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  1. #16
    Mighty Member MRP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by son of booyah View Post
    That's true, however sales (of single issues) are used to gauge whether or not to keep a series going. So if you want multiple volumes of a series, buying the singles helps way more than buying a trade later on.
    Generally single issues sales pay for production costs for that issue, it's trade sales that generate the bulk of profits. Trade sales also generate revenue over a longer period of time, a single issue has a 4 week window of generating revenue typically before it is replaced by another issue that must cover it's production costs as well. Most production costs for trades are already long paid for, so long term revenue and thus long term viability for the book comes from trade sales. Single issue sales have to support themselves. Trade sales have to support the life of the project. So yes, a book has to sell enough single issues to pay for the production, but the long term success of a book is going to be determined by trade sales.

    A single issue can only sell as many copies as retailers order of it and rarely go back to press for more. Trades can sell through multiple print runs and successful books generally go through multiple printings and will go back to press as long as there is continued demand for the book, so can keep making money long after a single issue has ended its shelf life or after new issues cease production.

    -M

    edit to add: Also the vast majority of trade sales are through distribution networks outside Diamond so will reach a larger potential audience than single issues ever will, because single issues sell only in destination boutique shops to a niche market customer base. Trade sales are available to a mass market through other outlets.
    Last edited by MRP; 09-02-2017 at 07:10 PM.
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  2. #17
    Astonishing Member rui no onna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    Here's the thing with delays. No one really remembers them after their initial release. <snip> It is only the Wednesday Warrior in need of their Wednesday fix that will even notice the delays (well and retailers whose income is based on comic sales), but in terms of long term readership, quality of the book, and legacy of a book, the delays are inconsequential. After the initial release, no one will encounter the book as it comes out. Anyone reading the book or coming to it after the release will do so through back issues or collected editions where the quality and consistency of the work itself, not the frequency of its release, will be what matters.
    Oh yes, I agree. My comment regarding dropping off the comics habit is entirely in terms of buying single issues from the local comic shop. Scheduling delays tend to negatively affect periodical sales and I reckon most comic shops are quite dependent on regular periodical sales for their livelihood.


    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    Generally single issues sales pay for production costs for that issue, it's trade sales that generate the bulk of profits. Trade sales also generate revenue over a longer period of time, a single issue has a 4 week window of generating revenue typically before it is replaced by another issue that must cover it's production costs as well. Most production costs for trades are already long paid for, so long term revenue and thus long term viability for the book comes from trade sales. Single issue sales have to support themselves. Trade sales have to support the life of the project. So yes, a book has to sell enough single issues to pay for the production, but the long term success of a book is going to be determined by trade sales.

    A single issue can only sell as many copies as retailers order of it and rarely go back to press for more. Trades can sell through multiple print runs and successful books generally go through multiple printings and will go back to press as long as there is continued demand for the book, so can keep making money long after a single issue has ended its shelf life or after new issues cease production.
    True but as far as Big Two superhero comics go, I expect most have to make their profit via single issues. For Marvel specifically, series can get cancelled as early as issue #2 and #3 orders before the books are available to mass market. Pretty shortsighted imho given they can afford to take that risk but it is what it is. I'm just glad there are publishers and creators (Image, Aftershock, Black Mask, etc) willing to take a risk else we wouldn't have all these good books.

    And in all fairness to DC and Marvel, they do pay page rates. For Image, a large portion of the risk is born by the creators. Mind, this is partly why I'm disappointed by Marvel's strong arm techniques (e.g. lenticular variant program) trying to get retailers to tie up their capital on Marvel books.

    http://comicsalliance.com/phonogram-kieron-gillen/
    CA: Don’t you think you’ll be making that up with the trade? Lots of good comics aren’t selling well, why do you think your lack of financial success precludes a third volume down the road? Why not explore other publishers or imprints like Vertigo or Marvel Icon?

    KG: There’s a difference between making only a little money and starving. We’re very much in the latter. Jamie’s lucky to get a couple of hundred dollars from an issue. While he didn’t tell me about this until after it was all done, there were three occasions when Jamie was seriously considering throwing in the towel. The problem is that Image’s deal is a back-end one. Will we make some money off the trade? Maybe. And that’s a big maybe. But that means Jamie not earning any money for the six months it would take to draw it, which is the main reason why we took over a year to do 7 issues. As in, every time Jamie ran out of money, he had to stop and do something else. A couple of hundred dollars doesn’t cover rent or pay for his fashionable haircuts. And doing this bitty work f–ks up the production anyway, because you can’t concentrate or plan. You just spend your entire life in low-level money panic.

    Frankly, Jamie is just shy of thirty and one of the most talented illustrators of his generation. Even I’m not a big a bastard enough to want him to spend another year in “Phonogram”‘s brand of hell. He deserves a paycheck.

    Other options? Vertigo would never publish “Phonogram.” The stuff we do with real bands is far too grey-area for Warner [Bros]. I’m not Bendis or Brubaker, so Icon would never fly. Most companies you suspect would be interested aren’t, from what I understand – though I haven’t actually pursued it with any seriousness.

    Best plan I have is just writing series 3 and then writing into my will that assuming I die young and Jamie’s still around, lob him whatever’s in my bank account to draw it. Which is assuming he’d even be willing to do it then. It’s not that we’re bitter about it — well, not just because we’re bitter about it — but that it’s been emotionally exhausting. We’ve been doing “Phonogram” for over 4 years, not including the years before the first series came out. Imagine if we could have just done the comic and not had to deal with any of the shit we’ve had to. We’d have been up to issue 44 now. Instead, we have 13 issues.

    I feel frustrated. Enormously lucky, sure, but frustrated. We’ve done this wonderful thing we’re crazy-proud about. But if the whole economic system was just a couple of degrees to the left, everything would have been different. I mean, just to give you an idea about narrow the margins are between what we are and what we could be, if we were selling 6K instead of 4K, we could have done those 44 issues. The difference between breaking even and actually being able to do it in comics is insane. It’s like being kept under ice, clawing. I feel like a bonsai plant.


    Read More: Fadeout: Kieron Gillen on the End of ‘Phonogram’ | http://comicsalliance.com/phonogram-...ckback=tsmclip
    Last edited by rui no onna; 09-02-2017 at 10:31 PM.
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  3. #18
    Mighty Member MRP's Avatar
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    Image's back end deal applies to single issues too, not just trades, and there are accounts out there of writers giving advice on how to financially plan to account for producing monthly work but getting paid at intervals for chunks of the work instead of as it comes out as you get with page rates. So for a back end deal, you are waiting on getting paid whether it's single issues or trades, unless there is some arrangement between the creators themselves for payment (i.e. the writer paying the artist to produce his work while the writer gets the back end money as happens in smaller press books). If you take a big 2 deal you know the only money you are getting is on the front end with page rates. Nothing is selling in big enough numbers for residuals/royalties to hit the negotiated thresholds and kick in really, so no matter how well a book does long term, you are pretty much only getting that initial page rate unless you get creative credit for a new character that could produce residuals of some sort, which happens rarely with work-for-hire contracts. But creators have to do what they need to do to make ends meet. The market is really a very small pie now and new books only make the slices of the pie smaller, they don't make the pie bigger. The big 2 flood the market with books to consume market share taking big chunks of the pie overall, but the slice for each book is relatively tiny, so even a successful indy book is only going to get a small slice of the pie to divide up between the creators. The biggest issue is that the big 2 are so focused on getting the biggest piece of a shrinking pie, no effort is being made to make the pie bigger and expand the market. Market expansion is never going to happen within the confines of the direct market. It is a 20th century dinosaur struggling to survive on the 21st century and has become a niche boutique market. Single issue sales are never going to grow appreciably at this point. There is no market for it beyond the direct market boutique. It's now how the modern consumer in the mass market consumes and purchases entertainment any more. If the pie is going to get bigger and the market expanded, the growth is going to have to come in formats that have a chance to sell in the mass market beyond the shrinking boutique market of the direct market niche customer base. The book trade outside Diamond (which will carry trades not single issues) is one component of it.

    But the biggest thing holding that growth back is the compensation model used by the big 2 and some of the other bigger comics publishers. You've highlighted the problem on the creative end, and the need to make ends meet is certainly understandable, but it doesn't allow for the creation of product to expand the market. There are comics publishers offering alternate ways of compensating talent, but they are the graphic novel divisions of the big book publishers, not comics publishers. They use a model based on how they compensate prose authors. When a project is accepted after the pitch process/submission process, a contract is drawn up, creators get an advance to make ends meet as they create the book and get paid royalties and residuals at a contracted rate minus the advance once the book hits the market and generates revenue. No page rates, not back end only deals, but a mutually beneficial compensation process. This is the type of compensation model that allows for books like all 3 volumes of March to be produced, and stuff from First Second, and other books published by actual book publishers for a wider audience than the niche Diamond market that the single issue to trade serves. Jeff Lemire recently did a book through that process-Roughneck-that didn't need to go through the single issue Diamond boutique market first because it came from a book publisher using a different compensation model, one not stuck in the 20th century when the market itself was vastly different than today's market. Other markets for comics use the advance/royalty compensation model as well, especially some of the European models where a new Asterix volume can generate pre-orders in the millions across Europe and the creators don't have to starve waiting for backend money or scrimp by on page rates.

    If the market is going to grow, not only the formats, but the distribution model and the model for compensation of creators has to be evolve as well. The thing is, there is no financial incentive for the big 2 to make the kind of infrastructure investments necessary to grow or evolve the market. They are the one most benefiting from the current status quo and those that benefit from the status quo rarely want to change the status quo. The impetus for change and growth is going to have to come from outside the big 2 and likely outside the Diamond big 5, though I still have hopes that Image and IDW have the vision, impetus and resources to help the evolution/growth process. I'd love to see Image continue to evolve and move the medium format, becoming more like a book publishing house than a comics publisher in the big 2 model, and IDW is working at developing resources form their other medium connections to find new markets to bring books into outside the direct market boutique.

    But with the direct market model as it is, with the retailers shouldering all the risk and the publishers, and Diamond especially, reaping the rewards with guaranteed revenue from non-returnability even if the books don't reach end customers, with a compensation model that keeps creators dependent on the monthly schedule to make ends meet tying them to the apron strings of the comics publishing houses for survival purposes if they want to make comics and eat and pay bills, making the kind of changes necessary is an uphill battle. There's no incentive for those benefiting from the model to make a change. Add to it that the hardcore customer base of that market model is highly resistant to change and to other formats, is addicted to the weekly fix of new comics and resentful of efforts to reach out to new and different audiences with products that veer outside the established model they habitually consume and support with their buying habits, and you have a near impossible situation. Entropy is dwindling the market. The big 2's devotion to the direct market from the late 80s through now has cost them two generations of new readers so far because they catered to the existing audience and their tastes and focused selling comics only to them in specialty destination boutique shops and in so doing losing access and appeal to the wider mass audience. They're never getting those lost potential readers back. It's too late for that. They need to create new potential readers. The success of super-heroes in other mediums over the past decade and a half only further underscores the point, it's not super-heroes or comic book content that is the problem for the wider mass audience, it is the formats and distribution model of comic books that is the obstacle to growth and reaching a wider audience. And to evolve those, other things, like compensation models for the creative talent, have to evolve as well. But don't look for those types of changes to come from those entrenched at the top of the current market model.

    -M
    Last edited by MRP; 09-03-2017 at 05:58 AM.
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  4. #19
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    Wow this is a cool thread! Yeah, delays never help. I'd say the lesser excitement around image has to do with content, and the actual reality of their business model.

    For content, as good as it is, and its not really a criticism, I just wish it was more comic booky if that makes any sense. I feel like a lot of the creators are trying to make very sophisticated material. Certainly nothing wrong with that, but personally I feel that a lot of the fun that comes with comics can go out the window when that direction is taken. I kind of get the vibe that a lot of the creators want to escape the stigma around comics and to be considered serious artists like an auteur film maker would be, and I think in a lot of cases they're overcompensating, we need a few more cool, basic, comic friendly series like Copperhead and Invincible from image if you ask me.

    As for the business model, yeah you win big if your series really hits, but at the end of the day you're basically working on commission, which just isn't sustainable for a lot these series and their creators

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orpheus37 View Post
    Wow this is a cool thread! Yeah, delays never help. I'd say the lesser excitement around image has to do with content, and the actual reality of their business model.

    For content, as good as it is, and its not really a criticism, I just wish it was more comic booky if that makes any sense. I feel like a lot of the creators are trying to make very sophisticated material. Certainly nothing wrong with that, but personally I feel that a lot of the fun that comes with comics can go out the window when that direction is taken. I kind of get the vibe that a lot of the creators want to escape the stigma around comics and to be considered serious artists like an auteur film maker would be, and I think in a lot of cases they're overcompensating, we need a few more cool, basic, comic friendly series like Copperhead and Invincible from image if you ask me.

    As for the business model, yeah you win big if your series really hits, but at the end of the day you're basically working on commission, which just isn't sustainable for a lot these series and their creators
    I can relate to theat motion quite a bit. One of my problems with a lot of indie titles is the general feeling that i - and to some extend the creators - would like to experience the story as a tv series or a movie.

    I know it seems hart towards some creators, but i often think, that the same story as a tv show would be a lot better than as a comic.

  6. #21
    Fantastic Member Tayne Japal's Avatar
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    The excitement still exists for me. They delays don't bother me as I always have something to read coming from the publisher (as you can tell from the 30+ image titles in my signature). It just comes down to dedicated creative teams being the deciding factor for me. I read 3/4 of my comics digitally, and image comics usually drop to $1.99 after a month on comixology (I have an extensive backlog). That price drop allows me to try out more comics than I would normally purchase.
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  7. #22
    Spectacular Member The Cheat's Avatar
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    I dropped nearly everything when I realised I was reading too much and couldn't remember all the details of each independent story month to month (never mind longer gaps due to delays). Buying floppies for throw away, 'no thinking required' Marvel/DC stuff is fine, but for stories as intricate as Brubaker/Hickman/Ellis' stuff I'm much happier waiting until series are finished and then buying in trade.

  8. #23
    Astonishing Member rui no onna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Cheat View Post
    I dropped nearly everything when I realised I was reading too much and couldn't remember all the details of each independent story month to month (never mind longer gaps due to delays). Buying floppies for throw away, 'no thinking required' Marvel/DC stuff is fine, but for stories as intricate as Brubaker/Hickman/Ellis' stuff I'm much happier waiting until series are finished and then buying in trade.
    Lol, I have the same problem.

    I just find trade or digital easier (no need to lift long boxes to grab back issues). Even DC/Marvel, I'm only buying books with free digital copies.
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  9. #24
    Invincible Member numberthirty's Avatar
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    I am still incredibly excited by the idea of creators being able to tell the exact story they want to on the exact time table that they want to.

    While that obviously slaps the old "Twelve Monthly Issues A Year" checker board off of the table, I don't really have a problem with that. It gives creators the freedom to work on other things as well. Those other things might be just as important as the Image Comics work is to me.

  10. #25
    Fantastic Member WaxHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by numberthirty View Post
    I am still incredibly excited by the idea of creators being able to tell the exact story they want to on the exact time table that they want to.

    While that obviously slaps the old "Twelve Monthly Issues A Year" checker board off of the table, I don't really have a problem with that. It gives creators the freedom to work on other things as well. Those other things might be just as important as the Image Comics work is to me.
    Exactly how I feel.

    I also read in trades so it works perfectly fine for me.

  11. #26
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    Well it was pretty exciting when popular writers started popping up there to do their first couple books, but that novelty seems to have worn off.

    And a lot of books have delays that are unexplained or go on for aaaaages.

  12. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cel View Post
    Hype is overrated
    Quote Originally Posted by cc008 View Post
    The boom a few years ago was pretty crazy. Big name creators were announcing books left and right.
    Feels like the 90's.

  13. #28
    Swollen Member GOLGO 13's Avatar
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    Not enough product on a monthly basis?

    Inconsistency?

    Delays?

    So really, just wake me when the trade shows up on Amazon.

  14. #29
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    I like superhero comics and I prefer a monthly ongoing series. I don't have the feeling Image does much of that anymore.

  15. #30
    Fantastic Member sven's Avatar
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    Image seems obsessed with horror titles right now. Horror really doesn't do anything for me so it's caused me to cool on them a bit too.

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