- Posted by Johanna on November 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm
- Category: Comic News
Bluewater Productions managed to get another newspaper article praising them, in spite of their dodgy business practices. This relatively local coverage praises the company’s “recent decision to dive headfirst into the not fully realized world of digital distribution and print-on-demand” (without revealing that the decision might have been forced on them by having too many of their distribution orders cancelled for not selling enough).
The article also points out that “prevalent Internet-based smears against Bluewater needle [company owner Darren] Davis” to the extent of driving him into therapy. Well, consider this another one. Mainly because I can’t make the company’s math add up. In the article, we learn that
- The company “releases about 10 titles a month”.
- “Bluewater reports its yearly income now generally gravitates around $2 million.”
- “Davis estimates he sells between 5,000 and 10,000 copies of his popular titles, but others have failed to take hold, selling only hundreds.”
So let’s make some assumptions and do some figuring. 10 titles a month is 120 a year. Let’s assume that half of those are successful. We’ll assign a successful comic an average 7,500 in sales, and an unsuccessful one 1,000. So at a guess, he sells (60*1000)+(60*7500) = 510,000 individual issues in a year. You’re already seeing where I’m going with this, right? To make two million dollars off of 510,000 in sales, you’d have to
net almost $4 an issue ($3.92, to be more accurate) — on comics that are cover-priced at $4. You can’t make $4 profit on an item that sells for $4, unless you have absolutely no costs for distribution or sales. , but a comic, even a digitally distributed one, needs payments to writers, artists, web space and credit card processing…
Update: It has been pointed out I confused income and profit above. The paragraph above has been adjusted to show that the numbers are still problematic.
Now, I’m ignoring sales of the fatter one-shots, which before going digital-only were priced at $8, and all of their graphic novels. Those are more likely to get into bookstores, but they’re also more likely to be returnable, so making fair assumptions to do the math on those is beyond me. Really, this is just an excuse to
1. Remind the reader to take newspaper articles like this with a very large grain of salt and
2. To link to this informative economic breakdown by Jim Zub, which more accurately lays out how little a creative team makes on a creator-owned comic.
(In the article, Davis also blames the hatred of his company on superhero bias. “If you take anything out of the superheroes and tights people have a problem calling it a comic book.” Yeah, that’s exactly why I criticize them — I can’t conceive of a comic without superheroes.)