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Monday, 25 November 2013

On The Economics Of Self Publishing


 Return Of The Gods: Twilight Of The Super Heroes was very well received by the few UK reviewers who bothered while, outside the UK, the reviews were amazingly good. In fact, the book was stated to be: "The greatest British super hero graphic novel published to date" (I blush but I'm guessing that most graphic novels involving super heroes are US based -where I got some great fan reviews from!

But it is not just a "super hero" book. It spans an alien invasion of Earth, an aeons old conflict between Lovecraftian Dark Old Gods and later pantheons -with some trapped super heroes stuck in the midst- fact a whole lot more including the return of one of the UKs first comic characters in a brand new role.

But here's the cover blurb:

 It begins slowly with Earth’s heroes going about their daily tasks –fighting a giant robot controlled by a mad scientist’s brain , attackers both human and mystical -even alien high priests of some mysterious cult and their zombie followers and, of course, a ghost and a young genius lost in time. Pretty mundane. But there is a huge alien Mother-ship near the Moon and strange orange spheres chase some of Earth’s heroes who vanish into thin air –are they dead? Then black, impenetrable domes cover cities world-wide. Alien invasion of Earth! A war between the Dark Old Gods and the pantheons that followed! Warriors from Earth’s past having to battle each day and whether they die or not they are back the next day! And no one suspects the driving force behind the events that could cause destruction and chaos throughout the multiverse —assaulted on all fronts can Earth’s defenders succeed or will they this truly the end? 

A4 (20.98 wide x 29.69 cms)
black & white
331 pages
Price: £15.00
Ships in 3–5 business days

Now, you may well say "£15.00 -he must be raking it in!" In fact, no.  For each sale it breaks down so:

£5.42 -me

Now, I am going to need to sell a LOT of copies to start making any money -remember that this is over 300 pages and a project begun a few years back so it is a lot of work. Despite the great reviews the book has not sold to any degree that I can honestly state it has made any profit at all.

Have I tried shops? Yes. Most comic shops are against stocking a book of this size even if they do have similar allready in store.  Most tell me, this includes "independent stores", that they would not dare order copies as it might anger Diamond Distributor.  Those that have been interested have said "no problem but we'll need 75% cover price discount" which means they want an £11.25 discount and I'll get £3.75 if a book sales -on top of which I have to pay postage so in fact I end up losing more than the £3.75 (I think it worked out at about £15.00 to send 5 work that out.

Diamond Distributor? Was I working for a publisher? I was the publisher? And then I knew how Cinebook The 9th Art felt as I was told what price Diamond would want copies for...but was then told as a black and white book "it just is not what we are looking for."

So, you see what I've written previously on self publishing as a business is still valid. In fact, to buy copies at my 'creator discount' does not help as each copy would cost me £8.22 + postage on top and I'm paying full cover price.

"Did you see if a publisher would pay you and take on the book?" Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Of course I did but reviews count for nothing and there is a certain prejudice toward non-trendy comics, especially if you use the words "super-heroes" at some point.

So if you think you want to get into self publishing think, think, think and sit down for a few days then think again.

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