I spent about 3 months putting together Omnibus #1 -- certainly a far cry from the production schedule of a mainstream comic book, but somewhat common of small-press books -- it was a definite learning experience, with me taking on roles that I wasn't AS familiar with, filling in as illustrator, inker, colorist and print setup. Admittedly, it was at a GREATLY reduced workload than your typical comic -- there were only 9 pgs of sequential work, with a few pinups. The rest were more like pulp stories with spot illustrations to accompany them.
But also during that time, I spent a few hours at a local theatre (about 6 hours total) drawing sketches to raise money for the print cost. In my initial article, I talked about creating your own con space [For a reminder, check HERE]. What that meant, in this regard specifically, was not waiting for someone else to create an opportunity FOR ME. I had already setup, years before, a con of sorts, when comic-based movies came out. So, with that already in place as a resource, I simply used it as my fundraising platform. I stated with a $5.00 investment and was able to produce 50 or so "sketch cards" -- these were pretty big (8.5x5.5"), but could hold more info about the project, though now, 'd use the standard sketch car size (3.5x2.5").
The plan was to raise $50.00, charing only $1 for each custom sketch card. I know that seems like underselling, but I was taking both my need and the environment into account -- be honest, after paying for tickets and getting candy, popcorn and a drink, you have little more than a dollar to spend anyhow! In retrospect, considering how long it took to do each piece (about 20-30mins), I really should've had a higher price tag, but still...you live and you learn! (Actually it was at such an event that I launched the "Fetch-A-Sketch" campaign, where sketches were sold for a donation, the minimum bid being $1!) Luckily, there were some who valued what I was doing and why, that graciously gave more than what was being asked (sometimes without making a purchase at all!)
So, like I said, in about 6 short hours, I made about $65, which not only funded my first comic book, but also covered the shipping AND the initial investment of $5. I purchased my print run through print-on-demand (PoD) site, Ka-Blam.com (because they have a sister site, Indyplanet.com that acts as an online store) and got them (about 20 copies) on March 18th, 2010 -- a poignant date for my personal comic career, but that's a story for another time. And because I didn't have to pay for the run out of pocket, I divvied up the copies between a few local comic shops -- this was a radical move because I gave them away FOR FREE!
But in just a few days time, with a bit of promotion on my blog and Facebook page (I wasn't on Twitter at the time, yet), I made my first online sale, and then my second and then my third! Granted, I've only sold 5 copies total of Omnibus through Indyplanet, netting a sales profit of $4.35. And again, it's obviously not much, but it proves me right -- I made a comic that was immediately proiftable. And once I figure out a solid way to do it on a(n) (inter)national level -- WATCH OUT!
Since then, I've played more to the original plan of using ad space sales to fund print runs, but soon, I'll be going for the gusto, combining both efforts (ad sales AND fundraising) and seeing what that does for me. Of course, sharing this means someone else may beat me to it...so I better get back to work! See ya!
Victor Dandridge/Writer, Artist, Columnist
Victor Dandridge is a comic creator from Columbus, O-H(I-O), where he self-publishes through his WizWorld Inc. imprint. He once tugged on Superman's cape and lived to tell the tale.
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