Read Now!

When Time Is Precious

IMG_7867

Greetings all!

As if I haven’t said it enough, we must take care of our health! I was recently hospitalized for 5 weeks and though I am now home, I am by no means fully recovered. But having faced my own mortality and now finding myself easily fatigued, I’ve been forced to re-evaluate what activities are truly important to me. Of course, making comics is still on the list. But what other related efforts are still worth it and which ones are not? Here’s what I came up with:

Comic Cons 

I recently polled a bunch of creators as to what they got out of tabling at comic cons and only one actually said “money.” The rest mentioned networking, promoting my work, community, etc. But is the $300 to $600 cost really worth the socializing, lackluster sales and ego boost? Especially since you can do all your promoting and networking online nowadays? While some cons are definitely worth it, for me, I say most aren’t. Besides, there are now way too many of them and as my good friend Fabrice Sapolsky says “Not all cons are created equal.”

Printing and Sales

Unless you’ve already got a fanbase from years of webcomics or you recently bought IP rights from Marvel or DC, it’s not easy selling print issues of your “not-as-well-known” comic book. So what happens is we end up spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, to print and try to sell “floppies.” Another option is to primarily build as big an audience as you can by posting your work for free online in hopes that your loyal fans will buy our stuff later. I know some of my fellow creators will rant at the idea of doing free work but I know creators who are widely successful with this strategy. Look at it more as a long-term investment.

Original Graphic Novels

I like telling stories. I like telling comic book-type stories. But I also like telling other kinds of stories. And I certainly want as many people reading my work as possible. The fact is, the future of this art form is in original graphic novels. With more variety in genres, this format is sold in Barnes & Nobles, Targets and Scholastic book fairs. Not just comic book shops. I’ll still do my “comic books” but the long gaze will on long form.

A ROUGH* COMPARISON

The Print Way
• Cost of artwork and production for comics $3000
• Cost of printing $2000
• Cost of comic con tables (x3) $600 + time
• Cost of travel and lodging (x3) $900
• Cost of soliciting comic shops – Time, gas and postage
Total $7000

The Digital Way
• Cost of artwork and production for comics $3000
• Cost of posting comics online $0
• Cost of promoting online $0 – $500
Total $3500

*Guestimates

I hope this all doesn’t sound like I’m discouraged or cynical about the art and industry. Quite the contrary. In fact, I think I’m more focused now than before. I will still go to “select” comic cons. I will still print (just enough) copies for sale at the tables. And I will still write and produce my science fiction “comic books” which I love doing. I just feel like now, my plan is leaner and my overall strategy is better informed.

And as for the subject of health, please, please, please take care of yourselves! If you don’t have health insurance, you can find a community health center near you for preventative care by following this link. https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov

Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

*