How Not To Make Money In Comics
My Self-Publishing Adventure
Part 5 & 6: 2006 & 2007 (Serious Spin-Off & First Artist Hire)
The Webcomic I created (Wesleyan World) was continuing to be a source of enjoyment, even though one would say the art is pretty below average (that’s being nice…to myself). At one point, I wrote a comic script based on the idea I had for the serious storyline, but it was just too boring. I eventually found a short story I wrote in undergraduate college that I realized I must have gotten some subconscious inspiration from, and decided to place the idea of another self clawing it’s way to the surface of a human mind to guide it’s user to what it should be as a representation of the ‘id’ that most people contain. After writing my first comic script, I then placed it in a folder on my computer and forgot about it, because getting an artist was considered unrealistic to me at this point in my life.
Many months later (this was later 2005), I brought up the idea of a comic book I wanted to make to my friend Michelle Balze (a fellow graduate student at Long Island University’s Southampton College) and she said she was actually making a comic with (or for) someone at the moment. Later, we met so I could describe the plot of my book and she could show her some art samples. I then realized it was a perfect sketch-style for my diary-esque comic book. We then later talked about doing the comic and the page rate.
I will list the pay for next year when the project was actually complete for easier inventory processing. She started drawing, and eventually finished in the next year. Though I would leave New York and move to Maryland.
After moving to Maryland, I commissioned her for 3 covers and a replacement panel for one of the pages. The total cost of the project was $???.?? for a 3 issue mini series (22 pages each, 3 Covers, & a replacement panel)
After the project was done, I had 3 finished comic books (a 3 issue mini-series), but had no idea what to do with it. I was able to find a very large photo scanner to scan the pages into the computer so I could get them in my email, and then they sat on my computer for a few months.
Eventually, my salvation came when someone told me about the Small Press Expo (2008). An independent comic convention sounded like the perfect place to get help with people who had done it before. I tried to ask people questions about how they printed their comics, but mostly I was still confused and felt way out of my league. Someone I had talked to behind the counter (I wish I could remember this person) told me to speak to Evan Keeling, as he had a local group called the DC Conspiracy. Upon talking to him, I learned that the DC Conspiracy was a group of artists & writers (or both) that met once a month. It was something I started attending every month, and I met lots of people and got some good advise. Eventually, I just hired someone who knew computers to format it for ComixPress.com’s specs, as they were well known and looked the best to deal with at the time. I have no skills when it comes to computers, so hiring someone for this minor action was pretty much a necessity. He offered to do it for a small amount, stating it would only take a few hours to format everything. After he aligned my comic to their specifications, I submitted them, then weeks later had a preview copy sent to my house for all 3 issues. Holding in my hand was the comic I had started 2 1/2 years ago.
From the DC Conspiracy, I had heard they were going to get everyone together for a table at SPX 2009 and split the tables based on full, 1/2, or 1/4 tables. I immediately signed up for a 1/4 of a table, as I only had 1 comic book (even though it was 3 issues).
Next article (and next year) I start showing you actual numbers with my comic costs, and how I started making more comics from there (and hopefully stop sounding so dry and analytical in my speech). I will only mention the total cost of a project the year the project is completed.
Total: You know this will be blank; check the next article for the numbers.