In lieu of our two new distributors, I thought it was about time that we did a quick Digital Publisher roundup–
If you have, or are working on a comic, these guys have my seal of approval; definitely take a look into working with them!
For the webcomic gang, I highly recommend putting together a “Digital Copy”– as I mentioned back in the “Why Pay 99 Cents” post, putting together a “reading copy” is really the optimal way to present your story.
Last night I futzed around a bit with the IPAD 2, while at the Apple store– and naturally, pulled up Spy6teen– It looks great on the IPAD (particularly in Portrait Mode) as the main comic comes with with no scroll– But still, load times between pages are a tad slow– and the comic (at least on the web) isn’t optimized for the Ipad, so there’s still some pinching and flicking involved.
(older shot– from way back in pre-launch! Wow– the site looks really barebones!)
That said, looking at the comic in a dedicated reader: Well, that’s a whole other experience and presentation– which is far superior to the web layout.
About the only thing missing, and something I’d love to add in terms of functionality to these readers, is our Process posts– But that is something I’m looking into.
In terms of distribution, I wholly believe that the trick is to be in as many places as you possibly can. As I mentioned in the Agreement Blog posting— as an indie, you really want to be in as many “stores” as possible.
So, in alphabetical order– since that’s the fairest, here’s where you can find us:
We just got started with DriveThru Comics– so there isn’t much to report there, saleswise. Drivethru bills itself as “The First Download Comic Shop” and it has a pretty good selection of comics and RPG books.
There’s some cool stuff on DriveThru from a publisher standpoint: Probably the biggest was an option to send out comp copies to their partnered reviewers. Reviews are something that I’m just starting to really make the push on, so it was a pleasant surprise when I saw the offer.
Additionally, DriveThru has a system of “Publisher Points” which are free, and you can use to create banner ads within the site. Hey: Free Advertising? I’ll take it!
Finally, they’ve got a pretty good system of tracking sales and whatnot– and although we haven’t yet made a sale on DTC, at least I know that!
Mike Jasper and Niki Smith of In Maps and Legends have reported some good traffic out of DriveThru, so I’m hopeful!
If you’re a long time reader, it should be no surprise that I’m a fan of what Micah and company are doing over at Graphic.Ly.
I dig the social networking aspect– I like the Desktop reader, the mobile apps, and the Graphic.Ly “View” mode.
The crew at G.Ly are super friendly and great. Just a pleasure to work with.
Sales-wise we haven’t done too badly– although, there really isn’t a way to check, beyond popping on your comic and seeing the “Activity” of it. I don’t really make an issue out of checking sales daily, so it isn’t a huge issue for me.
The “Bonus Feature” options we have available to us on G.Ly are the real selling point– as you probably know, I’m a bit of a Bonus Feature nut– so, it was a ton of fun putting together the audio commentary and other cool little bonuses.
Already starting to brainstorm stuff up for Issue 2’s Graphic.Ly release!
If you’re planning on putting your comic up on Graphic.ly, bonus features are a MUST.
The only complaint I have about Graphic.ly is the somewhat “closed wall” system of the app– Basically, in order to point to the “store”, I have to send traffic to the webreader– I think there’s some level of confusion (particularly amongst our less web-savvy audience re: Moms and Dads) as to exactly WHAT they’re getting. Trying to explain that you have to download an app in order to “really” read it– yeah, it’s kinda tough. Nature of the beast, I suppose– since I still consider Graphic.ly’s reader to be one of the best around.
(Edited in: Just noticed that the Graphic.ly web interface has added Facebook integration– That’s great!–)
IndyPlanet is the storefront of our physical publishing solution: Ka-Blam. Quite surprisingly (to me), Indyplanet is also our leading seller– so, word to the wise, kids: There might be something to this new fangled “Print” thing.
In terms of setup and whatnot, Indyplanet is about as easy as it gets. Basically, you set up a print job at Ka-Blam, and you’re offered a spot in the Indy Planet store. Hit yes, and off you go.
Now, one word of “caution”– (and that might not be the right word), but Ka-Blam is going to take a chunk of your profit. Basically, since they’re operating as your Printer, the overhead costs are taken right out of your sale– which is probably why you see a lot of comics on the site with a $4.99 or above list price. It’s the only way to actually make a profit from a sale.
I’ve always honestly believed that comics should be cheap– so we (like DC) hold the line at 2.99– that does mean we barely make a profit off our print copies (seriously…like, 30 cents). But I think it’s worth it, simply due to the fact that (hopefully) new readers might be willing to take a chance on us– and personally, I think all of us on the team like having physical books.
I’d love to be able to price point Issue 1 at 99 cents– but that’s not going to happen via Ka-Blam– That said, the nice thing about working with Ka-Blam/Indyplanet is that there are no costly setup fees– so, you can basically jump into printing/selling your comic without breaking the bank.
Print quality was pretty solid, although admittedly, they were a bit slow on deliery. If you have ordered Spy6teen through them and it’s taking an abnormally long time to get to you, please drop me a line.
Ka-Blam also offers another service called ComicsMonkey– which can be used for retailers to stock your book in their stores– but I’m holding out playing with that until after Issue 2 is finished.
I haven’t heard much out of the MyDigitalComics front since we went up– I’m assuming we haven’t made a sale, which is kind of a shame, since they’re the only company that offers our book in the .CBZ format.
I’ll have more on .cbz’s in a later blog– but one of the cool things you can do with them is read them on your PS3.
I was hoping to galvanize sales around that particular feature, but thus far, I’ve been met with chirping crickets. Much of which is probably due to the fact that PS3s aren’t at the forefront of gaming– at least in the US.
So, not a whole lot of news or traffic out of My Digital Comics as of yet– but I do love the fact that we’re available in an alternate format, so we’ll continue supporting them in any way we can.
Another new distributor for us, but one I’ve been working on for awhile. I got friendly at Geekweek and at Comic Con with Wowio’s Zach Pennington, and he really impressed me with Wowio’s plans.
Only a few days into Wowio thus far, but we’ve already made a sale– so that’s great!
Wowio has some great sales tracking tools, and even allows you to see how many people have “viewed” your page. I really like the Facebook integration that allows you to “Like” us (if you haven’t, please do!)– as again: It’s a little free advertising for us.
I’m still actively looking into other distributors, so please, if you know of any (and particularly, if you enjoy their services) please let me know.
I’m starting to futz around with the E-Pub format, in the hopes that we can release on the Kindle and the Nook– I think I’ve got it mostly figured out, though it will likely be quite time consuming. Still, it’s something that I very much want to actively pursue– since, let’s face it: We’re a book, and as a creator, why wouldn’t I want to be in the biggest bookstore in the world?
At the end of the day, we’re still pretty early into the Digital Publishing revolution– at least from a comic book standpoint– but things are shaping up relatively quickly, and it’s exciting to be a part of it. If you’re a creator, trust me: now is the time to jump on board– it’s a bumpy and crazy ride, but in a few years time, I really believe the experience you’ll gain by doing it will pay off.
In terms of what I’m really looking forward to (this’ll sound like an echo, if you’ve read this whole thing) is Facebook integration– once someone cracks the nut of being able to sell comics directly through Facebook (or whatever 2.0 social media service is the rage by that point in time) I think you’ll REALLY see Digital Distribution become huge. More than some of you out there are probably anti-Facebook (and believe me, I’ve been quite wary at times) but you can’t deny the amount of power that particular juggernaut wields.
That said, regarding impulse buys (and lets face it, Comics are an impulse buy) the ablity to one-click purchase right off a status update would be a game changer.
Of course, Facebook would need your credit card info first…and I’m not sure how comfortable anyone is with that just yet…