In my last entry, I teased a little about a solution to many long-standing problems in the comic book industry. I've been a professional web developer since the late 90's, so I tend to think in terms of what a computer can do to help make life easier for everyone. Well, this time is no exception.
First of all, I'd like to discuss some problems in the industry.
A Broken Community
I've met and talked to a lot of comic creators during my journey so far and absolutely everyone I have met has been extremely friendly, supportive and encouraging. That really says a lot about this community of super creative people. A community like this needs a place capable of making good use of their good nature and rewarding them accordingly. We need place where we can all come together, meet one another, collaborate and brainstorm on new stories and projects, have tools that help during the creative and production processes, post and find jobs, get real-life business numbers to help guide good decision making as entrepreneurs and so much more. This needs to change.
Low Profit Margins
This one hits home in a major way. Why is the comic book industry a billion dollar industry, yet only a very select few actually make a living at it? Companies like ComiXology leave you with a miserable 30% of the profit. Companies like DC and Marvel are happy to sign movie deals based on a comic that you created but don't own anymore because you had to sell your soul to them in order to get published in the first place. Companies like Diamond control where your comic ends up, if it ends up in stores at all. What is wrong with this picture? The people that have created the industry and keep it going to suffering the most. This needs to change.
Underwhelming Business Resources
There are very few resources for finding real-world business numbers. To succeed as an independent comic creator, you need to be an informed entrepreneur as well. But how can you make intelligent business decisions if you don't know what is currently selling, what has sold and why, what demographics are buying different genres or otherwise who your target audience is? Everyone that wants to do this for a living must currently figure it out for themselves, which takes time and money that is completely unnecessary if people were more willing to share this valuable business data.
Scattered and Lonely Education Resources
There are plenty of videos out there that will teach you how to make comics, but the problem I see is that a lot of times they are incomplete, or broken in terms of continuity. Also, you are all alone in whether or not you progress. Many times there is no one around to ask questions to or get information about how to tackle different phases of the creation and publishing processes.
Awkward Toolsets for a Complicated Workflow
Making comics is a team effort, most of the time. If you're lucky enough to be able to wear all of the hats and have the patience to take months/years doing all of the steps yourself, and still end up with an amazing comic, you're nothing short of a prodigy! But, if you're like the rest of us, you will need people who are amazing at what they do in order to help you realize your project. But how in the world do you get started building a managing a team? There aren't any project management systems out there that cater to the intricacies of comic book production.
Here It Comes!
Yup, here's where it gets interesting. We are working on two different online platforms that address all of these issues and more.
Comic Rebel is an online marketplace for selling digital comics. It's purpose is to simply to be better than other options available. It's designed to give you as much money back as possible, while still allowing us to keep the lights on. It aims to create a new way of matchmaking when it comes to customers finding titles they didn't know about, which gets you as a comic creator in front of people you wouldn't have access to otherwise. And so much more. Go here to read more about Comic Rebel.
Creatoasis is our online platform that handles all of the other problems listed above. It will be a community of pencillers, inkers, writers, colorists, letterers, editors and publishers and eventually many more creative types. It's a place to show off your work, post and find jobs in comics, make new friends, get feedback, learn about the industry, get rewarded for helping others, represent yourself professionally and so much more. Go here to read more about Creatoasis.
In the upcoming months, we are going to progressively introduce these two platforms, feature by feature as the come available. The last element to making this succeed is, of course, you. This will only work if there is enough of us, banding together toward a common goal. These companies are BIG. They can smush us as a company. But as and army? I'd like to see them try.