ComiXology: third quarter 2014

So I just received an Excel spreadsheet for my third quarter 2014 sales through ComiXology Submit. Before, I just received checks with no knowledge of what was selling or how much. With this spreadsheet I know for sure, down to which country the order came from. Basically, in Q3 I sold over 1,700 books. To put this in perspective, I am almost sure (I haven’t done the math, but I don’t think I really need to) that in all my years of sitting at the APE I have not sold as many books as I have done in a single quarter through ComiXology. I have made more money in all the years doing the APE and other cons. That’s because all the sales go directly into my pocket. Yet if you factor in the cost of a table and travel, then that “profit” goes away. So while my sales through ComiXology may not be huge, for me they are significant. There is obviously a much more robust market for digital comics than exists for print comics at cons. At least for me.

As a coda, the same day I received the e-mail from ComiXology, I received an e-mail from a store to which I sent Carnivale on consignment informing me that no copies of Carnivale had sold. I think I know which distribution channel works best for me.

Kairo

I just finished the game Kairo and let me first say that this is the perfect late night game. Weird architecture to wander through. Eery ambient noises. No characters, no action, no real story. Kairo is a dream world for you to explore.

I can see how for some people, Kairo may seem incredibly boring. I mean, it’s basically a series of texture-mapped blocks for you to navigate with a few sounds and puzzles thrown in. But I often dream of wandering around through weird architecture and I love exploration in video games. One of the things I loved about Shadow of the Colossus was that I could wander around the map, find strange ruins, climb trees, and interact with the wildlife. So this game is made for me. And Kairo is more than texture-mapped blocks. The areas are assembled with care, creating some stunning visuals. And each area has its own muted color palette and grainy texture that add to the ambience.

Besides exploration, Kairo is a puzzle game. This took me a little while to figure out. There was no tutorial or onscreen guide to tell me what the game was about. But I gradually realized that I could interact with some of the objects in the game- some moved, some made noises- and that the areas formed a kind of level that I had to unlock before I could progress. Also, the fact that when I paused the game one of the menu options was “hints” clued me into the nature of Kairo.

In the beginning the puzzles were fairly straight-forward, but creative. I could really just get into a state and float through the game. Later on however, the puzzles became a lot more obtuse and I started needing to use the hints. Once I got the idea that a lot of the puzzles involved converting symbols to numbers I had more success. Still, I wish I hadn’t needed to use the hints. I’m not sure if that is a failing on my part or the game designer’s.

In the end though, Kairo is a beautiful little game. It is a dream world that pulls you in with its atmosphere and curious objects. So many independent games these days try to move away from action and get into ambience and exploration, but tend to fail as games as a result. I’m thinking particularly of Dear Esther which while being beautiful and very evocative at times– the underwater freeway, the ending– basically just required you to hold down the forward key the entire game so you could cycle through all the narration. In contrast, Kairo provides you with real areas to explore and actual puzzles to solve. So it’s not just a set piece, it is an actual game.

I was pleasantly surprised by Kairo and I highly recommend it if it sounds like your thing. I got my version through Steam on sale for two bucks. That sale is still going on, so there’s almost no reason not to get this game if it sounds interesting to you. A world awaits…

Carnivale will be available through comiXology

It isn’t available yet, but soon you will be able to get Carnivale through the comiXology store. This would have happened sooner, but I made a mistake with the original file and had to reformat the entire thing (which took awhile). Anyway, I’ll let you know when you can get it.

Keep in mind that Holiday Funeral and the original Kit Kaleidoscope book are already available through comiXology.