ComiXology Submit May Not Be Easy to Get Into

Sean Kleefeld pointed me to this post by Ryan Estrada about working with ComiXology Submit.

Estrada’s experience is somewhat unique, since last year, through his own store and Kickstarter, he brought in $72,000. That’s a lot to do on your own, and I’m sure he worked hard for that. In contrast, he didn’t promote the one book that made it onto ComiXology Submit, because he’d already sold it elsewhere, so the experiences aren’t directly comparable. However, his punchline is that, on the ComiXology platform, he made (in four months) $8.80.

Ryan Estrada ComiXology Submit

He was attempting to reach new readers, but there are an awful lot of digital comics out there, so I’m not surprised that few readers found his work without a giveaway or “free taste” or promotion of some kind. What I did find surprising is that, after six months, only one of his five submitted titles made it into the store. Three were rejected for art reasons, and one has been approved but hasn’t appeared yet.

Beyond the delay, he lists other concerns with the service:

-You have no control over when it goes live, making a recurring series basically impossible.
-You can’t make any changes once the book goes live.
-You only get paid if/when you’ve earned $100 and reach a quarterly payday.

Kleefeld points out:

Estrada made almost nine times the money just doing his own thing than he did going through “official” channels. It’s a perfect example of how a creator might not really get any more exposure through comiXology than what s/he was doing before. That’s not to say that it shouldn’t be tried; any additional income in the inherently unstable world of independent comic creators is a good thing.

I think it illustrates a much more basic principle, the same one I was talking about with Top Shelf this morning: you are the best salesperson of your work. The job doesn’t stop once you get picked up by Diamond or a retailer or a publisher or ComiXology. You have to sell to the end customer, most of all. Everything else is just a mechanism to allow you to do that.

5 Responses to “ComiXology Submit May Not Be Easy to Get Into”

  1. Jaylat Says:

    Great point about being your best salesperson. Comixology does nothing to promote your comic, and there’s little chance of finding it there without the creators sending potential buyers a link. Ryan’s got a good thing going on his own, no need to jump through hoops for these guys.

    That said, I’d guess Comixology Submit is a break even undertaking at best; it’s more a PR / give back to the community thing (But if they reject enough artists for “bad art” they’ll be shooting themselves in the foot).

  2. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    first of all, based on the art samples at Comixology on the one that got submitted and the others on Estrada’s site, I don’t get rejected due to the art. I always look at the “newly submitted” works on Comixology because I’ve always been more interested in self-published works than the standard comic book shop stuff (going back to the first big B&W boom era). There are many books that I don’t buy simply because the art looks amateurish (like much of the art in the books of the first B&W boom era!). How those get through but these don’t is odd.

    But I have to admit that based on what’s on the Comixology site, I wouldn’t have bought the book. $2.99 for 38 “pages” but the preview makes it look like the “pages” are really panels that you click through on the made for phones “guided view” approach. In addition, the three preview pages make it look very text heavy – and while I preference words over art in many of my comics, I do prefer that they be comics as often as possible. I like an interplay between words and pictures, not just what could have been prose with some images attached.

    Comixology only allows three pages for preview. I don’t know the rules – I don’t know if they HAVE to be the first three pages of a book or not, but if I don’t know about a book or the creators or the publisher, most of my decision is made on those three pages.

    Oh, and I always buy from Comixology on my laptop. I’m more willing to buy directly from the publisher/creator when possible because I like to maximize their cut of the take. I do not see what Apple adds to the equation to demand 30% of the take, so I prefer to buy on my laptop where they don’t get that cut. What I as a consumer don’t know is if that increases Comixology’s cut or the creator’s cut or if the Apple 30% is split between them.

    I’m glad to hear of this – I like what I saw on Estrada’s website and will most likely buy one of his subscriptions after the first of the month (have to live within the payday cycle, you know).

    Putting all of one’s eggs in one basket is almost never a good option. J.A. Konrath and crew, when discussing traditional book publishing versus self-publishing, bring this up quite often. A traditional publishing contract is all about limiting the opportunities to connect with buyers, while self-publishing allows you to try anything and everything. But it’s also a lot of additional work. I’m glad Estrada found something that works for him, and as I said, I’m going to try his stuff through his website soon, which appears to be what will give HIM the most income, so it’s pretty win-win.

  3. Anthony Says:

    Comixology takes half of whatever the sale amount is after any previous expenses. Thus, if through the app, Apple = 30%, Comixology = 35%, the publisher/creators/etc. split the remaining 35%. Through the website, Comixology = 50%, publishers/creators/etc. = 50%.

    Would rather buy something DRM-free/not tied to Comixology if possible…

  4. Johanna Says:

    Thanks, Jim, for pointing out the “newly submitted” area — I didn’t realize that was there. And thanks for clarifying the numbers, Anthony.

  5. Need To Know… 10.3.14 | no cape no mask Says:

    […] evening to take advantage! GO! For some context on the creator perspective of the Submit program, go here, or if you’d prefer to celebrate the amazing comicking being done online today, it’s […]




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