As the comics industry ebbs and flows, the mindset and business models of indie creators who want to see their books succeed as competition to mainstream books, must be addressed. If you are interested in utilizing our platform’s Retailer functionality, we need to set realistic expectations for sales. It is with that intent that I post this article. In order to be successful in any market, it is crucial to do the following:
- Know Your Customers
- Obtain a Sales Channel
- Establish Supply Lines
I would first like to talk about Knowing Your Customers.
Comic collectors are fiercely loyal and avid fans. They care about good books and quality art. I would say that this is the primary driving factor in the Indie Comics industry today. With so many things that people do not agree with going on in mainstream comics, it leaves a void that needs to be filled. Quality books haven’t appeared in the mainstream, I would argue since the late ’90s. It is important to note that the majority of the comic book collectors out there are not cutting a fat hog and live like normal every day Americans working a job, just trying to make ends meet. The average cover price of comic books in any LCS today sits around $3-$5. That equates to around $0.125 – $0.20 per page for a standard 24-page book. That puts a 68-page book at approximately $10.50. Then, sold to retailers at a 50% discount because they also have to make a profit to be able to sell your books. A 68-page book at $20-$30 is a 200-300% markup from the original pricing model of mainstream books. While some indie creators may justify higher prices, selling books to consumers at inflated prices of $20 or more isn’t a sustainable business model for long-term comic fans who want to enjoy more than 1-2 books a year per creator. Perhaps in the short term, Creators could make a quick buck off of the $20-$30/book model, but realistically, it leaves out the fans who want to buy weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly issues out of the picture. It also leaves out the retailers who want to sell them. It is essential to price your books at an affordable, fair market rate, which will drive sales in a much higher direction. Remember, the more you sell, the more you make.
The next topic of discussion is to Obtain a Sales Channel. This is where we come in. Indiecrowdfund.com is a site that is the first of its kind, bringing retailers into the fold of crowdfunding. It is game-changing. Sales will be determinant on several factors – the quality of the material, your release schedule, the price you are selling it, the percentage of discount you are willing to offer to retailers, etc. In a way, this is going to weed out people that are just interested in making a quick buck vs. those that want to compete with mainstream and create change in the industry. Creators who are consistently late delivering on their campaigns, who do not fulfill orders, overprice their books, may not be very successful with the Retailer community. As an old college professor of mine once said, would you instead make a quarter 50 times or a nickel 50,000 times? We will put you on the same playing field as the mainstream books by putting you on the corresponding shelves. You have to ask how you can be on those shelves and expect to compete with outrageous price tags which retailers can’t afford. It is up to you what you do with it. It’s up to you to be successful.
And finally, “Establish Supply Lines.” It is critical to establish supply lines that will provide you the best product for the lowest price possible and will ensure you are not pricing yourself out of existence. If your costs are low, your product’s cost will be small, which will attribute to more sales. And what’s the one thing on which Creators and Retailers agree? That’s right, you guessed it. More sales.
I hope that this article has been a help to you, and it is the first of many that we plan to add to help Campaign owners and Retailers navigate the waters of this new exciting platform.