Musings On Our First Year…and Our Second

Yesterday was the first anniversary of Hunter Black going live. Sure enough, we’ve thus far posted 105 pages…2 pages a week for 52 weeks (plus one).

Honestly, our goal for the first year was a modest one, just get it done. Stick to the schedule. Everything else was going to be gravy, We’ve been lucky to have some pretty cool gravy. We’ve done something like 4 interviews, which is something like 4 interviews more than we expected to do. We’ve printed and sold posters. (And yes, we’re looking to make them available for sale on the site soon. Stay tuned.) We’ve done a pair of conventions. We’ve managed to catch the attention of one of my idols, who has put a link to us on his own webcomic.

Frankly, I’m proud of and impressed by our work. But I’m also struck by how much we have yet to do and by all of the things we’re looking at for the future.

The first major storyline of Hunter Black is not yet over. It comprises the first three books, “Betrayer’s Blood,” “Whetstone,” and the upcoming “The Way of the Scabbard.” I’m getting ready to write up the second scene of Book Three, and Will is already hard at work on some of the pages from the first scene. There’s no question that we will be collecting the first major storyline into a graphic novel format. We haven’t really discussed format; we need to talk about hardcover vs. softcover vs. both. We need to figure out what, if any, EXTRAS to include in the first book. We already include a commentary with almost every page…and we have remarkably little “prep work” to show. Still, we’ll figure something out.

Our next big initiative is aimed squarely at increasing our audience. We average between 600 and 800 unique readers a month. That’s the beginning of an audience, but only the beginning. It’s safe to assume that less than ten percent of our audience will actually be buying books or posters or whatever else we decide to sell down the road. (Anybody remember Babydoll? I want to do a plushie version of her.) 60 to 80 people ain’t enough to sustain a business, and it ain’t enough to allow us to increase out posting frequency…which we talk about A LOT. Posting three days a week, and maybe more years down the line, is probably the #1 thing we can do to get more readers, but we’ve gotta get more readers to get there.

Toward the end, we’re putting together a “membership drive”/contest. We’re still putting together all of the details, but when we launch Book Three, which is in only a few short weeks, we’ll roll out the contest. Word of mouth is probably our best ally in the drive to get more readers, so we’re going to you as our best resource. Like I said, details are forthcoming.

The most important thing is, we have had the best time ever bringing you this comic. This thing is so much fun to produce, and then we’re lucky enough to hear good things from some really cool readers. We’ve got people who post on our Facebook page with EVERY SINGLE POSTING, and that is so totally awesome.

This has been the best experience of my writing career thus far, and I can’t wait to see how it’s going to get better. Thanks, everybody.

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