Friday, April 12, 2013
Crazy times, but amazing times!
If you've been paying attention, you know things haven't exactly been smooth for me lately. My ever-escalating illness was making it harder and harder to work, and bad medical advice only made things worse. I was flying by the seat of my pants, and it was highly stressful. I was giving more than my body could take, and trying not to let that strain bleed too much into the comics.
It didn't work. People complained and I couldn't do much to fight back. (I don't blame the complainers at all - eveb uf I don't agree with their assessments. I've spoiled you guys for years, so any lapse seems like a betrayal at this point.) After tearful pleas, I finally got my doctor to write me a new prescription for painkillers. Those drugs did more to help me that the months (and thousands of dollars) spent on treatment did. They weren't a solution by any means, but they bought me 10 days of being able to function at a semi-normal level. I used that time to its full potential, grinding out 16-hour work days so I could get everything perfect. It was not ideal, but I had set up my files to make success possible.
Still, having only this small window during a long illness meant weird timing. My buffer had run out and I was already through my emergency scripts. I had my work done, and it was ready to get the Kickstarter going. I took the scripts I had and planned out some meta jokes (that, of course, drew even more complaints) that would tie it all together in retrospect. I submitted my campaign, but time had run out. I had to begin the promo week even though the campaign wasn't approved yet. (And I will NEVER regret the promo week tradition. I am a very small comic, and this is my livelihood! If it's cute and funny and helps, it's the right thing to do.)
It was all in motion. There was no going back. The plan, before all the sickness improvising, was to lead with the "It's Alive!" comic and do a standard promotion. Editing turned it into a preview week, and that was cool too. I would simply run the "It's Alive!" comic when the campaign was approved! (Well, I quickly realized that wouldn't work, as the week delay meant I'd be opening up my preorder while I was traveling to a convention and away from my computer. Timing, in accordance with the recent trend, was destroying all my planned cleverness.) But then I got nervous. Kickstarter only says "a few days" - and so I asked some other friends who did Kickstarters how long it took them. "It took over a week for me. I've heard it go up to two weeks before." WHAT!? That is not a "few" days! What have I done to myself now? The complaints would be deafening, and right when I needed support the most. All the sacrifices I'd made - all the good will I had tried to build up over the years - I was about to throw it away. It's a sad reality. Make 1500 comics someone enjoys? That's great. Make one comic they don't, and that's all it takes for them to delete the bookmark. Such is the nature of the beast.
So it was time to improvise again! I drew up this alternate comic, just in case Kickstarter was dragging its heels. The "We now return to your regular programming, already in progress" joke would still have followed, but it would have been more an admission of failure than a clever joke. (More complaints! People love complaining.) Fortunately, Kickstarter was on time and I got my approval Thursday night. I was finally able to set things up and know I was covered.
It wasn't pretty, and it took a lot of grief and pain in the process, but that's how life goes sometimes. Behind the scenes, I put my all into this stuff, and I made sure I had everything PERFECT. I put my priorities in the right places, and it was just bad timing that resulted in poor optics. I had the plans in place, but I was simply so ill I couldn't do anything about those plans. I don't regret the comics I made, just the order they were presented in. I can't regret not keeping people up to date on my suffering, because it wouldn't have changed anything - and I had no idea it would continue getting worse until after it had already happened. The doctors blew the diagnosis, and why wouldn't I have trusted them?
It was tough, but I got through it, and it's all be amazing so far. The Kickstarter is going great - c'mon, folks, let's get those artist collaborations unlocked! - and good will is returning. It's been a crazy, rough road getting here, but things are looking good again!
I'm in no way recovering yet. The meds are gone, and I'm back to getting the full brunt of pain again. It'll be a while before I can see the best doctors, who will hopefully get me on the path to recover, as they're in demand, but at least I don't have multiple major projects going on as this happens. I can keep the comic moving with the few good hours I have - maybe even tossing in the occasional Copper Road. Things are still tenuous, and any setback longer than a week puts me back in scramble mode, but I have hope. I'll beat this, and I'll be able to thrive again.