Thursday, February 02, 2006

PODD TASTIC

CURRENT SOUNDTRACK: The Signal Podcast, 1/2/2006.

Some stuff I've been throwing out there...

I want to be looking into ways a print on demand/distribution service would first be of interest and of use to people in the UK scene, in much the same way as Image currently works. This is mentioned on the self publishing guide questionnaire. I'm seriously considering this as a business venture in 2007, but I want to be sure there will be sufficent interest in it.

The set up would be very similar to what we already do, but on a larger scale. Completed lettered artwork would be sent on a cd to the editor, who will perform any art editing that is needed, then compile a copy for the printer. A small number, say 10 proofs would be produced (at our expense). These would then be sent to distributors, news contacts and reviewers. After orders are in, if they meet or exceed the print/admin cost, they would go to print (again say 1000 for arguments sake). Any profit after the breakeven point would go direct to the creator, without all the hassle.this from the image website: http://imagecomics.com/submissions.php:

"Image Comics only publishes creator-owned material! In other words, we want to publish YOUR comics -- we aren't looking to have you work on books that WE dream up. When you're submitting stuff to us at the home office, we expect it to be something original, not something utilizing existing Image characters. Image Comics accepts only PROPOSALS for new comic series or graphic novels, etc. The books Image publishes are creator owned/creator generated properties and WE DON'T PAY PAGE RATES. It will be up to you to strike a deal with whomever you end up working with and we'll do our best to make it as painless as possible. Image takes a small, flat fee off the books we publish and the rest goes to that comic book's creative team. How that profit is split up is entirely up to the creators involved. We are not looking for any specific genre or type of comic book. We are looking for comics that are well written and well drawn, by people who are dedicated and can meet deadlines. Finally, since Image Comics, Inc. owns no intellectual properties, you can be assured, accepted or not, your property will remain yours."

My main point behind the print on demand/distro (or 'PODD') is to explore other avenues besides Diamond. Bearing in mind that your product goes into 500 pages full of comics, merchandise and other stuff in Previews. Unless you have literally thousands for advertising over several pages, you'll make very little impact with a postage stamp sized picture of the cover and three lines of promo. Plus they take 50% cover price. There are other distributors, other markets, other countries to be found, that comics can be exported through and to. It takes time and effort to research and arrange, but it is doable. The PODD would take out that hassle for minimal cost, and with little risk for the creator. As you know REDEYE under ACCENT UK is available through Diamond. If, just for arguments sake three titles, Cosmogenesis, The O Men and Pest Control couldn't get in (I'm not including anthologies in this as its hard to sell to anyone an anthology in three lines unless you've got big names) because they're printed on a5 paper and they're seperate names and contacts, yet are proven titles, a PODD under one name (like Image or Top Shelf) could print them up to US format or European album format, deal as a middle man, and they would appear under the PODD's listing, minimising hassle all round. Apply the same principle to other distros and markets and it could add up, essentially just repackaging already published material before accepting newer material.

Yes, Image made its name with the original artists who broke away from Marvel at the height of their fame. But who's to say that with better backing and distribution, any of the small press stuff we see couldn't break through into a wider audience? its a chance i'd be willing to invest in. Would you?

Thoughts welcome.