Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Long Cold Fall

Haven't posted on this thing in a while while the unknown was unknowning.

So here's the update on where the last few months have gone:..

- Finished issue #3 of Farlaine in September in time for NYCC2012 in October
- Met with publishers, passed around copies, told to submit many times.
- Submitted many times.
- Heard back from only Fantagraphics, who was not at the convention, but who was nice enough to send a form rejection letter. They were a reach anyways.
- Got fairly positive feedback from a bunch of cool professionals at NYCC. Good constructive feedback 
- Polished the issues, trying to improve the weak spots and streamline dialogue. Get ready for publication.

The goal was to make the best thing I could, and since at this point no publisher will be supporting the book, I'll be self publishing and hoping to slip into Diamond.

Diamond is the king mothership of comics distribution. They advertise and sell and distribute all the comic books everyone makes out to all the little comic shops and communities out there. Without Diamond you sell your comic one by one to shops and people at conventions. Not a very productive approach to creation.

So that's where I am now - trying to attract Diamond into putting my book into their magical magazine.

But here's the rub - they want the finished, printed book with the submission. So now I'm trying to polish all the things I can in issue #1, put together a final cover, all the collateral material at the back of the book, previews of upcoming issues, etc.

And I need to have the book to the printer by March 1 in order to get the books by April 1 in time to submit by 4/11 to Diamond, which in turn would be to be on stands in August 2013.

So whew. That's about the now. It's an interesting topic to think through, the whole marketing side of this.

Diamond will only pay you 40% of your cover a $3 book you will only be paid $1.20 for. Printing that book probably costs more.

For my book it looks like it will cost me $2.10 per copy to print.

This is not though for an average comic. This is a large format 7x11 sideways bound comic with a cardstock cover and a perfect bound binding around 48 interiors pages. I'm hoping to get a somewhat European feel to it. So more than 2x the length and 10% larger size what you get with your normal comic. A seeming bargain.

My view being to offer up a premium print product that is a step above a smaller comics, thicker content, a complete story, and something kids and adults can appreciate, and makes it worth it to own in printed form.

So $2.10/copy...up to 1000 copies, After that it drops all the way to $1.38. So really, a low selling comic almost ensures its own destruction, while a successful one can actually start to make some money with enough sales.

So because this costs me $2.10 it also means that if I sold to Diamond at cost my cover price would need to be $5.25. Ouch!

So now I have to consider the possibilities...

If I wanted a competitive comic price of $4 I would take a loss of $0.50/comic and sell to Diamond at $1.60.

If I wanted a cheap $3 price I would need to sell to Diamond at $1.20, meaning a $0.90 loss per issue.

Realistically my book will sell 1000 copies. I could probably eat a loss of a few hundred bucks if it meant my book was being read and people may tell their friends to buy issue #2.

The odd fear that it starts successfully and sells 10,000 copies could mean I'm suddenly out $5k-9k on printing costs, but that would be possibly an acceptable outcome for those kinds of numbers:)

So its now a balancing act between pricing so people buy it...

There is no "profit" in the equation.

For now I continue to tinker and fix the first issues and prepare them for the printer and finality...