The decline of modern comics...

Discuss anything vaguely M&M related here, such as comics, movies, and action figures.
hypervirtue
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby hypervirtue » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:20 pm

I got to second Matthew here.

I've put out my own comics before. The costs to do anything steady are insane. I wrote for indies, and even once for Marvel.

My own project? A lot of people loved it, but the fact is, without the money you have to cut corners a little. The issue is that people compare you to the "Big Two" so you are forced to try to lower your costs to levels that you can't possibly sustain, while at the same time using the same techniques and software, while still making sure your teams stay on deadline, and with the same level of skill...

Its a nightmare.
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:46 am

hypervirtue wrote:I got to second Matthew here.

I've put out my own comics before. The costs to do anything steady are insane. I wrote for indies, and even once for Marvel.

My own project? A lot of people loved it, but the fact is, without the money you have to cut corners a little. The issue is that people compare you to the "Big Two" so you are forced to try to lower your costs to levels that you can't possibly sustain, while at the same time using the same techniques and software, while still making sure your teams stay on deadline, and with the same level of skill...

Its a nightmare.


Yep, even just doing an indi book in black and white & you do all the lettering yourself, its $60 a page at the very least. At 23 pages that's $1,380... Add in a colour cover & that's another $75 to $100 on top of that. So just to create a single digital copy you are already roughly $1,450 in the hole. Then on top of that you need to consider an ISBN if you intend to sell it internationally on Amazon. A single ISBN is going to set you back by another $125.... Strangely ISBN's get cheaper the more your purchase, right up until about 1000 ISBN's at once & now they cost a dollar a pop (that's what self publishing firms like Lulu or Create-space do).

So you are already approaching a grand and a half & you've not even printed your book yet.

If you jump up to a 96 page graphic novel (because that's where Ka-blam considers you swapping over from single issue to graphic novel), it costs about $5,960 (-$125 from that total if you go through Lulu & get a free ISBN).

Next is printing: Believe it or nor this is possibly the cheapest step. If you print through Ka-blam, its about $3 an issue, but then you have to be your own distributor, which is excessively expensive. Or you can go through either Lulu or Createspace & go the print on demand route. Its a little more expensive, but it removes your need to store stock & transport your own product (it also opens up your market).

An if you go that route, you want to go Lulu over createspace, as createspace locks you into an exclusive amazon contract, where as Lulu does not. If you go lulu you can then add a second series of revenues streams by selling digitally through multiple vendors from Smashworld through Comixology.

So lets pretend you are trying to sell a 96 page graphic novel, with a return rate of about 70% on print on demand books (ignoring the tax withholding) & setting a competitive market price at about $25, you'd need to sell roughly 500 units before you even approach breaking even. An that's not including any costs to self promotion you may do. An that's just a single black and white trade...

So if one goes the indi comic route, its as a labour of love, because you are totally not going to see a major profit on the project unless you can afford to make it your lifes work & have the capital to travel to every convention in a year promoting the book.... Though if you want to make a profit with no effort from self publishing, I've heard 14 page erotic e-novellas on amazon make money hand over fist.... What? Don't look at me like that, its my job to know these things. :lol:

EDIT: Oops I forgot Lightning source on my list of Self publishing, print on demand companies... To be fair I've had no experience with them, so don't ask me on that one.
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Stormson » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:33 am

Curious, do you think switching to a digital format would be cheaper than print publishing? Obviously there's concerns about easier piracy, but I'm curious of your opinion.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Darrin Kelley » Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:59 pm

My plan is to go both digital and print on demand. The publishing platform we tested does both.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:34 pm

Stormson wrote:Curious, do you think switching to a digital format would be cheaper than print publishing? Obviously there's concerns about easier piracy, but I'm curious of your opinion.


Not really. going purely digital only cuts down on your printing cost & your distribution costs. Where as going print on demand does that too, especially if you plan to do a graphic novel over single issues.

You can do a solo digital run but you run the risk of a much lower return on your revenue stream on most studio platforms (comixology for instance), which pay out a lesser percentage on every sale. Plus you remove your product from the hands of potentially many more people since many people myself included will not purchase digital media that denies my doctrine of first sale rights.

For those of you who don't know what that is, doctrine of first sale is the concept that once I've purchased something its mine to do with as I please. If I purchase a hamburger from Maca's that burger is now mine... I can eat it, or throw it in the bin, or sell it to someone else, because it's mine. But most digital media comes with DRM that says how I can use the thing I just purchased because I didn't purchase it, I just leased it indefinitely.
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:38 pm

Darrin Kelley wrote:My plan is to go both digital and print on demand. The publishing platform we tested does both.


Which publishing platform were you looking at?
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Darrin Kelley » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:46 pm

saint_matthew wrote:Which publishing platform were you looking at?


Amazon's. It gets us on Kindle and POD.

My business partner/friend tested it out with a Romance novel she wrote. It worked, and she is getting decent sales.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:50 pm

Darrin Kelley wrote:
saint_matthew wrote:Which publishing platform were you looking at?


Amazon's. It gets us on Kindle and POD.


You do know that every POD publisher does that, right? Lulu does that, heck even Australian POD companies do that. My suggestion would be to shop around & make sure you don't get locked into an exclusive contract, because createspace (the POD for amazon), used to do that (I think they still do).
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Darrin Kelley » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:40 pm

saint_matthew wrote:
Darrin Kelley wrote:
saint_matthew wrote:Which publishing platform were you looking at?


Amazon's. It gets us on Kindle and POD.


You do know that every POD publisher does that, right? Lulu does that, heck even Australian POD companies do that. My suggestion would be to shop around & make sure you don't get locked into an exclusive contract, because createspace (the POD for amazon), used to do that (I think they still do).


I will make sure.

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Wed Jan 29, 2014 7:10 am

@Darrin Kelley: I stumbled across this before & they showed up again today. Useful to anyone who thinks they will ever try to self publish a comic book. http://www.youtube.com/user/graphicarti ... ture=watch
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby Darrin Kelley » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:46 pm

I have been reading Comic Book Marketing 101. And the information has been really helpful.

The case studies in the book where they show where the bigger companies have failed to properly market their comics have been really educational. It was definitely worth getting.

The books we are going to produce were already targeting a much larger market than just comic book fans and the conventional comic book industry. We had already discussed greater audience outreach. So it shows we were already on the right path.

I'll get a quote describing our mission. And let you judge for yourselves.

"We are new comic company. We believe comics should be for all ages, not just adults. We use the heroic ideal as a way to show everyone what they can accomplish if they try. We promote old values of heroes being heroes, and antiheroes being villains.

We emphasize feminine roles in our comics as we feel females have been continuously undermined by current popular comic companies. We wish to make girls and women proud to be what they are, not consign them to the background. We do this by not under powering the males, but rather focusing on the females and treating them as equals.

Our stories contain emotionalism and character interplay as much, if not more, than combat and action. Mysteries, characters, and storylines are more the focus than combat."

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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby King Snarf » Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:37 am

hypervirtue wrote:I got to second Matthew here.

I've put out my own comics before. The costs to do anything steady are insane. I wrote for indies, and even once for Marvel.

My own project? A lot of people loved it, but the fact is, without the money you have to cut corners a little. The issue is that people compare you to the "Big Two" so you are forced to try to lower your costs to levels that you can't possibly sustain, while at the same time using the same techniques and software, while still making sure your teams stay on deadline, and with the same level of skill...

Its a nightmare.


You know, I was subscribed to Writer's Digest for awhile, and got an email newsletter in addition to the magazine. One of their topics was how to break into writing, giving several examples ("Write for trade magazines; boring stuff, but you'll build your resume!"). One of their "helpful" suggestions was that if you wanted to write comics for a major publisher, you should first self-publish your own. I read that and thought, "They've never actually done that, have they?"
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby saint_matthew » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:12 am

King Snarf wrote: One of their "helpful" suggestions was that if you wanted to write comics for a major publisher, you should first self-publish your own. I read that and thought, "They've never actually done that, have they?"


An lets be honest here, who ACTUALLY wants to write for DC or Marvel anymore? Its a pay-check devoid of any of the artistry that gave them there longevity to start with. Between DC's ability to do or say at least one stupid thing a day & marvels just being so creatively bankrupt they are still relying solely on properties that were created before the late 80's, who here is NOT waiting to see what thing comes along & knocks both companies out of their rut?
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby hypervirtue » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:27 am

saint_matthew wrote:
King Snarf wrote: One of their "helpful" suggestions was that if you wanted to write comics for a major publisher, you should first self-publish your own. I read that and thought, "They've never actually done that, have they?"


An lets be honest here, who ACTUALLY wants to write for DC or Marvel anymore? Its a pay-check devoid of any of the artistry that gave them there longevity to start with. Between DC's ability to do or say at least one stupid thing a day & marvels just being so creatively bankrupt they are still relying solely on properties that were created before the late 80's, who here is NOT waiting to see what thing comes along & knocks both companies out of their rut?


...

I'd love to write for Captain America... And I mean... Just to point out... I have written for Marvel before... I didn't think it was devoid of artistry. I worked really hard on those scripts. I mean, yeah, it was X-Men Unlimited, which was a terrible book, but I mean that's kind of hurtful to say.
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Re: The decline of modern comics...

Postby ghostman76 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 1:04 pm

Hyper, don't take it personally. I'd be willing to wager that most people on this board, whether they are willing to admit it or not, would love to say that they were part of a creative team that worked for one of the big two. And anyone can say whatever they want about the business practices of companies like Marvel or DC, but to say that every single artist, writer, inker, colorist, or even editor that works for them is devoid of artistry or creatively bankrupt is the height of boneheaded cynicism.

People may not like what others create. They may think that they are making the wrong decisions about their favorite characters, but it's not cool to take shots at their creative integrity.
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