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A question for the published

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  • Symson
    Well said jsmith0316.

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  • jsmith0316
    That's about what I expected to hear. However I wanted to ask the question. I don't like basing my decisions off of assumption. I'm glad I asked the question as well because I certainly never intend to offend an artist with an offer.

    I don't understand how anyone can work for profits. I've noticed it takes an artist anywhere from 5-10 hours per page. Put that together with 22 pages and you're looking at very nearly a full time job (to finish one issue per month anyways). Obviously, as you stated, you can't guarantee that you will do well, but you will still have a deadline to meet before you can find out.

    I completely understand wanting to work on your own material. Obviously it's the choice anyone would make, however I have a hard time believing every talented artist is also a talented writer. If that were the case there would be no comic writers... what would be the point? The problem is that writing is a lot like singing, everybody who does it thinks they're great. It's why in traditional writing they say that if you have the basics of the English language down you've already beat out 85 percent of submissions. If you can also tell a good story you've beat another 10%, placing you in the top 5%. I've read this (or something like it) from multiple articles written by editors.

    For me, the fact is that I could be turning this into a novel, and it would probably be a lot easier path for me as I've already had some success as a traditional writer. I could write it as a script and have a damn good chance of seeing it go somewhere as I have a friend that just finished his first feature length who has wanted me to turn it into a script since he heard the idea. That's not what the story this is though.

    I guess my best shot is too keep doing what I'm doing and if it doesn't work out then I'll pay an artist when the time comes that I can do that. It's not that I'm unwilling to pay an artist. I am completely willing to invest in this project. However, in the last six months if I have had money in my bank account it's because I didn't pay a bill. My concern isn't making huge amounts of money. My concern is getting picked up by one of the smaller companies and then not being able to make deadlines because I have to keep working 50 hours a week to pay the bills, because I don't care how much fire I have, fire won't pay the bills. Though it may heat the apartment in the winter.

    But do I have the fire? Hell yeah I do. Just as important though I am chalk full of it. Dreams matter. Without dreams this industry (and any other creative industry) will chew you up, spit you out, and grind your mush into the floor. Dreams are where the passion and fire come from. I truly believe that anyone who says, "hey, I don't care if I ever make it, I just enjoy doing it." is either lying, or never going to make it anywhere. Sure, I enjoy doing it, and it's an outlet that I need and wouldn't stop doing even if I never amounted to anything. It's the dream of seeing your novel or comic or whatever on the shelf in some store that brings a project from pipe dream to completion.

    It's the dream that gets it done. Otherwise we would all just be artist and writers tooling around on message boards for the rest of our lives, never really finishing anything because really, what's the point of finishing anything if you're just doing it for your personal pleasure? What's the point of ignoring that shiny new idea to trudge through the hard work of the old one?

    I'm someone with extremely intimate knowledge of this because I spent years thinking my dreams were impossible. I chased every new shiny idea, and when it got old, when it got hard, I moved on. Something changed a few years ago. I looked at my life and decided to dream again. I decided that everyone who told me it wasn't possible because of what I didn't have or how many other people wanted the same thing were wrong. The dreaming is what got me published and I won't ever let it go.

    Sorry... Kind of a bit of a rant there. I understand what you're saying with the full of it comment. No one is going to gamble their own welfare on anyone else's dreams. Some reason the phrasing struck a bit of a nerve.

    On a side note I have never been a selfish writer on this project (this is the only project that has been a team thing). I have no problems sharing rites and equally splitting all profits. I don't even have a problem with developing the comic along side the artist or even trading off writing duties for some issues. I have the main plot points for the entire series down, but other then that there is a lot of freedom left and a lot of story that could be worked on. I actually prefer a relationship like that, it gets me thinking outside of my head.
    Last edited by jsmith0316; 04-15-2010, 12:22 AM.

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  • Symson
    There are no guarantees with back-end deals.

    No one can predict what's going to be the next Nightly News or Invincible. Just as no one can predict what's going to be (insert low selling comic title here).

    There's no way to predict who's going to be a hot artist. Jose Garcia Luis Lopez should be the hottest artist out there and yet he doesn't get the kind of love Ed Benes gets from the fans. (This is no way implies whether I think Ed is good or not.)

    There is no average return to expect to get. That's why writers who offer no pay to artists, "But I'll split the back end with you" are full of it. (Full of dreams that is; dreams.) It's an empty promise. I can't wipe my own back end with that kind of promise.

    I'm working on my own graphic novel and have been for some years now for that reason (no guarantees). I continue to do paying gigs and do my own stuff in-between.

    If I'm going to sacrifice my time and talent, why not do it for myself, not somebody else? Even though I have run across one first-time comic book writer I made an exception for because (a) I was approached in a professional manner (not with all these delusions of grandeur and empty promises) and (b)the story really knocked me out. There have been other stories that have tempted me, but I'm drawing the line there.

    I'm not counting on the back end of my graphic novel to pay my bills. If it hits, then fine. If not, at a least I told my story and I haven't damaged my life in the process.

    There are only two ways to make a living doing comics.

    1. Work for a company that pays pro rates and be on time. Working fast can help.
    I spoke to a hot super talented artist (that everyone knows) and he was bemoaning how everyone thought he was making all this money, but it took him too long to get a book done, so he was struggling for the past year. I realized I made more money then he did, because I produced a book every month (at that time)even though I'm sure his page rate was much higher than mine.

    2. Your creation that you sacrificed and gambled on becomes a success and you're making TMNT and Spawn type money or at the very least Invincible money. You have to be willing to pour your blood sweat and tears into it no matter what the pay off will be.

    Just a note to writers looking for artists:

    Be willing to invest in your own dream. Don't expect an artist you don't know to buy into your dream by offering a back-end deal only/low pay up front and back-end deal. Forget that 50/50 backend split also. That artist will disappear on you when something comes along that puts food on the table.

    Oh and please don't insult artists by offering low pay/no pay upfront and then say, "I want the rights to everything. I created the characters, etc., etc." Okay then maybe you should become a novelist. That way you can keep your precious characters and story.

    In this field, see how far you get with your precious characters and story without an artist. You can't ask an artist to share in the risks without sharing the spoils of victory. You can check every writer's board on every comic book thread and see how many have stalled because of the no investment and mine, mine mine mentality or some combination of it. And you can see just as many crying, "My artist disappeared on me." Granted there are some flaky artists out there, but I can guess the main reason they bailed out.

    Okay I'm going off track here.

    Ultimately it's your decision based on the fire inside you.

    Creative people are the only people who create without being asked to everyday.

    Is that the fire you have inside?

    P.S. I don't hate writers.

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  • jsmith0316
    started a topic A question for the published

    A question for the published

    Okay, so some of you may have seen what I'm working on with Dead Kittens. I just have a question for those who have been published or have some sort of knowledge of the smaller "profit only" companies.

    I know people say that comics are a poor man's game unless you are one of the lucky few, but what can someone realistically expect from a profit only deal? I know there's no hard and fast answer to this question, I'm just looking for a range. I live in a part of the country where cost of living is pretty low, and I'm trying to get an idea whether it's realistic for me to submit to smaller companies (doing the writing, penciling, and lettering would require me to quit my job in order to meet a monthly deadline).

    Right now I make about 1900-2100 a month (before tax). Things are extremely tight, but we survive. Could a person realistically hope to make that per month on profits, or is it much lower (as I expect it would be)? I'm willing to do anything to tell this story and get it out there. So if that's not a realistic expectation I will probably have to continue searching for a team to put this thing together, leaving me free to just write and letter.

    I hope this is the right place for this.

    Thanks all,

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