Here is an update on the plan/timeline for the Year of the Ant:
As of today:
Over 200 comics pages have been scanned, and I am only missing a handful of original pages for scanning (a few covers or pages I gave away over the years)... I am confident I have a quality photocopy of any original art I'm missing that I can work from. This puts me about 40% of the way through scanning the comics. My plan was to get this done by July, so I am on target with this. I've actually scanned the more difficult pages (I touched up quite a bit of the earlier art as I was working, and the later stuff is generally stronger and needed less touching up), and this later work is also sitting in a neat stack that I can hopefully scan a few dozen pages at a clip. Mary will be happy to have the huge stacks of random art in our bedroom back in storage soon!
The first 25 pages of the RPG are 90% complete, the next 25 pages are in progress, and the rest is still notes/drafts/in my head. This is actually better than it sounds. I've had to go back and re-arrange and re-configure the first 50 pages of the game several times, because that's where all of the core rules and key mechanics fall. Once I am 100% certain how the Moxy trait is going to work (for instance) I can go ahead and build the creatures that will be using it. The back 2/3 of the book is the fun stuff, because there I just get to apply the mechanics in fleshing out the world and its inhabitants.
May - The Army Ants webcomic will launch on Friday, May 3 and will run on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays in May. This won't be new material; I will be previewing the strip with the story 'Slab Smash' which was one of the last stories I did before going into hiatus (which I'll blog about next week...). That will run 16 installments (I'll go daily for the last few days of the month to get it done in May). Behind the scenes, I'll be scanning comics pages, continuing to write the RPG, and placing orders for all of the merchandise from the Kickstarter. I'll also be putting together my mighty e-mail list for the Army Ants Adventure Journal newsletter.
June - The webcomic continues with a new weekly page as part of a continuing adventure strip. The Army Ants Adventure Journal (newsletter) launches at the end of the month, with a preview of the new RPG and a collection of the month's webcomics. Both the webcomic and Army Ants Adventure Journal will be free. Behind the scenes, work will continue on the comics and RPG, and I will also be soliciting both for distribution through the traditional brick and mortar comics and game retailers.
July - I move towards wrapping up, putting the finishing touches on the comics and RPG, and getting them ready for printing. My goal is to order my approval copies of both the comics and game on July 31, so I have a few weeks to get those turned around.
August - Order fulfillment! I visit the post office a LOT. I keep churning out comic strips. I keep plugging away at game updates for the Army Ants Adventure Journal. Kickstarter backers receive their packages before the end of the month.
September - Get orders from the distribution network and begin fulfillment at that end. Continue to build the mailing list; continue to turn out comic strips; continue to build a following.
October - Go live to the general public (beyond the Kickstarter backers). Open the MTDAA webstore to sell the comic collections, the RPG, t-shirts, original art, and other assorted fun stuff.
November and December - Keep the train running. Keep producing weekly webcomics and monthly newsletters. Begin to make plans for 2014...
Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it...