Monday, February 17, 2014

On Webcomics: ComiXology Submit

Ryan Estrada has submitted a few books through the comiXology Submit program. Ostensibly, it's a good way for comic creators without a "name" publisher to get their works into folks' hands digitally. I talked about how comiXology is THE place for digital comics distribution a couple weeks back.

Estrada recognized this and submitted several of his books. These are books that were not only done, but ones that he had already distributed digitally. Books that, in 2013, grossed him $72,000. That's not net, mind you, but it's still a chunk of change. And all the books with free of any DRM restricitions.

Theoretically, more people would see his books through comiXology. That was the point I was making in that earlier post, right? So shouldn't Estrada be making a boatload of money now? Not to put to fine a point on it, but he hasn't. He's made less than ten bucks.

Estrada provides the fulls details here, but the upshot is it took months and months to get any response at all from comiXology and most of his books were rejected for pretty vaguely defined reasons that weren't much more detailed than "bad art."

It's of course comiXology's right to accept/reject any stories they like based on whatever conditions they like. They could say, "We're not accepting any books from creators without an 'M' in their name." And they don't have to tell creators why their work is rejected either. They could have just one guy making the decisions, and just sending out Yea and Nay form letters. Do Marvel and DC even send out submission rejection letters any more? (Serious question; I don't honestly know.) ComiXology is a private company and free to digitally distribute anything they like.

I'm not sitting here judging comiXology and/or their submission policies and practices. But Estrada's piece highlights that they are not necessarily the end-all and be-all of digital comics distribution. Estrada made almost nine times the money just doing his own thing than he did going through "official" channels. It's a perfect example of how a creator might not really get any more exposure through comiXology than what s/he was doing before.

That's not to say that it shouldn't be tried; any additional income in the inherently unstable world of independent comic creators is a good thing. But it's not really the panacea that some people make it out to be.

Also, don't forget to enter my Valentine's/Blogiversary Contest! The deadline is this Friday!

1 comment:

Ryan K Lindsay said...

This is such a fascinating subject but context seems to be missing from this particular discussion (though I did appreciate your stance of not going one way or another).
I just think it stands to be taken into account that Estrada admits only tweeting one damn time about his book on there, and he priced a submit book at #2.99 - which is death in that field.
ComiXology Submit absolutely isn't a panacaea but it's also free money because you don't pay to get in unlike paying for print costs of whatever paper copies you make, and it should be there to find a new audience outside of your trusty warriors if you are doing it right.
And as for the timing of the books being accepted, I wish people would give them a break. I've seen the books that get sent in to press sites and can only imagine the deluge of not very well put together comics that washes upon the Submit shores daily. And it's gotta be their lowest money spinner in their program.
Anyway, that's my rant, hope it finds you well :D