We've heard it all before... "Sorry, we can't sell your Indie comic in our comic shop. We only buy Indies if they are promoted in Previews Catalog." It's enough to bring an Indie comic artist hopeful to tears.
And it's hard to advertise an Indie comic in a Mainstream world. Outside of social media, so many artists get no exposure whatsoever. Advertising costs run from $500-$2000 per full page ad, depending on the magazine.
When the Facebook group for the Independent Creators Connection was founded by Terance Baker on May 23, 2013, it was his dream to create a forum for other Indie artists to grow, create, and learn from each other. From the I, Hero anthology series to The Art of ICC, the Wind and the Wolf, Kid Force and finally Indie Heroes for Hurricane Relief, praised by the American Red Cross for ICC’s fundraising effort to assist people affected by the devastating hurricanes of 2017, the potential for so many Indie artists to get together and create something greater than themselves has grown beyond imagining.
Terance Baker’s welcome on independentcreatorsconnection.com is simple:
"Greetings everyone, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for coming to the ICC Website. I founded ICC originally on Facebook as a means to give Independent Creators a way of conversing and displaying the art mediums that we enjoyed. The group rapidly expanded, so creating a website was inevitable. As Independents came together I saw the need to connect us even farther, so we created ICU: Independent Creators United, and we published our first collaborative book shortly after that.
"The group is quickly gaining recognition as an Indy Company and a label that is becoming a real contender. ICC and ICU are about to take the industry by storm and I couldn’t be prouder. The theme of ICC is to connect like minded individuals in this market and we are doing that, respectfully. Prepare to see a ton of fantastic individuals and what we can do with art. Thank you and welcome to our world.
"Founder Terance (Artist) Baker."
What Terance did not expect was the appeal to so many diverse artists of varying levels of skill, and at the time of this Kickstarter, the Independent Creators Connection stands at 9,049 members. In January 2018 we launched the Premiere issue of ICC Magazine, and by February it had gained the attention of Diamond Comic Distributors. Negotiations were made...and here we are.
As of this Kickstarter we have sent ICC Magazine #4 to print in early September, 2018. We have big dreams, because we know that you do too. ICC Magazine is a resource and an inspiration for the beginning Independent artist or writer. And it’s a lot of fun to put together. With how-to articles, tutorials, Comic Cons and Cosplay, Artist Spotlights, Hot Indie Comic news--and not to leave out the other artists--there is opportunity to advertise, do a shout-out for inclusion in our Indie Artists to Watch For column, and so much more.
There are very, very few publications solely dedicated to promoting the Independent comic artist or creator, and NOBODY does it like ICC Magazine does! ICC Magazine has arrived...At long last...a voice for the Indie comic artist. We're deeply committed to finding and showcasing new voices in Indie comic and Pop Culture genres from around the world.
ICC Magazine is published in print and available in eBook (PDF) quarterly (January, April, July, October) around the 15th of that month through IndyPlanet.us. Thanks to Diamond Comic Distributors we are poised to be seen in comic stores everywhere. Kickstarter Backers at the Subscriber Level or higher, and those purchasing single issues, get each issue in its entirety up front, no waiting. Those reading online for free wait a month for the second half, which appears on the first Tuesday of the second month at independentcreatorsconnection.com
Along with your pledge of support, you have the opportunity to buy advertisement in our magazine and grab some great goodies in the process, so this project is win-win. Join us in our efforts to cover our first print run with Diamond, and if you are generous enough, we'll see YOUR work or a shoutout of our thanks for your gracious support presented for everyone to see in upcoming issues of ICC Magazine!
To answer some questions brought up AFTER we launched our Kickstarter: Below are just a sampling of the Digital comics included in this campaign (more Indie artists are contributing to make this a mind-blowing deal far beyond the price of your donation at any level):
A Deviant Mind Volumes 1-2. Each volume comprises five episodes; this set is the first 10 episodes of the series. Print value: $24.99 each. Boston Metaphysical Society #1, by Madeleine Holly-Rosing and Emily Hu. ICC Magazine #1, Digital value $1.99. Ms. Johnni #1 by Adrian Asia Petty $2.50. Nine-page preview of Svarožič by Bill McCormick. These digital rewards will be available for immediate download AS SOON AS our Kickstarter goal is completed.
We at the Independent Creators Connection think we’re doing important work, and we’d like to continue. Please consider supporting ICC Magazine! This Kickstarter is for YOU!
The risk involved in this project is pretty simple: It's an all or nothing proposition. When we do appear in Previews Catalog, comic shops come to Diamond to order their copies of ICC Magazine.
Diamond tells me how many to print and ship. And then according to the terms, I invoice them for the cost after they have shipped. Diamond understands that, to start at least, independent publishing can be pricey off the top. Generally, payment is sent to me within 30 days of their receiving my invoice.
No, this is not crap, it's how print orders have been processed for more than 200 years, and it is also why so many Indie artists can't do this on their own. I have all my printers and all my bricks in place, all we have to do is cover the orders and offer awesome benefits to everyone who helps us out.
And that's why we need YOU.
Risks and challenges
Kick Start Your Art! By Bill McCormick (from ICC Magazine #4):
Comic books are dying. The industry is crashing. Pineapple belongs on pizza. All these lies, and many more, can be found on your local internet. While it’s true that the industry isn’t selling the same number of issues per month that it did in its heyday of the late 80’s / early 90’s, it’s also true that the landscape has changed. And it’s changed to the benefit of indie creators if they’re paying attention.
You’ve probably heard the phrase there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. It’s true. If you have enough water you live. Too much and you drown. The same applies to comics. There are currently fourteen monthly Batman related comics out. There are an additional sixteen related Iron Man comics coming out every month. That’s thirty comics a month you need to buy if you’re going to keep track of just those two heroes.
And that doesn’t count the one-offs, graphic novels, alternate whatevers, that come out as well. Add in the fact that publishers are demanding that stores purchase “X” amount of an issue before they can get a variant cover and you have a lot of product, concerning a limited number of titles, taking up shelf space.
“AH HA!” I hear you type in caps, “YOU’VE JUST PROVED OUR POINT!”
Nope. Feel free to follow along as I do no such thing.
Back in the halcyon days of yore, each comic book character had one, maybe two, titles released each month. That allowed readers to stay abreast with their favorite heroes, or villains. Something that, as noted above, is nigh on impossible now.
Indie distributors have discovered that by promising new product every month from multiple titles and, at least, three issues per year from each title they carry, they can get spinners (stand-alone racks) placed in stores, as well as some dedicated shelf space in stores that can spare it.
Fans can follow each title and not need a second mortgage to do so.
And, guess what? It’s a strategy that’s working and gaining national support.
It was that fundamental truth that led to the creation of ICC Magazine. While there are numerous blogs, fanzines, and Facebook pages dedicated to the joys of indie comics there was no consistent, national outlet for promotion and fan education.
ICC Mag, wisely in my opinion, does not do reviews. Instead they focus on the creators, the projects they have out for public consumption, and how said putative public can buy their work.
Also ICC ties in national media campaigns into their issues so that casual fans will have the chance to check out the newest and coolest comics out there while still being comforted by content they’re already invested in.
But all that takes money. To give you an idea how this all works, allow me to quote Carlos Raphael from Champion Comics.
“For those of you who don’t quite understand how Diamond Distributors works, I know exactly why Pam (Harrison, Chief Editor) has worked the ICC magazine the way she has. So when you get listed in Diamond catalog, usually it’s with a two-three month leeway (August posting is released in November). So in August, ICC mag is listed, and say, orders come in at 5,000. So Diamond invoices with the order amount, and the publisher is responsible for the cost of printing.
So whatever it costs the publisher to print 5,000 copies of ICC Magazine, is what is owed Diamond. Now, in 60-90 days after, Diamond will then send the publisher the check for (their share of) that amount of the orders. So a publisher must be ready to drop whatever $$$$ it will cost to cover printing for the orders, and then get reimbursed a couple months later. What if ICC Magazine is a smash dark horse hit? 20,000 orders? 40,000? Someone’s gotta pay to cover that order, before reimbursement happens. It’s why creators love a company like Image and Dark Horse, who cover those costs for the creator off the top. So that’s the reason for the Kickstarter. That’s the reason for the need for greater support. It’s also a reason independent publishers have a hell of a time surviving in Diamond Comics Distributors catalog, and prefer Kickstarters and crowdfunding. Thanks for the time, and God bless ya all. Good luck with all your projects and dreams.”
ICC Magazine is now a part of the regular Diamond offerings. Four times a year stores will be given the chance to purchase it and help their customers learn more about the comic world at large. There is another consideration: ICC Magazine is slick and professional. It’s clearly not a zine or printed blog. It is a well laid out, easy to read venue for artists to look their best. It’s an eye popping, attention getting publication.
Think of ICC this way. It’s your first chance to make a national impression. Just like you don’t show up for a first date in homemade cut-offs after not showering for a week, you shouldn’t let America’s first look at your comic come in scattered dribs and drabs. ICC allows you to make the first impression you need to start taking your work to the next level.
Simply put, supporting ICC is the easiest, and classiest, way to help your career. So go ahead, be selfish, and support yourself by supporting ICC Magazine.
- (29 days)