Friday, 15 October 2010

What's in the Box?

Yesterday, thanks to the combined efforts of Ka-Blam and the USPS, the box containing the print edition of issue 4 of Omnitarium arrived. It's arrival being well in time for Long Beach Comic Con. I will begin the bagging and boarding process shortly.

Yesterday on twitter, I mentioned the overall cost of Omnitarium. Including the website ( the design work (logo designs, pin-ups, etc) and the interior art and lettering, the total cost was roughly $5,512.00.

Of that figure, around $4,600.00 was spent on the actually art and lettering for the series itself. I had three different runs at the logo design, by three different designers. 9 pin-ups were produced, and one pin-up was never completed.

I estimated that I would have to sell 900 copies of each issue in order to make a profit. To date, again an estimation, I have sold 33 in total of all issues.

The numbers may seem bleak, especially to Mrs Pipe and any other "aspiring" indie creators out there. However, I am optimistic, and will now explain why.

Firstly, unlike comic books put out by established publishers via the Diamond Distributions model, Omnitarium is an ever-green series. It is not tied down by a schedule of release, and therefore is not past it's sell by date. The low numbers are not because of lack of interest from an intended audience, but rather from lack of knowledge from an intended audience.

To date, the book has been available from Indy Planet - the on-line store arm of Ka-Blam - almost exclusively, and I have not been as pro-active in pushing the title as I could be. I am a first-time writer, and so just a name amongst many of unknown comic book writers on the fringes of reader awareness.

I have also only been to one Comic Book festival to date. A one day event which had great traffic, and where I really learned a lot about talking about the book, but which was a free-entry local arts festival, in which a lot of that traffic was casual, I feel. I sold one set.

Long Beach Comic Convention, a three day event with a paying comic book crowd may turn up different results, it may not, we shall see in two weeks. I will also have the completed series for sale for the first time.

I also have not explored digital distribution as fully as I could. The series has been available from Drivethru, and I have sold maybe 4 or 5 issues through this service. A no production-cost alternative to the print-edition, it may prove to be a more popular revenue source for the series.

Plus, I am now looking at putting together a trade edition of the series, collecting all four issues with pin-ups and covers. This again is a no production-cost way of putting the book out into the world. Some people have already suggested to me that they would rather wait for the collected series and pay shipping once to see the book.

With a trade I would only have to sell 690 copies to make a profit. Still a lot, but it can be done. Especially if we remember that it is an ever-green book.

Ultimately though, Omnitarium in all its completed glory has been a great project for me to work on for my sanity and creative release. It's something I've always wanted to do, and now I am a published comic book writer. Without getting to soppy, that in itself is profit enough.


Anonymous said...

Hurray for you! This lady is not disappointed; you created something that you're proud of, and that is what makes me proud.


Mrs. Pipe

pdore said...

I'm impressed also!! That was a great project & I really hope that you keep working on them!!

I think that you had some digital distribution issues that may have also hurt the overall sales. But the main thing, I think, is that it has to be about the enjoyment of making something! Money may or may not come, but the chance to create something really amazing is always there!!

Peace & Love,