Why Tip?

Stuff You Get

Everyone who tips any amount will get an emailed copy of the comic in full-resolution .pdf format.

Also in that email, you will get:
a copy of Ben Bova's original unpublished 4000-word story "A Duel in the Somme"
a copy of Rob's script for the comic, including visual references for Bill Holbrook

Emails will be sent out in the week after Intervention, so the comic has a chance to run without spoilers.

For those who donate $10 or more ($13 outside North America), you will get a physical copy of the book, p&h included. The book is 24 pages, 8 1/2" x 11" full color with glossy cover.

Other Reasons to Tip

When Ben Bova and I started talking about webcomics, one of the first things he wanted to know was how the economics of it works out. "How does the author (and, for that matter, the illustrator) get paid?"

I'm not a bad one to ask about that. I study this stuff a lot, and I'm a big believer in the free content model. I have several dozen friends who make a living in webcomics, music, film, and other creative endeavors, and it's how I earn my own living. Most of us make the bulk of our work available to enjoy without cost, and count on the support of our fans to donate, or buy books and CDs and T-shirts and toys.

Not everyone thinks this is a great idea. It is a fact that most people who read or listen to or download free content will never pay the creator a dime. That strikes some people as unfair on the part of the consumer, and foolish on the part of the creator. Intellectual property is worth something. You worked hard to make it. Why would you give it away? Why would you let someone take it without paying?

Well, for one thing, because I'm not just writing for the money.

Yes, I like money. I would like to be rich someday, please. But I write to be read. I write to entertain. I write because I know what it feels like to enjoy a good piece of fiction or a nice song, and I want to cause that good feeling in other people. The more people, the better. It's worth something to me just to know that someone in Finland I will never meet got a kick out of a joke or a story I wrote, whether they paid for it or not.

But there are also many logical, unsentimental reasons why free content makes sense.

If you put up a paywall, you whittle the number of people who will enjoy your work down to a splinter. Yes, everyone in that splinter audience paid, so on some level it's fair. But it carries a lot of ill effects. It kills growth, because people are more reluctant to pass it to their friends. It kills community, because the audience size is slashed. You lose sales of merchandise. It changes the way the fans and the creators relate to one another. Big corporate media companies are trying out paywalls again. I think it will end in tears.

No, I'd really rather let everyone in. The people who do support the artists are often very generous. When you're able to reach this many people, those who contribute usually make up for those who don't (or can't).

So I'm okay with the fact that most people won't tip or buy the book. It's an experiment. I'm proud of Duel in the Somme, and I'll make the leap of faith that it's a good enough read that many of you will want to support our efforts here. We'll either come out ahead, or I'll eat some of the costs of the project and go back to the drawing board.

If it does work out, then you'll get to see more fun projects like this in the future. Ben has a number of short stories we could turn into comics, and by pairing other accomplished authors with similarly seasoned illustrators, I might really be on to something big. I hope so, but it's up to you.

So. That's why you should tip.

That, and I really, really don't want to look like a jackass to Dr. Bova. O_o;


Rob Balder
Erfworld, PartiallyClips, Get Nifty, The FuMP, and A Duel in the Somme

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