Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More thoughts on the flagpole

First, a big "hello" to everyone who's coming here from I hope you stay a while.

I received some questions and comments about my post regarding my web comics idea. These comments have led to more thinking on my part regarding the project and I thought that rather than stick my responses into the comments section I'd turn it into a new entry. Am I over-explaining?

Michael, age five, brought up one's inability to control all aspects of production, i.e., those unreliable artists. He says, "But I think the bottleneck comes when you have to talk to an artist to commit to a year or more before they see proceeds, let alone color, letters, logo, etc." Good comment, Michael! I should have addressed this in yesterday's post. Ideally I would work with artists who could color and letter their pages (we are talking about eight pages a month which doesn't seem unreasonable to me), and who would agree up front to stay on board through the life of a title. Even if they could only color, I could conceivably letter the pages as I've been doing with 100 Girls. And I hope that the artist would remain motivated to stay on schedule because they would be co-owners of whatever title they helped produce. Any theoretical profits would be split 50/50 if/when the title started to generate same. This would go for any profits--printed matter, merchandise, and, I know this is a long-shot, media rights. Given the enfranchisement I hope artists would understand that it would be in their best interests to stay on schedule. Does that seem workable? We could also build a backlog of material, maybe a couple of week's worth, before we went live with a story.

Finding agreement, in principle at least, Thomas says, "Cartoons and images are created to sell merchandise (shirts, etc.) that relate to the post via passive sales avenues, i.e., and all the sites you mentioned." Thanks for the vote of confidence, Thomas. I'm considering bringing you on board as CFO.

Finally, Friend of the Blog, Lani brings up a whole crop of good questions. To whit:

"Do you have enough time to commit? What will happen if/when other gigs come up?"

I think I do have the time. For the web comic, I figure I'd have to write eight-pages of material a week (once I get four projects to the point that all I have to do is write them, of course--there would be a fair amount of work getting to that point). Eight pages is something I can do in a couple of days. That would leave at least three days a week to work on other comics projects, and whatever other writing projects might come up.

"There will be a lot of work done before you get any financial return and the financial return may be minimal. Will that feel okay in the long run?"

It would sadden you to know how little money I have made writing comics so far. I am used to putting in a lot of work and having very little return to show for it. I am not in this to get rich quick, I promise. I think it might be difficult selling that truth to any artists I might try and convince to work with me. One of the reasons I want to do this is to get more and varied comics projects in front of people. I hope it would eventually make some money, and, to be truthful, I might need to abandon the project if it became clear that it would never turn a profit, but I am willing to take the long view on this.

"You already have a bit of a fan base to spread word of this around, right?"

Calling what I have a fan base is being generous, I think, but yes, there are folks who read my comics and let me know they enjoy them. And I can reach out to them, I'm sure. I also maintain a presence on several online communities and message boards and would get the word out that way as well. Eventually, if I feel like this is something worth pursuing, I will need to come up with a workable business plan and promotion will need to be a part of that plan.

Okay, there's my new thinking on this. Now, what do you think?

1 comment:

Sarah Evans said...

I think it's worth giving it a shot. This reminds me of a conversation some of us had at my last MFA residency about bloggers publishing books. It's actually become more popular lately for people to start blogs, gain a big following, and then catch the eyes of publishers. If you can do something good on the web and gain people's attention, it can be useful. That being said, it does take a lot of time and a big commitment to do it in a way that could potentially draw a following.