Thursday, 29 August 2013

Print or Skint - part 4, to print or not to print

With things falling into place with Hero Code's restart, I am spending the next few months to clear a lot of my other comic book work out of the way to focus on that series.

Along with the various HC books, which will be tidied up and a proper announcement made at a later date, I also have the following books or series in various stages of development;

Black Wraith - a four issue mini series by G. Brett Williams, M Lee Harris, Heather Breckel and Frank Cvetkovic. The line art was just completed on these series, with colouring to be done on issues 2-4 and lettering to be completed on issue 4.

Department O - three issue arc (possible later arcs) by myself, Andrew MacLean and Heather Breckel. Andrew is about to start work on the art for issue 2 next month. I am still finishing the final script.

Intranauts - ongoing webseries with once a week updates by myself, David Brame, Heather Breckel and Frank Cvetkovic. First 8 pages of line work complete. This is a work in progress, and I'd like to get at sizable chunk done as a buffer before I start to post it.

When it comes to comic work, I tend to think of things in two steps - production and post production.

The production side includes the scripting through to the finished art.

The post production side includes everything up to the method of distribution.

The vast majority of my budget (I pay collaborators) goes on the production side of things.

My current model is to use mainly digital distribution for my books - the cheapest and quickest way to get a finished product into the hands or in-front of the eyes of a reader.

I've been using various methods for this - Drivethru Comics, IndyPlanetDigitial, Gum Road, Comixology as third party, and direct. With third party the books is uploaded to a third party server, and the reader purchases the book through them. They get a cut, and the book is downloadable through them.

For the direct method, I would use PayPal as a point of sale, then I would email a link to a file which I had uploaded to the MPS website, which the reader could download.

I pretty much always use PDF's, DRM free.

It has proven to be a pretty effective method (I don't have figures for Comixology yet) and I've been happy with them all.

At some stage I really want to have everything up and running as webcomics, weekly updates. Ideally I would offer the full issue at the start of each new chapter of downloads, allowing people who didn't want to wait, or who would rather read on devices or at their own leisure, the opportunity to purchase ahead.

With physical copies, I tend to use POD services as needed for conventions, and then sell remaining copies through the web-store, which I've covered before.

Looking at print means that I have to decide on a lot of things, but it ultimately starts with me asking the question "should I take money from the production budget for the post production budget?"

It's a tough question to deal with. Instantaneously it is a big chunk of money which will slow down production considerably. In the long run it could prove to be a big money saver. I mentioned to someone recently that I think that my POD expenditure is getting pretty close to what would be a good sized off-set print run anyway.

Storing the actual books aside, it really is a matter of starting by asking yourself about how much of your production budget you are willing to use.

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