How Much A Real Webcomic Creator Earns, Part 2

By | Monday, September 20, 2010 2 comments
Back in April, I highlighted that Dorothy Gambrell -- creator of Cat & Girl -- had posted her income for everyone to see online. I thought I'd check back and see how things are going. She's got her chart updated to include everything through August...
Her grand total, for a little over half the year, is just over $10,000. But as she notes in the asterisk, that's income, not revenue. You can see those bars heading below the zero line represent money she's had to shell out to print up books and whatnot. That cuts that $10,000 number roughly in half. Though she obviously hasn't recouped that cost as of August 31, it should be noted that that large run of books she paid for in June and July didn't actually go on sale until August. What's especially interesting to note here is in one of the secondary charts which shows that most of her book sales occurred in August but, more significantly, sales for all of her previous books increased considerably that month on top of the sales for her latest one. (If you look at her store, you can see that she has a couple of book bundles, suggesting that the sales noted in the chart are reflective of people buying either the new book by itself or one of the bundles. I'd like to emphasize that because of that, we're looking at about 45 individual orders throughout August. Certainly respectable by webcomic standards, but it obviously wouldn't make Diamond's Top 300 list.)

The new book sales are likely continuing through September and my guess is that there'll be a spike in the November/December area as well. She's averaging about $600 a month on t-shirts and $300-$400 on sales that aren't books or shirts. That's about another $3800 for the rest of the year. Based on some VERY rough guestimates, I'd say that will put her around $20,000 for the year before expenses, taxes, etc. I would like to think that's a conservative estimate, and I hope she does much better than that because, frankly, I like her work and would like to see it be profitable enough to continue.

I'd also like to point out again that I have ZERO knowledge of Gambrell's financial situation outside of what is presented on this chart. I don't know if this is over and above a day job she holds, how much debt she might carry, or where she might have other sources of income. I think she's being exceptionally generous in sharing this information, and I think it provides an incredibly useful (and, so far, unique) look at what a webcomic creator might expect to gain from their creation.

I know I certainly find this absolutely fascinating and I'm eager to see how Gambrell does throughout the rest of the year. If she's willing to continue to provide this data, I'll be sure to report back on in it in early 2011.
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Matt K said...

Charts am pretty.

I can say from my own experience as a struggling self-employed person that this kind of detailed analysis, even to the point of information graphics, of one's own income is not unique. :-) Though I haven't publicized any of my tables or graphs yet.

Drew said...

Yah, I can't say I'm entirely surprised. Nice beer money, for sure, but (like most things), you need to be in the top tier to have it count as more than a hobby.