To one of the biggest fan of Kiel who painted large beautiful tribute artwork. One of which will be framed in my work room.

To do that kind of artwork on paper/canvas take a lot of patience and dedication. No undo button there! I do not know mira’s art gallery but she has a facebook account.

Book 2:
The download is now available online with the other chapters. 183 pages! a massive compilatin that you are encouraged to reblog, retween, forward to people you think may like it. The textless version of the cover is up on tumblr.

By now if you read this, you’ve seen the extension page to the cover of book 2. Right now there’d be a pre-order form of some kind and if we’d have enough pre-orders, it would end up printed, like back in december 2011. Not this time though. Perhaps not ever again. Those who supported book 1 know that it took a long time to deliver. And even now, i am still unaware if the main shipment ever left the printing office. We’re unlikely to see payment from the distributor for the few orders our readers passed after the air mail shipment arrived. Or any of the funds from distributing through diamonds. While Prologue and chapter 1 books printing were handled by me, they were too expensive to prints with too few orders. Arc 2 book 1 may not have costed us nothing but it was a great source of worries since january. It may not affect our readers directly except for the 6 months wait, but it affect us, me and Kite.
Sure we could print book 2 on our own, possibly without distribution, nor pre-order and hope there is enough demand. But book sales have been going down since our first attempt many years ago. From 250 direct sale for the first edition of the prologue to 103 direct sale of arc 2 book 1. Cameos won’t be there to help funds printing this time, nor should it, it’s extra workload that ought help keep the studio going instead of going to a printer. PLus, there is a worldwide trend of peopl moving away from print media to digital! Put that with the fact that i had to let go people and regardless of the extra daydream contents, membership is still going down(see previous news post for more on this). Now doesn’t seem like the right time to send our readers investment to a printer and to a post office for shipping printed comic of something already free online.
So the question i’ve put up is; wheter to continue like we’ve always done, and try yet again at printing. In which case we need a strong demand. Or to get the community’s blessing into trying new things. The internet doesn’t like changes, this is why regardless of my personal feeling, i bring this up for your judgement. In the end, this is my full time job, my livinghood depend on it, but it is also a work 11 years in the making that many feel attached to ; those people have the right to speak up. I’ll read every comment but i’ll seldom reply. Then a decision will be made from the feedback.

I’ve given further clarification on the forum earlier, here’s the quote:

lthenathena, you’ve found a few good exemple. This isn’t harder than doing a moonless age page. The pacing is very different, it use blank and silence to increase tension. With a strict layout, to do such an effect require more pages, more pages make people impatients because it’s more days for a scene to unfold so it’s rare that i will go with it. Sometime characters are very – very wordy – , if the pages had breathing room, it wouldn’t feel so damn cramped.
Shoedrinker, another good exemple. Unsounded did well setting up a mood with it’s beyond the frame effect. And while not everyone here is a fan of prequel, i do see opportunities in how the new webcomics are pushing their narratives. In the end it isn’t about fancy new graphic or animation for animation sake, it’s about making the story better.

Moonless used to be a 5 people in a team. I’d put up to 5 hours doing a page(2 a day). Then darkvolt a 3 hours. Then tranquil a hour or two.Then the background colorist another 6 hours. Then Kite another 8 hours. Then me another 30 minutes to text and publish. total: 24 hours production time on a page, not including writting. 24! With a cost of 100$ per page, this mean everyday 100$ , not include me and Kite’s labor which has no price. It’s insane when you think about it. When kite do a chibi page all by herself, it take 3 hours, and you get a full update that cost nothing. same for me, i do a chibi page, 3 hours, done, move on. When the economy fell through, it was either let go of assistant or drowtales fail to pay it’s artists. It wasn’t really a choice, it was a requirement to change things up. That’s what i mean by less details intensive, already you’re seeing the “less intensive”. Took a bit of time to adjust but now, as Miburo pointed out. You can barely see the difference. If there is somewhere else we can smooth things up to make it pages process less heavy on us, i’d like to know i have your support.

A lot of things are done “just in case” we print. I’ve now informed people of the difficulties we’ve had getting any return of investment on that side. The question today is, do we stop trying to print and instead explore what could be improved?


26 Responses to demon love and clarification about book 2

  1. Loth says:

    Im for whatever you think is best for DT.

  2. jennhi says:

    If it helps you tell the story, do what you need to do. I’ll support it. I’d lament, however, not having anything for you to autograph once I get the chance to meet you and your staff.

  3. Darkness Nightguard says:

    I think it would be cool if you would start something new.
    (Okay, this opinion is biased, as I can’t buy the comics anyways :P)
    So… Go digital! ^^

  4. Finn MacCool says:

    have you thought about consulting other webcomic artists in your search for a decent printer/publisher, Kern?

  5. MiraBlack says:

    daww thank you so much :)

    i got also a Deviantart Gallery with the same Name ;)

  6. Iceea says:

    I can understand your plight. A friend of mine worked for Curt Schilling’s company which imploded recently here in Mass. It’s not all love and roses in the real world.
    I do try to buy printed volumes when they come out as a way of supporting the artist(s). But you seem to have a lot of problems. Reading some of the comments on Colleen Dorann’s A Distant Soil I can well understand it’s a tricky business.
    I have taken some other web stories, out of print manga and things like that and .pdf’d them to read on an iPad. The only problem is the text can get fairly small. I bought the DVD of the first 30 chapters. That was a nice way to get into the story. Although I still find my self looking around for a program (do ya want a beer and a hot dog to go with that?) so I can tell who’s who and what their relationship is ;-)
    Do what you need to do to keep the story going. There are reputable printers and distributors out there as my overflowing bookshelf can attest to. But a choice between a book version or a digital version is no choice if the book version drags the whole enterprise down. Do take care…

  7. Rynne says:

    Honestly, I think you should go completely digital. I think it offers you guys so many more options, without the costs. Yeah, paper is great, but it’s just not economical for you guys. I think it’s great that you’ve asked your viewers for their input, but I honestly will be surprised if the majority chooses print over digital.

  8. Craig says:

    I fully support you making changes to drowtales. For this webcomic to continue I believe changes very nessacary.

  9. Synathra says:

    I may be one of the old-fashioned, but I like having a book in my hands to read. Mind you, I would not wish piles of stress and work on the studio unless they can make some profit. It was sad to read that you only broke even on the first Arc 2 book. You deserve better. It was an excellent book. I recommend everyone who doesn’t already have a copy to get one. :-P Getting serious again, my vote would be that if a way can be found to print and distribute the book so that it’s less worrisome and more profitable, then print it. But if finding this solution is really that hard, then don’t bother. Or put it off until you happen upon a company that works. Maybe if you come across the right solution down the road you can revisit the things you wanted to print. Maybe.

    • BPrinny says:

      I agree with pretty much everything here. It’s great to have a book in your hands, especially if you plan to have it autographed one day. Though, the only online company I know that handles webcomics and turns them into books is TopatoCo, and they’re kinda picky. Of course, it’d be pretty great to see where you go with this new digital direction, so whatever happens, I’m excited for it.

    • Alric says:

      I was also impressed by the quality of the printed books. That said, if digital copies allow for more design freedom and cheaper costs while maintaining quality, then I say go for it!

  10. Ace says:

    If printing books isn’t working, have you considered making high quality PDFs for sale? There could be potential interest, especially if the resolution is greater than what’s on the site. I’m sure you could throw in extras like concept art or artist’s comments/thoughts on the pages to attract buyers.

  11. master_of_fail says:

    “From 250 direct sale for the first edition of the prologue to 103 direct sale of arc 2 book 1. ”
    My jaw hit the floor when I saw these numbers. Someone like Tom Fischbach makes a quarter million on a once-a-week furry tale and this was all you guys pulled for a SSS-class painting every day? Sometimes I question the sanity of the Internet.

  12. Wolfkcing says:

    I loved buying the books but if it’s really that bad I’m fine with you going all digital.

  13. Catriana says:

    If digital will take your comic where it needs to be, I say go for it. I also prefer to hold physical copies, but I certainly have more than enough books. In fact, I have so many I need to get rid of quite a lot because they’re overwhelming my bedroom. Digital for comics is becoming more and more the better and cheaper way to go.

    You could always do art books every now and then, though(You have a lot of art that could go into small books). Or maybe do prints of the cover art and sign them for people who like to have autographed items(someone recommended I do that with my e-books). That way, there’s still an option for something physical for those who like keepsakes, but not pocket-breaking for you.

  14. Guilty Carrion says:

    I think, while I would one day like to get my hands on the books, the long-term success of the studio is infinitely more important than having a printed version. I say go for the digital, if for nothing else but to rid the stress from your shoulders.

  15. Ali says:

    I love the way her crown sort of goes pink at the bottom, like she’s blushing xD so cute! And a much deserved tribute too, that fanwork is lovely! I’m jealous that you get to keep one, Kern!

    In terms of whether or not to change, it won’t make a difference to me. I wouldn’t be able to afford the books, while they’d be nice to own if I could buy them, it’d be no loss for me if you stopped printing them. So if you want to go ahead and try new things, I’m all for it :)
    And I love the idea of using web techniques in the comic, like animation and such. That Prologue webcomic you talked about earlier is such a great example of what you could do with this comic, and I love the idea of seeing that kind of thing applied to DT. The potential is huge.
    Not to mention, from a marketing point of view, you have to keep moving forward to become or remain successful.

  16. Tal says:

    If printing books is nothing but hassle with no profit ditch it, it doesn’t make any sense for a business to produce product that doesn’t even pay for itself. I love Drowtales and have a subscription but I never buy the books, it makes more sense to distribute stories digitally where you don’t have to worry about high production and shipping costs.

  17. Aerisa says:

    I agree with people. If printing is too complicated, ditch it. If going digital would help you, then go for it! Though I have to admit I’d still like to see you work on others products. Posters come to mind. My parents broke the poster I got with the original book, and I’ve been missing having a DT poster ever since then xD

  18. Pretty much what Tal and Guilty Carrion among others have been saying. If printing books is detrimental to the STudio’s finances, then put the idea on hold for now and focus on something that is less time and cost effective. I say bring on any new features and changes, I’ll support them.

    You can alway start printing again if there’s a demand for it in the future, too.

  19. Sindas says:

    I say go ahead with the digital format if the book venture is not profitable.

  20. Chindi says:

    I have two things to say in regards to the decision of going pure digital or not.

    One: If the less detail intensive art style stays at its current level, then I’m happy. However, if it drops down to the simplicity of say, the summoner over on daydream, then I won’t be. If I wanted that art style there’s a million other comics out there that are simple and use simple animations like that. One of the things that originally drew me to Moonless Age was its art. The art was simply gorgeous and breathed such life into its world. There are damn few webcomics–much less free webcomics– out there that are such a feast for the eyes.

    Two: More reader input. I saw you mentioned something about going completely digital would allow for more reader input on the main story. I am strongly against this. I read this comic for the fantastic characters and stories that you, Kern, write. Not what people vote for, or what they want their favorite characters to do. There’s daydream for that. An example that comes to mind easily: When Naal died–there was an large fan outcry, yet I feel it was the best way for Naal to die and her death has had a greater impact on the story as a whole than her continued life would have had. Yet, had the fans been able to vote on that decision they most surely would have voted for her to live. In short, if I want interactivity, I can go play a game. I treat comics the same as I treat books–I want them to take me for a ride and leave me breathless at the end. So far, Moonless Age has done a wonderful job doing just that.

    Those points said, I want you to know that you truly inspire me and I hope you’ll continue to put out such great work for us all to enjoy. Do what you must to survive–and if need be drop the up dates down from 6 days a week to 4 or even three. The economy can’t continue its downward spiral forever, and I for one hope that when it picks back up Drowtales will be there to triumphantly go on. (Also, I want you to know that if I was in more stable living conditions and had the funds for it I would be subscribing to Daydream right now to help support you guys. Hopefully soon! Till then though, you have all my mental support!)

    • swedish_kitsune says:

      I agree with Chindi, to allow too much reader story input will move the story into something that will make DT lose it´s unique charm, or move it to something too much mainstream where it will no longer be exciting or thrilling to read.
      We have Daydream, even with moderation, it still goes a bit haywire with the story decision voting choices.
      But what should not be sacrificed is the good quality of art in drowtales, whatever choices that be made to keep it running in this good fashion, I belive that everyone supports the Drowtales team wholeheartedly.

      And I will already now announce that sould you decide to make another printing, I will buy it directly.

      Best regards from a Swedish Royal High Guard soldier.

  21. Aleria vilrath says:

    Do what you think works best i will support you if i can …. but honestly im one of those who like REAL books.