At the end of the current chapter, coinciding with the end of the month, Pictures of You will be dropping back to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday update schedule for the foreseeable future. Reluctant as I've been to make this change, it's been a while coming. Pictures of You is not a financial success by any stretch, nor is its audience vast. While a small number of folks have been sincerely and incredibly supportive, the truth is that the money coming in doesn't equal the time going out.
I've seen it argued that we who make comics sully ourselves and our work by trying to make money, and that we should make comics for the love of making them, for pure art. You can argue that this is true, and many people do make comics simply for the love of making them, but knocking yourself out and keeping a frequent schedule is not that, and making them doesn't necessitate showing them. I don't have time or spare mental stability to do this for free at this pace anymore. The comic will still be made, it will still be posting, just less frequently.
I didn't want this, I've been proud of my update schedule and would like to see it return to the M-F or even daily posting. Make no mistake, this is a personal setback for me and for the comic, but the choice became to slow it down or stop altogether, whether for an extended hiatus or forever. I chose the former because it's important to me to finish this story. I've bled and cried for this story, made and lost friends over it, met my spouse through it, not to mention the amount of sleep traded for pages.
I keep trying to find a point to what I'm saying, but maybe there isn't one. Maybe it's just rough news. Maybe it's just what I feel I have to do. I suspect most people understand why. Maybe there's consolation in that. Maybe not. Who knows?
This change won't affect backers of the Pictures of You Patreon who will continue to see the same amount of comics in their monthly PDFs. I'll take a minute here to point out that anyone who backs us with even a buck a month gets the monthly comics. I suppose folks who don't think the comic is worth a dollar a month probably shouldn't be too upset about being able to read it less often. But for those who do love it and want to keep reading it at the same pace, maybe a dollar isn't too much.
posted by Gibson Twist @ August 11th, 2015, 4:03 pm | 12 comments
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Koby (Guest), August 11th, 2015, 5:02 pm
Honestly, if I had ANY money, I would gladly give it to you. This comic is moving, and real, and I'm very happy to be a reader. Post daily, weekly, monthly, I will still read, and always be gracious for whatever I get. You inspire me.
Ley (Guest), August 12th, 2015, 12:46 am
I understand, but I feel that the moment where you closed comments under the comics was the moment where many moved on to webcomics where they could discuss the comic. There's been many pages where I was like "Damn, I wish I could read other ppl's thoughts on this part." cause many webcomics allow comments underneath and it's just a part of it I think. I do hope you'll continue, and I might even support again as I've done previously but yeah, the lack of being able to comment on the comic does take away a bit from it.
Kotire, August 12th, 2015, 6:40 am
You do what you feel is best for you.
I, like many others, would donate what I could, had I anything to spare.
Unfortunately my present income is such, that my budget is spread thin as it is.
I will continue to spread the word and, whatever the schedule is, you will find me here reading.
Still the best comic in my online schedule.
VoxAngeles, August 12th, 2015, 1:18 pm
It's so obvious to me that "Pictures" is a labor of love, and does deserve to be financially supported. Webcomics have made readers get used to free content, but I feel like it's turning back around with the boom of Kickstarter and Patreon. Only time will tell, I guess!
I'll read "Pictures" until the end of time and put its Patreon on the top of my to-support list! Best of luck, Mr. Twist! Take care of yourself! Labors of love are as exhausting as they are rewarding.
Diana (Guest), August 12th, 2015, 11:13 pm
When I find work, I will support you. Not because I want to get something out of it, but because I think that I owe you. Hopefully that will be happening this month. Thank you for making the comic and keeping up with it even when things are hard. You do what is right for you - the readers who love your story will always be here, comments section or not, daily updates, weekly updates, once monthly updates - WHATEVER! Thanks again!
Minnow (Guest), August 25th, 2015, 11:35 am
Honestly, more than anything you should spend your comic-making time trying to create a semi-decent art style and trying to make your writing and characters much less pretentious and Mary Sue-esque. Without too much offense to you, reviews from people like Bad Webcomics Wiki and so on make extremely valid points about the failures of your comic. Sometimes when it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck, and Pictures of You is a financial failure for one big reason. Though, I believe I don't need to say what that reason is.
MongoImpressed (Guest), August 28th, 2015, 6:16 am
As much as I love PoY, I can certainly see the logic in this. I will continue to support you and your efforts to produce this great comic.
Jenny (Guest), August 29th, 2015, 6:23 am
Art for free?
I've got a lot of musician friends and photographer friends and you see two things happen in those communities which is similar to the 'webcomics should be free' argument: photographers offered gigs, unpaid, 'for the experience/to add to your portfolio', and musicians expected to do things for free 'for the love of it/exposure'.
It's bollocks, whatever the field. I love music, and I love photography, but I'm not trying to make a career out of them - and the difference between me and a pro is that therefore there's no deadline, there's no expectation. If I don't want to sing in a particular concert, or if I can't be bothered, having taken a bunch of pictures, to actually edit them and put them online, that's my prerogative as an amateur, and that's why I don't get paid.
So if I was writing/drawing a comic, and doing it just for fun, there would be no update schedule. There might not even be a website with it on (and it would be terrible. I know this because I did start writing a comic. Really enjoyed it while I was doing it but like hell was anyone going to see it ever!). The point is the work ethic though: producing work as a professional leaves you facing *external* pressure about deadlines and quality of work which someone who is doing it for fun can opt out of.
That said, I don't know whether I'll support the Patreon, and that's for two reasons: I don't entirely disagree with Minnow's comments, though I am a regular reader and I do enjoy the comic; there are things in my life that I enjoy more. Secondly, I didn't like the last line in your post: ' I suppose folks who don't think the comic is worth a dollar a month probably shouldn't be too upset about being able to read it less often. But for those who do love it and want to keep reading it at the same pace, maybe a dollar isn't too much'. Don't try to guilt trip your readers. If they think it's something worth doing, they'll support you. But for not much more than a dollar a month, I get Netflix. For not much more than that, I get the entire BBC (on live TV - UK TV licence). And I would give the BBC even more money, if I could.
Keep writing the comic - but perhaps start to think whether it is more a labour of love. And if so, maybe the MWF schedule is just dandy. After all, there are plenty of excellent but small comics published on completely unfathomable schedules - like Octopus Pie. You never know when you'll get the next page or set of pages, but you just check every day or so, and maybe once or twice a week there's a page, and that's glorious.
The thing is, pro photographers and pro musicians also do photography and music in their spare time, for fun. So I guess just think about where you feel PoY fits in to the rest of your work. I'm not saying its one or the other. But if you can monetise it in a way which your readers feel positive rather than guilty about, great. If you can get it out there so that your readership increases, even better. Overall, good luck, and thank you.
Madock345, August 29th, 2015, 1:11 pm
A place I can comment again? Oh thank god. I don't know if you kept close track on the comments or remember me, but I hung out in the comments a lot and I really, really miss them. I'm still reading, I won't stop until you do, but not being able to talk about the comic, losing that sense of community with the other fans, that hurt. Sometimes I've almost emailed you after reading a page just because I felt like I had to talk about a thing, but I couldn't work up to it.
I'm sorry you feel like you have to cut back, but I totally get it. M-F is a hell of a schedule to keep, especially since any kind of art is damn hard to schedule at all. Don't force yourself to put the comic out faster than you can do it right.
Good luck dude, hope you get past whatever trouble you're having.
PS. Fuck that minnow guy.
EDIT: I just read that badwebcomicswiki review and it really pissed me off. For one thing, it's terribly out of date. It mistakes the very beginning of a long story for the middle, so of course it fails to meet the expectations of that part of a narrative. They take panels out of context, mistake tongue-in-cheek humor for serious comments that reflect your beliefs, they even claim that one of the flaws of the comic is having too many naked men. Because fair representation is bad? Dicks are disgusting to look at I guess? Goddamn that makes me angry.
A Sassy Cupcake (Guest), August 30th, 2015, 2:05 am
As one of the people who is not inclined to pay for a webcomic, I have no problem with a reduced schedule. While the comic is passingly amusing enough for me to read it every few days, I wouldn't consider the quality high enough to warrant support via Patreon. If the art was better, or the characters more compelling, then maybe. But really, it reads more like a pet project than a fund-worthy masterpiece. I don't see anything wrong with that, however; I enjoy it for what it is, not what it could be. I read this comic for the same reason I watch movies like Sharknado, after all. Do I enjoy aspects of it? Of course. But would I cry if it was gone? I doubt it.
I think much of what BadWebcomicWiki says are legitimate complaints, as well. I wouldn't agree that it is boring or that the story isn't developed, but the characters are little more than cardboard cutouts. If Gibson can invest more effort into making another project better by reducing his time spent on the sinking ship that is Pictures of You, he should certainly do so.
Onyxlight, September 4th, 2015, 9:15 am
A Few Thoughts
Do I enjoy PoY? Absolutely. I'm a fan for sure, have been since I wandered into it years ago.
I have mixed feelings and emotions about the financial end. I have works of fiction online that I post for free, thus I update when I can, because I am working on several novels for publication. Has this upset some of my readers that were used to an update every few weeks or couple of months... absolutely. But those people are few and by and large most are understanding. With that being said, I have to agree with Guest Jenny on the following point... I didn't care for the guilt trip laid on readers in your last few lines. Even as we enjoy this story we didn't ask you to start it and it isn't logical to guilt us for enjoying it once it's there.
When I find a comic online that is free to read I assume that work of art is much like my stories that are posted for free... there for people to enjoy because I love to write and I love to entertain people with my words.
If this has become about money and loss of time maybe move PoY to a different site and charge a membership fee. Even though I don't particularity care for it when artists do that in the middle of an ongoing comic or story, it may help you. If that isn't doable just drop the commitment to "will update when able or maybe once a week"
I will continue to read this as long as it is here on Smack Jeeves but not sure I'll ever join the Patreon. Not because I don't think it is worth it but because I don't have a dollar to give a month for every web comic I enjoy reading. So instead of killing myself trying to decide which 2 or 3 I could support I do things like sharing links and recommending. I can afford to do that for all of them.
I hope this didn't come across as too harsh. It was merely my honest thoughts after reading your news update.
yayness (Guest), September 8th, 2015, 9:14 am
All great art is paid for! Da Vinci, Michelangelo, the Partheon, being paid does not make art less great or less worthy and screw those who say otherwise.
Winding back the update schedule in order to get the story finished in a manageable way sounds like an excellent idea. I'll continue to read it and love it. :D
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