So you want to be a Comic Book Publisher? Do it for FREE!
CE Publishing is making comics!
Rules & Tools in your FREE Arsenal!
So you've made a comic book. Maybe even created a website for it. Now what?
My first rule of publishing comics: Never spend money when you can do it for FREE!
Don't invest your hard earned $s into internet schemes and website traffic boosters. In order to gain readership you need to find a "focused" following. That means capturing comic readers. However, a limited amount of marketing to demographics outside of comic readers can also create new comic readers, and that is always a good thing.
Second rule of publishing comics: Do it yourself first. Understand and run through any process before you go and enlist help. There are plenty of free resources out there for a new publisher to use and learn from. Understand your needs, and a resources' output thoroughly before you pass off the responsibility to another person. This will help out both you and your publishing staff for understanding your publishing process.
Third rule of publishing comics: Measure your success in readership, not in $dollars$. Indie comic publishing is difficult and laborious enough just to find readers. Don't sell yourself or your stories short by thinking it is only successful because it is making money. It's a long road to get a reader's commitment and comes at a high price to gain momentum and popularity. The absolute, very best way to establish readership commitment is by giving them something (preferably allot) for FREE. Remember that Free ALWAYS sells. Build your readership and then think about charging for your books. It will take years off of your fanbase buildup.
Here is the grim example of the indie publishing world.
After a couple years of trying to publish our books with POD printers with very negligible results (like 40 sales), I finally found a better way... I started publishing digitally with Graphicly back in August 2011. I started with two books, All-Smash Funnies #1 and Perilous Adventures #1. All-Smash is free and Perilous Adventures is 99 cents. In January 2012 I added Death Mark, War Party, and then Faith and Catfight later in March/April. There will be several more Lightning Comic revival books, also for free this year so be on the lookout. MEGABOOK (the world's largest FREE digital comic book) hit the stands in February. And shortly after we published Fuerza 7 which has become a monthly adventure. We just recently also added She is Silkie to the stands which is our second pay book. Roughly 1000ish pages of free reading, another 100 or so pages in pay books. It is now August 2013 and to date in 2012 we have had a grand total of over 12,000 reads thus far. Only 4-5 of those has been a Perilous Adventures book purchase, 99.9.% of them were free reads.
I'm not trying to depress you on your publishing aspirations, I just want you to understand the state of the digital indie publishing industry. The average starting publisher simply cannot get a reader's attention to plop down a buck for a 32 page book. You know you have a masterpiece, but they only see the cover and a few sampler pages. Readers will spend $ on their favorite big 5 company because they know and trust them. They don't know you from Adam & Eve. Simply stated, this is not like the "Field of Dreams" movie. It's not going to be a "If you make it, they will read it" situation. There is a substantial amount of marketing and spreading the word to do.
So the only way to level the playing field is with FREE. Like I said, Free sells no matter what. Better to find alternative methods to harvest residual money from selling comics for FREE. It's what most of your favorite weekly webcomic's are doing. Gain readership and sell adspace to create steady revenue for your publishing ventures. It may only provide enough to pay for your domain and website maintenance, but this will allow you to create great stories in a perpetual manner until you do eventually gain a committed fanbase and hopefully $$s from book sales someday.
Below are almost all of the resources and methods that I personally utilize for digital comic book publishing. I hope that they all help you to figure out where you want to go, and how to get there.
Three Step Comic Book Marketing - See my profile for this hubpage.
These are 3 simple steps to get you started without any $ whatsoever. Just some time and commitment.
Project Wonderful - See my profile for this hubpage.
Extremely easy and FREE or very little $ investment (literally pennies a day). Advertise your books and publishing company on other people's websites. Provide advertising on your website and make money $$$.
Do a Podcast interview with someone. There are tons of them out there. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of comic guys out there podcasting about everything to do with comics.
MEGABOOK - Get MEGABOOK! You NEED MEGABOOK! Get it at CE Publishing!
How to get into MEGABOOK - See my profile for this hubpage.
This is a publication I run focused on indie creator and publisher limelight exposure. This is the World's biggest FREE comic book! The first M1 edition was 212 pages and the M2 edition is 465 pages long. Tons of FREE reading. Support your local indie by downloading and READ!
Get a Facebook page Here's ours with lots of FREE comics!
I haven't developed an official strategy yet for FB. But it is essential since it's where our books are located. Our "home base" until we get an official website.
Publish on DriveThru
DriveThru Rocks! They are a bigger comic publisher like Graphicly and easy to use. There are some fabulous analytical marketing data that you can keep track of your books and how they are doing. And DriveThru allows you to package book sets together and discount them.
Publish on Emanga
I actually work for Emanga's parent company Digital Manga Inc. (DMI). These guys are amazing and agressively want to market new comic talent through their service. They already have 1000's of manga books and are looking to diversify by distibuting comics as well. Like Balloon'd you get personal service from a real human. They will give you access to their FTP server and work with you in any way possible to get your books in print!
Publish digital AND print comics with CreateSpace!
We are now in the process of figuring out how to use CreateSpace. But the service looks amazing thus far. Our plan is to offer digital books for free there if possible and then publishing compendium graphic novels in print to sell to those that have to get their paper. You will get a free Amazon ISBN number to use with this program which is nice, but only good within their distribution network.
Publish on Smashwords
I haven't used Smashwords yet because all of our books are too big. But it is a nice option for smaller 10-12 page books. The books have to be formatted in MS Word and are limited to 92dpi which really stinks. This program would be nice to give away small free samplers on a wider distribution platform. But this is by far the best place to publish print only books, because they give you free Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo distribution.
None of this will cost you anything. It's all stuff that I'm doing and while I'm no expert at anything, it seems to be working quite well. And I haven't spent a dime yet and we don't even have a website (that'll be my first dime). We have had over 12,000 readers of our books thus far since I've implemented these methods.
Good Luck to you!
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