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    • CommentAuthorTheDeeMan
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009 edited
     (7213.1)
    In this new age of digital/webcomics and the trades/graphic novels published from them, what do you guys think of the future of online publishing/distribution as a viable option to print only publishing/distribution for indy creators. Especially with the discrimination that Diamond seems to to showing the indy self publisher.

    I know a huge amount of indy creators from the different forums i go to and each of them has two things in common. One, they all have webcomics/websites of their very own, and two most are killing themselves to get into comic shops. My question is why?

    If you have a website and a webcomic on that site to which you have built an audience and trades of your webcomic that you sell to your audience, why do you need to be in comic shops. Is it sheer nostolgia? I have friends who's comics generate huge views each month (upwards of 100,000 plus) yet they have this deep seated need to walk into a comic shop and see their ccomics on a comic shop shelf. Why? At 100,000 views a month there are upwards of almost 4,000 people exposed to your trade on your website everyday. You would be hard pressed to get 4,000 people to see any one indy self published comic in a single or probably even the sum total of comic shops it could possibly get into in a single day. So my question is if you've built that kind of sizeabe audience, an audience to which you don't have to compete with not one other comic title, why aren't you satisfied?

    And if you're selling you're trades/GNs on your website you're not just a self publisher you're also the owner of your very own comic shop catering to your own comic audience that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hell, that internet entreprenurialism (I know I spelled it wrong) at it's finest. So who really needs comic shops in a digital age?

    My best example of the wonders of online publishing/distribution vs print only is the webcomic Girl Genius. It started out as a failed print comic, moved onto the web, made a huge splash and found a huge audience, and that huge audience then made their subsequent printed trades successful. All with no submission worries or jumping through Diamonds ever shrinking hoops. isn't this something that the new digital age offers all potential self publishers that we should be embracing wholeheartedly?

    I'm really interested in your thoughts?

    Dee

    ...........................................
    THE CONTINENTALS. Murder, mystery, intrigue, adventure--And steampunk!
  1.  (7213.2)
    A few weeks ago I was lecturing about the history of typography to a group of design students. They wanted to know why John Baskerville spent his fortune making the most exquisite books on Earth, books that even collectors had a hard time affording. The best answer I could come up with was “Because he could”. I think that, to some extent, this has long been the case with independent comics. Few sane people have ever done it for the money. I think that, when people started doing comics online, they also did it just because they could, but there’s been no challenge and little quality. Any jackass can install Wordpress and a theme and have a working website. And with millions of bored teenagers online, getting traffic ain’t hard. So for the people out there who want to do something really challenging, the challenge is to do what Avatar did and build a successful print company in a market most people assume is just hacking up its death rattle, paper books in shops are still the way to go.

    I think that’s starting to change. People have taken notice of what Penny Arcade and PVP achieved by turning their webcomics into something bigger. At some point the new challenge won’t be trying to start the next Avatar, they’ll be trying to start the next Freakangels. Especially as people figure out that POD books can be pretty good, or that when somebody self publishes in the twenty-first century the book can be every bit as good as it would be with a publisher behind it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorEthan Ede
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009
     (7213.3)
    Most artists, want their work to reach people. Comic book shops are an established method of doing so, so is online publishing. There is lots of overlap, I buy comics in shops and read them online, that will be true of nearly every person on this forum. There is however, a significant portion of comic book readers that do not read online comics, having a printed volume on a shelf in a store provides a chance for that reader to discover the work. That is one reason.

    There is the prestige factor as well, webcomics, like James states, are very easy to publish, and 99% of them are terrible. It lends a certain level of prestige to the work, if it is not only published in stores, but if it is reprinted and published by a company. Dark Horse does a lot of this, and their taste, is for the most part, good. I generally read most of the webcomics that they reprint.
    • CommentAuthorTheDeeMan
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2009 edited
     (7213.4)
    It's true what you say, guys But the fact is, just like mainstream publishers weren't interested in pubishing what we indy guys were creating and left us to self publish and/or turn to the web, isn't Diamond's monopoly and discriminatory practices toward indy creators and their creations leaving us to find the alternate option for distribution of our creations once again? And once again, isn't the web the answer?

    Dee

    ...............................................
    THE CONTINENTALS. Murder, mystery, intrigue, adventure--And steampunk!
    •  
      CommentAuthorEthan Ede
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2009
     (7213.5)
    I think it is an answer, I do not think it is the answer. I would never want to limit my comic. Even if I was fully supported of selling collected editions, if I had proof that every person that visited my website bought one, I would still want to get my books in stores. It is definitely something worth pursuing but at this point I don't think creators on the web should write off stores.
    • CommentAuthorTheDeeMan
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2009 edited
     (7213.6)
    True. But it seems that comic stores are writing us off. With Diamond restricting more and more the criteria of what it will and will not distribute and comic shops refusing to use distributors other then Diamond what are the alternatives in your opinion?

    It just seems that at some point the only way an indy self publisher will be able to get his/her comics into comic shops will be to be published by a mainstream publisher. And they've already proven that they aren't interested in doing anything other then propping up their 60, 70, 80 year comic brands.

    Dee

    ..............................................
    THE CONTINENTALS. Murder, mystery, intrigue, adventure--And steampunk!
  2.  (7213.7)
    Why does it have to be either or? Can't we publish online, self publish POD editions & look for in store distribution systems along with being open to an eventual deal with a publisher like Dark Horse?

    Why would you want to limit yourself?
    • CommentAuthorTheDeeMan
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2009 edited
     (7213.8)
    Because eventually it's going to be either or. It's going in that direction now. Diamond doesn't want to distribute us, comic shops who deal with Diamond don't want to carry us, Marvel and the rest just want us to go away, Dark Horse and Image, etc, aren't gauranteed to publish anythig you create, which in fact will eventually limit the indy creator to POD and online distribution through their own websites and online retailers like Amazon, Barnes&Nobles, etc, who are open to it.

    I'm not limiting myself, KPatrick. The web is pretty limitless. We're being limited slowly but surely. And that's a fact.

    There are countless discussions on forums like Digitalwebbing and the like about what will we indy creators do once Diamond eventually makes it impossible for us to be distributed by them in favor of Marvel, DC, and the rest. Because, as I've mentioned, comic shops refuse to do business with any of the alternative distributors who pop up in favor of Diamond.

    The squeeze out is on, folks. You'd better start preparing for what you'll do WHEN it happens and not IF it happens, because it's happening right under your noses.

    Dee

    ...........................................
    THE CONTINENTALS. Murder, mystery, intrigue, adventure--And steampunk!
    •  
      CommentAuthorCameron C.
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2009
     (7213.9)
    Then contact comic shops directly and see if they will carry your POD book. There are comic shops that have the customer base to allow them to carry indy books but most comic shops simply can't sell them so they don't stock them. I think it really is that simple a lot of the times. But there are shops that can sell indy books and love to promote and sell indy books that they believe in.
  3.  (7213.10)
    No, I'm sorry DeeMan, but I reject your initial premise. There's no conspiracy against us, it's not an either or game unless you make it so. Nobody at Dark Horse is sitting around saying "I'll never publish those web guys if they have the nerve to self distribute." It's a wide open field, cream rises to the top, and you do what's open to you. Consciously turning away from a possible avenue of distribution is just cutting off your nose to... yada, yada, yada. You get the point.

    If you want to limit yourself, fine. Go ahead. I'll play the field.
    • CommentAuthorTheDeeMan
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2009 edited
     (7213.11)
    KPatrick? First, I didn't say that Dark Horse "wouldn't publish web guys with the nerve to self distribute". If anything Dark Horse has proven that it is willing to publish webcomics like Achewood straight from the web. Second, I didn't say that there was a conspiracy against us I said that the situation is becoming increasingly difficult for indy creators to get into the very comic shops that they old dear because they will increasingly never be able to move the kind of numbers that Diamond is now demanding in order to stay in their distribution channels. Or haven't you heard this?

    It's not a conspiracy, it's just business. And unfortunately indy self publishers aren't selling enough books for Daimond to keep wanting to o business with us.

    But if you're just looking to get published then infact this information is wasted on you unless or until you decide to self publish then it becomes important. What are Diamonds policies? What other distributors are out there who distribute indy books and what comic shops do they work with that will carry indy self published titles? Having a book out through Dark Horse or Image, etc, is one thing, having to self publish your own is something different entirely. I'm sure you'll grant me that much.

    Dee

    .............................................
    THE CONTINENTALS. Murder, mystery, intrigue, adventure--And steampunk!
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2009
     (7213.12)
    Most people here are probably already familiar with them but Comicsmonkey say they'll be fully operational shortly.

    Comicsmonkey is, of course, the distribution arm of POD publisher Ka-blam which, at least in theory, will allow delf-publishers to sell directly to comic shops worldwide.
  4.  (7213.13)
    Because eventually it's going to be either or.

    IT IS NEVER EITHER/OR. This is not a binary world and binary thinking leads to failure in all instances.
  5.  (7213.14)
    Of course, http://www.panelandpixel.com may be more your speed.
    •  
      CommentAuthorEthan Ede
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2009 edited
     (7213.15)
    I'm glad Warren was able to put what I was trying to say into two simple sentences.

    You can't write anything off ever, If diamond doesn't want to distribute us it still doesn't matter. You have to hustle, you do what ever you can to get your work seen by the most people and you don't write off any avenue to get that done with. You promote as hard as you can and you make sure the work is at the pinnacle of what you can achieve.

    Am I expecting Dark Horse or Image to just magically stumble upon Light Years Away or Fat Baby and print them? No. not in the slightest. But I do my best work and if anything ever remotely looks like a chance to see them in print I will fucking leap at it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJef UK
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2009 edited
     (7213.16)
    I've found it best to have my content fully on the web AND print copies to hand out and sell. In trying to get my self-published work to as many readers as possible, it would be a mistake to limit myself to either publishing venue. 50 pages or so into my self-published series AMERICANS UK, and much of my marketing is an attempt to get publisher backing. If I can hand an editor something at a convention, I have print copies. If I can email an editor, I have digital copies on literatemachine. Some editors I can hit with a one two punch--because you never know who is going to have the time or preference for what; so I cover my bases.

    Also, digital is to global as print is to local. I'm building a local interest in what we're doing in Brooklyn by being able to do signings or have printed copies at our live performances. Meanwhile, people in Germany, London and India are downloading my comics. It's all about getting out there as much as you can.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJef UK
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2009
     (7213.17)
    On the flipside, I could care less about getting Diamond Distribution right now. Again, print for me is local, and my web presense is global. I hope that my upcoming Oni series shines some light on what will then be 100 + pages (if we stay on schedule) of AMERICANS UK comics already produced by anyone who becomes interested in my work as a writer via Oni.