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Yonge At Heart finances.

We've run three successful Kickstarter campaigns, and I feel that our commitment to financial transparency is a big part of that. We started our project to learn how to make comics, and we want to help new creators know what to expect. We also want to keep our backers informed on their money was spent.

All prices below are in CDN, and often reflect heavily discounted or practically donated services from friends and suppliers.

Core Book costs

Cover Art, Artist and Writer paymentsCreatorsWe paid $51 a page. Writers received $11 a page, Artists received $25 a page, and Colourists received $15 a page.

Our cover art was again provided by the talented Adam Gorham.
1,500 BooksWebcom12pt glossy 4-colour cover, 80lb Coated Text paper, 6" x 9", 216 pages. 4 week turnaround time including delivery.

Webcom's communication was extremely poor, and they changed the specs of the project AFTER I signed a quote without informing me. It is very unlikely we will ever use them again, and I do not recommend them.
150 shirtsHardboiled IncGildan Soft-style with 4 colour screenprint. Sold during Kickstarter and at conventions. This number includes a 30-unit reprint of last year's Squirrel Conductor shirt.$1,813.09
Editor paymentsEditorsEditors need money too!$800.00
Tabloid Printer, ink + paperAmazon.caI replaced last year's unreliable HP printer with a Brother MFC-J6520DW wide-format printer. It's very useful for printing proofs instantly at home.$234.76

Promotional costs

4,000 ButtonsPeople Power PressWe hand these out free at conventions as a lure. As a promotional tool they're super effective. Also a KS reward!$1,045.25
300 Promotional Kickstarter pamphlets for March ComicconWebcomWe printed these proof-of-concept books both for promotional handouts, and to test if Webcom could deliver a quality product. While these promotional minis looked great, Webcom cut corners on the final order, downgrading our press and introducing some colour grain.$513.45
520 6"x9" prints on 110lb cardstockAdam Graphics IncKickstarter reward.$301.14
Kickstarter video suppliesMerissa TseCovers equipment rental and crew food only. Thanks Merissa!$258.50
Promotional Kickstarter business cardsAdam Graphics IncWe handed these out at the March ComicCon to raise awareness of the KS.$100.56
Table suppliesCarr McleanSome replacement acrylic display easels, etc.$35.00

Fulfilment costs

Mailing 361 parcelsChitChats ExpressA USPS broker is an enormous help in reducing the cost of shipping fees. They saved us $2-6 on every parcel for both domestic and international shipments.

Shipping is one of those costs that doesn't scale, so it can very rapidly overwhelm a project. We ran into issues with the sheer volume of packages, and I'm eternally grateful for the team rallying together to help tackle them.
Shipping suppliesUlineBoxes, envelopes, mailers, foamcore, etc.$220.81
Gift bagsNoblePackAfter much searching, I found a supplier who had gift bags that were EXACTLY the right size for a 6"x9" book. I remain pretty thrilled about that.$199.35
Launch party lanyardsAmazon.caCheap lanyards and display badges to higlight specific creators at the launch.$39.05
In total, Toronto Comics: Yonge At Heart cost

$25,893.90 CDN

to bring to market.

That's about $7k more than last year's Volume 3! Going colour added a much greater production cost, and a much greater art cost. The costs above don't include convention table fees, hotels or travel costs. Books are crazy expensive!

Revenue Sources

KickstarterWe ran a successful Kickstarter for $20,003.00 CDN. This was a vastly greater number than last year's 12k, and we really appreciate your support! This effectively covered all creator costs, but didn't cover printing or promotion. Without the enormous success of the KS the project would not be possible at all!$18,049.89
PayPal pre-ordersImmediately after the KS ended, we started accepting pre-orders via Paypal on our site. If people want to send you money, it's essential you let them!$2,078.50
195 Contributor CompsWe allowed creators to purchase extra books at production cost - about $6 CDN a book.$1,170.00
TCAF salesTCAF is simply the best show in Canada. The crowd is intensely passionate about discovering new comics, the staff are incredibly friendly and organized, and I can't recommend it enough.$4,150.00
Page & Panel book launchThe Page & Panel store is an enormous supporter of Indy comics in Toronto. They should be your first stop when pitching a new book.$515.00
The Sidekick SigningThe Sidekick Cafe is a great comic store and cafe in Leslieville, and a big supporter of the local scene.$200.00
Indigo DistributionWe signed on as a direct Vendor with Indigo Chapters, and they've ordered an enormous volume of books. This is the development I'm most excited about in 2017 - it opens a door to wider markets we've never had access to.$2,080.04
All told, since the Kickstarter wrapped in March, we've moved almost

1,350 books

, and we're 2,349.53 CDN in the black. That's amazing! We've never seen such a strong response to a book before, and it's an enormous encouragement to every member of the team.

Now, of course, we're almost out of books, so I'm going to have to pay a minimum of $8k to print another 1,000 books with Marquis. That'll eat up all our revenue and then some, but hopefully it will pay off in the end.

Lessons Learned:

Whatever time you budgetted for fulfilment, quadruple it.
We had rotating teams of 3-4 folks packing boxes for about 20 hours in total, and delivering the boxes to the distributor was its own nightmare, resulting in several days of lost productivity. Some of the more complex orders slipped through the cracks and had to be mailed out much later than I'd have liked.

Colourists need scripts!
While obvious in retrospect, we had a situation where a colourist had to colour a comic without knowing the script for it, resulting in colours that didn't match the text. Make sure every member of the team has access to all the information they need!

Label printers can be fickle!
Make sure you have a steady supply of labels. We ran out, and it turns out it takes more than a month to get new labels from Brother.

I welcome feedback and suggestions at @cardboardshark!

-Steven Andrews,
Lead Editor