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  • The Better to Find You With page 35 is up

    20170124

    The Better to Find You With page 35 is up.

    If you’d like to read the comic pages early click here! Right now page 39 is up

  • Number Crunching Publisher versus Self Publishing

    This month I’m gonna do a little break down the money I made self-publishing verse working with a publisher. Basically it’s what I learned while working with Darkhorse and the hard numbers.

    Part 1: How much black and white verse color printing costs

    Okay, to start with I’m going to tell you how much it costs to print a black and white book. I’ll use Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales Africa edition and As We Were/Strange Someone

    Kate and I ordered 2500 copies of Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tables: Africa Edition book. It was roughly 200 pages, is black and white, and is 6 by 9. It costs us 4045.88 plus shipping to my apartment and Kate’s house in the UK (that came to 2k mostly because of shipping to the UK).

    As We Were/Strange Someone is the same size and length but is in color. I ordered 1000 of them. It cost me 6005. If I wanted 2000, I could have gotten them for 7739.

    So it was almost double to print a book in color.

    If you have followed me for awhile, you might have noticed that As We Were/Strange Someone is the book I haven’t reprinted. It’s partly how expensive it is and partly that is was my worst seller.

    Part 2: How much I made from Dark Horse

    Darkhorse gave me 5000 for each Misfits of Avalon.

    This is less than what they usually give because I wanted to put it online first. For reference as how this compares to other advances, friends of mine got 3k-10 for their books that are the same length. I’ve been hearing Oni averages about the same with advances 2k-10k. Image normally doesn’t give advances (I’ve heard a few people say they got one but they aren’t the norm). Publishers that are owned by book publishers like First Second, Abrams, Lerner, and Scholastic are ranging between 20k-30k for books the same length as Misfits of Avalon or they are paying 10k-15k for shorter books.

    Misfits of Avalon hasn’t broken even. So that 15000 total is as much as I’ve seen from Dark Horse.

    Part 3: Taking Kickstarter into account

    So I’m gonna compare Misfits of Avalon Volume 1 to The Better to Find You With. They are both black and white and came out close to one another. While a Cautionary Fables book might be a better comparison as far as page count, it’s accounting is more complicated because I paid all the contributors and split the profits with Kate.

    The Better To Find You With print cost was 2189.72 and 1353 in shipping costs. So the total cost was 3943.42.

    Misfits of Avalon‘s $5000 vs The Better to Find You With‘s -$3943.42 looks pretty good. However, the kickstarter covered all of that. In fact The Better to Find You With‘s kickstarter went over. The kickstarter says I got 7472 but really after Kickstarter fees and dropped backers I got 6788.63.

    That means Misfits of Avalon‘s $5000 should be compared to The Better to Find You With making $2845.21. Which is pretty good considering TBTFYW is half the length of MOA.

    This is why Kickstarter has been such a great thing/game changer for indie comics. It’s become much easier to get self-published books funded and in front of people that want them. But Sorcery 101 and As We Were/Strange Someone were harder to fund and didn’t have as much wiggle room in their budget because of the expense of color printing.

    Part 4: Selling at Cons

    Okay, so post Kickstarter before the books are out in the world Misfits of Avalon has made me $5000 and The Better to Find You with has made me $2845.21.  Last year, was the first time both of them were out.

    In 2017 I sold 129 copies Misfits of Avalon volume 1.

    In 2017 I sold 110 copies of The Better to Find You With.

    So I made Misfits of Avalon vol 1 made me 1935 and The Better to Find You With made me 1100.

    BUT I have to buy Misfits of Avalon books from Darkhorse at $6 a book. So that means I really made 1161 off Misfits of Avalon.

     

    Misfits of Avalon volume 1 has only made me $61 more than The Better to Find You With in 2017That’s kinda rough when you think about how Misfits of Avalon is twice as long as The Better to Find You With. But also it’s good to note that a publisher’s logo isn’t helping sales when I’m selling them in person.

    If I add up all the sales of Misfits of Avalon vol 1 since it’s release I’ve sold 652. That means I’ve made 5868 off Misfits of Avalon sales and 10868 total. But those are all sales I made without Darkhorse’s help. If I had self-published Misfits of Avalon and had the same sales, I would have made 9780. It’s a little bit less now but as soon as I sell 850 copies (which will probably be at the end of 2019) then things fall in favor of self publishing. So that then comes to what is the publisher doing to make up for the $6 a book I’m giving them for Misfits of Avalon.

    Part 5: Stuff a publisher can do for me

    As I said at the beginning, Misfits of Avalon hasn’t broken even yet. So I’m not seeing any more money from Dark Horse. The question then becomes is what Dark Horse is doing worth the loss after I sell 850 copies. Or does the money up front justify the eventual loss?

    Darkhorse made Misfits of Avalon’s logo and did all the prepress. That is something I can easily do on my own but it was nice to not have to.

    They also handled the cost of printing and if Misfits of Avalon was in color they would pay the colorist.

    Publishers have a further reach than I do as an independent creator. They can get into book stores and libraries with distribution. But they can only do that if they are properly promoting it. So its important to ask questions about how the publisher is gonna out reach to those places. Because without that key marketing you are missing out on one of the key benefits of a publisher.

    Part 6: When I’ll approach publishers again

    Taking all this information in has helped me figure out when I should and shouldn’t pitch to a publisher. Black and white books that are half the length of Misfits of Avalon are making me about the same amount year to year. So I probably should have self published it and used kickstarter. At least for the first print run.

    A better strategy might have been to self publish it and then use my sales data to get it to a new audience with a publisher. Because then then it’s clear I’ve made as much as I can off the series by myself and anything the publisher does is extra.

    But a publisher handling the upfront costs is a huge benefit if the comic is color or if I’m just writing it. In both those cases the cost of making the book is much higher for me. Getting 3k out of a kickstarter for a black and white book is pretty doable for me, getting 7-8k is doable but a lot more effort. Having a publisher pick up that bill could be worth it. And it would especially be worth it if they hire a colorist for me.

    Even though I think I would be better off financially self publishing Misfits of Avalon, I’m glad I went through Darkhorse because now I have a better idea about what to ask for. That is both in terms of numbers and also in terms of support that isn’t financial. Like how much marketing is this book gonna get? If the answer is none, can they give me more money so I can buy marketing on my own? What costs are they fronting? Where are they doing reach out? Is it just comic book shops or is it book stores and libraries?

    For me, I’m probably only gonna pitch color books to publishers from now on or I’m only gonna be the writer on them.

  • See you at TCAF!

    This weekend I’ll be at TCAF in Toronto. It’s a con that is free to get in. So pop on by and say hi to me! I’m at table 280 on the second floor!

  • The Better to Find You With page 34 is up

    20170124

    The Better to Find You With page 34 is up.

    If you’d like to read the comic pages early click here! Right now page 38 is up

  • Writer Notes Angel and Faith Season 10 Issue 15

    Angel and Faith  -Fight or Flight

    Page 1 – 2

    Before writing this issue I got to read all of Buffy Season 10 and Angel and Faith Season 10. There was a dream that Spike has about murdering people in a Buffy issue before this. It’s connected to the Buffy season 10 Big Bad and is also effecting Angel. So I wanted to reference Spike’s dream shot wise, to help drive the connection between both their dreams.

    The Fred scene I wanted to contrast the spooky Angel scene to it’s a lot of pulled out and showing the scenery off. Suggested Camden Market as a place for Fred to just be walking around to look around. Mostly because I remember a lot of weird kitchey objects getting sold there. It would be a plan where Fred could believable come across some old board games and not be expecting it.

    page 3 – 4

    I used Risk because Welsey and Gunn played that several times in Angel to kill time. I was told that Fred and Angel needed to go on a trip for this one shot. I thought of Ireland because Angel is from there and because of the passport thing. I asked Kate Ashwin about the passport to Ireland thing. But realize I never bothered to check to see if that only applies to UK citizens. Whoops.

    It’s kinda implied in a few places that Angel has a photographic memory. So he would be able to clearly remember if his dreams were memories or not. At least he would be able to in a manner more sure than Spike was in the Buffy issues previous to this.

    My original pitch was a little different because I thought Angel came from a small village/town because of the set used in his flashbacks and because Darla mentioned Angel killing everyone where he was from. I ended up changing things once I found out it was Galway. But that’s why I put in the small village line. That set doesn’t look like a major port.

    Page 5 – 6

    I wanted the little inn they stayed at to look wholesome. I suggested the inn that’s in Hot Fuzz as reference. Kinda quaint and quiet to hide what’s underneath.

    Since Darla brags about Angel having killed most of his home town, I figured it was probably just a neighborhood. Also, Darla had a grudge against the upper crust of society. Angel’s first year or so as a vampire was probably mostly targeting them because of Darla’s guidance. I built the walking tour around that part.

    page 7 – 8

    I wanted the whole bellhop bit to be off putting. Also Angel would be extra aware that something is up because vampires can smell fear in the Buffyverse.

    page 9 – 12

    I asked the artist and colorist to do a specific layout and color scheme while the scenes got cut together. I thought it would be a nice way to visually mix up the page. The gag with the actor missing his jump scare cue doesn’t quite work on the page though.

    page 13 – 15

    Exposition dump time. It might have been an idea too complicated for a 18 pages of story. I saw 18 because 4 pages of this issue had to refer back to the bigger arch. I had also never written a floppy comic before so I didn’t quite have a hang of how much could go into the page. Here you have all the witches. I wanted to go for a Mother, Maiden, and a Crone thing. They are also all named after Discworld witches.

    page 16 – 20

    The fight was a little hard to choreography. It’s a lot for action for the pages I had left in my script. This is again where my inexperience writing something so short harmed the over all story.

    page 21 – 22

    This phone call with Spike starts in the Buffy issue before it. I got to write about half of it. The part with Fred is mostly to set up the next storyline. I got told the basic plot of it while Victor wrote it up. So I knew enough to get the dominos set up.