How I learned to stop worrying and love the comic shop cut..

Working for yourself or for a publisher, chat about the business side here.

Postby apple head on Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:45 am

mark selan wrote:I'm not an artist so my mileage may vary, but in my mind you need to consider some of this business stuff - otherwise you'll burn through a couple grand putting out a GN or 4 part mini, realise the benefits aren't forth coming (ie limited money return or exposure/ promotion) and subsequently leave the field.

But yeah, comics are promotional items, for the most part they won't put food on the table (not in the short run) and you have to consider how much money are you willing to lose in producing them.


Actually I also dissagree with you on the business side. If the product is great, it eventually evens out over the time. I have also seen people bog down too much into the business side of things in the detriment of the actual comic where it turned out either half arsed or not actually being done.

I also find that the best Idea is to get a business dude and an artist to work together. So One focuses on distribution and money matters, and the other on art.

The way I went about it was that I created the best comic my 18 year old head could come up with and spent about 4 months drawing it. Looking at it now of course it's a piece of shit, but I went all out and it was something that eventually turned out to be an $8000 investment. Now this was the twilight years of old school printing. I didn't have a computer at the time. Dad helped me out by letting me stay home an extra year rent free to start my comic career (Hahahahaha) so while I was drawing and avoiding partying and girls I was saving this exorbent amount of money.

It was weird, but the first two quaylines were done completely without computers, the covers were colored manually too, the first one was painted in acrilics, the second was done with markers. The printers gave these preview copies that had this real horrible smell to them.

I didn't even look at printing and distribution until I was done with my comic. Over a 3 year period I would say I did get most of my money back.

All up after a print run of 7000 copies I sold through, newsagents, comic shops, and comic conventions around 2000 copies. I also received $3500 back on tax. The trick was that I dated my comics, and told the tax man I can't sell these books because they are out of date. Which is bullshit because comic shops and conventions are places we can sell comics untill the end of time.

Looking back with my glasses turned to rosetinted, they were great times :):)

Hope this kinda helps with your comic book making hyjinks, although these days the internet is a lot more accesible then in 1998, and as is low run printing (Back in the day the lowest printing was around 3000), and I would say Scott Fraser and I would have been the last people to go about and make our comics that way.

Phosphorescent is a good example of the business man and artists collaboration. The last thing you want is a business man to be an aspiring artist and use the company as a platform too early. ;)

In 1998 I wasn't a frequent user of the internet and I knew nobody from the comic industry, It was Supanova(Comicfest as it was known then) I met comic people for the first time. Oh what an adventure that was, and Artthur Adams was a dick :P and I keep grudges!
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Postby azahru on Sat Oct 14, 2006 11:17 am

With Dreams of Tomorrow I always had in my head about a 50%/40% cut. Basically I looked at the excellent stuff Tonia was doing and set my mind on $3 wholesale, $5 retail. That seems to be well placed for a good quality product, with tonia's bigger tomes going for $4 wholesale, $6 retail. $10 wholesale, $15 retail for Something Wicked worked ok as well, but as it was a bigger cost the stores buy less.

One of the sadnesses of DOT was some nightmare stuff with the graphic designer and printers which ended up with her changing the quote at the last minute and not including GST. That meant that all my calculations were out (I did a 500 issue print run to get it under $3 per issue) so it cost me more than $3 per issue to make DOT, but I figure it will even out from my own retail sales and it's just great to get more content out there.
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Things Without Arms and Without Legs, comic about creatures who are kind https://thingswithout.wordpress.com/
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Postby Darren Close on Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:09 am

My experience with selling Killeroo to stores started on consignment, but once the first few batches sold out (establishing a track record) I then switched to sales upfront.

I also made an effort to ensure the retailer gets a very reasonable cut from each sale, which also makes it an attractive book. I've sold hundreds of copies in melbourne alone in this manner.

Killeroo #1 cover price = $5, wholesale cost to store = $3
Killeroo #2 cover price = $7, wholesale cost to store = $4

I agree with Mark - don't sell yourself short, but make sure your book is as professionally produced as possible as well - don't skimp on production costs, rather factor them into your unit price.
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Postby jpaulos on Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:06 am

I don't believe anybody enters the comics field as a 'businessman', despite what they tell you. A 'businessman/persons' (hi Liz) primary concern is making money, so given the choice any REAL businessman worth his salt would choose opening a fruit shop instead of publishing. That said however, yes, be smart but DON'T lose sight of why you're really doing this ... be yourself, don't try to be something that you're not, or you've failed before you've even started.
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Postby bluetoaster on Mon Oct 16, 2006 1:17 pm

Im more in JPaulos' camp on this one.

The work (and it's continued production) has to come first.
Too much emphasis on the secondary/tertiary vehicles to your product is what keeps people procrastinating and not 'producing'. (Many a topic on these boards has everything to do with 'anyything' besides doing the comicbook.) You keep these 'business' questions in mind - sure- but you don't let them put the book's production on hold.

To me, being a businessman (or 'business-person' for those of you who are politically correct) - simply amounts to being 'sensible'. Sensible about how much you spend on printing - vs - distribution - vs - materials, etc, etc. It's just planning. The bulk of time and effort (the biggest bulk) - should be pen-to-paper.

Bottom line is, the only thing that should worry you about making comics - is NOT having anything to sell.
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Postby Laocorn on Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:11 pm

jpaulos wrote:I don't believe anybody enters the comics field as a 'businessman', despite what they tell you. A 'businessman/persons' (hi Liz) primary concern is making money, so given the choice any REAL businessman worth his salt would choose opening a fruit shop instead of publishing. That said however, yes, be smart but DON'T lose sight of why you're really doing this ... be yourself, don't try to be something that you're not, or you've failed before you've even started.


There's money in comics?
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