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Making Great Videos with Caleb Wojcik

Travis Nichols on March 28th, 2014

Caleb Wojcik, co-founder of Fizzle.co, The Fizzle Show, and The Sparkline Blog, created a definitive crash course guide to making better videos. The DIY Video Guide takes you from gear (and the gear you don’t need) to audio to shooting to editing (with a trove of tricks to save on editing time), and everything on the software side. In addition to the book, higher packages include video tutorials, interviews, case studies and more. I talked to Caleb about the guide and video-making in general, and how I could have saved countless hours of my life if his book had come along just a little bit sooner.

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Starting from absolute scratch, what’s it going to cost someone to make good-looking, good-sounding, engaging videos?

Assuming you have a smart phone made in the last few years, you can start making good-looking and good-sounding videos for about $100. The three pieces of gear I recommend for making great-looking iPhone or Android videos are a RodeSmartLav ($60), the Glif Phone Tripod Mount ($30), and a small Gorillapod ($18).

Engaging videos, on the other hand, don’t cost anything but time. Time spent planning and scripting a compelling video, time recording take after take until you land that joke correctly, and time during editing making sure the video is as concise and clear as possible.

What are some of the biggest DON’Ts you see in videos out there in the cultural milieu?

One of the biggest mistakes I see is publishing videos that are way too long. The French mathematician Blaise Pascal once said, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” A video that is too long is one that didn’t have enough time spent making it. The creator didn’t plan it out well enough or edit out enough fluff. 

Think of a director’s cut of a movie. Even in Hollywood, at some point you can’t just leave everything in. Videos that take too long to accomplish what they set out to do are a waste of time for the viewers and ultimately show a lack of polish by the creator.

What are the least-used and most-used pieces of video equipment that you own?

My least-used piece of video equipment has to be an LED light that just sits on top of my DSLR. I always bring it just in case I need it but I always default to natural light or setting up a three point lighting kit.

The piece of gear I use the most would have to be my tripod or monopod. I can’t stand shaky camera footage. I don’t mind it in a movie or show that is using it stylistically (see: Bourne movies), but if a video is shaky when I go to edit it I almost always throw it out.

We’ve got some more content coming out soon on improving conversion rates. One of the things we looked at was conversion rates for products with different types of covers (product previews) - image vs. video vs. audio. However, the vast majority of creators on Gumroad who use videos for covers are filmmakers. What sagely thoughts do you have about using video previews for other types of projects?

Don’t be afraid to show your face. In my experience, people buy from people easier than they do from mysterious brands. Hop on camera and explain to the viewer what it is you’re selling, in your own voice, with your own quirks and mannerisms.

Also, show the inside of your product, service, or company. Buyers want to see behind the scenes. Show them the inside of the book, the membership site, the factory where you make the shirts, or kitchen where the sausage is made. Think of it like special features on a DVD.

Caleb, the three-snaps-to-signal-a-mistake technique (see the book, readers) is fantastic. I’m currently digging through stacks of raw footage for some upcoming videos, and that would have saved hours of work if I had known about it before. I’m absolutely going to start snapping my mess-ups. Do you have another other quick video hack that you didn’t mention in the book or accompanying materials?

Always do two takes when possible. Even when I think I nailed the line the first time I always say it again. More often than not I will have made a funny face, said a word incorrectly, or had some other audio hiccup that I didn’t expect. Hard drive space is cheap. Taking the time to set up all your equipment again just to say one line is not.

It’s been around a month since the release of the DIY Video Guide. You talk about hitting the record button every day. That’s a month of work for you. Have you leveled up in that time (streamlined a process or two, picked up some new skills, etc.)? Or, Caleb, have you peaked? Oh no. Did you peak?

I actually worry about this. After you do something for a while, in my case making videos, it is easy to stop learning new things all the time. So what I’ve been spending some time learning lately is color correction. I always make sure that the image of the footage I shoot into the camera is publish-ready, but being able to stylize and adjust the colors of a shot just a little bit can go a long way towards upping the production value of your videos.

What part of video-making do you still find the most challenging?

Being myself on camera is something I still have an issue with when I’m working off a script. When I am just ad libbing or doing more of a tutorial where I can talk naturally it isn’t really a problem, but when I have to deliver a specific line or joke that I’ve written, it still takes me too many tries to not sound like a robot.

You offer the DIY Video Guide in three packages. What are some of the benefits of the packages that include more than the book alone?

What you get in the other packages are threefold. First, there are video tutorials from me on all of the more technical parts of making videos like the software you’ll use to edit and syncing audio with video recordings. Second, I have case studies of different kinds of videos I’ve made including book trailers and sales videos. Lastly, I have video interviews with online entrepreneurs that heavily use video day-to-day in their business, but do the majority of it themselves. These all add a more detailed and step-by-step look at how DIY videos are made.

The Gumroad team are big fans of Fizzle. (Readers, Fizzle creates products and content for indie entrepreneurs.) Anything exciting in the pipeline you can share?

We have some great “guest” courses that either just launched or are coming soon to Fizzle. One of which is an official course from Michael Port’s team called Book Yourself Solid. We’re also putting the finishing touches on an Advanced Podcasting course with John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire. And that’s not even to mention the great things our Fizzle members are accomplishing and sharing in the forum. I love all the Fizzlers. They rock.

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Find Caleb Wojcik’s blog, podcast, and book at calebwojcik.com.

Gumroad Trip: Mirthful Cynicism and Mario DiGiorgio

Travis Nichols on March 13th, 2014

I first met Mario DiGiorgio briefly several years ago when we were both selling shirts at a boutique in Austin. I had one design that was moderately interesting, and he had what could have been a whole store’s worth of clever, hilarious stuff. I also saw him do stand-up a couple times. So when I was perusing the hallowed halls of Gumroad’s archives while planning the cross-country Gumroad Trip, I was excited to find Mario’s book, A Cynic’s Guide to a Rich and Full Life, for sale via Last Gasp's Gumroad account.

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Mario was only vaguely aware that an ebook version of his Chicken Soup for the Soul / Life’s Little Instruction Book-esque parodic tome was being sold online (how’s that for passive income?). He agreed to meet up and shoot a video in exchange for a ride to the airport. Good trade.

So what you’ll see here is a glimpse of some of the dry, twisted stuff you’ll find in Mario’s book. Mario also reads some of the book’s introduction, which includes a great line that kind of sums it all up:

"Anyone can hold a door open for a stranger. However, it takes a rare and special breed to trip them in the process."


Find The Cynic’s Guide and other books from Last Gasp at gumroad.com/lastgasp.

Find Mario at mariosomething.com.

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Previous stops on the Trip:

Ben Johnson, musician - Austin, TX
Yale Stewart, comic book artist - St. Louis, MO
The Sun Bros., comics duo - Chicago, IL
John Staskevich and Kevin Holland of NTHSynth - Columbus, OH
Brad Guigar, artist and illustrator - Philadelphia, PA
Lisa Yen, designer - Queens, NY

Building Profitable Audiences with Nathan Barry

Travis Nichols on February 26th, 2014

We’re not afraid to say that our first Gumroad Creators Studio event was a success. Nathan Barry spoke on building profitable audiences and what he’s learned along the way. His presentation was followed by a chat with our own Ryan Delk and questions from the audience. There was delicious food provided by Chef Luis Estrada and a headshot studio courtesy of our new friends at 8:45a. The PARISOMA team was fantastic, and we look forward to our events with them in the future.

We’re also not afraid to say that we filmed the HECK out of the event. Caleb Wojcik would have nodded in silent approval at the sight of it all. Then… the unthinkable happened. The cameras and memory cards were stolen. Footage LOST.

However, a couple of the audio sources evaded the thief’s nefarious grasp, so they’ve been put together with the slides that Nathan used in his presentation. So please enjoy! Also, we’d like to think that somewhere, the perp is watching and re-watching the stolen footage and turning his life around. When you’re ready, friend, we’ll be happy to welcome you and your multi-tiered redemption memoir to Gumroad.

Shouts out to our friends at PARISOMA, 8:45a, and Chef Luis Estrada.

Nathan’s Photoshop for Interface Design is available now. Cut the fluff and learn skills you’ll use every day. http://nathanbarry.com/photoshop/

Gumroad Trip: Ben Johnson’s Grand Plans

Travis Nichols on February 12th, 2014

When I met Ben Johnson, he had two self-produced albums out, multiple videos, and sheets of multi-tiered goals stuck to his wall (whoa!). Immediately after graduating from the University of Texas, he hit the ground running and kicking and fighting. But with the same peaceful, determined style that he puts into his music.

"It’s not difficult to be overwhelmed in this modern world. Our peace is threatened on all sides, whether from old anxieties of loss and loneliness or from newer ones that come with the modern pace of life and new technologies. My mission is to help you live a simpler and more peaceful life."

Ben says he makes “hand-crafted piano music”. What does that mean? It means that he’s the one writing, playing, recording, mixing, mastering, and releasing the music. It also refers to his writing style. Rather than sitting with a book of sheet music and a pencil, he composes by playing parts over and over, making little changes along the way until the final piece is revealed. Ben compares it to carving.

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For his Sounds of Austin, Texas album, Ben chose his favorite places in Austin and recorded soundscapes of multiple tracks and then coupled them with piano pieces written for each area. In “Conversations at 360 Bridge”, which you can hear in the latter half of the following video, there are cars overhead, insects buzzing around, and water lapping below. Other tracks feature the crunchy steps of joggers on a trail, dogs jumping into water, friends laughing, and many, many other sounds layered under music.

As Ben figures things out for himself as an independent musician, he is determined and eager to teach others. He built a second site, The Concise Musician, where he posts articles for working musicians. On that site, you can also find an ebook called Gumroad for Musicians, which is sold as pay-what-you-want.

In the time since filming, Ben released sheet music, a Christmas album, and several stand-alone tracks. Ben left today for a trip to Alaska where he’ll write and record for a new album. The trip was successfully crowd-funded (rewards included digital and physical copies of the upcoming album, digital journals from the trip, private concerts, etc.), and he had this to say about it:

"Though I had hope (expectation, not just desire) that I would reach my goal, still I was overjoyed when I actually reached it, when I began to think about how lucky I am to have the opportunity to make this record. For the first time ever, I have a group of people who both know about and have embraced my musical project at the beginning."

Find Ben at bjmfactory.com and theconcisemusician.com.

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Previous stops on the Trip:

Yale Stewart, comic book artist - St. Louis, MO

The Sun Bros., comics duo - Chicago, IL

John Staskevich and Kevin Holland of NTHSynth - Columbus, OH

Brad Guigar, artist and illustrator - Philadelphia, PA

Lisa Yen, designer - Queens, NY

Gumroad Trip: Justice Finds Yale Stewart

Travis Nichols on February 3rd, 2014

Yale Stewart’s Gifted has been through a few rounds. It started in high school as posted-up strips by a friend before the torch was passed. It fermented for some years and then was reworked into a comic book format. Yale put a bunch of pages up on deviantART… but it didn’t go so well.

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Then Yale tumbled, er, stumbled on something that helped him rise above the cultural milieu. When he created JL8, a fan comic about the Justice League (DC Comics) as 3rd graders, he went straight to social media. He posted the comics on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter rather than building a site to send people to. It paid off. The (adorable) comics were shared with the fervor of The Flash on a paper route.

Along the way, two things have happened. First, Gifted gained some traction. Onlookers were hooked and reeled in by his SuperCute stuff and then sold on what he could actually sell. Secondly, Yale got really BUSY. He’s now doing work with Marvel Comics, the Adventure Time comic books, and FOUR children’s books. Ironically, the success of JL8 now threatens its own continuation. That’s what you get for sharing and liking things, people.

Find Gifted on Gumroad, and read JL8 on Yale’s Tumblr.

Music in this video comes from Wild Man Records.

Title fonts generated (from my handwriting) by Project Hancock. Get your own!

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Previous stops on the Trip:

The Sun Bros., comics duo - Chicago, IL

John Staskevich and Kevin Holland of NTHSynth - Columbus, OH

Brad Guigar, comic artist and illustrator - Philadelphia, PA

Lisa Yen, designer - Queens, NY

As always, we love hearing your feedback — feel free to get in touch.

Nathan Barry’s Lessons Learned Selling $355,759 on Gumroad

Travis Nichols on January 15th, 2014

Nathan Barry is a designer, writer, and teacher. He’s the author of The App Design Handbook, Designing Web Applications, and Authority. He’s the founder and designer of ConvertKit, and he was an early seller on Gumroad. Two of the most redeeming (and valuable) qualities about Nathan are his transparency and his desire to teach others. Here’s how much I made doing ___. Here’s how I did it. Here are some things you can do.

Nathan recently spent a few days at Gumroad HQ, and he dispensed an amazing amount of insight and experience. We’ll be releasing it over the next few months like the controlling board of a precious metal monopoly. The best way to stay apprised of these types of updates is to sign up for our weekly newsletter. We’re bringing you all sorts of tips and tricks to build your audience and sell smarter. Sign up through the links on this page.

Here’s Nathan Barry.

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A little over a year ago, while trying to find a platform to sell my new design book on, I got an email from Ryan Delk. In his well-crafted pitch to get me to consider using Gumroad he ended with, “and the UX is exponentially better than other marketplaces.”

As a user experience designer I had to check It out. Marketplaces and payment providers are famous for having a terrible checkout experience. PayPal tries to trick your customers into thinking they can’t pay with a credit card and e-Junkie looks like the experience hasn’t been improved in a decade.

After using the checkout process for the first time my professional opinion was, “wow!” The “exponentially better” part of Ryan’s comment was an understatement. Gumroad’s checkout process was—and as far as I know, still is—the best checkout experience anywhere on the web. Since my book was about designing great software it would be hypocritical of me to use a payment with a second-rate checkout process.

Anyway, that’s the story of how I came to Gumroad. In the 16 months since that initial conversation with Ryan, I’ve sold $355,759 worth of books on Gumroad. In the process I’ve learned a few tips that I’m certain can double your revenue—no matter what type of product you are selling—if implemented correctly.

Lesson 1: Be able to contact your customers

Before writing books I made all my product revenue from selling iPhone apps on the App Store. Each day I would look at the previous days sales numbers. Unfortunately that’s all they were: numbers. I would be informed “You sold x copies of this app in these countries.” That’s it.

Without customer information I had no way of contacting any of my users. That meant notification about updates, asking for feedback, and any other contact had to be done through custom code through the app—something I hadn’t taken the time to build.

That’s when it really hit me: the people who bought my app weren’t my customers, they were Apple’s. Apple was just giving me a little bit of money from each purchase, but not the customer.

I often get asked why I, as a full-time author, don’t sell my books on Amazon or the iBooks store. The biggest reason is the lack of customer information. I want to sell directly to my customers so that I can email them to ask how they like it, know who is buying it and where, and be able to build on that relationship to make my next book launch more successful than the last.

Through Gumroad I get all the information on my customers—I can teach them through other emails and promote future products to them. Without that, I don’t think I could have built a business to the same level that I’ve been able to.

Lesson 2: Price based on value

How much is a book worth? The most common way to answer that question is by comparison. Print books often retail for $20, but Amazon will sell a copy discounted down to $14. Mine are just digital, so we should probably knock at least $6 or $7 off just because ebooks aren’t worth as much.

So is your newly published ebook worth $7? Well, those ebooks at that price are by professional authors from major publishing houses. You’re just a first time author who hired your mom to proofread your book (luckily, my mom is actually a professional proofreader). So your book should be priced at just $3 or $4.

But remember those stories of authors hitting it rich on Amazon by selling their books for $0.99 or $1.99? You want to sell tens of thousands of copies, so is that the right price?

Stop.

Seriously, stop thinking this way.

Whether you are selling books or any other product, comparison pricing like this is a great way to be a poor starving author/artist/creator/etc. Don’t do it.

What’s the value?

A designer or developer at a software company who buys my book Designing Web Applications can get thousands of dollars of value out the ideas in the book. Just implementing the ideas on designing first-run experiences could radically improve their trial retention rates and generate a lot more revenue. So is that self-published book worth $2? No, it’s worth hundreds. Maybe not to everyone, since people working on small projects without many users wouldn’t get the same value out of each improvement, but it’s okay to price some people out of the market.

A Photoshop plugin that saves a designer 10 minutes every work day isn’t worth just $15. If it’s core to workflow, you could easily charge $50. After all, good designers charge over $100 per hour for their time, so a good $50 plugin would pay for itself in a couple days of saved effort.

If your product is focused on business customers you can—and should—charge far more than you think. Since my business is teaching and training I like to think of it like this:

You can charge premium rates if you are teaching a skill that makes money to people who have money.

I teach design to professional designers and developers. They use those skills to make their companies easier to use and more profitable.

Whereas if you were to teach knitting to middle-school kids, they not only don’t use the skills to make a living, but also don’t have money to spend on your product.

Value based pricing doesn’t work as well when focused on consumers (they tend not to not think about purchases based on a return on investment), but you should still probably increase your price to focus on the higher end of the market.

A small audience

I’m going to make an assumption that you don’t have a massive audience (10,000+ fans) that is eager to buy everything you produce. More likely you are in the early stages of your online business empire and are working on those first 500 or even 100 followers. The percentage of any following that will actually buy is quite low—so you need to maximize revenue from each one.

If only 10% of your audience will actually buy from you, I doubt lowering the price by a couple dollars will encourage significantly more people to purchase. Conversely, in most cases doubling your price won’t cause you to lose 50% of your sales—meaning you come out ahead on revenue.

Pricing is something that is flexible and hard to get right. Experiment with it. But if your goal is to maximize revenue think about increasing your prices.

Lesson 3: Build a relationship through email

When I first started writing this lesson I wrote it as “Build an email list.” But that’s actually not what I want you to do at all. Instead each seller should be able to build a relationship with their customers over time, and email is the best platform I know of to do that.

The first step is to know how you are going to deliver value on a regular basis. In most cases, teaching is the best way to do this. For my books I teach design and marketing through blog posts, but just about every product has skills related to it that the owner will want to know. People love to learn, especially from a source they know and trust.

Let’s go with the Photoshop plugin example again. What does someone who is a good customer for a Photoshop plugin want to know? Well, how to use Photoshop for design of course!

So on your email list you are going to regularly (every week or every other week) share tutorials and resources to help designers. Once you have a basic strategy in place you need a way to stay contact your purchasers.

Choose an email marketing provider such as MailChimp, Aweber, or my own ConvertKit (best for quickly building an audience), then export any existing customers from Gumroad and import the list into your tool of choice.

If you don’t already have customers then you are in the pre-launch stage—and email works great for that too.

Using email to launch a new product

The first step when launching a new product is to put up a landing page with basic details about the product and an email opt-in form so that visitors can find out more information. After promoting that page like crazy (email friends, submit to link sites, share on Twitter, ask friends to share on Twitter, etc) you should have a handful of subscribers.

The next step is to write really detailed blog posts or tutorials teaching that content we already established your target customer wants to learn. I’m not talking about short list posts or fluff pieces—these should be detailed posts that deliver a lot of value and are worth sharing. 1,000 words is the minimum, but my best posts are usually 2,000-4,000 words.

At the end of each post should be an email opt-in form for your new product. The goal is to convert as many people as possible to get on your list. That’s where you will get a much higher conversion rate.

By promoting the landing page and more blog posts you will grow your list, but remember, we want a relationship. That means providing value on a regular basis.

So, take that blog post you just wrote and send it to your email list. They expressed interest in your product and your content is good, so why wouldn’t they love it? The best part is you can ask everyone on your email list to share it, then your list will grow even more.

Repeat that process several times. Write a new post, send it to your email list, use the post to grow your list, then start writing the next post.

When working on my first book, three really detailed tutorials—plus a lot of promotion—was enough to build an email list of nearly 800 subscribers. Enough to make $12,500 in sales on the first day.

Though the best part about email isn’t that first launch, it’s how your list makes your next launch so much easier.

Lesson 4: Sell in multiple packages

What if I told you one simple method could triple your revenue—would you pay attention?

I’ve used this method to triple revenue on two book launches and more than double revenue on two more. It does take some time to implement, but not nearly as much as creating the rest of your product.

What is it?

Selling in multiple packages.

You know when you go to subscribe to a web application and it asks which plan you would like? That’s tiered pricing—or multiple packages. They are segmenting their customers to allow those with larger budgets to pay more and get more value from the product. It’s common in software, but you can apply it to any other kind of product as well.

I do it with books. I sell just the book for $39 (that’s me pricing based on value), then for $99 I include video tutorials, expert interviews, and some other resources. Finally at $249 I include a top package that has even more resources (Photoshop files, code samples, and anything else that will save the customer time) as well as double the interviews and video tutorials.

I already spoiled the surprise by saying this method doubles or triples revenue over offering just the book at $39, but let’s look at exactly how.

For my book Authority (which is on exactly how to write and profit from your own technical ebook), I used the package method mentioned above. When looking at the sales count (number of copies sold) this was the distribution between packages:

  • The Book ($39) — 48%

  • The Book + Videos ($99) — 26%

  • The Complete Package ($249) — 26%

So just the book by itself sold nearly 50% of the copies. So was it worth doing the other packages? Definitely! Here’s the breakdown when we focus on revenue:

  • The Book ($39) — 16%

  • The Book + Videos ($99) — 24%

  • The Complete Package ($249) — 60%

Despite making up nearly 50% of revenue, the book only accounted for 16% of revenue. The real revenue came from the 24% of sales in The Complete Package that made up 60% of revenue!

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Without excluding anyone

Raising prices almost always increases revenue. So why don’t we just keep raising prices to ridiculous amounts? Because each time you raise the price you exclude some people from buying. For some products that’s good: low paying customers have higher support costs in general. So in that case getting more revenue from fewer, higher quality customers is a good thing.

But with my books and training I want them to still be accessible. While businesses have plenty of money to spend, I don’t want to price freelancers out of getting my training.

That’s the beauty of tiered pricing. You can get all the benefits of selling a high priced product (the top package) to customers who have money (real businesses), but people just getting started can still afford a version of your product (the lowest package). Something for everyone—and you maximize revenue from the entire market!

One more thing

A really important, but very in-depth, topic I didn’t get a chance to cover is product launches.

I’ve launched a book to an email list of 800 and sold $12,500 in the first 24 hours, and I’ve also launched a design workshop to an email list of over 5,000 and sold zero seats. For the book I got the launch sequence right, and for the workshop I got lazy and screwed up the launch.

A good launch takes time to go through, so I’ve written a free, ten email course called Mastering Product Launches. It starts with topics like how to gather subscribers and build interest and finishes with using urgency to drive even more sales.

Sign up for Mastering Product Launches.

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We love hearing from you and getting your feedback. Let us know what you think here.

Gumroad Trip: The Storm of The Sun Bros

Travis Nichols on January 13th, 2014

Chicago: a family-friendly city of beautiful outdoor art, inland beaches, and strange tomato pies often confused for pizzas.

Enter the brothers Sun. Wesley and Brad were brought up on a steady diet of Sega, comics, and cartoons. And what happens when parents dare to raise their children on such things? Well, in the case of the Sun Bros, the result was comics that read like the cool, scary movies they show late nights on cable. The intro to their first book, Chinatown, employs a super cinematic intro style with an abrupt stop right as — well, I don’t want to spoil it. But it made me nod and say, “Oh, that was raaad,” when I read it the first time.

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The Sun Bros went to Kickstarter to raise funds for the printing of Chinatown, and it was so successful that they were able to print their second book, Apocalypse Man, as well. Now both books, in both print and digital formats, are available on Gumroad. 

One of the coolest thing about the Sun brothers is that they tap into their shared culture as well as their childhood influences. Their upcoming book Monkey Fist is their take on the Monkey King legend from Chinese mythology. In their adaptation, the monkey is the lowest cog in a fast food giant who rises through the ranks of HQ in a manic, action-packed style.

When I met Wesley and Brad on a stormy evening (countless takes were ruined by rumbles and bursts of heavy showers), Wesley stressed the importance of in-person marketing. They have a busy schedule of appearances, talks, panels, and conventions. Hey, cartoonists. Don’t you wish you had an in-house Communications Director?

Expect lots more from this dynamic duo, and check out their goods at sunbrosstudios.com and gumroad.com/thesunbros.

Music in this video comes from the ever-positive SNCKPCK.

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Previous stops on the Trip:

John Staskevich and Kevin Holland of NTHSynth - Columbus, OH

Brad Guigar, comic artist and illustrator - Philadelphia, PA

Lisa Yen, designer - Queens, NY

As always, we love hearing your feedback — feel free to get in touch.

Gumroad Trip: Flashing Lights and NTHSynth

Travis Nichols on December 6th, 2013

The third stop on the Gumroad Trip across these here United States was in Columbus, Ohio, a city I’ve always enjoyed. Bar/arcades, hot dogs, great bands, and super friendly people. Gumroad’s Maxwell hails from OSU. Apparently they’re engaging in some sort of athletic match this weekend. Good luck, sportspersons! May you obtain more points that your opponents.

Anyway, I was excited to spend some time with friends in Columbus and equally excited to meet John Staskevich and Kevin Holland, the duo behind NTHSynth. Their first project was a full-scale, open source, hackable synthesizer called the NTH Music Synthesizer. It was launched via Kickstarter (with over 200% of the goal reached) and is now sold out, so try not to fall in love.

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Their second project went in almost the complete opposite direction. The Luminth is a minimalist music system of two parts: a one-knob USB controller and Luminth Orbiter, a generative music application. Simply by pushing, turning, and pushing while turning, users can manipulate a wide-range of melodies, beats, and soundscapes. It can also be set to randomly change over time, making for spooky/peppy/fun/ambient background music for the office or home. Also, the light on the knob changes with the music. This thing is really neat.

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Through Gumroad, NTH Synth is selling the Luminth and software together, the software alone (which can be played with your mouse or trackpad), and an album of music made with the Luminth.

I brought one to Gumroad HQ, and with one press of the knob, the office gets turned into a sci-fi cantina. Well, mostly from where I’m sitting with my headphones on, because I’m usually hogging it for myself.

Get your own! https://gumroad.com/nthsynth

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Previous stops on the Trip:

Brad Guigar, comic artist and illustrator - Philadelphia, PA

Lisa Yen, designer - Queens, NY

As always, we love hearing your feedback — feel free to get in touch.

Just how easy IS it?

Travis Nichols on December 2nd, 2013

We caught this on Twitter and thought it would be fun to share a walk in a new seller’s shoes. Watch the timestamps!

First, the query.

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Next, after a day or so of consideration, a decision is made.

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Then, and this is purely speculation, the new seller puts up the project, then makes a nice dinner while it processes for an hour or two. Wait, no processing time? It’s up already?

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And finally, a half hour later…

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So there you have it. It’s that’s easy. We’ll handle the hosting and payments and digital fulfillment and all that. You focus on putting out great work and building your audience. Ready to get started?

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Gumroad Trip: The Marathon and Brad Guigar

Travis Nichols on November 7th, 2013

Last week, we brought you the first video in the Gumroad Trip series. For the second video, I had to leave the city and state of New York and travel to a place with streets so strange and narrow that my GPS just gave up on me.

I met with cartoonist/author/speaker Brad Guigar in his studio in Philadephia, and we talked about self-publishing, building your own audience, indie comics, and more. A minute in, we had to cut when my dog whined in the background, and that’s when I first heard the famous Brad Guigar laugh in person. Listen for an example after the end credits.

Brad’s been doing an online comic called Evil Inc. for over 13 years. He built his empire of comics, talks, conventions and podcasts from the ground up, and he has literally written the book (and co-written another) on webcomics.

You can find Brad’s two webcomics guides at gumroad.com/guigar. Do you have a question about comics, the industry, materials, marketing, or setting up a booth at a con? It is absolutely in there. These books are DENSE, and they’re filled with priceless insights and great illustrations throughout.

Music in this video was provided by Beau Bryan. Find him at at gumroad.com/beauthoven. And finally, and this is pretty cool, the font in the titles was generated by Project Hancock (from my handwriting). Get yours at gumroad.com/skinnyandbald.

Stay tuned! There are USB peripheral-synth-things, more comics folks, games and a couple of surprises on the way.

Are you a comics creator? Check out our guide to selling comics through Gumroad at gumroadcomics.com.

-Travis

As always, we love hearing your feedback — feel free to get in touch.

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