I'm pleased to announce that, for the first time since 2009, ALL of the CEREBUS trade paperbacks are in stock and available for retailers from Diamond Comic Distributors now that READS has officially shipped.
That might not be true by later this week because Diamond has only a "skeleton quantity" of volume 13 GOING HOME -- the 17 copies that we had in stock. For some reason GOING HOME got dropped from the Star System without Diamond or myself noticing some time back. I just inferred that they weren't selling very many and didn't need any. And inventory shell-shock is SOP around here. The amount of dodging and weaving and scrambling for short yardage that was required to get CEREBUS, HIGH SOCIETY and CHURCH & STATE I and READS back in print in a little over a year meant that I spent most of my time just hoping that those were the only problems we were facing. When the GOING HOME situation presented itself in the middle of the READS printing, it meant more dodging and weaving and scrambling for short yardage. Instead of CEREBUS V1 being the next book printed and JAKA'S STORY the next book to be remastered GOING HOME became the next book in both categories.
Diamond and A-V are trying to keep everything as simple as possible, so the basic program is: if it's CEREBUS or HIGH SOCIETY, they'll take a 3,000 or 3,500 copy print run at a time and I give them extended payment terms. If it's any other book, they'll take 2,000 copies on the same terms. The situation we're in right now is that GOING HOME is the next book, but only if they don't run out of CEREBUS V1 first. It's like the bases loaded in baseball. Whatever happens your first option is the throw to home. So, we're watching the V1 quantities like hawks and Tim L. and I will have the GO/ NO GO discussion early in August. I'm guessing CEREBUS will hold and GOING HOME is GO. But a lot can happen in a month.
We're BOTH relieved that we're at or near the point where all the trades are available. Obviously, if you don't have volume 13, your odds of selling volume 14, 15 and 16 are greatly diminished.
Where We ARE part II is that I'm writing the commentaries for the CAN5 Kickstarter right now: Who was Jaka based on? As thoroughly as possible. It's going to be a bare bones campaign now that Sandeep has taken over for John Funk. What we want to figure out is
a) how many CAN5 portfolios we sell without the EXTREMELY time-consuming labour intensive Bonus Prints
b) what revenue that generates
c) how many Kickstarters we can do in a year before we hit maximum capacity with our Pledge Partners
c) has been impossible to determine because of the AVERAGE six-month lag between the end of the campaign and delivery of the Pledge items. Sandeep is a "down to business" guy. Told him Monday that we needed all of the GOING HOME negatives cut off of the flats and by Tuesday he was most of the way through. He -- and I -- have pretty much no idea what he's going to be doing on any day that he comes in. But the focus is always on: what's going to generate revenue in the near term as opposed to "pie in the sky" plans. We HAVE "pie in the sky" plans but mostly we have to keep money coming in to continue to finance the restoration work, the printing bills and basic overhead (including Sandeep's starvation wages and my non-existent wages: I haven't paid myself since the beginning of May because the money just isn't there). It's definitely Mission: Impossible but, so far, it IS working. Sandeep's next thing is producing the DIA (Diamond edition) of CAN4 and then posting the CAN5 Kickstarter, both of which are (God willing) going to generate revenues 30-to-45 days from now.
I say all this as preamble to "Unlikely the Hardcover" in the hopes that all of you will understand that we are operating on a small to non-existent margin between the restoration work and getting/keeping the trade paperbacks in print and keeping up with CEREBUS IN HELL? (Thanks to all six people who have volunteered to "try out"! That's a HUGE help, poentially). In order to keep going, everything needs to run like a well-oiled machine. A CEREBUS Volume One hardcover is definitely in the "pie in the sky" category until I see actual numbers (and see how many question marks there are where we need solid numbers) and DEFINITELY depends on how Diamond looks at it since Diamond is basically financing the restoration work and getting and keeping the books in print.
"Unlikely the Hardcover" just looks like an invitation for me to blindside Diamond while giving all or most of the money to printers, bookbinders, Canada Post, an unnamed packaging outfit (ARE there packaging outfits who did single orders as a matter of course?) and an unnamed box manufacturer.
Feel free to discuss this amongst yourselves. I need to get back to work on CAN5.