Polling for Tradeson June 14, 2012 at 8:29 am
For the last several weeks (well…months, honestly), Rick, Eric, and I have been engaged in an ongoing discussion about the best way to produce and distribute our first trade. We’ve gone ’round and ’round enough at this point that we’re verging on chasing our own tails, in fact, and that’s what brings me before you today.
We want your opinion. We want your input.
This is basically a two-option poll. Please read the below, and my apologies if this is a little too much information about how the sausage is made.
Option One is to go with an established comic publisher. There are immediate benefits to this, not the least of which being wider potential distribution, including comic book and potentially mainstream book stores. This avails us of the professional resources of the publisher in question, and we would, in the main, dictate the form and mode of the trade. Financially for us, any profits from the sale of the trade would first go to cover production, publisher fees, printing, distribution, etc, before we would then split any further profits between said publisher and ourselves. Profits would come in the form of royalties. We would retain our rights to the material, and would not obligate ourselves to continue publishing Lady Sabre trades through the same publisher, meaning we would establish reversion and the right to self-publish any future trades (the webcomic remains ours entirely) as we see fit.
There are cons to this, as well. We would ultimately be obligated to the publisher’s parameters of design and production, though our input would be heavily weighted. There is no guarantee that we would sell enough to see profit via royalties after all fees are paid for production. Bonus content would be somewhat limited, and, as far as I know, digital distribution of the trade would be contingent on the publisher’s agreement with their digital arm/partner, and potentially be subject to any further deals with said arm. There would be no means of determining a base line of sales, i.e. no means to determine how many copies would initially be sold.
Option Two is to attempt a crowd-sourcing venture of some sort, most likely via Kickstarter. This would allow greater community investment and even input in the final shape and form of the trade. It would allow us to modify our trade goals depending on funding levels reached, ie, paper dolls at X level; ship blueprints at X+Y level; deluxe hardcover; digital and print packages. We’ve got a long list of potential “rewards,” as well, including remarqued copies, signed copies, character/cast options, and the like. In addition, any funds raised over our costs that are not immediately returned to the project allow us a clear margin of profit, something which is crucial to me personally, as neither Rick, Eric, nor myself has taken any payment for our work here thus far. A crowd-sourced trade would further establish a clear initial number for the first printing. Additional copies would be sold via the website here and by Eric, Rick, and myself at shows.
There are cons to this approach, as well, not the least being what happens if we fail to reach our funding goal. Further, there is a question as to how wide an audience we will be able to reach, and how many new readers we may acquire. Bookstore and comic book store placement becomes problematic, and potentially unviable. Finally, the majority burden of production, design, and distribution work falls entirely on ourselves, and thus there may be a delay of six months or potentially even longer before the trade becomes a reality (though this would be mitigated should funding raise enough to allow us to focus on Lady Sabre exclusively).
So, as you can see, there are good reasons both for and against each of these options, and that, gentle readers, is why we’re stuck. After discussing this yet again and weighing all our options, we’re still stuck, and so we turn to you. The results of this poll will not dictate our final decision, but I can say with certainty that your answers and your comments will weigh very heavily in what we decide to do.
If you have questions, please post them; if you have thoughts, please do the same; if you have thirst, I recommend a nice cup of tea.