B&N Week 198: Are You Taking Advantage Of Digital?

| October 15, 2014



It’s another Tuesday! We’re in the middle of October, and while some parts of the country are only hitting the mid 70’s, we’re projected to hit the 90’s here in sunny Tucson. No hate, please. I’m just the messenger

This week, we have another deceptively simple question: are you taking advantage of digital?

I’m not talking about creating digitally. I’m talking about selling digitally. There are some great tools out there, as well as pros and cons. Let’s look at some of them.

Everyone knows about digital comics. It was supposed to be the savior of the industry—until the brick and mortar stores understood that it could kill their business. All fears were eventually allayed, though, when publishers hobbled themselves by selling digital equivalents a few weeks after their physical counterparts. Eventually, we got parity with digital comics being sold at the same time as their physical counterparts, but it took some doing. [And who would have guessed that Archie would have led that push? I didn’t see that coming.]

If you want to make any real money in digital comics, you have to know where the money is. Right now, that’s at comiXology. Do you know what you get when your digital comic is up there?

First, you’re on millions of devices. Potentially, hundreds of millions of phones and tablets and computers.

While comiXology is device agnostic, most of your money is going to be made on Apple’s iOS. More people spend money on Apple than they do Android. This is a simple fact, but not one you need to worry about unless you decide to make your own mobile app and attempt to sell your wares that way.

You’re also going to be in the company major publishers. Your book could be on the virtual shelf, side by side with the likes of Spider-Man and Batman. That’s better than most comic shops, who generally tend to group their wares alphabetically by publisher, with indies in a ghetto somewhere.

There are other apps that you can use. Just take a look at the stores on your various devices.

You can also go with something like Indyplanet, where you can sell your digital wares as well as physical copies. If you don’t want to go through an app store, this would be your next best bet.

You can also host your comics yourself. Places like Google Drive will hold your comics, and you can get paid by giving access to it via PayPal. You should be able to do the same thing with Dropbox, as well as the other virtual storage drives like Sugarsync and Box.

As you can see, you have options. You can even try going outside the box and getting a graphic novel published on the Kindle, which can also get you on mobile devices, as well as Amazon’s proprietary device.

Understand something, though: digital comics will not make you rich. It can be a nice secondary stream of income, but you’re not going to get rich from it. Not unless your book is doing extremely well already. The signal to noise ratio is low when it comes to digital, because everyone is trying to get in on the act. Since print is so expensive, some creators are attempting to forgo print altogether and just go digital.

[To be honest, a lot of creators cannot get into Diamond, for whatever reason, and are thinking that digital will bring them fame and riches. If the book is of poor quality and Diamond doesn’t think they can sell it, your chances of selling it and having it be popular enough to actually make money are very slim. Almost non-existent.]

How do you take advantage of digital? Well, you need a book first. After you get that milestone under your belt, you then have to submit to various digital places. Some of these places will accept your book, nearly sight unseen. Some of them are more curated. Your mileage may vary.

Once you have your book and you’ve been accepted digitally, you’ve just begun. Now, you have to let people know about it. How? Digitally, of course. If your book is digital, you want to get in contact with the digital crowd. Twitter, Facebook, possibly Instagram, Snapchat these are your tools for getting your message across. Go to message boards, and as long as you aren’t spammy, you can let people know there, too.

Taking advantage of digital isn’t difficult, as long as you’re ready to get the work done.

So, I ask again: are you taking advantage of digital?

See you in seven.

Click here to discuss in the ComixTribe forums at Digital Webbing!

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Category: Bolts & Nuts, Columns

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at stevedforbes@gmail.com for rate inquiries.

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