Saturday, 21 January 2012

Scarcity and free comics

SOPA has been sent packing.

A swell of public objection to a rather poorly worded bill forced through by old media to get the new media upstarts in line seems to have done the job, for now.

I am very much against any kind of censorship, and really do genuinely believe that the internet should be a place of freedom, a place of collective and shared opinion, knowledge and wisdom. A place free of the bullshit that comes with politics.

Politically speaking, I am disillusioned. I would say that most of my thinking leans more to the left - sometimes a lot more - but I do not fall into supporting any camp. I do object to politics being controlled by money, I do object to tax money being wasted. Mostly I think it behoves us to support the needy, to help the desperate, to keep the playing field level, and to listen to each other and actually debate points rather than shouting down opinions and slurs against those who differ from us.

I also think that it is far too easy, and, anyone with a modicum of history should know, far too prevalent a thing to create scapegoats rather than dealing with problems head on.

Piracy of ideas exists. It happens a lot with big businesses, who have the strength of litigation and time/money on their hands. It happens with spoilt kids who don't see anything wrong with not paying for stuff they want.

On the one hand, I applaud the resources of some - able to find the thing they want and get it instantly.

On the other, creativity is not a hobby. For many it is their lively hood. Be it an artistic endevour, or one of commerce. It's simple - reward the creative people, and you enable them to create more, grow more, move us all collectively forward.

It's called progress.

Copyright law, as it stands at present, is getting pretty close to being the antithesis of progressive. It's the same as economics - if you allow too much of one thing to be held by a small minority, it lessens the strength of the thing overall. Too much money = less growth. Too many IP's = less creativity.

Scarcity is an interesting argument for piracy, one I almost agree with. In this day and age, one simply must make what they are selling as easy to purchase as possible.

However, if you are pirating something which is readily available, then you are basically hurting the creators of thing you want to own. If you are going to do that, at least be nice and try to spread the word about the book. Maybe someone along the line will pay for it, helping the creators out.

Comics are an interesting model - most, by a vast majority, do not make much money. Of all the books I have created, not one of them is "in the black". Not anywhere near the black. Pretty effing far from the black, in fact! And so I want to make them readily available.

Digitally, physically, easily. If someone asks "how can I read this?" to a self publishing creator, they need to answer "easily" and often "quickly". We are up against a lot of competition in a busy and small market.

One thing I like to do, once a series I am working on becomes more than an issue old, is to offer the first book for free. It doesn't always lead to someone buying issues 2, 3, 4 onwards, but it does help get the book into someones hands. After that, the next issues have to be available easily and quickly.

We are currently working on issue 2 of The Hero Code. Once this is finished and available, issue one will be available for free digitally. I plan on keeping the series evergreen - both in terms of availability and relevence. I also hope to one day put the series, even an issue of it, in the black.

Hopefully, this will be soon.


Jahhdog said...

Yes I wonder how or where some of the big boys (who frequently flex their litigation muscle) would be now if they were squashed down before they were ever allowed to get their ideas out there?

I think your method of giving away the first book is cool. I hope that it helps. And some day it is "back in black"...


Jamie Gambell said...

Evergreen comics and backend profiting are the way to go. It's been the model of big companies to write to the trade, and make a profit on the trade while covering costs on the single issues.

Indie books rarely have the luxury of covering the costs, but have a greater control of the flow of the work. Something which is very important, I think.