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View Full Version : would anybody pay money for a book on type design?


Clem Robins
03-05-2013, 12:30 PM
i'm thinking about writing a short book, in PDF format, on type design for comic books. i'm hesitant to do so, because it would blab all of my secrets. but if i could make a few bucks off it, i guess it would be worth it. i was thinking of charging forty bucks for it.

maybe i'm putting my head on the chopping block by even asking, but would any of you be interested in something like this?

Evan Henry
03-05-2013, 12:44 PM
I'd pay forty bucks for a hardcover (or a good-sized trade paperback) on type design, definitely! I think forty smackeroos is a little outside standard eBook price range, though (it's not like I can say for sure, as I hardly ever buy them). More realistically, you might want to look at a price point somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of that.

That said, I don't know that there's a whole lot of competition as far as books like that go, particularly if it's comic-focused. If you're one of only a few books in the category, you could probably get away with a somewhat higher price than an average eBook of comparable length.

I'd buy it! :)

khperkins
03-05-2013, 01:57 PM
I would pay $40 for a hardcover. PDF, epub, TPB any of those formats not so much.

Thomas Mauer
03-05-2013, 02:42 PM
Same as the other guys. It would sit nicely on my design shelf right next to Leslie Cabarga's Fontlab and Design Bible books.

NicShaw
03-05-2013, 03:43 PM
Dito, put it into a physical book I'd shell out forty clams.
Not for an ebook though.

Bishop
03-05-2013, 06:14 PM
I'm with the others. I'd be unlikely to purchase any ebook for more than $9.99.

The Trout
03-05-2013, 06:20 PM
While I'd love to read said book, I'd never pay more than $10 for an eBook unless the size of it was extraordinary.

Piekos
03-05-2013, 06:40 PM
I'd pay $40 for all your secrets in hardcover print. But that's way too expensive for an epub.

~N

Evan Henry
03-05-2013, 10:17 PM
Oh, and in case the others above didn't get the point across -- ePub is really where the ebook market is at the moment. PDF is workable as well, but I don't know of any digital marketplace (other than DriveThruComics and a few other places) that actually sell them, so in that case you would have to do it through your own website. If you have an ePub, you can get into Barnes & Noble's nook book store, and I think Amazon will convert to Kindle format at no extra charge.

khperkins
03-06-2013, 08:56 AM
Oh, and in case the others above didn't get the point across -- ePub is really where the ebook market is at the moment. PDF is workable as well, but I don't know of any digital marketplace (other than DriveThruComics and a few other places) that actually sell them, so in that case you would have to do it through your own website. If you have an ePub, you can get into Barnes & Noble's nook book store, and I think Amazon will convert to Kindle format at no extra charge.
Also Smashwords, which will put it in all formats for you I think.

Clem Robins
03-06-2013, 10:06 AM
i've never heard of these other formats. thanks for the tip.

i'm trying to think of a way to justify the time this would take, and the divulging of a few ideas that i've developed over the last few years.

i understand the hesitation to lay out that kind of cash for an e-book of any kind. i wouldn't either, unless whatever information the e-book contained would prove valuable.

the problem for me is that the market for a book of this sort is so small.

thanks for the feedback. i gots to mull this over, i guess.

Thomas Mauer
03-06-2013, 01:11 PM
It would probably be best to go print-on-demand with a hardcover.

HdE
03-06-2013, 01:44 PM
i understand the hesitation to lay out that kind of cash for an e-book of any kind. i wouldn't either, unless whatever information the e-book contained would prove valuable.

I think I more or less said this elsewhere, but if I felt I was going to get some juicy info that wasn;t easy to find elsewhere, I'd lay down money in a shot. The asking price, to fair degree, wouldn't even be an issue. I'd budget for it. I won't claim to be the typical consumer, but for what it's worth that's my standpoint.

the problem for me is that the market for a book of this sort is so small.

Something that occured to me on taht point is that you MIGHT just sell some copies on the strength of your presentation, and if you can widen the focus of its appeal somehow beyond comic book lettering. I've got no bright ideas HOW you might do that, but maybe it's something additional you can think about.

I suggest this because I know of cases where folks have picked up the Comicraft guide to lettering, not because they were seeking an informative guide to th eprocess (which that book DOES provide) but just because they were taken with the LOOK of the book and had a passing interest in making comics. You wouldn't credit it, but it's true!

superggraphics
03-06-2013, 03:28 PM
Just a thought Clem, but you may want to consider crowd funding it through Kickstarter. And a book on type design by you would be a must have.

G

NicShaw
03-06-2013, 05:40 PM
Yeah I'd pop some cash in a kitty if you kicked off a kickstarter!

Clem Robins
03-07-2013, 12:17 AM
kickstarter? by a weird coincidence, i just heard of that for the first time last night, while drawing the figure with some friends.

here's my boggle, guys. i want to share what i've learned, because i think it would advance our craft just a weensy bit. but in so doing, it will make whatever i have to offer to publishers a little bit less unique, and therefore a little bit less worth a premium page rate. this is why i want to charge a high price for it. it would make me less valuable a man, and i'd want to be recompensed for this. does that make any sense?

what i have to share, i might add, is solely for fanatics, for people willing to design all of their own type, and are willing to spend a chunk of most days adding extra glyphs to fonts. and at present, the market is not rewarding fanatics with big bucks, like it once did.

it would cover contextual ligatures, how to make display type with varying line weights, how to make template balloons which meld well with artwork, and so on.

this is only for dangerous psychos, who would think nothing of burying themselves in problems like this for days on end. everything i would share would come at a high price, the least of which being what i would charge for the information. the real high price is the time you would have to spend designing type and template balloons and so on.

i'm kinda thinking that someone like that would probably figure out all of these things on his own, and maybe do it better.

plus i have an advantage here which i can't sell or share: every font i make comes out of my own hand-lettering style, which gives all of the fonts some sense of familial resemblance.

here's something i can give you for free. if you want to design comic book fonts, do hand lettering. a lot of it. buy Todd's book on lettering and practice what he taught. get hand lettering jobs, even for peanuts, and learn the craft. develop an opinion on what you think is really good lettering. this is the foundation of the whole thing. one thing Gaspar taught me, when i expressed my admiration for his display lettering, was that all of his fancy lettering was just an amplification of his own handwriting. his handwriting (he did not say) happens to be exquisitely elegant and cultivated. but it's still his handwriting.

superggraphics
03-07-2013, 01:42 AM
To me, it's not about the money, it's about the craft alone. I'm currently relettering artwork from over 38 years ago. I'm reproducing hand lettering from some of the great masters from back then (Jean Izzo, Ben Oda, and Irv Watanabe) and I am enjoying every minute of it. I won't make a dime, but I'm learning volumes from the masters of lettering whose work I'm trying to recreate for a modern audience. Clem, I'm sure that myself and others here would pony up for a volume of your work and expertise. Kickstart it and see how it goes. It costs absolutely nothing but your time and effort to get going and you'll find out once and for all if there truly is an audience for a high scale edition of your vast and valuable knowledge.

G

Thomas Mauer
03-07-2013, 03:43 AM
Few people would actually go so far as to create fonts even if they do have the information and resources. While you would provide the tools, they'd have to be picked up and used extensively in the first place.

Add to that the years of practice it takes to be satisfied with one's own work (ballooning and hand lettering), I don't think there'd suddenly be a glut of contenders if you did release the book.

Not so sure about the Kickstarter route myself since I can see what you mean with cheapening your own value. It could be a nice way to gauge interest and create publicity for yourself and the craft though.

Print-on-demand would allow producing hardcovers without the need for a large printing bill or storage requirement, so that's why I suggested that.

Scribbly
03-07-2013, 07:06 AM
It looks as fantastic idea to have all your lettering expertise
and secrets in a book.
But what about saving it for be released after your retirement?

It would become a book of cult, as these Eisner's books on storytelling are.
Just saying it.

What about working it out as a second version, more detailed one, of a DC guide?
With actual samples of your lettering work and your process?
It would put the book in a spot for worldwide sales.

I'll buy it.

Clem Robins
03-07-2013, 11:49 PM
thanks, Scribbly.

i suspect that by the time i retire, everything i have figured out will be common knowledge.

gotta think about this.

would anybody be interested in, instead of a book, a workshop or a seminar in some central location? i routinely drop a thousand bucks a year to take workshops with painters i admire. might this be a way to go?

superggraphics
03-08-2013, 12:52 AM
It would probably be more cost effective from your potential audiences end/P.O.V. to purchase a book from you than to incur travel and additional expenses (hotel, eating, i.e.) to migrate to wherever you would choose to do a seminar, not to mention the fact that the attendees would most likely expect some form of a hard copy of the seminar you would give. I'd stick with the book as I believe you'd reach a wider and more permanent audience and achieve what it seems you'd like to do in the end. And Kickstarter wouldn't cheapen your goal or image, it's just the future way of funding projects and ensuring their success with a built in audience. Image, Top Cow, Devil's Due and other independent and mainstream publishers are already embracing the process with much success.

G

Thomas Mauer
03-08-2013, 05:09 PM
Since I'm in Germany an offline seminar would be out of the question.

Clem Robins
03-10-2013, 11:42 PM
i've shared a book with you, Thomas. i don't know if you need anything i have to tell you, pal. you had the best lettering in the comic.

adamw
03-13-2013, 01:21 AM
I throw in for a kickstarter for sure. That might be the best way to go.

If you can estimate how long it might be, you can get instant quotes from print-on-demand places like Ka-Blam or RA Comics Direct. (Personally, I've heard RA Comics has a much better quality.

With a quote, you will at least be able to get an idea of the money involved, and then decide if it's worth it or not.