Monday, June 06, 2016

Behind the scenes of what goes into making 'Breaking Cat News.'

After explaining the difference between the original 'Breaking Cat News' site and the GoComics site, many readers have offered suggestions to look into tech support on the original site, hire staff, or try new hosting services and such. I am thankful for these suggestions, I know that they come from a good place and that people want to help. For me, getting syndicated was the solution to these problems--getting syndicated is a dream for many cartoonists, and I'm no exception. I thought maybe it's time that I share the story of how I came to be syndicated with all of you, because it may be its own explanation.

Let me start with the present. If I hired staff or tech support, I would have to pay them and somehow manage them. In contrast, GoComics pays me a salary to develop the comic and pays me to have the comic on their site. They have access to resources I could not begin to hire (partly because, in honesty, we're a young family of four on one full-time income and my part-time income from what I can earn through the comic... I can't hire an accountant to do my taxes, let alone a personal assistant or tech support).

My dream--and now my goal--is develop the comic for newspapers, because that is my best chance to earn a weekly paycheck as a cartoonist. At that point, if enough newspapers pick up the comic, it will be comparable to a modest full-time paycheck. I'm up against a clock, because if I can't make that happen by the time the kids are in school, then reality is I will have to find a full-time job to bring our family back up to two incomes. I would like to make this my full-time job. I would like to continue to write and draw 'Breaking Cat News' for many years, and hopefully, with luck, have it become a new newspaper classic? I MAY BE DREAMING BIG--but if you're going to dream, you might as well dream big. But, it can be scary to dream big, so, I put a question mark.....

That's my dream though. Honest and open, laid out for everyone reading this to see. I never thought I would be this close to it, but I'm working hard and trying my very best. I think that many times readers here feel like they are cheating me or the original site by going to GoComics, when in reality, GoComics is making the original site possible.

Okay, now let's go back to the past, the summer of 2014.

If I had never been syndicated, I would have had to get a part-time job about two years ago. I had a job interview in Rhode Island actually, to work for a creative company at night... In sales. Not even as a designer, which of course I would have preferred, but in sales, which was available. A friend had set me up with the interview, and I was glad for the opportunity. The plan was that I would drop Toddler, our son Luke (who was still only about one then) off with family in the evening for about an hour until the Man got off his job and could pick him up. I would work until 11 pm an hour away and return home around midnight. At the time, 'Breaking Cat News' was amazingly fun to write, but I wrote it at night. Taking this part-time job would mean setting the comic aside, but in the summer of 2014, just after selling our home and moving back to RI, the difference between standing on our own two feet and struggling was razor thin. We needed just a little bit more to cover our bills, and I couldn't justify keeping my nights free to work on the comic when I could bring in just enough to round out what we needed to get by. ...Family couldn't really justify it either, whatever Ryan or I assured them, and I felt a lot of pressure to get this part-time job whatever it meant to 'Breaking Cat News' ...Or my dreams ...Or me.


I did well on my first phone interview with the company, but my heart was heavy as I hung up. And honestly, the comic was a small part of it in that moment. Luke was all of it. I had been home with him since he was born. He was still small and we'd gone through such a huge change. The only home he'd ever known was gone. He was still getting used to our new apartment and there were a lot of nights Ryan and I were taking turns sitting up rocking him. Here, as I sat down on our couch after my phone interview, my thoughts turned to Ryan. Unhappy in Rhode Island, disliking his job at the time (a job thankfully he only had a few months before getting back into his field) now we would be spending our days AND nights apart. What was that going to do to our family? When were we going to catch our breath?

One night around this time, I checked my email as I was going to bed. A few messages from friends, a bill notice or two to drop my stomach into a flip flop--and an email from a name I didn't recognize. I opened it up, and the woman writing introduced herself warmly. She had read my comic and she loved it. She had cats herself. She worked as an editor for GoComics, had I ever considered being syndicated...?

Here I set my phone down, thoughts swimming. I knew of GoComics. They were the syndicate for most of my favorite comics, past and even present. They were the syndicate for  'Calvin and Hobbes' and 'Pearls Before Swine' and it hadn't been long since the two had collaborated on a few strips together and sent the entire Internet--myself included--flooding onto their site to see new Bill Watterson artwork.

I had wanted to syndicate the comic very much and looked into a few companies; companies nowhere near the success or pull of GoComics. I had written our local paper in Rhode Island for advice and showed them a few BCN strips. The editor wrote me back and had suggested I get 30 examples and submit them to a syndicate. And I never did--I meant to, but I had Luke to care for, Ryan to comfort, our lives to rebuild, the comic to write, and a part-time job to look for. Now this email... This was like if I were playing baseball with my friends for a few years and someone from the Red Sox approached me to play outfield for them.


I thought one of my friends must be playing a joke on me.

I googled GoComics to make sure, was this THE GoComics, spelled the same and everything. I double checked the email, "Hmmm... Yes, yes, 'GoComics,' not 'GoComicz' or 'GoComix'... Seems legit...." I searched everything I could think of to search. The next 20 minutes were pretty much just me in the dark on my phone, jumping down Google rabbit holes.

It seemed real... I wrote her back, as polite and professional as I could guess was the proper way to do this, when really I just wanted to gush back in all caps "ARE YOU REAL BECAUSE I'M IN A WEIRD PLACE IN MY LIFE TO GET MY HOPES UP IF YOU'RE NOT REAL--"

Over the next few days we had a chance to talk over the phone, and it was confirmed that yes, she was real. This was all real. No one was playing a joke on me. The offer was real. I was thrilled to be syndicated. More people would see the comic, I could possibly have a concrete justification to continue 'Breaking Cat News' a little longer, or at least secretly work on it between calls if I took the new part-time job.

A little while later, my editor--this woman is my editor at GoComics, if you had not guessed yet!--asked me if I had ever considered putting the comic in newspapers. "...Are you excited about this?" She asked me on the phone. "You seem really calm, and sometimes people freak out a little--"

Inside I was screaming in joy and terror. "I am so excited," I said, I imagine very stiffly, "This is amazing... Weirdly, I sort of have to keep myself calm and my hopes down to stay focused on the comic, or I think I would have a really hard time writing it.... But I am so happy right now!" NEWSPAPERS? A COMIC IN THE NEWSPAPERS?! 

She sent me more details and in the following weeks there were business negotiations with lawyers to get a contract into place. Long story short, at the very last minute, it turned out that developing the comic for newspapers would not only be a dream come true...

...It would also come with a salary that happened to be pretty much what I would have made at the part time sales job, once gas and child care and everything else was factored in--minus time away from my family at a critical emotional time for us.

I politely wrote the HR of the design company and let them know to please withdraw my application. I thanked my friend and asked them to understand, and they did, because friends are amazing and so is she.

I signed my contract and begin to develop the comic for newspapers. Now instead of dropping Luke off to wait an hour for Ryan to pick him up and scramble home for bedtime, I made dinner, hugged and kissed Ryan hello when he came home, and listened to him sing Luke 'Silver and Gold' each night before bed. (Ryan's nightly lullaby for Luke, explained to me thus, "It was the first song I thought of... And he seemed to like it.") Instead of driving an hour away, I cleaned up dinner and sat down with my pen and pencils to write 'Breaking Cat News.' I still worked late, honestly, but I worked late at home doing what I loved. And in the meantime, a surprise graced us--soon we found out I was pregnant with Gwen.

A few weeks before Christmas a giant box arrived from GoComics. I opened it up and inside were the collections of all my favorite comics. "Far Side," "Peanuts," "Dilbert," "Cul de Sac," "Phoebe and Her Unicorn," "Pearls Before Swine," and at the very bottom, "Calvin and Hobbes" and a card with a warm welcome from the President. I looked through the collections, and sat back with Ryan. It'd been such a year. We'd been through so much. And here I was, next to our Christmas tree, surrounded by comics because I was making comics and working with people who made comics. "What are you thinking?" Ryan asked, seeing me go a little teary. I laughed, sniffed, and said, "Don't tell anyone, but they probably could have just paid me in these."

Now that the original site and the GoComics site are in sync, there has been a lot of discussion on the threads. Many readers seem to have the impression that the GoComics site is competition for me or cuts into my revenue--but it's the opposite. Getting syndicated by GoComics gave me the time and resources to keep pursuing 'Breaking Cat News.' And because I have never monetized the original site, I see no revenue from that site. If you bought prints or the book, I get money from that. If you go to GoComics, I get money from that. If you want to support my work, but might not have the money to buy any of the merchandise--

(Hey. ...That is okay. There have been many times in my life when I adored an artist online, but could not afford to subscribe to their sites or buy their prints. That is a huge reason I have kept all of my new content free, and try to offer some freebies on the site sometimes too).

--then visiting the strip on GoComics is a free way to give me a lot of support. The numbers on GoComics, views, subscribers, comments--will all build a strong case to newspapers that they need to buy 'Breaking Cat News' for their funny pages. And it is free to sign up for GoComics and free to subscribe! That will help me turn this into a full-time weekly paycheck gig, instead of a bit of side income for our family. It will ensure that the comic can continue... And on a personal note, that maybe one day I can visit Luke and Gwen's schools on career day as a cartoonist, which would just be amazing.

Every strip on the original site is read for free. I've never added anything to that site to bring in money for our family. There is a lot of traffic on that site, but right now, we don't see anything for it. "So, put ads on it!" some folks will suggest. I don't want to do that. I know that children read the comic, and I have two kids of my own. I don't trust an ad service not to accidentally run something inappropriate. That's a big deal to me. I control everything on the original site right now, I know what people are seeing and I know it is safe and positive. There may be great options out there, but don't forget, with two kids and the comic, I only have so much time. I can write the comic or I spend my nights researching ads that most of us (me included) do not want anyway. And frankly, everything about the computer end of things frustrates me to tears. And not cute tears; scratching at my keyboard hissing "YOU ARE ONLY A MACHINE!!!" tears. Maybe something will change in the future. Right now though, it feels right to keep the original site as it is.

As I see it, my computer problems have been mostly solved by syncing the two sites. Now there is a site with the new strip that also has enough servers, tech support, and a reliable email notification system. GoComics posts the strip automatically, overnight. They pay me, I don't have to pay anyone. I don't have to manage or check in on anyone either, which I can't do with two toddlers. I barely have a chance to answer emails at night... Which some of you know (I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I will try to catch up on emails).

People have asked for a long time where I see revenue, which book ordering sites give me the highest royalty, how they can support the comic, etc. And so this is a huge part of it, explained finally. I probably should have said a lot of this sooner, but I wasn't realizing that visiting GoComics felt like betraying the original site for some folks. Please don't feel that way--I hope now that you have heard what being syndicated has meant for me, you will feel as grateful to what GoComics has meant for 'Breaking Cat News' as I do.

And that was just one story, there are so many.  I didn't even get into the book! THE BOOK MEANT SO MUCH TO ME, YA'LL. TO ALL OF US! You now know all of my dark technology secrets YOU KNOW I COULD NOT HAVE PUT A BOOK TOGETHER, I CAN'T EVEN TAKE PEOPLE OFF AN EMAIL LIST. I WILL BE EMAILING YOU FROM MY GRAVE AND IT'S ALL MY FAULT.


There is room for both sites; I love both sites!  Without the encouragement from readers on the original site and the support from readers on the GoComics site 'Breaking Cat News' never would have gotten this far. Both sites are vital to the comic--both sites are vital to me creating the comic. YOU are all vital to the comic. However you found it, wherever you are reading it--I need you.

I do my best to keep the original site full of facts about the characters and the cats they are based on. Some readers have been there since the first few months, and that means everything to me. Hearing that I have trouble keeping up with the notification numbers, people on the original site offered to give up their spaces in the email notifications so others could sign up, and I think that says a tremendous amount about the kindness and camaraderie around 'Breaking Cat News.' ...I don't know how to do that because I am just so bad with computers, ha--but I don't want it to come to that anyway. I want people to love and enjoy both sites. Of course some will feel more comfortable on one. Many of the GoComics readers read the comic in their collections and never go to a strip's home page. Many of the original site readers feel at home on a smaller site. Both sites have wonderful communities of tremendously supportive, kind people enjoying the comic and pointing out details of the strips to one another.

Very soon I am going to start sharing some of the daily BCN strips I have written with newspapers in mind. 
The people I work with at GoComics are huge fans of 'Breaking Cat News.' The main guidance I have received is, "we love the comic. Keep doing exactly what you are doing, the tiny details, the punchlines that come out of nowhere in the middle of strips--all of it." When I first began working on the daily strips, I immediately fell into trying to imitate the 1-2-3-punchline timing of many newspaper strips I knew, and they gently eased me off. "No, no... Make it like you make it now. Do what you do, you've already got this down." They love BCN as it is. We're all working hard to get the daily strips for newspapers up to the level of the webstrips online. I'll be sharing them on both sites soon after almost two years of hard work. This is very scary and exciting for me. You know more of what is at stake now for me. Some folks will look at it and just see a comic about cats reporting the news, but I think if I do this right I can bring a lot of happiness to people and have a career I can work in a long time.

My Nana couldn't read the comic until the book was published, but she reads the newspaper every day. Her fridge is covered with comic strips carefully cut out from the paper. She complains to me all the time that there are no new comics in the papers, "I've been reading these for YEARS, I wish there were some new ones!" she says. And her own granddaughter is writing a new comic a lot of people love, and she had no access to it. (One more reason why the book meant so much to me!) Webcomics are awesome, but they miss a lot of people. To picture Elvis puffing, "There are a ton of folks out there right now with no access to cat news!" They might not be good with computers, they might not have a computer. They might not want a computer, or they may want one very much and have no way to get one. I want the comic to reach as many people as possible. 

If it does get into papers eventually, it will be the same on both sites and in newspapers. I will have a chance to expand on all the characters and spend some time in the past too and show things we missed (spoilers: some of the first strips include Lupin's job interview at the station). I think it is going to be a lot of fun. That is still a little ways off, but I wanted to mention it.

The sites synced and I let people know shorter strips are on the horizon, and people had a lot of feelings. I know many readers are worried that daily strips may be less enjoyable than the large current weekly strips. I've read complaints that the strip will change forever and it's like reading everything I worry about late at night written out in black text and read back to me confirmed. And I shake it off. I have to.

When I wrote to our local paper and they gave me their advice, there was a sentence added to the end of the email along the lines of, "I think your comic is an interesting idea, and people like cats. But I worry that you could come up with enough ideas to keep it going beyond a few strips." I read their reply, I took the good, and I shook that last, well meaning (and understandable) criticism off. Not immediately. I was about 10 strips in at this point, and reading this line gripped me with worry. I read it. I took it in. I took a deep breath. And then I shook it off. I thought to myself, "There are two things I know... Myself and cats. ...I can do this."

Can I? I hope. I think I've done well so far, and I'm proud of that, it hasn't always been easy. I do know that as of today, there are 201 webstrips, 290 daily strips--491 in total. I'm 9 away from 500, I've got notebooks full of ideas/plots/holiday specials, and I'm ready to roll. I know I'm doing my best and will keep doing my best, which is all I can do.

I actually didn't mean to talk about the daily strips so much in this post, I had meant to just share how I came to be syndicated and what it meant to me, but... Well, if you've read this far I thank you. It's on my mind, in excitement and anxiousness, because I'm so excited to start sharing them and I'm a little anxious to see how people will feel about them. If we can get the comic into newspapers though, it will be huge. Not only because I want to get the comic out to more people, but also for the real world reason that Ryan and I aren't independently wealthy. Far from it... Many of you reading this blog know we have ping-ponged across the country the past few years following work opportunities for Ryan. He has worked hard to get back into his field after an unexpected lay off, I'm tremendously proud of all he has done to support our family and also to give me the time and support to write 'Breaking Cat News.' It's pretty remarkable. I know people whose partner won't even follow their sports team, and here's my husband insisting I take the leap into the unknown for as long as it takes because he believes in me.

I want his support and your support and GoComic's support to all pay off and for this to turn into a career. I don't say it often--or ever--but it pushes me, for the better. It keeps me trying to do my best and make the comic as funny and cat-newsworthy as possible. This weekend Ryan was reading comments on the original site, and he said, "You've been so worried about the daily strips, I thought maybe someone had said something mean... All I see is people telling you how much they love the comic, and how much they love you, and that they're a little unsure, but they bet it will be great."

I was standing in our kitchen, Elvis guarding me on the counter, as he always does, and I looked at Ryan and said, "Yes, but... That's why I worry. If people were saying mean things and coming from a mean place, I could shrug that off. But when people are saying things because they truly worry about me burning out only because they care about me... Or I can sense they're anxious the comic will change because it means a lot to them...."

Elvis pushed a head butt into my shoulder. I petted him gratefully on the head. "Thank you, Elvis." I said. "Do you know I write a comic about you wearing a suit?" (I make this joke and similar ones to the cats a lot). I looked back to Ryan. "I just want to get this right."


I want all of the support I have received to pay off. For us; for the kids, for the comic, for me, and for you. When I read people saying I need an assistant or tech support, (or could somehow afford those costs) I realize that it may seem like I'm already there. Getting the book published as been a huge step, I still can't believe I am a published author and it is a life long dream come true! Getting the comic into newspapers though would go a long way to keep this dream going. It's all I want to do, and I hope I can somehow get there and get to do it a long time.

Well.... That's what syndication has meant for me and the opportunities it has given 'Breaking Cat News. The two sites, the daily strips I've been preparing for newspapers; some behind the scenes peeks into what has gone into the comic and my thoughts and fears and hopes that I haven't really shared before. It kind of just poured out, so please forgive any typos.

And hey, one more blog post for 2016!

49 comments:

  1. Never fear. You're doing it the right way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Georgia Dunn: "We", your fans, wish you all the luck in the world! I'm positive that you can do it. I look forward to seeing where you take the strip.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You do you. Any "advice" comes from a place of love. But none of us know what it takes - YOU do. And we know a bit more NOW.

    ReplyDelete
  4. CONGRATS! My family (including our three cats) and I love your comic! Your book sits on our living room table for all to enjoy. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You've so got this! I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I have absolute and complete confidence in you - know why? Love. Pure, simple, honest love. The Man supports your dreams with love. The Boys give you material with love (and head-butts of love). Your fans (yes, you have *fans*) back you with as much love (and funds) as possible. And with this explanation, I am sure any ruffled feathers will be soothed, and the love you have for your family will continue to spill out into the world in action-packed news segments. You do you, because you are just right. Thank you for sharing your world with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cindy. These words gave me a lot of happiness! I suspect I will go back to them often. :)

      Delete
  6. Thanks for explaining, Georgia. I was one of the people who would have felt disloyal but I may switch to GoComics now if it helps you continue Breaking Cat News!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You've so got this! I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I have absolute and complete confidence in you - know why? Love. Pure, simple, honest love. The Man supports your dreams with love. The Boys give you material with love (and head-butts of love). Your fans (yes, you have *fans*) back you with as much love (and funds) as possible. And with this explanation, I am sure any ruffled feathers will be soothed, and the love you have for your family will continue to spill out into the world in action-packed news segments. You do you, because you are just right. Thank you for sharing your world with us!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a wonderful post! I wish you great success in continuing to make BCN one of the best strips I've ever read (and I've been reading comics in one form or another for almost 60 years!). (My Google signature says Fred Goebel, but my commenting name uses Fritz instead of Fred - my parents named me Fred when I was born, then never called me anything but Fritz for my entire life, lol)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Fritz! I was wondering! My mother has a similar name/nickname situation in her life!

      Delete
  9. Nope. There's NO typos that I could find! Haha! And I used to be a proofreader to supplement my income. ;) I have to say that I'm glad I've been pretty loyal to both sites and that I found BCN through GoComics. This comic has become such a tonic to me . . . I grew up always having a kitty companion and then I managed to marry twice and my first husband detested cats and the second, bless his heart (he's a real sweetie) is allergic and feels bad about it. *sigh* Oh well--I get my kitty-loving fix from your comic, Georgia. <3 I had just started my first job in a strange country (England, I'm originally from Texas) and it's a super boring job testing software, but I'm grateful for the job. During the lulls at work I have to find some creative outlet so I would frequent GoComics and stumbled upon Breaking Cat News--I was hooked! I had to go back to the beginning and read ALL of the comic strips! :D I know how worried you are about how the fans feel about your comic changing when you go to daily strips, but you know what? It could only ever get better and keep evolving into the wonderful, witty, soul-caressing comic strip that it is. It's a pictorial autobiography of your life with your pawsome cats and their discoveries, joy, sorrows, and antics. It'll be around long after this generation is gone, I know it in my heart! Keep on dreaming and the money will follow. Just you mind that. :) With lots of bear hugs, Bri (a.k.a. Brianna (on BCN.com) and Lady Bri on GoComics.) xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm very happy you are syndicated now. I love your BCN site, and will visit it often as long as it is up and running. I am just so very glad that you will be able to work at your art(and it is truly art for the heart) and make a living at it. I preordered your book and wrapped it and gave it to myself for my birthday and it is a wonderful book, the art work is so crisp and the page stock is outstanding. The publishers did your work justice in producing this book. Good Luck. Joe Nagy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Joe! I am so grateful to all the work the folks at GoComics/Uclick did on this book. I love it, and I'm so happy that you and other readers have loved it too!

      Delete
  11. I'm so glad you ended up on GoComics, or I never would have discovered your wonderful comic. I am amazed by how much of yourself you put into this project, your blog, and your comics, and they are beautifully done! And I continue to be fascinated by your talent - you draw yourself, your cats, and your family so accurately, and capture so much humor in the details. May your future endeavors be blessed so I can enjoy many more years of Cat News!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've been following since the beginning, Georgia, even though I don't comment on the comic pages. I've been reading comics for a very, very long time -- my childhood room was stacked with Garfield and For Better and For Worse books -- and your comic is the absolute best I've ever read. Whatever form your comics take, I will be a reader, and share them far and wide on my social network. I'm sure your big fans are like me, even though they express concern. Go get 'em!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love what you do and how you do it, and will read your stuff in every way I can! Your artwork is brilliant and the day I stumbled across your 3 fluffy babies inquiring about bacon was one of the most awesome days I've experienced. Anything worth doing is going to be terrifying, but so, so worth it when you get there. Because you will. And Elvis, Puck, Lupin, the rest of the crew, and I will be cheering for you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. You make it look so easy, Georgia! A true sign of someone very accomplished. :) So this letter is a great way to let people in on the reality behind the "effortless" beautiful BCN art.

    FWIW, I think you are going to be fine, you have your priorities straight and great support, especially in your family.

    So onward!

    ReplyDelete
  15. We fans will be here waiting to see you grow and grow. Change is never easy but rather than worry about shorter strips I am focused on "we would get to see 5-6 new strips a week!!!" I hope this dream comes true for you. I am also hoping the 1st book sold enough that they will do a 2nd one!

    ReplyDelete
  16. You create magic and we'll be more than happy to accept it in whatever form you choose to present. Magic is rare and beautiful in this world and so are the people who provide it.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
  17. Fantastic post: Your heart shines through in all of the comic - so no reason to worry about differences (of course there will be some) as a daily emerges and grows. The heart will still be there, filled with "catness". Just follow your truth and chronicle these little pedators for those of us who lack your precious gifts of art and humor.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Georgia, I've been reading BCN since Strip #001, but this is my first time commenting. I guess that makes me one of the Silent Majority. :)

    My wife (and three grown sons) are the real "cat people" in my family, but I guess since I drop everything to read BCN as soon as I see it in my feed reader or email, I must be one, too. I was so happy to be able to give the book to my wife for Mother's Day (even if the release was a couple days later).

    So, the point of this message is the same others have made: You ARE doing it right, and I can't wait for the day when BCN shows up in the Rapid City (SD) Journal! Keep on doing what you've been doing, and it'll happen, sooner rather than later.

    Best wishes!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Georgia! So many things I want to thank you for. First, this strip as a whole. You'll be happy to know that GoComics is where I discovered Breaking Cat News in the first place. We don't get the newspaper in our home anymore, we get our news on the tablet. So, when I didn't have my daily happiness anymore (the comics section), I found the Go Comics app. Yours was a featured strip one day. With a name like Breaking Cat News, and being a well known cat person, I had to check it out. I was hooked from day one! You know cats!! As a result, I now "hear" my cats (Nacho and Peaches) speaking in terms of Breaking News as I watch them live their lives around me.

    Next, I want to thank you specifically on your recent strip about art. The May 29 special edition about Sophie and "Real Artists" was a double hit for me. You see, I'm an artist who is finally going to work as an artist. At 47 I've spent my life doing jobs that were never really a preferred career, never really being happy. At the encouragement and support of my wife, I went back to school and learned to do what I really love. I paint, draw with pastels, and write science fiction... and I've never let anyone see or read anything I've done. Now I'm going to take the leap. That strip was a reminder for me to take that leap without fear. Sophie and other peoples reaction to her art is so real! Artists go through that kind of criticism so often, but it's the support of others that keep us going. Thank you for showing that to the world.

    Next, I want to thank you for sharing the road you've been down with us in todays blog post. It's great to know that GoComics is in fact paying you and that reading the strip there helps you. It's also a great encouragement for those of us following a similar path! It's only through working hard and sticking with it that any of us will succeed at anything. Reading what you've been through and survived proves that it can be done! Thank you so much for sharing!

    So, with all that encouragement (and the ability to bring Breaking Cat News with me online) my family and I have just moved to Whidbey Island, WA to dive into this new career of mine. It won't be easy and success won't come right away, but I know I'll make it if I keep at it as you have. (I'm guessing you know where Whidbey Island is.) Next step is to build a studio on our land and then work hard... probably with a Breaking Cat News picture on my wall.

    Thank you again Georgia. Your comic, your art, is a twice a week ray of sunshine for me. I look forward to many more and the hope of seeing them every day!

    My best to you!
    Shawn Berit Anderson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Shawn, and I applaud you for going after your dream right now! Don't stop! It's worth it, and in life, what else should we try to do, but love those around us and work hard to accomplish our dreams? And yay for Whidbey Island! :D

      Keep going, the work is its own reward when you love what you are doing. It's a little corny, but I believe that, and I think if you love what you're doing, it's that much easier to stick to it and to find people who will love it too. Definitely share your work. It can be really scary (there are so many times even now when I swallow some fear, hit that 'publish' button, I hold my breath, and hope like heck it's as funny as I think it is) but on the other hand, there are so many people out there who might be needing work just like yours to enjoy, to remind them of things they love, to make their day easier. We all see things through our own experiences. We all see something that no one else sees quite the way we do. And while we're here, if we can take some part of that and give it to everyone else, that's pretty phenomenal.

      I'd say to you (and anyone out there reading this who wants to create something), go do it right now and however you feel about it, please share it. You never know who might need your work! As they say, "there's someone out there for everyone," I truly believe there is an audience for every creator. You've just got to find them, and we live in a wonderful time to do that! My best to you, too!!

      Delete
  20. Georgia,

    You so have this. I really believe you are on your way. Please do not be concerned about changing the comic-go comics knows what they are doing in advising you not to try and replicate the 123 set up and gag- BCN is wonderful, and perfect in WHATEVER way you do it. You do have a large fan base, and speaking just for myself but perhaps mirroring the view of others, we do worry about you burning out, because we care about you, and the kids, and Ryan, and the whole batch of cats in your world. We also cherish your work, and wish we could shower you with wealth...to do a bit of that, I try to shower my friends with BCN merchandise, wear my BCN shirts as often as I can, and preach the gospel of BCN. Oh my cat has even become a catchphrase at our house. Please relax, and follow your excellent instincts. You have such talent, and warmth, and you bring so much of it out in your strips. Everything will sort itself out. The daily strips will be probably be a little different, but ignore those who get all puffy that they are "ruined" BAH ! They are evolving, as they naturally should, and worry not that you will be abandoned. I plan to be along for the full ride, wherever it takes all of us. I, too, hope that you can make a career out of it, for purely selfish reasons (love what you do) and some altruistic ones (want more people to share the joy and want good things to happen to really good boys, and their people :).

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow, that was really great to read! Thank you for allowing us a peak into your life like this and how BCN has evolved, and you too! Isn't it amazing how sometimes fate? the universe? just puts things perfectly in place? The timing of your email is something straight out of a movie!!

    "Wanting to keep stability for her young son and having dreams of drawing a comic, our artist is forced to apply for a part time job, as they needed the income, that will disrupt her son, won't let her draw, and will limit time with her husband. Having a heavy heart she applies. With bleak reality approaching she knows it's the only option her family has. Checking her email, our artist sees some messages from friends, a couple bills, and then, with almost a glow around it and trumpets heralding it's arrival, an email from an editor at GoComics. The rest, as they say, is history." :D

    Georgia, you will continue to succeed and thrive because you have great support at GoComics, supportive readers, a loving supportive family, the boys, and you have the talent, heart, and perseverance to reach your ultimate goal of newspaper syndication. You know what you are doing! Self doubts are natural, but tell them to shut up after a few minutes :) If it's not constructive criticism, put it in the trash! Every artist, of any kind, has an 'audience' and you have found yours that knows what you're conveying and are in tune with the characters and feelings. How many people have cried over your strips? You touch people! Not many can do that!!

    Your audience will continue to grow as BCN grows. You can scream and happy dance all you want; but you always come across as calm and very appreciative of everyone. Most of all sincere. It's not an act, that's YOU! You deserve every success that is coming your way!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. What great insight into syndication, gocomics, and the rest. Like a few others here, we discovered you on Gocomics, and then found your Facebook site and website - and of course also bought the book! I love what you're doing and how you connect with your fans. Have you thought about patreon.com, the crowd-funding site for artists?

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm so glad you are on GoComics or I would have never found your wonderful family! I love every adventure the BCN staff gets into as well as the humans! I hope you keep rewarding us with this strip for a long time!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks so much for this explanation. I will now follow you on GoComics first and foremost to ensure more money goes to you! I will also continue to buy various BCN items from all your sources. You and your family (including furry members) have definitely won over the hearts of all who read BCN, and it's like having a real-life friend when you share details with us like on this blog. Thank you sooo much for inviting us into your lives! Lots of love to you!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Another loyal reader who found you through GoComics...love the strips, love the book...looking forward to what's next.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I found out about your strip from an ad GoComics put at the bottom of a daily email. I was like "Breaking Cat News? I have to check this out." I did, and immediately added it to my subscription. Then I found your site and the FB page. And I get your email too! I wish you nothing but the best. Thanks for explaining about the syndication. I hope it works out even better than your wildest dreams. BCN always brings a smile.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm still laughing at the "I worry you won't have enough ideas" thing. Seriously? Cats are surely an endless source of ideas! You have SO got this. But I'm glad to know reading you on Gocomics is helpful - that's where I read most of my comics, and I added BCN to my collection, but felt faintly disloyal... In any case, congrats - no one deserves it more!

    ReplyDelete
  28. You really do make the world a better place through Breaking Cat News. It is a blessing to me.

    ReplyDelete
  29. No matter what ANYONE on this or other pages says, YOU have to control your own fate--and the fate of BCN AND your family. As much as we ALL love looking at life through the BCN staff, interns and assorted members of the fraternity (and soap actors--NICE TOUCH!), I think I can speak for many who also love getting an inside look at what goes into getting something like this published--and an almost voyeuristic look at a terrific family, too. Frankly, Georgia, you're doing this exactly the right way--the way that works for YOU! Don't compromise--you only get one great shot at this, do it right and do it YOUR way! We'll all still be along for the ride, and support you all the way. I've been a Go Comics subscriber for years--and it's awesome! Like a good book publisher, Go Comics sifts through literally thousands of opportunities--and adds only a few. To reach the level you have certainly has beaten the odds...stay the course! You and your family won't regret it a bit! (And we won't either!)--Jim Reider (jrinnebraska)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I read both the website and gocomics site.
    I get different things from different sites. I have the book, Other than saying "Woo Hooo another BCN is up" I have no other way to support you at this time.
    If reading the gocomics gets you money -then I'll click on it every day - whether there is a new comic up or not. I always find something new, every time I read the strips, I see something new.
    Thank you Thank you Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you, so SO much everyone!! I wish I had written this sooner, reading your comments gave me a huge burst of "oh, thank goodness... Okay... Okay... I can do this. LET'S DO THIS--" and every creator really needs that from time to time. All day each comment has arrived to my inbox with a sigh of relief and appreciation. When I feel anxious (which will happen, I know) I'm going to read these comments over again and feel grateful all over that you took the time to encourage me in this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good, goôd, good. I am glad you wrote it, too, and can empathize with your professed lack of computer skills. This is faithful and fixated reader Martha, who wrote above as workwritr, but could not figure out how to change my name...and still can't.! The take away is, we adore you, your family, and your work, you can do this and it will be great, and you have a demonstrated aptitude for multiple formats....simple, intricate, month-long serials, funny, heart tugging, sometimes all at once

      Delete
  32. Georgia - It is late and my brain is rather scrambled so forgive anything which doesn't make sense on first read through, please? I hope that writing this all out and getting it into the light of day has alleviated the stress of holding it all in. I've seen some of the concern you mentioned, and I sincerely hope you're reading that in the "because we care about you and don't want this to happen to you - do you have a plan to avoid this?" tone in which is was offered. We have absolute confidence in your storytelling ability, in your artistic ability, in your creative pouncers giving you new material to weave into a wondrous web of thoughts and words which carry events from heart to heart. We ALL know you can do this. We have seen you do this again and again. In the way fans develop, we feel protective of you and as such, change is concerning. Will it make it easier? Will it make it harder? Will you have the resources you need? You have been amazing about answering every question and concern with both information and reassurance - ironic since it really should be the other way around. My only suggestion has already been put into play - tell us how best to support you. Just straight out - This is the change, and this is how best you can support me, my family, and my process through this. A large number of us are very direct and literal people who appreciate not having to sift through acres of fluff to get to the bones of the matter.

    Personally, I am THRILLED that you have the support of the staff at GoComics. This opens opportunities you've wanted, and some you have not have thought of. The expanse of opportunity tends to be geometric. Enjoy this. I suggest you check in each night "are the opportunities I'm looking at taking me toward my goal, or away from it? If away, is this a temporary side line I want to experiment with and come back? Just keep your map handy. You'll be better than fine. You'll be great!

    Besides, you have a fantastic cheering section here. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! I like the suggestion of a nightly check in, I'm someone who benefits from that kind of thing. :)

      Delete
  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wishing you the very best--and did you know BCN was featured back in April in School Library Journal? (http://www.slj.com/2016/04/technology/13-great-webcomics-for-kids-and-teens/) That's how I found your wonderful strip, promptly shared it with my children, and turned it into a weekly read-aloud. It's great reading practice for my youngest, and we all love doing the voices (I read Lupin, the oldest does Puck, the middle is Tommy, and the youngest does Elvis.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love this! That's a wonderful way to read it, thank you for sharing that with me!

      Delete
  35. Never fear...your fans are behind you 110%! I know I'm not the only one who has bought from your Etsy shop and multiple copies of your book and given many of these away to friends so that they can register on GoComics or go to your original site and become loyal fans. I know I'm not the only one who's been stopped in a store or on the street while wearing one of your t-shirts by people wanting to know where I got the shirt and what comic it's from. I know I'm not the only one who is excited to read what the BCN family is up to today. And because I'm not the only one, you'll never find yourself without fans cheering you on!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand.http://www.easily-business.net |

    ReplyDelete
  37. On radio, the process of a breaking news story is somewhat the same, though some different considerations are made for the medium. Entertainment

    ReplyDelete
  38. Wondering post, and great strip! I hope to follow in your footsteps soon! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete

I just love comments!