Dawson brought up a lot of points about self-publishing, dealing with smaller publishers, etc. It’s hard to build up an audience at all within the traditional DM. Earlier in the ‘aughts, small publishers wisely backed away from the periodical and went to OGN (graphic novel) only. It was the reality of the market but at the same time you lost a major way to build an audience within that venue. It seems kind of insane as these same publishers were banking on word of mouth and the internet even more to sell books. Depending on the size of the publisher, they have no budget for a publicist. It’s a small operation so you may not hear from the editor at all till the deadline hits. Maybe you like that sense of freedom. That’s cool. But often it feels like you pour your heart out into a project and nothing happens outside of the printing tab gets picked up, maybe a half-way decent review, and it gets listed (or lost) in the big glut that is the Previews catalog.
An advance in small-press comics, really isn’t an advance so much as it is effectively working on spec. There’s no kill fee and by all rights there should be as we’re not talking a large advance. (It can be as low as $2000. Break it down by pages, not including cover, that’s $14 per page for a 136 pg graphic novel.) I think if you’re asking the creator to bust out half a OGN and for one reason or another it goes south: they should get half the advance.
It’s a hard existence for the indie creator working within the DM. The rewards are very small. The odds your book will hit are very applicable to playing the lottery. I would go so far to say as you’re better off going the webcomic route. You can’t count on mainstream conventions as a source of promotion anymore. I love doing the occasional convention, but realize that everyone’s mostly there for either one of three things: the costume contest (with the $$ prize.), to meet Norman Reedus, and or get that sketch of Superman done from Alan Davis. It sounds incredibly cynical but it’s true.
The direct market is broken… as is any of the old ways of delivering entertainment. There’s still folks that like the artifact (I’m one of them.), but every year, you have a generation that takes for granted that music is ‘free’ along with everything else on the internet. They’re becoming more comfortable reading on a screen instead of the printed page by the day. The model has to change and be flexible or go the way of the cd or newspaper.
Lastly $20 is not unreasonable for a 268 page graphic novel. It might have been better to price it at $19.95 (old retail trick). It’s more reasonable than say calling Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers a graphic novel because you printed a 42pg comic on cardboard to thicken it up. It’s a solid work but it’s not enough content to merit charging $20 for it.
We’re kicking back at casa de bot. (actually I’m catching up on commissions.) So I’m going share this bit of awesome I came across on Facebook the other day. Peace out. T.W
This commission is quickly coming to a close. A little longer and the coloring will be in the can. It’s note-able that this is the first commission I’ve ever gotten direct off of Facebook. A social site rigged to only make money for… well itself.
There was a time when I got a lot of great networking and offers from social media. This would have been when Myspace stamped out Friendster. Remember Friendster kids?
If you want to class up an artist alley, have a cosplayer on acoustic at the door. Sadly this bit of randomness ended shortly after the doors opened on Not@Comicon Con. Packrat did a bang-up job promoting the event. Sales for me were sporadic but I had fun. I’m happy to see more people hitting me up for sketches.
I had a new repeat customer that commissioned a Hulk and a Wolverine. Just as I’m starting to build up speed, the con season for me might be coming to a close for this year.
I still love the whole experience of setting up at a con. Store shows are great, and I’m damn lucky that I have not one but two great local shops that throw events. Adding to the randomness, they got Ted Williams, the former homeless guy (?) with the golden voice mc’ing something going on outside.
It’s by sheer accident of booking these shows that I’ve been able to come to some conclusions.
Some I knew already, but I see a lot of one day shows in my future. It’s hard to see any con double down on two days (or three days?), and go back to a one day show. It may be too late as some of these shows lock in on long contracts to secure the date(s). One show I’ll be bummed about as while the area was really cool, the show sales were remarkably horrid. (actually there were two. I can’t decide which one was worse.)
It was good to check out and set up at these cons. I’m not out too much for travel. No complaints about the staff at any of these shows. They’ve all done a bang-up job. Local stuff I’ll always do, unless the booth/table fee’s insane. Don’t be afraid to say no. Next year, I might just pick one mainstream convention outside of the state and let that be that. Unfortunately Baltimore and Cincinnati are on the same weekend and too close to an already planned trip to the Baltimore/Delaware area in mid-September. (can’t swing the vacation time. :( )
In the lull, I look forward to working on new material for future shows. Getting an agent isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. I’m off to make sense of gladiators with breakfast food for heads on bristol. Something that reminds me of the type of stuff my cousin-in-law would create in porcelain.