View Full Version : The Money side of comic books. How do you make it?

12-10-2009, 09:54 PM
I want to know how you'd make money in comics? Not just the production.The selling and profit, let's say I sell 5000 @ the rate of 2.50 a copy $12,500 is made, but how much of it do I get to keep? How does it all trickle down? From taxes, to Diamond, to the comic book store, to my production company or just me.

This is of course a printed comic in comic book shops.

I am looking @ two scenarios:

1. Published by myself.

2. Published by an independent IE Image,Dark Horse,etc.

what percentage do they take and what do I get to keep?

I know this is long and drawn out but I'm down to the final stage with my project I need to know what to expect.


Astromerc :confused:

12-11-2009, 12:54 AM
What do you mean by "final stage"? As in, you have an issue ready for print? Or have you just finished writing your story?

12-11-2009, 09:05 AM
Yes Ready to Print .

12-11-2009, 09:20 AM
Well I found a great site that gives you a break down! Costs and what not here it is if anyone else is wondering...


12-11-2009, 10:13 AM
Well I found a great site that gives you a break down! Costs and what not here it is if anyone else is wondering...

Yes, Val's write up is terrific.

What is missing however is Digital publishing. Its 20 days away from 2010.
Iphones, droids, ereaders, firefox, etc. Wowio, drunkduck, and on.
Without doing a whole write-up on the ins and outs of digital publication. I'll simply say it has its own set of pros, and cons, costs and savings.

12-11-2009, 10:13 AM
Well... this depends on the publisher and the promotion, and last but not least, the quality of your project.

If it's big time crap, it won't generate any money. If it's good there might be a few crumbles to collect.

12-11-2009, 10:17 AM
1. Selling 5000 copies is pretty hard these days. You're not clear what you mean...but I'm guessing a bit since everyone asks the same question.

Let's just say you do sell 10,000 copies...why not shoot for the moon? And cover is $3.50.

Cost of printing/shipping each book is $1. (May or may not do better....but this keeps your # the same.) So profit is $2.50 per book if you sell them yourself. But that's hard to carry around 10,000 books from comic store to comic story (or convention).

So then you sell to Diamond. Since they want to pay you 40% cover you'll get $1.4. Subtract your $1 per book cost and you make .40 per book sold. Minus the cost of shipping those books directly to Diamond...if you can ship from the printer then you'll save lots of $$. So potentially you could make $4000 - shipping costs. Remember that you've got to sell about 7500 to break even with this scenario. That last 2500 is when you make the profit. To break even on 5000 print run you'd need to sell at least 3600 copies.

Then you've got to pay your artists.

2. Every deal is different with those publishers. Only you will know. But I think you make a low %, but the rist is nil too. That is probably your best option, but it's not easy getting picked up.


L Jamal
12-11-2009, 01:52 PM
Black and white or full color?
How many pages?
What is your cost per unit? When do you get a quality break ont he unit price?
Shipping costs? Storage costs?
What's your overprint?

So many questions that need to be answered before the numbers even begin to form.

12-11-2009, 04:42 PM
Thank you, MBirkhofer for what you mentioned about digital publishing, as this is also on my mind as well. How does that work if I release a comic book online though the Iphone, droid, or a pay website? I have noticed that .99 is the average, is it 50/50,60/40,70/30?

Also thank you as well MrGranger. I was going off of the assumption of maybe selling 5000 copies. I know that is a lofty goal I just wanted some rough numbers.

I have been working on this project for better part of 2 1/2 years. I am the Co-creator, writer, artist ,and letterer on the project. I have about 50 or so issues planed with outlines for each issue (I know where the story starts and ends) one ready to be given to 5 other writers and a layout artist to help with the pipe line.

I just want to know how to best approach for publishing. I'm leaning towards going releasing the 1st 4 issues online 1 month apart and going to the Iphone or other digital downloading payment process. After that see how works then taking it to publishers like Image Etc.

How does this sound?

Also thank you everyone else for the comments as well.

Oh yes L Jamal full color and 22 pages.

12-11-2009, 06:43 PM
You may wish instead, to POD print a few issues, take them to conventions and sell them at an artist's alley table. When you have a few issues under your belt, and if people have shown interest, you may have better luck finding a publisher.

POD publishers like Ka-Blam or Comixpress are places to look for this sort of printing....

WCG Comics
12-11-2009, 07:45 PM
As everyone has said, there are a lot of variables, which you should take the time to figure out before moving forward. Esp. since you have such an ambitious plan, you want to be sure you are taking an approach to ensure you can meet your goals.

When I first started, I created a spreadsheet to figure this all out.

Obviously, you need to figure out total cost and estimate how much you'll make. This means figuring out the upfront costs, which may mean receiving estimates for your printing cost, and taking into account postage, marketing and advertising, etc. Remember that you need to include things like distributor and retailer discounts in your plan.

If you build this out correctly, you can then plug in different sales figures/scenarios to determine what kind of minimum sales you'll need to make a profit or to be able to realistically continue, including how much of a loss you will be able to absorb. For a new product/unproven publisher, it's a tough environment out there. Seeing these cold numbers may be motivation to explore other venues to release your book. Sales of 5000 is pretty ambitious, but not impossible as long as you do a lot of good advance work, which includes an ambitious marketing plan.

The POD approach is a good way to test the waters (or even going online) without too much of a financial commitment. Such opportunities were not available when I was starting out!