Sunday, 7 September 2014

Black Wraith volume 1

For those that missed the initial Kickstarter, volume 1 of The Black Wraith is now available at my store.

I've also added the single issues (2-4) to the Submit queue on Comixology, where you can currently buy issue one.

Issue 2 cover - featuring art by Harris, colors by Breckel

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Black Wraith Kickstarter in numbers

Total amount raised - $1742

Total amount received (less Amazon/KS charges) - $1555.35

Total number of backers - 120

Total number of failed pledges - 2

Total number of backers who didn't respond to surveys - 5


Print costs (for x500 copies from Printninja) - $1515.94

Art for pledges - $560

Add ons and supplies - $183

Shipping (at present) - $295.77

The Book:

Number shipped as part of KS - 86

Number of comp copies sent - 41


Final balance (amount raised less amount spent) - $-999.36

Remaining books (for sale) - 372


I wanted to do a micro campaign to test if I could raise a small amount in a short time to help print. 

Originally my plan was to work out the cost of printing double the required number of books. 

I was using various printing services to determine this amount, and then roughly estimating shipping costs.

I tried to encourage overseas backers to use the digital reward option, but didn't want to totally dissuade them from getting a physical copy. It did mean that the overseas pledge level was high, but it was necessary to cover those shipping costs.

I originally started with just the book being offered, but began to introduce sketches and other stretch rewards as the campaign went on - this added costs, but also brought in some very high backers.

I shifted from my original planned printers to Printninja as the Kickstarter raised more money, and as I opened talks with Printninja (who were excellent, if anyone is interested!).

It meant that I would be out of pocket for some of the campaign, but I decided to risk that for the sake of having more inventory to sell after the campaign.

As it stands I will be selling the books at $10.95 on my online store (plus shipping) and at shows.

With 371 books left to sell (rounding down to $10) I will recover costs if I sell 100 books.

Would I do more micro Kickstarters? I think so. I like the idea of using this model to help cover costs of printing collected editions of books. I'd also use Printninja again in a heartbeat - they really are fantastic for what I needed them for.

The campaign may be a higher amount in future, to help with color costs, bigger book costs etc, but I think the low amount, short time model worked well.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

There's no gold in them dar hills!

Don't make a super hero comic.

Especially a long form or ongoing one.

Seriously. Just don't.

Ask anyone advice about making independent comics, and most times the above sentences will come out of their mouths. And they are totally right if your aim is to make money in comics.

It's also pretty true for any form of comics, to be honest.

Comics, as a money making venture is pretty much a closed door. I think you can make a decent living off of comics (at least some people can), and some people can break even or self-fund doing comics, but I don't think many people make money from comics.

The golden idea - or the "Walking Dead" dream - for most is to create something, sell the idea to another medium, sit in piles of cash. But of the thousands of comic ideas created every month, how many make it to the big or small screen?

Super hero movies don't make money.

Wait a minute, you may say, what about all those super hero movies that make billions every year?

Those aren't super hero movies. They are brand movies. They are movies with 50-80 years of built in brand marketing.

How many super hero movies are made from new ideas about new characters created by an unknown creator or creators?

Not many.

Not when you can just reboot Spider-Man and have the built in brand.

I don't make Hero Code for the money - and if I did, I'm doing a terrible job doing it. I make it because I enjoy it. I hope you do too. There may be times when I can't afford to do it as regularly as I would like, but I hope to keep doing it for a long time. Ongoing, in fact.

I have stories plotted way beyond the ones I've written, and I've written way beyond the ones that have been printed. Lots more.

Stick around.

The Hero Code issue one is now available on Comixology.

Monday, 16 June 2014

100 Days of Comics

I've been inspired by Kevin Cross, who is currently on day 43 of his 100 days of comics quest.

The idea is to make time to work on one's own comic projects every day for 100 days. Just 30 minutes (at least) to focus on your own stuff.

As all I do is my own stuff, I am not distracted by client work. However, I do have a full time job, and two kids, so there are other things!

I plan to use 30 minutes to either plot, plan, outline, or script my comics every day for the next 100 days.

The majority of this will be for my series, The Hero Code, but there are two other side projects I am currently working on which will also get some attention.

I won't be starting until Wednesday - the day I return to the day job after a short break for the summer.

I'll try to post little updates and video blogs on YouTube as part of the process.

Monday, 9 June 2014

The Black Wraith - Production Samples

Our printers, the rather splendid PrintNinja, sent word that the production samples had arrived (and that they would be sending me one) today.
This means that the initial printing has begun in earnest, and that the books should be soon making their slow journey across the sea to me here.
Here are some pictures that the sent over to show how the book looks;




 Looking good!
In other news, here is Alex Diotto's take on our hero;
This, sadly, didn't make it into the book, but will be in a future Black Wraith story which I will be sure to let you all know about.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Comixology - Black Wraith issue one

Black Wraith issue one, featuring the work of G. Brett Williams, M. Lee Harris, Heather Breckel, Frank Cvetkovic (and a stellar cover by Ming Doyle!) has joined the other Monkey Pipe Studios titles up and available at Comixology.

A nice selection of books up there now, hopefully will be joined by Hero Code and Hero Code: Theatre of War soon!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Comixology Kurfuffle

Comixology, one of the big players in 3rd party digital comic book reading, announced a couple of big changes recently.

Firstly, they were bought by Amazon.

Secondly, they announced a change in their app which saw the ability to buy comics within the app removed, making readers need to visit their online store and then download the comics to the app.

Not a surprising move - taking the Apple model as an example, if you bought a comic on your iPad to read on the app, the money would be split 30/30/40 roughly (apple/comixology/creator). Taking out that middle man (apple) from the money side of things seems like an obvious thing to do. Especially as Amazon want in on the lucrative phone and tablet market.

As of writing there as been no word as to whether this removal of the middle man sees the split going to a straight 50/50, or to a 30/70 between Comixology and creator.

Many people complained about the move, citing the added layer of purchase as a pain in the butt which would remove casual buyers, and some even saying make them look to torrenting comics in the future.

For indie creators on the Submit side of the world, not really sure how this will affect us, and it could be a year or so before any of us get the numbers to indicate if it does indeed affect us at all.

As for my own part in this, MPS will still have books on Comixology, because, quite frankly, it has proven to be the widest and best reach for our comics online thus far. We don't have any in-store clout, nor are we likely to at any point soon, and online store fronts are steady but low.

For those who aren't going to run to the torrents, you can buy MPS books on Comixology here.

For those who hate Comixology and want to move away, you can buy MPS books via Gumroad here.

For those who don't want to pay a penny to anyone, you can read the comics, ad free, online here.