Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Putting a Price on Making Comics

So, I guess I'm starting to think a little. Never a good thing.

I was figuring out the economics of making a comic. And this is not a self-publishing deal, because I've done that before, and believe me, that was bad enough, because you had to pay for your own printing costs and work your ass off to sell it, and most of the time that meant walking directly into stores, where they may take 8 or 10 copies and you'd get half the cover price. Or buying a table at a convention and begging passers-by to look at the thing. Not exactly a get-rich-quick scenario.

Now, considering that the comic I am co-writing (and currently waiting to be drawn) is being printed and distributed, I figured that would keep my costs down. However, we had to get our own artist to draw the thing, and as artists kept dropping out, what we were paying them went up. you get what you pay for, I guess, because we have a couple guys who haven't dropped out, but we have to pay them a rate of $30 a page. The upside is they are really good. The downside is it will cost us $660 an issue. For the planned five-issue series, that will bring it to $3300, plus the $300 we shelled out to get a known artist for the cover of issue #1. At $3600 for the series, at a $2.99 cover price, if we sold 2000 copies (which I believe is the new minimum to remain in Diamond's catalog for more than a month), that puts us (minus the Diamond percentage) at $3588, or $12 short of what we put in. Now, I'm not sure if Blue Water takes a cut, but I imagine they do. They are publishing it, after all.

Now, the hope would be to sell tons and tons of them, of course. Naturally, I'm not sure how to do that. Sales are down everywhere, according to my local comic shop proprietor (who I am counting on to order many copies). So, right now, 2000 seems like a lot. We may never make it passed issue #1, which would mean we would have to collect it in a trade and sell it ourselves, which, again, is not a way to actually make a lot of money.

The good news? I would have a published comic. A credit to my name. Something to show the nephews (although they better buy it.) And if it leads to something else down the road, then I guess you can't really put a price on that.

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