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Death to floppies?
G-Man
post Mar 5 2011, 07:13 PM
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Oh....also I love comics in all formats...floppies, trades and OGN....but I hope I never live to see the day when the floppy is no longer around, That's not a world I want to be a part off.



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MasonEasley
post Mar 5 2011, 08:40 PM
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QUOTE (G-Man @ Mar 5 2011, 08:13 PM) *
Oh....also I love comics in all formats...floppies, trades and OGN....but I hope I never live to see the day when the floppy is no longer around, That's not a world I want to be a part off.


Those Ipads, Nooks, and Kindles are getting mighty popular...

I downloaded a text book online. Cost me 75% less than buying the actual book itself. I read it off my laptop in class or in a library. I actually prefer it because I don't have to carry a whole bunch of books around.


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wwi3313
post Mar 5 2011, 08:53 PM
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QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Mar 5 2011, 07:56 PM) *
Well the Japanese put out a phone book size anthology every 2 weeks on cheap paper (Shonen Jump). They usually got for about $5 and can run well over 500 pages.

Later, people buy the trades of their favorites from that phone-book sized anthology when they come out.

That's a superior model to the floppies IMO.


The problem with it, at least in recreating it over here, is the consistency of its creators. There's more of a market for "self-published alliance" work over there than there is over here and its because FAR TOO commonly, creators slide on their deadlines and releases (I imagine missing a deadline in Japan is punishable by death, killing and life-takery -- and not necessary in that order!) and that production level won't be met. On the individual basis, which is what you're personally facing, the floppy is essentially that. You can produce as fast you can without being hindered by anyone but yourself.

It'd be nice if we could get that model off the ground, but that's not really conducive if you have a 9-5 on top of your creator dreams. The timeframes just aren't there...or are they...?


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Ringtail Cafe
post Mar 7 2011, 07:43 AM
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QUOTE (Tyler James @ Mar 3 2011, 07:33 PM) *
Unless you're printing ~2500 or more, if doesn't make sense to print and distribute in the direct market. You'll lose money. But unless you're printing that many, you're probably not distributing in the direct market anyway, so it's probably not much of an issue.


That's why we do the high volumes.



QUOTE (wwi3313 @ Mar 3 2011, 09:50 PM) *
I disagree that POD can't be profitable -- its all in how you go about it.


One thing that we found really useful, and I'm going to go ahead and share with everyone...is low cost, high profit items. When we were first doing books, and they cost us way more to make the actual books, we offset that, with our secondary items. Commissions and sketches (cost you nothing, really), buttons, prints, things that sell for a couple of bucks but you have almost no cost in. Yes, you're wanting to sell the book, but the bottom line is this is a business. Even if you create JUST for the love of creating, you still have to be able to afford to get to shows, set up, and make it home. You have to DO business, to do the creative stuff.

Prints, Commissions, Buttons, Trading cards, these are all low cost items that can help you turn a profit when your books cost you a lot to produce.

Now, as to the death of floppies, honestly, time will tell. I do think however, that no matter how much people want to get into digital reading of comics, you're always going to have that fanbase who want to hold a comic.

I think the reason so many people like online digital, or going to trades, is that the big companies have epic huge storylines, that you want to read all at once, keep collected together, or frankly, have waaay too many cross over events (or 20 X titles...or 10 Deadpool titles...) and it gets ludicrous trying to keep up with all of that, at 4 bucks a pop.


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Tyler James
post Mar 7 2011, 08:40 AM
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QUOTE (Ringtail Cafe @ Mar 7 2011, 08:43 AM) *
That's why we do the high volumes.


Right, of course, this assumes you can actually sell in those volumes. You're going to be a lot better off doing a small POD run and making a dollar profit on each book, than you are doing a huge off-set run, making $3 on each book, but having a huge inventory leftover of books you'll never sell.

This dove tails into the quality conversation. The ONLY way to make a long term, viable business out of comics is to produce extremely high quality work. There's no getting around that.

QUOTE (Ringtail Cafe @ Mar 7 2011, 08:43 AM) *
Commissions and sketches (cost you nothing, really)


I do a ton of commissions and sketches, so obviously I recognize their value. But I disagree that they cost me nothing. Hardly. Commissions and sketches are extremely time consuming. Time is money, and time doing one-off commissions is time that could be spent creating more comics or other scalable products that could have a longer shelf life. Also, at cons, time spent with your head down sketching is time you can't spend interacting with attendees, pitching your wares, etc.

Still, I think commissions are worth it. Commissions + books is a virtuous circle. The more people like your books, the more likely they are to order commissions. And people who come to a show only interested in getting a drawing of Spider-man from you might be swayed by the pitch for your comic that you talk up while you're drawing.

Also, I try to get as much extra value out of the commissions I do as possible. I scan every commission I do, and will post as content on my websites, which in turn, generate more commission requests. The best commissions I do will fill the pages of my sketchbooks (which I can sell.) And if I do one that's extremely cool, I might even turn into a print.


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MasonEasley
post Mar 7 2011, 10:21 AM
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QUOTE (Ringtail Cafe @ Mar 7 2011, 08:43 AM) *
Now, as to the death of floppies, honestly, time will tell. I do think however, that no matter how much people want to get into digital reading of comics, you're always going to have that fanbase who want to hold a comic.

I think the reason so many people like online digital, or going to trades, is that the big companies have epic huge storylines, that you want to read all at once, keep collected together, or frankly, have waaay too many cross over events (or 20 X titles...or 10 Deadpool titles...) and it gets ludicrous trying to keep up with all of that, at 4 bucks a pop.


Its just been my experience that the audience prefers trades to floppies, especially on the indie scene. I've been fortunate that my floppies have brought me profit, but I know that if I had a trade, I'd have even more profit, and none of the headache I'm currently experiencing trying to balance my floppy inventory.

Man, that sounded really dirty for some reason....


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MasonEasley
post Mar 7 2011, 10:22 AM
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QUOTE (wwi3313 @ Mar 5 2011, 09:53 PM) *
The problem with it, at least in recreating it over here, is the consistency of its creators. There's more of a market for "self-published alliance" work over there than there is over here and its because FAR TOO commonly, creators slide on their deadlines and releases (I imagine missing a deadline in Japan is punishable by death, killing and life-takery -- and not necessary in that order!) and that production level won't be met. On the individual basis, which is what you're personally facing, the floppy is essentially that. You can produce as fast you can without being hindered by anyone but yourself.

It'd be nice if we could get that model off the ground, but that's not really conducive if you have a 9-5 on top of your creator dreams. The timeframes just aren't there...or are they...?


I have faith Victor, but you're probably right. Hell, I have a hard enough time getting my books done. tongue.gif


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Tyler James
post Mar 7 2011, 10:42 AM
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QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Mar 7 2011, 11:21 AM) *
Its just been my experience that the audience prefers trades to floppies, especially on the indie scene. I've been fortunate that my floppies have brought me profit, but I know that if I had a trade, I'd have even more profit, and none of the headache I'm currently experiencing trying to balance my floppy inventory.

Man, that sounded really dirty for some reason....



Yeah...of course, people with multiple TRADES have the same exact issue that you're having with floppies. They have to decide whether it's worth keeping inventories leveled with BOOKS 2 and BOOKS 3...and most NEW people will want to buy the first TRADE. So, it's not a problem that goes away.


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Carl Shinyama
post Mar 7 2011, 11:23 AM
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QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Mar 7 2011, 06:21 AM) *
Its just been my experience that the audience prefers trades to floppies, especially on the indie scene. I've been fortunate that my floppies have brought me profit, but I know that if I had a trade, I'd have even more profit, and none of the headache I'm currently experiencing trying to balance my floppy inventory.

Man, that sounded really dirty for some reason....

My experience has been largely the same, but only because of geographical reasons. I live in Hawaii, and there are no comic book shops on my island, so that leaves me with only one primary option: Trade paper backs at Borders bookstore. Granted, they have a few floppies, but that's it.

I think given the chance, a lot of people would like to buy floppies. Also, I think that if Diamond didn't have a monopoly on distribution, and the floppies were sold in supermarkets, 7-11, newstands, etc. that a lot more people opt to buy them.
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wwi3313
post Mar 7 2011, 11:30 AM
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QUOTE (Tyler James @ Mar 7 2011, 11:42 AM) *
Yeah...of course, people with multiple TRADES have the same exact issue that you're having with floppies. They have to decide whether it's worth keeping inventories leveled with BOOKS 2 and BOOKS 3...and most NEW people will want to buy the first TRADE. So, it's not a problem that goes away.


EXACTLY! Moving to trades doesn't eliminate the problem because you'll still have to put some time constraint of relativity on the work (mine is currently 1 year -- after that, its on to the next one). Like Tyler said, first issue floppies have significant appeal to people and I'm sure you can win some folks over on subsequent issues with some really nice "convention only" deals. Again, don't hardline your practice -- mix it up a bit, that way, you'll not only entertain new customers, but add something worthwhile for returning ones!

This post has been edited by wwi3313: Mar 7 2011, 11:31 AM


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Ringtail Cafe
post Mar 7 2011, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE (Tyler James @ Mar 7 2011, 09:40 AM) *
Right, of course, this assumes you can actually sell in those volumes. You're going to be a lot better off doing a small POD run and making a dollar profit on each book, than you are doing a huge off-set run, making $3 on each book, but having a huge inventory leftover of books you'll never sell.


That's definitely right. The hard part for most folks, is knowing when they can shift from one type, to the other.

QUOTE (Tyler James @ Mar 7 2011, 09:40 AM) *
I do a ton of commissions and sketches, so obviously I recognize their value. But I disagree that they cost me nothing. Hardly. Commissions and sketches are extremely time consuming. Time is money, and time doing one-off commissions is time that could be spent creating more comics or other scalable products that could have a longer shelf life. Also, at cons, time spent with your head down sketching is time you can't spend interacting with attendees, pitching your wares, etc.



I actually didn't mean to diminish the work that goes into commissions. And they obviously have the material costs. What I meant was just that the material cost is low compared to what you can make from it.


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MasonEasley
post Mar 7 2011, 04:33 PM
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QUOTE (Tyler James @ Mar 7 2011, 11:42 AM) *
Yeah...of course, people with multiple TRADES have the same exact issue that you're having with floppies. They have to decide whether it's worth keeping inventories leveled with BOOKS 2 and BOOKS 3...and most NEW people will want to buy the first TRADE. So, it's not a problem that goes away.


Maybe, but I don't see that as being much of a problem. Frankly I wouldn't mind that situation too much since the profit margin for trades is so much higher. If I sell 3 trades at $15, I would have made the same amount of profit as I would have from selling 30 floppies at $3. or even 15 floppies at $4. Yet those 3 trades were cheaper to produce than those 30 floppies (and probably easier to sell to boot). So its a win-win on both ends, unlike the floppy that just seems like a lose-lose. Not to mention that there seems to be a limit on how much you can sell a floppy for, unless its an artbook or something.

That's really the situation I'm running into; Having to produce a sizeable amount of floppies for a razor thin profit margin. sad.gif I really can't wait to phase them out of my inventory.


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Ringtail Cafe
post Mar 7 2011, 08:27 PM
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QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Mar 7 2011, 05:33 PM) *
Maybe, but I don't see that as being much of a problem. Frankly I wouldn't mind that situation too much since the profit margin for trades is so much higher. If I sell 3 trades at $15, I would have made the same amount of profit as I would have from selling 30 floppies at $3. or even 15 floppies at $4. Yet those 3 trades were cheaper to produce than those 30 floppies (and probably easier to sell to boot). So its a win-win on both ends, unlike the floppy that just seems like a lose-lose. Not to mention that there seems to be a limit on how much you can sell a floppy for, unless its an artbook or something.

That's really the situation I'm running into; Having to produce a sizeable amount of floppies for a razor thin profit margin. sad.gif I really can't wait to phase them out of my inventory.




That's really true. I think the biggest problem with getting folks to pick up an indy trade however, is the commitment. Someone picking up a collected series from Marvel or DC kind of knows what they're getting into, or at least has a history to fall back on.

Picking up a trade from an indy creator, you don't really know what you're getting. You could be awesomely pleased, or sorely disappointed. Getting someone to give up that 15 bucks on one item is often harder (even if it is the better deal) than getting them to give up the 5, to try out your series.

That's why when we did The Confectionaries, we have issue 0 for 4 bucks, and then the trade. Don't know if you want to commit to the series yet? Try issue 0, it's cheap.


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MasonEasley
post Mar 7 2011, 09:26 PM
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QUOTE (Ringtail Cafe @ Mar 7 2011, 09:27 PM) *
That's really true. I think the biggest problem with getting folks to pick up an indy trade however, is the commitment. Someone picking up a collected series from Marvel or DC kind of knows what they're getting into, or at least has a history to fall back on.

Picking up a trade from an indy creator, you don't really know what you're getting. You could be awesomely pleased, or sorely disappointed. Getting someone to give up that 15 bucks on one item is often harder (even if it is the better deal) than getting them to give up the 5, to try out your series.


I can understand that. Getting readers interested in your property is probably the hardest thing you can pull off as an indy creator. It truly is an uphill battle, especially if you're doing stuff similar to DC/Marvel.

QUOTE
That's why when we did The Confectionaries, we have issue 0 for 4 bucks, and then the trade. Don't know if you want to commit to the series yet? Try issue 0, it's cheap.


Or read it on the web. Its free! wink.gif When I finish the series, I'm going to put the first 22 pages up on the web. I figure that would be a good way to garner interest without the floppies.


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Ringtail Cafe
post Mar 7 2011, 10:48 PM
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QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Mar 7 2011, 10:26 PM) *
Or read it on the web. Its free! wink.gif When I finish the series, I'm going to put the first 22 pages up on the web. I figure that would be a good way to garner interest without the floppies.



It definitely is. However, that does require the person to be the sort of person who reads online. If you're at a show, you know that they're the type of person to read books. So while internet might be a good way to bring more folks in, you don't want to eliminate that at-the-show sale.


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MasonEasley
post Mar 8 2011, 10:49 AM
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QUOTE (Ringtail Cafe @ Mar 7 2011, 11:48 PM) *
It definitely is. However, that does require the person to be the sort of person who reads online. If you're at a show, you know that they're the type of person to read books. So while internet might be a good way to bring more folks in, you don't want to eliminate that at-the-show sale.


That's a good point Darren, and like someone else stated earlier, someone is always going to want something physical.

I guess I'll never escape the grip of floppies. mellow.gif


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ChadStrohl
post Mar 8 2011, 01:00 PM
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You can always look at floppies as a loss leader, which I think is what Darren is pretty much saying with the Issue #0 concept. Don't worry about profit and keep losses at a minimum. Make your profit on trades and complimentary items like stickers, button, sketches, etc.

The key concepts...

1) Create a web presence with "free" material.

2) Offer an introductory, low cost product to entice the physical reader.

3) Offer the upgrade (ie... trade). Heck. Get really crazy and offer a trade-in option. Bring the floppy back in good condition and get that price knocked off the trade.

4) Promote and/or sit at shows and offer profitable portables or commisions to offset table costs and profits from the trade edition.

Some other options could be...

5) Consolidation. Two or more creators with one book each could benefit from something like this. Go under one name; half the table cost.

6) Create a downloadable/portable e-version.

7) Cross promote. I know this sounds odd, but instead of being a sea of competitive "small fish" we potentially stand to garner a bigger potential audience if we steer customers toward work we admire. It's the concept of getting 50% of a $1000 pie or 10% of a $10,000 pie.

Anything I'm missing here?


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Ringtail Cafe
post Mar 8 2011, 03:49 PM
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QUOTE (MasonEasley @ Mar 8 2011, 11:49 AM) *
That's a good point Darren, and like someone else stated earlier, someone is always going to want something physical.

I guess I'll never escape the grip of floppies. mellow.gif




Don't think of it like that, think of it like: You're glad people want your book, in the form they prefer biggrin.gif

And nice Summary Chad!


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