Hi all. I'm currently working on the first issue of what I'm loosely terming an ongoing series called web page The Hero Code. It has a beginning a middle and an end, but there is room for lots of story on that journey. I've plotted around 30 issues, have scripts for 9 completed, and lots of characters designed and ready to go. More can be found here.
I'm also running a web page kickstarter campaign to help get the first issue completed.
A few questions to discuss -
1. Can indie comics sustain ongoing? There are a handful of webcomics which serve as "long form graphic stories" and a few indie books which put out more than the usual 4-6 issues, but can they really be ongoing? Is it possible to use the mainstream storytelling techniques in the indie world, or best not to try to match them?
I think it can be done, just at a much slower rate than the big publishers. Using Webcomics, or the model of a page or more a week, to sustain interest may be key. It may not be totally sustainable at first, but longevity can help - as can, obviously, quality!
2. How do people feel about Kickstarter?
Anyone who doesn't know - Kickstarter is a crowd-funding service, used to help start up artistic projects. It has a pretty good comics section, and some amazing stuff has been funded through the service. Is it just another means of finding an audience? Does it focus a search to find new stuff? Is it possible to weed out the quality? Do you use it? Enjoy it as a community?
I find it quite interesting. As a backer, I have managed to get some great books from there. As a campaigner, it really helped to focus my attention on the book, the content, the marketability of it - something which I think has been lacking in a lot of indie titles. The ease of low-risk publishing (web and POD services) has removed some of the need to self-edit. In the past having to pony up for a print run of a book probably made a lot of people stop and think about there titles. In a way, I think this makes the creator have to think about there book in the same way. It also helps for people to realize that comic books aren't cheap to make, and take time and the efforts of a lot of people!
Posted by mart (Member # 32) on :
Maybe I've misunderstood this, but are you saying you'd like us to pay you to print a comic drawn by other people, and if it turns out to be a publishing sensation, you keep all the profit?
Posted by Benny the Ball (Member # 694) on :
No, I'm asking you to fund a comic book's launch, and the profits will be put back into the book to pay the artists for their future work (having been paying them myself for the last year, but hitting the bump of losing my job).
Oh, and you can get a t-shirt too...
So I'm guessing you fall into the hawking camp then, Mart?
Posted by jonesy999 (Member # 5) on :
Protocol dictates that your next post should begin with the words "Let me tell you where I am" Mart.
Posted by Benny the Ball (Member # 694) on :
Not sure how many people know or care, but the comic market landscape has been changing a lot over the last decade or two.
Firstly, the numbers are down through the direct market in a big way. This hits the bigger companies and the stores most. It his indie creators in so much that it is now harder for us to get stores to carry our books through the Direct Market.
For those that don't know, the Direct Market is the only distribution model for comic publishers to stores in N. America that is taken seriously. It involves stores speculating 3 months in advance on a book, ordering - often with incentives - and then trying to convince every one coming in that the book is the hot new title.
It doesn't work very well.
Mainly because the big two companies have so much clout, and have so much product out, that they often are the only titles stores are willing to order. But their numbers are down hardest. Over-saturated multi-tiered titles and cross overs, plus a lack of decent story telling has taken it's toll, and most readers are leaving.
Secondly, the means of getting a book published has become less risk-oriented. Print on Demand lessens the profit, but also means that creators don't have to get 1 or 2 thousand copies of their books printed in advance and then hope to sell them. It also means that less care is taken in the final product by a lot of creators - lower risk, put a book out quicker, don't think of the potential selling of the book.
Add webcomics, and you have much much more option, but the barometer of quality has dropped considerably.
This again means that stores are less likely to take chances on indie books.
Conventions reamin one of the strongest ways of getting your product into the hands of potential readers.
There are some indie successes - Robot 13 is a definite one, selling both online and through local stores - it sells a tidy amount per-issue, and self-sustains.
And there are some big creator-owened successes - Walking Dead is sure to become the go-to name drop for anyone wanting to pitch their book as the next big hit.
There are ways to make this work, but very few people are in it for the profit of the product. Most people creating indie comics make their livings elsewhere. There are of course opportunities in licensing and IP marketing/optioning, but these are few and far between.
The biggest earnings are probably still coming from collected Graphic Novel or Trade sales (again, Walking Dead is a big winner in this field).
There is a sweet spot for creators, if you can sell through the Direct Market to an audience, and maintain a title with some semblance of regularity it is possible to make enough money to keep the book going and a small profit (around 10-15k copies).
When the highest selling book sells 140k, and the next highest sells 90k though, in a market place with hundreds of big publisher titles per month - these are few and far between.
I'd like to get to a stage of printing enough copies to sell the book to local stores (saving shipping and direct market), online, through conventions and be able to pour that money back into the book. I am paying anyway at the moment, and have been for some time, so if I could speed up the process somewhat and get the book on its feet, I'd be happy.