A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a sale at SLG Publishing and pointed out thatit had been a pioneering publsiher in reaching new market,s targetting female readers, digital and many other areas. Alas laurel resting is swiftly rewarded with living in a cardboard box in this business, and some hard times and setbacks have hit SLG. Publisher Dan Vado has just launched afunding campaign to help the company, in his words, “get back on its feet. You can read the letter below. The amount he’s looking for is steep, $85,000, but it’s an ongoing campaign.
As Vado would be the first to admit, he made a few bad decisions along the way, but SLG is one of only a handful of companies—Fantagraphics, NBM and Dark Horse are the others—to remain from the earliest days of “indie comics publishing.” It was also, like most of the companies of the period, FOR THE MOST PART committed to creator ownership, not participation—if you think that is a good thing, throw a few bucks SLG’s way.
SLG Publishing is a San Jose, CA based comic book publishing company. Established in 1986, SLG has helped many cartoonists and comics creators start their careers.
Having weathered through three recessions and market downturns too numerous to count, SLG has long maintained an even keel through turbulent times. However the past few years a perfect storm of bad luck, bad economy and, yes, bad decisions have left the company on a terrible financial footing.
For a small business with a small staff, SLG maintains a fairly large footprint in the physical sense. Warehousing and storage account for a pretty large portion of the company’s budget.
Recently we were forced to relocate because our old building was being torn down. At the time I had a couple of choices, close up altogether or try and make a go of it somewhere else.
Not wanting to turn my back on a 28 year old business (which was struggling to begin with) I decided to try and keep going, adding a retail component to our storefront that we did not have before and add some other revenue streams to our gallery store as well as our publishing company like doing contract t-shirt printing and hosting live music. Sure, the smart thing to do was to just quit, but then publishing comics was never a really smart thing either, so go figure.
We had a line of credit, a couple of them, which I used to relocate with (this after a couple of different crowd-funding initiatives did not fund).
After running up our credit line during the move our bank decided to review our account and decided that the balance on the credit line was too high and, in their infinite wisdom, demanded immediate repayment in the form of a high-interest loan. This created a domino effect where, when reporting the change in my credit status to the various credit bureaus caused them all to cut my credit and in a couple of cases close my accounts.
Because of the nature of my businesses all of our debt was secured through personal guarantees and now I am in a spot where not only am I unable to get my business righted, but I have blown through all of my personal assets other than the home I live in to keep things going.
A simple bankruptcy for me is not an option as everything comes back to me anyway, so as much as this pains me to go this route I am asking for people’s assistance in helping me and my company get back on our feet. We are still in business right now, still trying to put out comics and are still running our gallery store and I am trying to keep both of these things running. However the revenue from comics publishing is not enough to keep us open AND pay down our debt.
We have exhausted all of the typical means of raising money, crowd-funding and sales eith pretty decent discounts being a couple of them. I am taking the GoFundMe approach because this is going to be an ongoing thing for the next couple of years. This isn’t something Kickstarter would touch anyway.
So, thanks for reading this and thanks for donating if you donate.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.