- Posted by Johanna on March 15, 2010 at 9:19 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel News
I knew putting out your own graphic novels wasn’t cheap, but this cost breakdown astounded me.
Tyler Page, creator of the excellent graphic novel series Nothing Better, added up his costs since 2002 and concluded he’d spent almost $47,000 on printing and promotion costs, mostly convention appearances. Wow. Then again, that’s less than $7,000 a year, and I can see that you could easily spend that much with significant travel combined with up-front print costs. As he says,
I think there may have only ever been a few shows where I did so well as to cover all costs and turn a small profit. But those were the exception rather than the rule.
My question, then — and I’m not criticizing here — would be “why keep doing it?” I know people think you have to get out on the circuit and meet people in person, but maybe if you don’t break even, you rethink your product mix or do more online promotion, fewer in-person appearances. Then again, that’s a much more viable option these days than it used to be.
He does say at the end, after being refreshingly open about his financial standing, that he’d do things differently if he could do them again, and I hope he elaborates on that in future posts. He’s changed to print-on-demand and webcomic promotion now, from his original strategy of going straight to graphic novels (as he did with Stylish Vittles). His post was a followup to a previous one where he discusses why he went print-on-demand, in large part to minimize his up-front debt on the project.
I’m very glad to see this kind of discussion taking place, because I would hope that aspiring comic creators would educate themselves on the many options open to them these days and make sensible decisions. It doesn’t do anyone any good for a talent to burn out or be financially crippled out of ignorance — I wish long careers in comics for everyone.