This project is for a book titled “Economics of Digital Comics.” It’s really the third edition of The Economics of Web Comics (yes, that was the AP style spelling of webcomics at the time). The second edition came out in 2007 and the digital download format as we now know it didn't exist, as well as the various flavors of crowdfunding that have created an alternate business model, so it’s bit past time for an update, don’t you think?
I’ve been working on this in the background for the last 3 years. It’s a major restructuring of how the material is presented, with a little more emphasis on understanding the big picture of the comics industry and where both the digital and print economies fit in, as well as an overview of the history of how all this came to be.
This is not a manifesto touting a specific method of making money off digital comics. There are different methods that work for different people. Some methods seem to be better suited for certain kinds of material, but this book will survey the methods and you can make up your own mind what works best for you. As usual, I’m citing actual sources and real numbers whenever possible.
The previous editions of this book were taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design. For that matter, it’s all a spin-off from my Master’s Thesis at NYU. If you want to get academic about it, Henry Jenkins sat in on the thesis committee.
Here’s the tentative chapter outline (knowing that things might change a little when I sit down for the final draft):
• Introduction by Mark Waid (co-founder of the Thrillbent digital site and award-winning writer of print comics)
• Chapter 1 An Introduction to Print Comic Books and the Direct Market
• Chapter 2: The Economics of Print Comic Books
• Chapter 3: Digital Comics and Their Flavors
• Chapter 4: A Short History of Webcomics
• Chapter 5: The Economics of Webcomics
• Chapter 6: A Short History of Digital Downloads
• Chapter 7: The Economics of Digital Downloads
• Chapter 8: Comparing the Economics of Digital and Print
• Chapter 9: Crowdfunding and Comics – The Alternate Financing Model
Who’s This Todd Allen Guy And What Makes Him Think He’s Knows About This Stuff?
That’s a reasonable question. I’ve been lurking around the dual worlds of digital publishing and comics for over 15 years.
On the comics side, I've been covering the digital side of things for venues like Publisher’s Weekly, Chicago Tribune, The Beat and Comic Book Resources since 2002. Over at The Beat, where I’m a contributing editor, we've been nominated for an Eisner and name to TIME’s Top 25 Blogs of 2012 list. I wrote the Division & Rush webcomic for the (Chicago) Tribune Media Group. That one got me into the Mystery Writers of America. Didn't know you could do that with a webcomic, did you? I also interned with Marvel's digital unit, during the "dotComics" era, while in grad school.
On the digital publishing side of things, I was the originating producer (think product manager if you’re on the West Coast) in charge of getting the American Medical Association’s suite of medical journals online back at the turn of the century. In conjunction with that project, I lectured to the Association of American Publishers on transitioning print brands to the digital world.
I taught eBusiness in the Arts, Entertainment & Media Management department at Columbia College Chicago for 5 years.
And a lot of digital consulting on the side.
It’s time to finish the update. I've decamped to Iowa so I can get the book finished with fewer distractions. I’m making a commitment to getting this finished. I’m hoping you’ll make a commitment to support the project and get yourself a copy. (See the right hand side of the page for details.)
Risks and challenges
The risk is something comes up that prevents me from finishing the update. I get hit by a bus. Sudden illness. Steve Ballmer offers me the Clippers GM job and I have to leave right away.
In all seriousness, a lot of the heavy lifting is done. I need to go over the existing material for things that have changed in the 9 months since I was last able to work on it and then finish up the remaining chapters. The issue is time and the Kickstarter helps me carve out the time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)