Who are we?
Studio Foglio is the tiny little company created by Kaja and Phil Foglio. (That's us!) It has been run out of our home since 1993. Over the years, we have self-published all kinds of things, including art prints, games, posters and comics--most notably, Girl Genius. We are being helped out with this KickStarter campaign, (our first, by the way) by Julie Haehn, who has worked with KickStarter before, most recently on Unexploded Cow and Deadwood from our friends at Cheapass Games. Also giving us advice and making us look good are James Ernest of Cheapass Games: who makes the best KickStarter videos on Teh Internets, and his wife Carol Monahan, once the Director of Sales & Logistics at Wizards of the Coast during the early hey-day of Magic: The Gathering and Vice-President of Cheapass Games.
If you haven't seen Girl Genius, you can read the whole thing to date on girlgeniusonline.com!
We started working on Girl Genius in 1993, began publishing it as a comic book in 2001, and took it online in 2005. We've won a bunch of awards, and never missed a webcomic update!
What are we going to do with the money?
We're going to print and ship books.
To start with, Girl Genius Volume 12.
Printing the actual books is our biggest single expense. The first print run of a typical volume costs in excess of US$25,000. If that seems high, you must remember that we print eight thousand of them, and they usually run to around 120 pages. Our latest volume, number 12, will be even more expensive, as it comes in at 192 pages, and we’ll be printing nine thousand of them, because eight thousand wasn’t enough last time. Exciting? Yes, but one can’t pay the printer with excitement.
We also have to ship the books. Actually, we have to ship them twice. Once from the printer to the fulfillment center, and once again from the fulfillment center to the customer. And whether a book is shrink–wrapped with thousands of its friends onto a pallet and loaded into a truck, or carefully packaged for individual shipping, several thousand pounds of books cost serious money to transport.
After we raise the initial goal, what do we plan to do?
We plan to make more books.
We'll start with Girl Genius Volumes 1 and 5, because those are the ones that are the most desperately out-of-print.
Theoretically, one of the perks of being independent self publishers is that we can be reasonably certain that all of our books will stay in print. This is especially important with Girl Genius, since new readers discover the comic (and the joy of owning the actual books) every day. This last year, there’s been a little more joy than we were prepared for. Several of the earlier volumes are currently out-of-print, with the rest careening toward the same status with worrying alacrity. We have already spent a few conventions sitting at our table feeling rather foolish at the lack of anything much to sell. Last time, we just broke out the tea things and had a little dealer's room tea party.
Still, this is a bit of an opportunity for us! Our printer has said that the more books we print at the once, the better the deal we’ll be able to get--and that includes multiple volumes.
We're also excited, because we've just finished outsourcing our warehousing and fulfillment to the super-competent folks at TopatoCo, who have assured us that under their supervision and superior inventory control, we will no longer be taken by surprise when our books threaten to slip out of print. Hooray!
Once we've got enough to print all our books, we want to hire a business assistant. We have lists of Girl Genius projects and fun merchandise we've been wanting to do for years, but don't have the time to oversee. We also know a very talented business person, Carol Monahan, who is good at getting things like this done. We've made our printing goals, and now we are hoping to make enough to hire her part-time to help us expand our tiny entertainment empire.
Here is how this works:
Choose the pledge level of the highest price thing you would like (if you want a hardcover and a softcover, choose the reward for the hardcover level).
Increase your pledge level by the amount of the add–on you would like to add! (You’ve pledged $55 for the hardcover reward level and want the softcover as well, so you add $30 for a total of $85)
After the Kickstarter is over, we will contact you personally to ask what you wanted for your extra contribution! This is the sort of thing that machines cannot yet do. Revel in it!
Here is what you can currently add by increasing your pledge. (Please note that according to KickStarter's rules, we cannot sell you multiples of more than ten of any one item.):
- + $8 - Winged Trilobite Patch
- + $8 - UNLIMITED Jägermonster Patch
- + $8 - Wulfenbach Patch
- + $8 - Sturmvoras Patch
- + $8 - Pack of 3 Mimmoth patches
- + $10 – Girl Genius Volume 12 PDF
- + $10 – Travel Sticker set (3)
- + $15 - Mechanicsburg Patch
- + $15 - "Lose your Hat" Patch
- + $20 – Medal (choice of silver or brass tone)
- + $30 – Softcover (any edition in print. See the chart below.)
- + $55 – Hardcover (of Volume 12 only, the others are all sold out.)
We will be adding more add-ons as we go, for instance:
The Stretch Goals:
Book reprints, and more book reprints…and FUN!
Yes, book reprints are boring. But that's what we need to do right now. Still, never fear, we're aware of this, and so we've been trying to think up ways to make our stretch goals more interesting for our supporters. We've got a bunch of them in mind, and will be releasing them as necessary. Here's what we've got so far:
$70,000: We'll reprint Vol.1. Huzzah! We'll also make an unlimited-edition Jäger patch available for anyone to buy after the campaign. (It will be different from the limited-edition KS one.)
$85,000: We'll reprint Vol. 11, and give all of our supporters at or above Hero of Science level digital copies of Girl Genius Volumes 1-3. EDIT: The PDF only level will get this too!
$100,000: We'll reprint Vol.5, and release a short video starring Phil in his "Mr. Hyde" personality, demonstrating the use of our astonishing new orange peeler. (I do truly think you'll want to see this, I never get tired of it... --Kaja) EDIT: Also, supporters at the $30 level and above (that is, everyone getting a book) will get one signed bookplate! The bookplate will be signed by Phil and Kaja. We can't promise Cheyenne without begging first, but we'll get on that.
$115,000: We'll reprint Vol.2, and give all of our supporters at or above Hero of Science level digital copies of Girl Genius Volumes 4-6. EDIT: The PDF only level will get this too!
$130,000: We'll reprint Vol.3, and Professoressa Foglio will record a video lecture on the ornate and beautiful language of fans: with emphasis on the dialect used among the Sparks of Europa.
$145,000: We'll reprint Vol.7, and give all of our supporters at or above Hero of Science level digital copies of Girl Genius Volumes 7-9. EDIT: The PDF only level will get this too!
$160,000: We'll reprint Vol.4, and all of our supporters who are getting medals will also get this little insert for amusing customization:
$175,000: We'll reprint Vol.8, and give all of our supporters at or above Hero of Science level digital copies of Girl Genius Volumes 10-12. EDIT: The PDF only level will get this too! (Also, I will totally post a picture of Phil with a pancake on his head in the next update.--Kaja) Edit: YES! WE HAVE ACHIEVED PANCAKAGE! Woot!
$190,000: We'll reprint Vol.9, and we'll also be able to offer a winged trilobite patch to go with the Jäger insignia. As for posting a picture of someone with something on their head, I've been told it's my turn. To be the person with something on her head, I mean. I'll be away at Clockwork Alchemy all weekend, so you'd think I'd be safe, but it's a steampunk con held in conjunction with an anime con, so I really shouldn't have much trouble finding something to put on my head. If you're into that sort of thing. Oh, goodness, it's really early in the morning and I've been up all night, and now I have to go catch a plane.--Kaja
EDIT: Well, I caught that plane, and got some sleep, and now it looks like I'll be spending the weekend finding something suitable to put on my head. Hmm...
$205,000: We'll reprint Vol.10, and everyone will get a special make-your-own-box PDF kit. A box to put volumes 1-12 in would be cool. Steampunk DIY culture is cool. We'll create instructions for constructing your own special display box, and make fancy new box art that can be printed and used to decorate it. All our supporters will get a PDF with the instructions and art, and we'll post the results in our reader art section at girlgeniusadventures.com! (Also, I've been told to say that we'll put pancakes on our children's heads. I don't know why they're so insistent about this, I think they want to help. Or maybe they just want to make pancakes again?)--Kaja
$220,000: We will faint from a surfeit of astonishment. (Don't worry, we'll keep a camera crew around to get it on film so we can post it online.) Then we'll get up and reprint Vol. 6. Kaja will dig through her files and put together a file of ALL of the old donation gift wallpapers for all of our KS supporters–plus the new ones that she was getting ready to post when this KickStarter became necessary!
Holy Cow. We actually have to come up with more stretch goals. We were kind of hoping to add “Print Buck Godot: Gallimaufry” to the list, but it looks like Buck is probably not going to make it to this party. That’s mostly because we still don’t have a quote, and because really, if we do a separate KickStarter for Buck, we’ll be able to offer Buck-themed rewards, and that will be awesome. Plus, unlike the Girl Genius collections, there’s no way that Buck would be ready for ComiCon. Still, now that we’ve got that ball rolling, we’ll get it printed one way or another very soon, so look forward to a Buck Godot Holiday Season, at the very latest.
$225,000: UNLOCKED! Everyone who is getting something flat (stickers or books) mailed to them will also get an “autographed” picture of Agatha! (That was a good suggestion, thanks!) (Everyone else will get a digital copy.)
$230,000: UNLOCKED! Everyone at the Hero of Science level or above (and the .pdf only folks) will get a digital copy of the Girl Genius Secret Blueprints!
$235,000: UNLOCKED! Printable PDF files of the Girl Genius ButtonMen game buttons (you’ll need your own printer and button maker) will be added to the file of wallpapers that we’ll post for everyone.
$240,000: UNLOCKED! We’ll be able to make more of Cheyenne’s Tesla Rangers pins, maybe even in time for Comicon!
$245,000: UNLOCKED! We'll add a Wulfenbach patch (That's the winged castle) to the add-ons.
$250,000: UNLOCKED! We'll make a Sturmvoraus patch. (art to come soon!)
$255,000: UNLOCKED! We'll post a picture of Julie with a pancake on her head. Hee! (Why is everyone so on board with this?)
$260,000: We'll make an "any plan where you lose your hat is a bad plan" patch. (art to come soon!)
$265,000: I'll add scans of our wedding invitation and program to the PDF bundle. Phil and I were married twenty years ago this October, and our wedding paperwork was done as minicomics!--Kaja
$270,000: We'll make a City of Mechanicsburg Arms patch. (art to come soon!)
$275,000: Cheyenne will record some ringtones for us as Othar Tryggvassen: Gentleman Adventurer!
$280,000: In addition to the wallpaper PDFs, a PDF of select production sketches will be added to the digital pile.
$285,000: Kaja will record some ringtones as Agatha, in both moderately sane and full-blown Spark mode!
$290,000: Phil will record some ringtones as Castle Heterodyne. Wouldn't it be nice if your house could tell you when someone's on the phone?
$295,000: We'll make little mimmoth patches! (Because Julie has requested them. Hee!)
$300,000: We will release a set of Jägermonster ringtones, starring a cast of us. Trust me, we won't have trouble thinking of silly things to say.
Also, at $300,000, we can hire Carol Monahan part-time. She's a smarty-pants business manager who can help us get some of our dream Girl Genius projects and merchandise made. She used to be the Director of Sales & Logistics at Wizards of the Coast during the early hey-day of Magic: The Gathering and Vice-President of Cheapass Games. What all our supporters will get for this, we're not yet sure, but at least there will be more really cool GG stuff out there! Also, she says she'll let us post a picture of her with a pancake on her head.
Whoo hoo! Carol is onboard! WE ARE THRILLED! With her help we are building a few more stretch goals:
$340,000: Carol's Minion Budget. This will be used to get us more help.
$375,000: Website upgrade. We will be bringing on our friend and UX expert Ellen Beeman to do a usability study and help us make our web presence work better for you.
People are always surprised when they find out just how small a company Studio Foglio really is. Kaja started it to make art prints of her Magic the Gathering card paintings, and writes along with Phil, as well as managing all the web thwacking and graphic design. Phil has provided most of the art throughout the years, and all the funniest parts of the stories! Cheyenne Wright and various other freelance digital painters add color. Various beloved (and underpaid) friends and relatives have served as part-time convention minions, e-mail heroes and box packing elves.
From the beginning, we have been blessed with tremendous support and goodwill from our readers. We have always been thrilled and a bit surprised by this, and have tried to repay it by providing the best story we can, and by never missing an update.
We’d like to ask you to renew that support now. Kickstarter has the potential to be an important help to us as we produce new books, and bring older works back into print.
Please support our KickStarter, follow our progress, and tell your friends!
--Kaja and Phil Foglio and the Studio Foglio Team
Risks and challenges
There are some risks inherent in any project. This one doesn't hold much, we'll admit--we have the book ready, we just need to raise the funds, pay the printer and get it made. Our biggest risk is that we won't fund, and then we won't be able to get our book made, and then we won't have any books...oh dear.
Working with printers can be worrying, but we have a good relationship with ours. We have printed books with them for years. They are in the United States, so the production and shipping time is nice and short.
There is always the risk that we won't be able to get the books in time for our Summer convention appearances, but that's our problem, not yours. We are desperately hoping that we'll at least have some to sell at the San Diego Comic Con (come say hi!).
For everything else, there is always the possibility of delays, but we will do our best to make sure that everything is in place to ship quickly, including getting the medal designs to the manufacturer this week. (They don't need final numbers to start on the sculpting.) Also, we will make sure to keep you all updated on our progress as things go on.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (18 days)