 2012, 8:44 am

Demands And where can one acquire such a green alternative for the doorbell?

Go Mighty FuckWeasels!

Reply Raeofsunshine at work (Guest), August 10th, 2012, 10:03 am

Awes #^_^# shucks I really don't think I am top anything but thanks.

What about Etsy? I buy lots on there... but that could be a way to see intrest levels on a much smaller scale. You could sell signed Prints and what not from there.
And I would like to suggest making a Neko Page on FB instead of a group lol groups are old school hahaha

Reply Havockitten, August 10th, 2012, 2:39 pm

plushies? 0w0 A) I have yet to have any problems with your website's design, so your volunteer is doing a pretty good job in my opinion. Just saying.

B) I read the magic word... Plushies... I'm afraid to know how much they'd cost, since official plushies always cost a ton, so I never buy any, but man, it'd be so epic to have a neko and keno plush :3 oooh, and of course Poe. Cutest demon kitty evar.

Reply DrakeFeatherwing, August 11th, 2012, 4:13 am

Plushies Part Deux @Havockitten: I'd love Keno, Poe, AND (Robot) Maisy plushies. :3

As for the strip, love the heart. It must be nice having such lush tails to make such a shape with. But the doorbell and knocking. Such trollness to a cute moment between father and son.

Reply Havockitten, August 11th, 2012, 2:33 pm

Oh yeah... I hadn't thought of that. Robot Maisy is really neat. XD the fruit scenes just made me fall over giggling.

And yeah... the part with them making a heart is just too deceptively adorable. X3

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