That Man Behind the Curtain: December 2017

Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All

December had some stress associated with it in terms of Mad Scientist Journal. We were open to submissions, which is always an increase in workload. We were getting out the Winter 2018 quarterly, which also has some workload associated with it. And then there was the Patreon issue. I refrained from talking about it in last month’s post, because that post was supposed to just cover events from November. Plus, waiting till now gave some time for things to settle down.

So let’s dig in.

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.
Hosting: (-$17.06)
Stories: (-$55.00)
Art: (-$167.39)
Advertising: (-$91.98)
Processing Fees: (-$8.26)
Printing: (-$426.38)
Conventions: (-$150.00)
Donations: $45.55
Ad Revenue: $0.44
Online Book Sales: $87.95

Total: (-$782.13)
QTD: (-$1,309.93)
YTD: (-$6,903.66)
All Time: (-$26,923.89)

As usual, I try to list costs for art and stories under the month that the stories run on the site rather than when I pay them. (This does not apply to special content for quarterlies, which does not have a specific month associated with it.) Sales are for sales when they take place, not when they’re¬†actually paid out to me. Online book sales reflect the royalties given after the retailer takes their cut. Physical book sales represent gross income, not counting the cost of the physical book. Donations include Patreon as well as other money sent to us outside of standard sales.

The big hullabaloo last month was Patreon.

For those who didn’t hear about it, the very short version is that Patreon announced a drastic change to their billing system that would be implemented in under two weeks. It resulted in a wave of patrons dropping pledges right before Christmas. Which left a lot of creators worried about their future. Something like 30,000 pledges disappeared from the system before they reversed course on their decision. You can read at least one recap of the problems with their proposed change here.

Patreon backed down after a huge backlash, but it left people less trusting of the platform as a whole. We’ve been looking into other options out there. There had been some hope that Patreon might remedy for some of our financial struggles, but after two years it doesn’t seem like it is. When it looked like we might pull out because of ethical concerns about Patreon’s behavior, it forced us to rethink how we do a lot of things.


We were open to submissions for quarterly exclusives and classified ads in December. We received 94 submissions, 22 classifieds and 72 exclusives. We accepted 32 submissions (34%): 21 classifieds (95%) and 11 exclusives (15%). Our all time acceptance rate is 37.9%.


Below is the social media following we had at the end of December. Despite initially losing some backers when the Patreon storm hit, we managed to recoup some once Patreon recanted their decision.

Patreon: 14 (+1)

Facebook: 1,750 (+14)

Twitter: 570 (+3)

Tumblr: 279 (+30)

Mailing List: 86 (+2)

Google+: 63 (-1)


Last three months:

December 2017: 1,441 visits, 1,077 users, 2,419 page views, peak day of 84.
November 2017: 1,491 visits, 1,137 users, 2,108 page views, peak day of 121.
October 2017: 1,408 visits, 1,134 users, 2,179 page views, peak day of 107.

Last three Decembers:

December 2016: 916 visits, 700 users, 1,564 pages views, peak day of 61 visits.
December 2015: 574 visits, 404 users, 1,004 page views, peak day of 35 visits.
December 2014: 1,134 visits, 753 users, 2,098 page views, peak day of 68 visits.

Traffic is continuing apace from last month. I’m wondering what happened in 2015. Both this month and last had a huge drop in traffic compared to the years before and after. Looking at the stretch of time as whole, it just looks like traffic dropped off unexpectedly. It might have been a weird fluke. It might be a bug with analytics: I had set up a bunch of filters to block out “referral spam.” Which is a thing. I don’t see any indicator that there had been a huge amount in 2014, though, so I’m just not certain.

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