I am about to publish a comic. I have read your posts on publishing ADS and I am wondering what do you think of print on demand? I plan on printing 200 copies and to sell them mostly at cons. I still have a day job and just need this venture to bring in some extra money.
Is there any advice you could give me about self publishing comics on a smaller scale?
Brad De Rocher
There is too little information here to be specific to your case, but I do like Print on Demand.
What little I can glean from your letter, however, prompts this:
Do not expect to self publish comics as a sideline to make extra money. Especially not on 200 copies of a comic, even if manufactured print on demand.
By way of comparison, on over 2,000 copies of A Distant Soil comic books, sold via distributors, we do little better than break even.
I do not know how much your comic costs, or what your profit margin is. And the likelihood that an unknown, untried creator will sell 200 copies of a comic at one convention is almost nil.
Conventions are expensive. If your comic costs $4, and you profit $2 on each copy sold, the most you can expect to make is $400. In my experience, unless attending a small, local show which gives you free table space, it is not likely that you will make a profit even if you sell out your entire inventory at one show. The cheapest table space I have seen lately runs about $50. And I saw many creators, even well known ones at big shows like C2E2, moving almost no books this year.
Consider the time investment of attending that convention. If you were paying yourself minimum wage, how much did you cost yourself? How much money did you pay yourself to work on that comic in the first place?
If you are not factoring in your time as an expense, you are not being realistic about your profit goals.
My recommendation is that you expect to make no profit on your first book at all. Try a local show which will grant you free space. Print no more than 30. See how your book is received.
If you do well and can afford to, print more and try again.
200 copies for a beginner is too much. That’s hundreds of dollars of investment. And since you intend to publish these comics as a sideline to make profit, the key is to keep overhead dead low.
The best that can happen is that your book sells out, you make a profit, you go back and print some more.
But with your plan, your worst case scenario is you sell few or none, lose hundreds on the printing costs, and go into the hole for conventions expenses. And have nothing for your time.
I am not trying to discourage you, I am trying to help you be realistic about your goals.
I wish you the best of luck.