Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Print or Skint, part two - cover me!

Just a quick few notes - I'd like to make this series weekly or fortnightly, but had some interesting discussions yesterday on social media about all of this, so wanted to add a few thoughts.


I'll be honest, I didn't really know what "self-cover" meant. Perhaps it meant that you received a sheet of paper with the cover on it, which you then trimmed, folded and stapled to your book? Or were you expected to create the cover elsewhere?

I really didn't think about it because every time I've used a POD service I've gotten a heavier stock cover for the book.

Talking with Tyler James of Comixtribe yesterday, I now know that it basically means that the paper stock of the cover is the same as the stock for the interior of the book. If you've read a Marvel comic recently, that's pretty much it, to paraphrase Tyler.

Doing this is easier for the printers as they cut from the same sheet with off-set (a 32 page sheet, cut and folded).

I'm still looking at 28 pages - 24 interior and a 4 page cover (with Printninja there is a price saving for this, even though one might think it would be easier to move to 32 pages).

I, using Printninja again (love the online quote generator), ran these numbers to get an idea of costs.

With a 28 page book on light weight gloss and self cover (and a gloss coating on the cover, which seems to add a little extra weight to the cover, going by the swatches);

1,000 = $1,002.24
1,500 = $1,197.75
2,000 = $1,358.95

Some pretty good savings, which translates into a more attractive cover price for the book.


So far I have effectively been running a micro-distrbution system for all my books - basically not using the direct market, but self-contacting stores, or hand selling, or on-line selling (I'll go into some more detail on on-line stores at a later date).

Omnitarium was my first series - a four issue mini, black and white horror. The first issue was launched as part of 2009's IndyComic Week (a week in 2009 when no direct market books were due to ship, so stores ordered independent books). It was a small success for me, especially for a first book. I sold nearly 400 comics to stores. Over time I've sold probably around 50 more at conventions and online.

Hero Code, my next series, was launched with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. I was backed by just over 100 backers, and also sold around 50 copies to stores. I've also sold maybe another 50 copies at conventions over time.

Department O issue one launched last year. With very little push on my part, I was still able to get just over 150 copies into stores, with a further 50 or more pre-sold or sold at shows. As mentioned before, Andrew has also sold copies.

I've been spending quite a bit of convenient Print on Demand, over time, which is one of the reasons I have been looking at off-set. A real inspiration in all this has been the incredibly successful Robot 13 team, a real testament to micro-distribution.

I'm beginning to be won over by the idea of doing a print run of issue 1 of Department O, while we work on issue 2.

Another point raised in yesterday's discussions was the idea of using Kickstarter to help fund this print run. Not a full campaign, but rather a micro-campaign, something with a low point that effectively runs as an ad campaign for the book.

I'll do a little more looking into this, and talk with Andrew about these plans before I decide, but would love to hear some of your thoughts about this.

More to come soon!

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