Print Reseller Scheme
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Thinking of making a book of my web-comics

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by Krey20, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Hi all,

    Some of you know that as part of my business website I have an ongoing comic strip loosely based on the things that happen in my life and general things that crop up in the life of a designer. It's originally titled 'My life as a cartoon.'
    You can see the archive here: Browsing the Category My Life as a Cartoon

    I've been making the comics for a few years now and have managed to amass over 50. This is something I plan to carry on with forever as long as the ideas keep coming to me.
    In the past people have commented on the comics as a USP of my site. So recently I've been thinking about creating a book of the first 50 comics to market and sell.

    I have no experience with self publishing and have no real idea if it's a profitable idea for the relatively small market I'm reaching out to. I realise that my website doesn't get the biggest readership and potential customers might well be thin on the ground.

    So, I've been looking into producing either a 'Print on demand' physically printed book or a downloadable ebook.

    I'm looking for low overheads and a little profit at the end of it to make it worthwhile.

    I'd be interested in any thoughts from anyone with previous publishing and selling experience. If you can give me any insight into the world of ebooks etc I'd appreciate it. I'm not even sure if an illustrative ebook would work with download limits etc.
    I read a thread recently about Typo playing around with ibook author. That might be another avenue to explore?

    Any input would be appreciated. Firstly, are the comics marketable as a book of some sort? Secondly, what the best route for production and distribution might be?

    Many thanks in advance for any replies.
     
  2. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I can't really offer any advice regarding self-publishing, but I love these strips, and would definitely buy a printed book if you released one.
     
  3. BenJonesDesign

    BenJonesDesign Active Member

    Typo may be able to point you in the right direction, hes on a published project at the moment
     
  4. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    I've just had a portfolio book done by Lulu.com. I haven't put it up for sale obviously but all the options are there to get an isbn etc. They have an easy website to use and you can choose different printing/binding options and it immediately displays the cost accordingly. Once published I think they can sell it through the lulu site and through other places like amazon. You get more profit on the lulu sales and can add a discount to encourage them.

    Dead easy to do and no money needed up front. My book was delivered this morning so when I get home I'll tell you what the quality's like. You can pay for marketing too.

    Fast-print publishing is another option, they do more in terms of physical distribution but require money up front.

    [Edit]

    It's top notch! Very nice job they did on it.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Thanks for your replies.

    @Paul, nice to know I'll have at least one sale :) Cheers

    @Ben, I'll have to message Typo to see how he's getting on with ibook author if that avenue seems attractive.

    @Jimlad, I've looked into Lulu a bit and it seems like a viable option.
    The trick will be balancing the quality of the finished product while still keeping a realisitic price and attractive enough margin. The setup does seem relatively risk free though without having to invest a lot of money up front.
    You book looks great. Be nice to see a few more pics of the inside.

    The actual site that it's sold from doesn't matter too much. I'm not fussed about having it on amazon as they ramp the price up quite a bit and take a large share for the privilege, or so it seems from what I've read.
    I think I'll only get sales from people who are already aware of the comics , my website and my work, so I'm not expecting a great deal of sales.

    I think I'll start putting something together and dabble with Lulu to begin with.

    What sort of price would you be prepared to pay for a little A5 paperback book, 1 comic on each page, so it might only be 25-30 pages in length? I might well work on a few extras to throw in, perhaps a special book only strip and a few illustrations to accompany an introduction etc.

    Any suggestions would be greatly received.
     
  6. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Thank man, i may post up a few photos later if you like. As for bonus content, I'd suggest something I've seen in a Marvel book before, scans of your original pencil sketches at the back couple of pages.
    [Edit]
    Boom, more photos. Forgive the grainy taken-with-an-iPhone-in-a-badly-lit-room aesthetic. Levels and Photo Filter can only do so much.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    if you use a mac... you could go the itunes book store route and use apples new ibook author (free).
    Not tried it (no mac) but it should do both ibook format and pdf for publishing on say amazon.... might not be what you're after but it's probably worth a look :)

    online market - apple and amazon will be biggest options and probably would get the biggest return
     
  8. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    I'm playing around with iBook author at the mo Levi. I've ran some tests and popped one book idea over onto an iPad. It's working well so far.

    I'll let you know how it goes peeps.

    @ Jimlad. Looking nice...!
     
  9. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Thanks Typo. Just had a look at the video on apple's site about iBooks Author... looks a damn site quicker to use than InDesign, might give it a go for putting that children's book together.
     
  10. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Cheers for more replies guys.

    @Jimlad, the book looks great. I'm going to put together a new portfolio book soon. Looks like Lulu might be the way to go for that too.

    @Everyone else, I've had a little look into ibook author. The software seems easy to use, but I think there might be a little stumbling block when it comes to selling. I think you need to be registered in the US tax system to be eligible to sell. I'll have to do a little more digging...
     
  11. Thewholehogg

    Thewholehogg Active Member

    Yes the whole tax and payment thing seems troublesome. I'm also trying to sort it out.
    It's early days.
    The books a good idea Ken...
     
  12. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    @ Typo, this apple discussion thread might come in handy down the road: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3105682?start=0&tstart=0
    It seems you have to get a code from the American IRS that makes you exempt from the US tax system on the proviso that you will claim it at your 'local' rate. Just a few more forms to fill in I guess.

    Thanks for your help. I'll definitely be pursuing this. Better fire up Indesign!
     
  13. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Just to update this thread. I've begun the groundwork to make the book project a reality.
    I've decided to go with Lulu and plan to get things going asap.

    I've posted an update on my blog outlining my plans. I've also asked for suggestions for extra content etc. Please feel free to leave thoughts in this thread or (hopefully) join a discussion in the comments thread on my site.
    kenreynoldsdesign.co.uk – My Life as a Cartoon – Book

    All input will be greatly appreciated.
     
  14. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Hi all,
    Just wanted to give you an update.
    The inside of the book is all sorted out. 50 comic strips plus extra features. These are made up of Original character designs, a 'making of' walkthrough which focuses on a comic published on another website and a new comic exclusive to the book.

    I'd like your opinions on my cover design. Any suggestions welcome.
    [​IMG]
    Thanks again for your time and input.

    Edit: I'm looking at this again this morning and I'm not so sure about the pantone swatch at the top. It overlaps the spine a little awkwardly. MIght have to adjust it somehow. I might try putting a line of text on the spine too, though it will be very small. Not sure if it's worth the bother?
     
  15. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Here's an updated version:

    [​IMG]

    I'm happier with the pantone layout. Thought I'd try some text on the spine. I'll find out if it's worthwhile with the proof copy.

    Any feedback is welcome.
     
  16. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you've changed the Pantone layout. I got the point, but feel it takes over too much space and detracts from the focus of the cover which should be less "here's a designer gag" and more "here's my book and what it's about". I understand you're allowing for bleed and fold-over (if that's the right term) but personally I would condense the Pantone bits to take up less cover space. I might be wrong of course, but so far I think it's a tad overpowering compared to the more important elements of the cover.
     
  17. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Cheers Jim.
    I'll take another swing tomorrow. You might be right. This cover has to work as a smallish avatar as well. The biggest elements are the title and cover illustration.
    The pantone thing isn't really a gag as such, more an identifiable motif that most designers will recognise and associate.
    The strip has quite a niche audience, so I'm trying to play to that and a possible wider audience.
    I've gone for quite a restrained layout because I think it will work well with interchangeable colours and replacement images for (hopefully) further volumes.
     
  18. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    What about putting the Pantone motif along the spine instead of the front & back? On a shelf that'll definitely attract designers.
     
  19. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Cheers Jim,
    Below is the updated version.
    [​IMG]

    And here is the front cover only to show the pantone motif overlap.
    [​IMG]

    I think it's developed quite well.
    Thanks to Jim for the pantone suggestion. the spine is an excellent place for it. Also gets rid of the need to put text on the spine. The spine is quite small, so I've overlapped the swatch to the front and back.

    This book will only be sold on the internet, so it's important that the cover looks attractive as a small image. I thinK this will work quite well and more importantly is a good indication of the contents of the book.
    [​IMG]

    Further feedback would be appreciated. Cheers.
     
  20. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    I'm also having a bit of trouble writing a product description for this book. Any thoughts on how to describe the comics in a way that will appeal to designers and a wider audience would be great.


    Looks like the price will come out at £13.50 + P&P
    Any thoughts on that would be appreciated. I think it's pretty fair for a 68 page full colour book.
     

Share This Page