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Career Change and the Future of Aww, Feathers!

May 2nd, 2018, 2:01 am

I have something very exciting to announce. I'll admit the circumstances are somewhat unexpected. However, this Friday will be my last day at my current job. I've worked there as a software engineer for almost six years, and while I love the company, for a while now I've been feeling like it may be time to move on to something new. I could just immediately look for a new tech job. It probably wouldn't be too difficult in this job market. However, we're in a position right now where we can afford to go at least a few months without me working full-time. So we've decided that for a little while at least, I'm going to give working for myself a try. I am completely aware that this is something of a crapshoot and that there's a good chance it won't work out like I hope. But I'm sure going to give it everything I've got to make it work! If I can give it a go for a while and learn something along the way, I think it will be valuable no matter what happens. I'm prepared to accept the outcome.

SO, what does this mean for Aww, Feathers!? I'm so glad you asked! I'm going to try and be as up front and transparent as I can. During this period, I'll be spending much more time working on some of my own projects, and that includes the comic. It's not the only thing I'll be doing, since at the moment it's not generating enough income to support my family. However, I will dedicate some of my time to improving my art and writing skills. In addition, this is a chance to make Aww, Feathers! a larger part of my career. To do that though, it needs to become more profitable.

I'm not asking anyone to give more than they are able. However, if you've gotten enjoyment from the story and been on the fence about backing Aww, Feathers! on Patreon, now would be the time to join in! Patreon supporters have already made a difference in the comic by unlocking a few extra updates, but that's always been limited by the amount of time I have to actually work on the comic. Now however you have a chance to make an even bigger impact. If Aww, Feathers! does not grow much as a source of income, then it will need to remain a side project that I only work on in my spare time. (And I intend to continue working on it even in that case, because I care about it a lot.) However, the more support on Patreon grows, the more time I'll be able to dedicate to creating new content. And if you haven't seen some of the neat rewards you can get for becoming a supporter on Patreon, you should check it out now! For as little as $1 per month you gain access to some behind the scenes stuff, and if you contribute a little more, you'll unlock some exclusive bonus content.

If Patreon isn't really your bag, that's totally fine. There are other ways you can support Aww, Feathers!, and keep an eye out for other opportunities as well. All of it contributes to helping the comic to grow.

So let's do this! I'm committed to making Aww, Feathers! the best family-friendly furry webcomic that I can produce. Any support you can lend would go a long way towards keeping it going strong!

Guest Comics: Final Final FINAL Deadline!

April 10th, 2018, 6:14 pm

Wow, okay, so this has been a doozy of a year so far. The guest comic event has been sort of up in the air as a result. But now that I'm feeling mostly better and have a good idea of when the current chapter will finish, I think we can finally pin down a definite date to begin showing guest comics!

May 19 is the new deadline, and this time we'll keep it that way. Even if something else comes up in the meantime, I think we've waited long enough. So if you're still planning to submit a guest comic, please get it to me by Saturday, May 19, 2018. Guest comics will be shown starting May 21st and go for about the following month and a half or so. The more entries we get, the more will be posted each week. During that time I'll be working on something very special (details to come)!

If you need a reminder of the submission guidelines, you can read them here. Also, if you'd like to complete a Fill In the Bubble comic, you can still do that as well, and favorites will be displayed during the guest comic event!

If there are any questions, feel free to let me know. Also, if you submitted anything to me and I failed to respond, send me a quick reminder to make sure I don't miss anything. Thanks a lot! This has been a difficult year, but I'm determined to make it a good one!

Reorganizing the Archive

March 10th, 2018, 3:49 pm

Just a heads up that I've done a bit of reorganizing. All previous guest comics and "mini comics" have been moved together to the beginning of the archive. The link to the "First Page" will still take you to the first main story page. A link has also been added to the nav menu that will take you directly to this section.
My plan is to move any mini comics to this section at the close of each chapter. That way anyone who decides to read through the archives will have an uninterrupted reading experience. What do you think of this approach? If you have any suggestions or notice anything wrong while browsing the site, please let me know. Thanks!

Health Sitch

March 5th, 2018, 10:43 pm

For any wondering what's been up with me lately, for the past few weeks I've been having really bad stomach pains. They come and go in waves. Lately I've been getting one really bad flare up per day, which afterwards leaves me very exhausted. I'm fortunate to work for a company that permits me to do some work from home when I'm feeling fine, and has a very generous sick leave policy for when I'm unable. Unfortunately, my condition hasn't been conducive to doing much else except resting and spending some time with loved ones, who've been taking good care of me.

Long story short, I'm not sure when I'll be able to continue updating the story of Aww, Feathers! However, I'm very grateful to the numerous readers who have expressed their best wishes to me as well as their willingness to wait while I recover. And I will try to share a little something at least on the days I'm unable to share a full comic update: a mini comic or some artwork I've done in my spare time. Don't worry, that at least is something I can do without too much trouble.

Oh, and as for the guest comic event, I still plan to do it. My plan is to start it after the current chapter ends, which hopefully won't be too long in the making. I could start posting guest comics now while I'm recovering... but my plan had been to work on something else important relating to the comic while guest comics were running. If I'm not able to do that... then I'd rather wait until I can. I hope those who have submitted their guest comics so far are understanding of the delay. And if anyone has yet to submit one, the good news is you have some extra time to work on and submit one.

So that's all for now. Aww, Feathers! is not going away; just taking a break while I get better. I will continue to keep everyone in the loop. Keep your fingers crossed that it will be soon! And if you could spare a thought or prayer for me, I would be most appreciative. Thanks again for all your support!

Guest Comic Reminder!

February 10th, 2018, 10:08 am

The start of the guest comic event has been pushed back a couple times. The good news though is that puts the deadline to submit your own guest comic to about March 15 or so. That means there's about a month left! It would be really great if we could get just a few more entries. If you need to review the submission guidelines, check them out here.
In the meantime, here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning:

  • What would the characters of Aww, Feathers! look like if they were drawn in the style of another existing comic? What if they were placed in the setting of an existing book, show, movie, or game?

  • Want to give it a try but aren't very confident in your ability to draw? Be creative! Can you make a comic by cutting and pasting photos together? (Make sure you have the proper permission to use them out course.)

  • ‎Also, don't be afraid to use a simpler art style. Toony, chibi or even stick figures are fair game.

  • ‎If a full comic page or strip is a bit intimidating, can you tell a story using just a single image?

  • ‎Many guest comics have featured the male characters from Aww, Feathers! but don't forget about the ladies! Consider a short story about June, Mally, Luchette, Michelle, or Lia.

  • ‎If you want to do one but just don't have any ideas, or if you're fairly new to the comic and not sure where to start, talk to me! I've got a few ideas to spare.

Coming Soon: Sketchbook Club!

January 31st, 2018, 8:24 pm

For the past two years I’ve been creating Aww, Feathers! themed postcard designs and sending them out to supporters on Patreon. Those have been a lot of fun to do, and have given me a chance to experiment with different art styles and depict some scenes from the world of Aww, Feathers! that don’t appear in the comic. Unfortunately, I’ve found it necessary to put new postcard designs on hold for now due to limitations related to demand, storage, and printing quantities. I may periodically release a new postcard design, but they will no longer come out monthly. I do, however, have an idea for something new for patrons that I think will be fun. I want to know what you think.

I will continue to post works in progress of comic pages and practice sketches, both of which will be available to all patrons. But for those who pledge a little bit extra, I’ll also be introducing the Aww, Feathers Sketchbook Club! My plan is to create a new sketch every week. These will be higher quality, refined and inked physical sketches. There will be three levels:

  • Bronze Level - Patrons who pledge $3 or more will get to see digital versions of each new sketch that comes out.

  • Silver Level - Those who pledge $5 or more will have access to the digital sketches, but will also receive one physical sketch in the mail per month. You may pick one of the available sketches to be mailed to you. (If multiple patrons want the same sketch, there will be a rotating list of who gets first pick.) Or if you prefer, you can let it be a surprise!

  • Gold Level - $10 patrons will unlock the gold level, at which you can make requests for what you would like to see sketched! Each gold level patron may make one request per month, and you will have first dibs to have your requested sketch sent to you (though you can choose a different one if you prefer). Note that I may have a certain theme for a given month of things I want to practice drawing, and requests will need to fit into that theme.

When we do have a new postcard design (which will probably only be a few times a year at most), that will take the place of new Sketchbook Club entries for that month, Bronze level patrons will get a digital version of the postcard, and Silver and Gold level patrons will be sent a physical copy.

So that’s my plan, starting very soon. I want to hear any feedback or questions you may have. Otherwise, the first entries to the Sketchbook Club will begin soon. I’ll make an official announcement on Patreon when it does. The first few sketches will be visible to all so they can get an idea of what to expect, but after that they’ll be exclusive to Sketchbook Club members. Thanks again for being readers and subscribers!

Ixnay the eesfay!

December 13th, 2017, 3:12 pm

"We messed up." Those were the first words I read from Patreon's blog post where they announced that they will NOT be rolling out the previously mentioned fees. As miffed as I was (along with many other creators and patrons) at the apparent disregard for how the change would affect patrons, I'm willing to believe they actually had good intentions, and that they are being sincere now. Here's hoping this can be a positive step forward. Let's be honest: Patreon has really provided an outstanding service for many creators who otherwise may not have a feasible way to support themselves doing what they love. And it's refreshing to see evidence that a company is willing to listen to feedback, own their mistakes, and try to make things right. They still have some issues to work out, but I'm cautiously optimistic they will do a better job moving forward at consulting their users about any changes.

So, for those who read my previous post about a possible funding alternative, I'm going to put those plans on hold for the time being and stick with Patreon. But it's nice to know we have a possible Plan B should we need it. If you still feel strongly about wanting to move away from Patreon but would still like to support Aww, Feathers! and receive access to patron-exclusive content, please let me know and we'll work something out. In the meantime, while I'll be sticking with Patreon, I still may be incorporating some of the changes I had mentioned before.

Rest assured, I will involve you, my awesome supporters and Awwthusiasts, in each decision along the way. ;-)

Possible Patreon alternative

December 12th, 2017, 8:11 pm

You may have heard about upcoming changes to Patreon's fee structure. If you haven't, I speak on it briefly here. A lot of people--creators and patrons alike--are unhappy with the proposed changes. I don't really like them either. I've reached out to Patreon with my feedback, and I encourage everyone else to do the same. (But be respectful!)

I don't want to dwell too much on the negative though. Instead I've been investigating alternatives, and one idea in particular seems promising. But I want to hear your input. I invite you to pick this idea apart, tell me what you like and what you don't like. Whether you are a current or past supporter on Patreon, or even if you've never pledged on Patreon, I want your feedback!

My idea is to create The Aww, Feathers! Sketchbook Club on Gumroad! Like patreon, this would be a subscription service, through which you would receive access to exclusive Aww, Feathers! themed artwork!

How would I join?
The subscription would be through gumroad, which is the site I currently use for the Aww, Feathers! Store.

What would I get for joining?
Those who join would receive access to an exclusive online sketchbook where I'll be posting refined sketches; at least one per week. If you're already familiar with the sketches I've been posting on Patreon, these will be better quality. More deliberate, refined, and possibly cleaned up and inked. They may be sketches of characters from Aww, Feathers! or something different just for practice.
Everyone who subscribes would also be given access to the discord channel where I post early drafts of comic pages.

How much would it cost?
I haven't nailed down all the pricing details yet, but I think I have a basic idea. The base price would be $2 per month. However, there is also the option to pay every 3, 6, or 12 months, and discounts would be available to those who choose to subscribe for longer durations at a time. (I'm considering a discount of up to 50% for those who subscribe for a year; that would be only $1 per month!)
Gumroad provides the option to let customers pay more than the base price. Those who pay certain amounts above the base price would unlock extra perks.

Oooh, what kind of perks?
Those who pay extra would be able to submit suggestions/requests that would be drawn from on a regular basis. They can even include sketches of your own characters if you wish. Those who pay a bit more may pick one of the sketches to be sent the original physical copy. And there may be other "tiered" rewards as well.

What are the benefits to using Gumroad over Patreon?
The most immediate benefit is that, unlike Patreon's recently announced fee changes, customers are not charged a processing fee on top of the posted price. In addition, as mentioned before, Gumroad has flexible pricing options, including the option to pay once every 3, 6, or 12 months instead of every month, which allows me to pass on some savings to you. Finally, using Gumroad provides an opportunity to have the sketchbook club subscription and other items for sale in the same location.

Are there any drawbacks?
The biggest drawback I can see is missing out on the community and discussions that Patreon provided. I hope to mitigate that by encouraging greater participation in our discord server.
In addition, because Gumroad charges a processing fee for each payment instead of grouping multiple payments together (like Patreon's old model), I would need to charge a bit more to stay profitable. I will, however, offer discounts to those who choose to pledge for multiple months instead of just one month at a time.
Finally, Gumroad's system for choosing different "tiers," or levels, isn't currently as robust as Patreon's. If you ever want to change your funding level, you will need to cancel your current subscription, and then resubscribe with a different amount. Also, to choose a certain reward tier, you will need to just make sure you enter the correct amount when checking out. To help with that, I'll make sure the necessary prices are clearly posted.

So then...
I want to hear from you. Would you be interested in trying out something like this? What questions or suggestions do you have? Feel free to leave a comment, or email me at awwfeathers@gmail.com with your feedback. I want to work together to come up with a solution that can help support Aww, Feathers! financially while also benefiting those who choose to support it!

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