Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Update on the new site

I have a new, more integrated website in the works and am continuing to strategize about the best way to make the strip available online. Thank you so much to everyone who’s been begging to give me money—I could weep. One person actually just mailed me a check for $30! You might very well get a chance to dispose of some of your hard-won cash here soon. It’s looking like I’m going to go with a subscription-model site—though rest assured that if I do, there will be some kind of sliding scale. But I’m also exploring the possibility of hosting the strip on Advocate.com. They approached me about this, but I’m not exactly clear yet on how it would work, or if it’s something I want to get into. It would mean the strip would remain available for free, but on their site and with ads. Sorry to everyone who’s having trouble with the Flickr image of the last episode. It sounds like that’s a browser issue, and I’m not going to bother sorting it out just yet because it was just a temporary solution anyway. And here are direct links to episodes 481 and 482 on PlanetOut in case you missed them.
I complained to my friend who works at PlanetOut about them dropping your strip - it's the only reason I visit the site. She was surprised and didn't know about it, but said she would pass on my complaints. They are merging with the Advocate, by the way, and will soon be launching a site for women. I think it's interesting that there wouldn't be a place for you at planetout, but they would place the strip in the Advocate (I think they might be getting rid of planetout altogether anyway).

If the feedback helps, I will happily continue to buy your books, but I'm not sure about paying for online content - for some reason, I'm stingy about that sort of thing. But who knows, I'd miss DTWOF a lot if I couldn't get the periodic doses on the internet between books.
Honey, I'd rather give my money directly to you. A subscription would be great!
Although I'd love to give you money (and I hope you've gotten some of it as I have bought your books over the years), I would like it if the strip were on the Advocate's website.
I love reading Dykes to Watch Out For and happily buy the books, but I would never pay for a subscription service. I would love it if you would allow a site with ads to put up your comic so that I can read it. (You might consider both that and a subscription site -- many sites will allow you to view for free with ads or pay to have no ads, and that would be much the same.)
Too bad for you then, eh, that you'll have to wait to read the comics... Alison deserves to get paid for her work. And she only gets money from the ads if you actually "click" on them. Most people don't.

You could always get a subscription to one of the publications that publishes the strip, I suppose.

Alison--I totally support you setting up a subscription site. And not doing silly things like compiling lists for people or creating a site for all lesbian artists. Let your readers do their own homework. As if DTWOF isn't work enough!
I would pay to read your strip on your website! I would also be happy to read it on the Advocate site. So do whatever makes logical sense, and your fans will follow!

Elizabeth A.

PS, in the interests of keeping it accessible to folks who can't afford a subscription, I'd be glad to kick in a little more for a sliding-scale or subsidized subscription fund...let us know...
I have a few concrete suggestions.

1. sure, go ahead and host the strip on the Advocate, but retain the right to also post it on your own site. Tom Tomorrow does this with only a slight delay. If you are maintaining the archive on your own site, then you are less vulnerable to situations like that at Planet Out. Be your own best friend.

Your blog adds something special to the experience of the comic, it is like the extras in the books. yes, give an option for contribution. Put up a PayPal button to allow people to donate if they want to. It's perfectly acceptable for an artist to accept patronage, if people choose to give it. If the button isn't there, and I feel like giving you a hundred bucks, I can't do it without difficulty. Take advantage of technology to allow us to support you as we see fit. What I get from your art, and your bravery, is worth more to me than you realize, Alison. A contribution button would be nicer than BlogAds and subscriptions, and easier for you to maintain.

2. Consider self-publishing simple things, like a yearly calendar, and selling it on your site at full retail. Small press runs of things are more valuable, and if you signed them, or something, even better. I would happily pay $25 for a small-run, straight from the artist DTWOF calendar once a year. Twelve drawings a year could support you, really, if you sold a calendar, and then also used those twelve images in a Cafe Press store for mugs, card sets, and shirts. And it's not any extra work for you. You draw it once, it supports you all year. You do it once a year. You can pay for the printing cost of the calendar (which is very small) by taking pre-orders for it. I've done this with both of my books, and it really works. It allows me to work at my own pace, and not have to be concerned about other sources of regular income.

3. Please keep posting to the blog. It really enhances your work, and allows us to feel a personal connection with you. The glimpses into the daily lives of people living outside of the common reality are precious to society; any example of independence, intelligence, and a way to succeed outside of convention is a valuable contribution to other people's lives. It gives people hope, and courage, to practise their own independece and bravery.
I would definitely pay to read D2WO4 and your blog (I heard you speak in Bloomington, IN, several years ago, and I think you are absolutely BRILLIANT!). And I would be happy with a sliding-scale deal. I already get a hard copy of the comic in Funny Times, but that only comes once a month, so I like to read the onlne version in between FT issues. I also like the idea of the calendar ... the calendars you used to do were fun.
Erica said that Advocate would soon be launching a site for women ... you should definitely DTWOF wherever you can, and Karin had some good suggestions as far as gay papers that could carry it, but it would be nice if DTWOF were also available in other venues. I found out about it through the Funny Times, bought the latest book, and can't wait for my next DTWOF fix, but I'm not gay, and I think you should shoot for as broad an audience as possible.

I would consider getting a subscription if you went that route, but I worked for an internet company that set up a few subscription sites, and it was not an easy way to go and many are not profitable. Still, you have a lot of loyal fans, so you would already be starting at an advantage. Good luck!
My mind is in a muddle about what AB should do. "Too many cooks spoil the soup," comes to mind. Or, to quote that great lesbian environmentalist, Henry Ford, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said 'faster horses.'"

And one more truism: "Please yourself, then at least one person is happy." (was that Katharine Hepburn?)

All the best to Alison B,
An Anonymous Suzanne
DTWOF is a big part of my on-line comics life. Like a previous contributor to this thread, I'm a straight person who discovered it reading the Funny Times. Since then I've bought every one of the books and have read it online at PlanetOut.com ever since.

DTWOF has great cross-over appeal, so in picking another online outlet you might consider not restricting yourself to gay-only venues. (I know that DTWOF comes out every two-weeks, but the Salon.com comics section has this gaping hole on Fridays in their line-up. They could publish a combination of "archive" and new episodes of DTWOF.)

Right now I contribute to Salon.com, UserFriendly.org, and Wikipedia. I'd be willing to contribute between $10 and $20 a year to be able to read DTWOF online, but I'd also be willing to put up with online banner ads if that's the route you decide to take.

Looking forward to being able to read it online again whatever you decide to do.
Another queer fan votes that you host your strip on salon.com rather than on the Advocate's website.
Father Joe said:

DTWOF has great cross-over appeal, so in picking another online outlet you might consider not restricting yourself to gay-only venues.

as you already know, your work is appreciated by all types of people. maybe folks would be less scared of who we are if they knew us better? I think you'd be doing us all a public service -- gay and straight and other -- if you didn't limit yourself to gay venues!


p.s. -- I wanted to comment on this earlier, but I've been having trouble w/my blogger subcription. finally decided to just post anonymously!
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