View Full Version : A case for back end deals

03-24-2017, 05:30 PM
The Witcher Author Made A Huge Miscalculation With The CD Projekt Red Licensing Deal (http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2017/03/24/the-witcher-author-made-a-huge-miscalculation-with-the-cd-projekt-red-deal.aspx)

"I was stupid enough to sell them rights to the whole bunch," he continued. "They offered me a percentage of their profits. I said, 'No, there will be no profit at all give me all my money right now! The whole amount.' It was stupid. I was stupid enough to leave everything in their hands because I didn't believe in their success. But who could foresee their success? I couldn't."

Talk about an extreme miscalculation. CD Projekt Red's successful Witcher trilogy has catapulted the studio's worth, which was recently valued at $1.6 billion.

paul brian deberry
03-24-2017, 08:03 PM
Yup! This a prime example. A very rare example, but still a great one. Honestly this guy was an idiot. Specially, when it comes to video games. If some video game company wants to make your book into a video game. You make the George Lucas deal.

This is sorta like Sean Connery passing on the role of Gandalf because he didn't understand the part.

I am 100% behind "back end" deals. I think artist/creators, guys with very little experience not working regularly are stupid to not take "back end" deals.

Stewart Vernon
03-24-2017, 09:03 PM
Not all back-end deals are created equally. IF you need money now, for whatever reason, then it's reasonable to want more up-front. I get that. Whether you have confidence in the project or not, having a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, or so they say.

Flip side, though... don't pass on back-end residuals unless you're going to ignore it and not worry about it. IF you're going to stay involved or pay attention, you might as well defer something and take a back-end deal, because you never know when your thing might work out and you can get a bigger payday later.

03-24-2017, 10:17 PM
Back end deals with a real company is the way to go.Sign shit. Random people who just want free art for their comic who offer back end deals can kick rocks.

03-24-2017, 11:57 PM
what he said. it's not called "back end" for nothing. :p

Steven Forbes
03-25-2017, 01:29 PM
I'm not a big believer in back-end deals for comics. I've done a few--am currently doing one now--but I'm not a big believer in them.

The reason is simple: 99.9% of comics aren't going anywhere. They are planned for, but they don't get produced. If they are produced, they aren't printed. If they are printed, they aren't marketed/sold to the masses. Maybe a few for a convention (if a creator gets that far), maybe a few to your favorite LCS, and that's it.

Most don't get beyond the production stage because printing is expensive.

This is why I don't do back-end deals as a creator. Not unless the person has previously printed, marketed, and sold several issues previously.

The only other way I'd work for back-end is if I knew the person and/or wanted to work with them on a project, and it seemed like fun. I remember one project from some DW alums, No Shit Sherlock, that seemed extremely fun and that I wanted to be a part of. I offered to do that for free/back end. There were a couple of others.

If more creators followed through on actually making comics (myself included), then back-end deals wouldn't have the stigma it has in our industry.

My thoughts.


03-25-2017, 09:20 PM
Totally spot on Steven when it comes to a fun collaboration. That is payment enough if you're doing it with friends : )

03-26-2017, 01:39 PM
Back end payment for comics is a good thing when is well applied and in the right context.
Problem is, nobody want or know how to do to do it in fair terms for the artists. Those obnoxious individuals who carry with the artwork and designs.
And what I am talking here is about the book's inception. When all the writing concept must become artistic designs and paged artwork. When the first sale of the book has to be made.
Why a writer-author would offer a back end payment instead paying cash? Simple. Because this is a way of get all the artistic job done, designs and pages without expending any money from his pocket. Fair enough.
But, as artist I would rather have shared ownership which includes back end payment as well.
Or a low page rate payment with back end included.
My preferred payment formula as artist is: a low page rate after job completion, plus shared ownership including back end payments as well.
This way the artist who must expend 3 or 4 months (or more) working on a book for free has the option of having a compensation as co-creator with share of the book's property rights with the author, even if book is never printed or published or if it is published with low sales that wont allow in any way to achieve the referred back end payment. Or any further kind of payment.
Why shared ownership? Well, because even if the book is never printed or distributed online and the idea has potential it could be commercialized in the future on different media and it become a movie, video game, TV show or merchandise some day. Even if that day arrives 30 years after the artwork is done. As this apparently happens as constant with many successful comics books we already know.
See the billions that can be made with the same concept used in a different media? Well, these billions cant never ever be made in comics media. But these same concepts can be introduced and popularized by comics media for a comparative lower cost, even when paying a very good page rate to artists.
Back end payment by itself is a suicidal for any artist unless is one of the big four comics publishers who is offering it.(This will never happen.)
Or the artist is testing himself. Artists who willy-nilly go on work for free or only backend usually would desert the project after working few pages.
Individual authors want sole ownership of the book? Pay a good page rate to artist on full and forget about dragging a deal with artist when book is done.
For the record: Unless the author or publisher are capable to afford the print of 10k on book copies and sell at least 6,000 books afterwards there is no back end for nobody. Never. DO THE MATHS. It's for free.
If you want make a comics book and your expectations are nobody will be interested on it or the book will never sell. Please, don't do it.
Or do it all by yourself, writing and artwork, not complicating the lives of anyone else in-between.

03-29-2017, 10:26 AM
Knowledge dropping on page rates :


03-29-2017, 11:27 AM
It's not rocket surgery.

Do your due diligence. Never turn down an offer without looking at it properly. Who makes the offer, what do they back it up with, how will they fulfill their promises?

And I use the word promise there very intentionally. A proper back-end deal is a promise.
It's a promise that while the money is not there to pay you up front, you will get a much higher financial reward after completing the project.

It's not a gamble. If someone is offering to pay you 'post' without explicitly telling you what you can expect, when you can expect it and how it's all going to happen, then it's not a 'back end deal', it's a fucking lie.