A Self Publishing Checklist!
Batton Lash & Michael D Hamersky at the Spotlight On Batton Lash Panel!
At the 2012 Long Beach Comic Con on Saturday! Batton asked Michael to 'interview' him on the panel, which Michael gladly did!
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TODAY'S FEATURE IS BLOG #3845 - I've had the pleasure of meeting many independent comics creators over the past decades... Usually at comic cons.
I've also seen several of them 'breakout' and become small indie publishers.
However, most of them haven't become small indie publishers past their own 2 - 3 issues story arc, and several I haven't seen lately at comic cons. Possibly they have given up on making it in the comics industry...?
Yet others, and actually, though just a few, have gone on to make it big in the comics industry. By becoming indie press publishers.
So what's my thoughts on publishing your own comic book?
Here's what I have come up with, and no it is not everything you should do... But are things you could do to help yourself make it 'big' in comics.
1. Create your comic book - Which should be somewhat easy for you to do, unless you have to have other comics creators do the writing or artwork or inking, etc., while you do one of those functions. Oh, and in general terms, it is less expensive to start online with a web comic, and build a following of readers. After that... Then you can sell print copies. But be aware that printing webcomics could be an odd-sized shape for the comic book to be printed in. I've see some weird formats that webcomics have been printed in!
2. Post the copyright notice in the comic book - Be sure to do this!
3. Keep control. Period. You must maintain complete creative control and own your copyright. Keep this in mind for all of these steps!
4. Look at getting a trademark for logo of your comic book.
5. Place an ISBN on the front cover. This is a MUST! That's because you're supposed to have an ISBN for each format that you use to publish your comic book. Actually some printers offer inexpensive or free ISBNs, but it is up to you to make sure to read the fine print before using those printers services!
6. Barcode the front cover! Why? This simple action will open more vendors for you. You can actually find places to get the barcode images for free. You can also pay a small fee for an easy-to-use file.
7. Okay, before printing this comic book... Check to see if you want to do a 'crowd funder' program like KickStarter or IndieGoGo. Do you have enough Facebook Friends to get the word out about your comic book? KickStarter & IndieGoGo have different rules and funding programs. Investigate both and possibly other 'crowd funders' thoroughly.
8. Seems funny to say this, but PRINT the comic book, even if you don't use a crowd funder. In some quantity. Check sources online for the best prices for printing small quantities. You don't want to be sitting on cases of comic books that you have to sell to recover your printing costs.
9. Plus, which most people don't do... print an alternate cover as a retailer incentive! Or use it at comic cons as an exclusive comic con cover!
10. Then, after printing your comic book, you should convert your comic book to a digital format.
11. Publish digital format comic via some format. There are several formats to choose from.
12. Create a sales page on your own website. Don't have a web site? Do it now! And for goodness sake, you should make sure that your comic book's title isn't already owned online by another person / company. Buy that Domain Name for your property ASAP!
13. Set up your own Paypal account to receive payment for selling copies, whether online or at a comic con.
14. Contact the comics press about your new comic. Include bloggers like myself, when contacting the press.
15. Set up a Facebook FanPage, a Twitter Acoount, and possibly other Social Media avenues.
16. Check the Local Comic Book Shop Locator for comic shops in your area. Contact them to sell your comic book. Possibly even on consignment?
17. Set up at nearby comic book conventions in the Artists Alley for a cheaper table rate. After you make it, you can set up in Small Press sections.
18. See if you can get on a program at a comic con, any program that you have knowledge about, and mention your comic book when you are introduced, and what your table number is at the con for sales. Later you can check out about getting a 'Spotlight On... (yourself) at a comic con, like in the top right photo of this blog, where Batton Lash and myself went over his comic book career and small press business at his program.
19. Bookkeeping... Yes, Bookkeeping! You have to keep an accounting of what you have spent and what you take in. Being an accountant by trade, I'll let you in on what I use. QuickBooks! It is definitely worth the money if you plan on continuing to publish this comic book as a series, or have plans for another one or two.
20. And I saved this for last. Use Amazon.com to sell your comic book. The charges that Amazon places on you are a large percentage of your sales price, so use this sales tool only after you have already iniitialized doing all of the above 19 steps.
Okay, the above list is just thoughts that I've now put down on 'paper'. Like I said before, listing these 20 steps... This list is NOT everything you could or should do, but a really good start.
If you are thinking about creating your own comic book, or have already done so and not made any traction in sales... the above 20 steps are ones you might go over and ponder on just a bit.
I may be back with more thoughts on self-publing in the future, but for now, these are the ones I believe are most important. Good luck to your on your self-publishing venture. Maybe I'll see you at a comic con with your self published comic book(s)?!
NOTE FROM Michael D Hamersky On Comics: My thanks again to all of YOU reading this blog and our archived blog posts, now at 3,845 total posts in number! I do appreciate your continued reading and support of this Blog!
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Note: My online 'Local' Comic Book Shop (LCBS), carries many different genres of comics, magazines, graphic novels, and comic con promotional items. Possibly even copies of the item(s) that was mentioned here today...! If I have it, you'll find under the BIG TOP of Comics, at Comic Books Circus.com!
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