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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » At what point do you pre-sell? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: At what point do you pre-sell?
Charles
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This is a question for Michel Gagne and other ANers experienced with self publishing. At what point during the development/production of your new property do you set up the pre-sell? When your book is sent to the printer? Prior to that? Do you wait for the proof or the inventory to come in before you sell?

It would be helpful reference to get the input of self publishers and authors here.

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Charles
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To clarify, by pre-sell I'm refering to having the system in place that can accomodate sales prior to the shipping of the book.

With that in mind also, at what point do you begin promoting and marketing your upcoming book, DVD, whatever it may be.

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roger
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Hi,
We have published several titles our selves and there is nothing wrong with getting some healthy interest before you have your first run. It can give you a realistic insight in the amount of copys you will have printed, but customers who sign up before hand do need to know what they are gooing to be paying (so you have to do your maths beforehand) and when they will receive their goods. Make sure there is some safe time planning to allow for the unexpected for the whole production process. The best promise you can give people is an order now and get some discount or only pre orders will be signed by author. Shipping will start (date in the near future let say a month after the printer should deliver his goods to you). The other thing that works well is inform them you will be running a limited batch and get yours quick before it runs out. Problem with that is there will be no reprints after the first initial run, so if you have a hunch you are onto a bestseller this is not an option, if it is an expensive artbook... re runs are quite often unlikely.
For example we have still stock left from some productions, some have run out instantly. The other thing to be aware of is that printers quite often have a + or - 10% over or under run in the amount of books they will produce. On a hundred books that might not seem a lot but if its a thousand, you could be a hundred copys short for your orders, and a re run for just a hundred books will be an expensive one. Or they deliver a hundred books more than you where expecting... and bumps up your initial investment. In my experience the overun is the most common as printers see this as an easy option to earn a little more.

Hope this helps

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Greg B
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Charles that all depends on whom you know.

I know many distributors and comics distributors and collectors. All I have to do is tell them I'll be putting out a book and they'll let me know what orders they'll take. On word alone I'm good yet on others I have to show some art and progress.

These however are people I've worked with in the past who've seen my production level and know I work fast and work hard.

If you don't have such relationships one might want to contact as many distributors and bookstores and get them to sign up to your email list or just copy some art on poster stock paper and autograph it and send it in. Keep their interest UP on the project. Send in new autographed sketches once a month until your book comes out.

People can't stand to see the 'other' guy get the deal so along the line you'll gain interest and allies. Every little bit helps.

So it's about relationships and communication regarding production. In some cases you may ge 3% resell of your target but that resell surges to 100% of your goal or more once production is done. In other instances if your 'name' is strong enough you'll get 100% of your goal and more.

So it's about always, relationships and communication.

Always be on time, always be courteous and never send out art that's great but the final product looks like crap.

In the 80's and 90's so many 'hype' artists ruined productions because of pre-orders based on poster art in a magazine. Customers would wait til the sun baked biscuits in their butts for a book to come out and then lost interest.

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Gagne Michel
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Hi Charles,

we pre-sell through our distributors about 6 months in advance for the book market and 3 months for the direct market.

In the case of comics, we only solicit to the direct market through Diamond Comics.

Information can be found here:
http://vendor.diamondcomics.com/public/

Our books, on the other hand, are distributed through Diamond Books http://www.diamondbookdistributors.com/ , Ingram http://www.ingrambook.com/ , Baker & Taylor http://www.btol.com/ , Last Gasp http://www.lastgasp.com/ and a few others. We send catalog info about 6 months prior to release and usually get the orders about 6 weeks prior to printing. Knowing the pre-orders helps us determine our print run.

We've never done print on demand. All are books have been offset printing. We've printed in Canada, Hong Kong and China and have used 5 different printers. Our print run usually range between 3000 and 5000.

Without distribution in place, it's hard to get pre-sales. All our pre-sales have always been through our distribution network. I'm sure there are other ways but they would probably involve more "guerilla warfare" techniques.

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Greg B
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Gagne, what about your web sales?

Do you sell directly from your website?

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Gagne Michel
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Yes, we do sell through our websites. Everything is set-up with Paypal and it works great. My wife takes care of shipping and packaging.

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knowledge
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Hey Michel, with you and your wife being so busy I can help you with the spending of the loot!! [funny]
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Gagne Michel
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By the way Charles, my distributors used to want to see a mock-up of the completed book but now they're happy with a cover image and a description.

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Charles
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Michel, thanks for your reply. The input you provided has been very helpful as with other comments posted here by Roger and Greg. I'd like to describe what I'm doing to go along with the advice and suggestions and also to get a word out.

I announced this to the group at the Academy's session last night. Although the formal online announcement is on its way, this will serve as part of the pre-sell I guess.

I've been working on my first book. I'm just about done with it. I'll have it completed in a few more days. I'd say by this time next week it'll be finished and ready for the printer.

Based upon what I've read here, it sounds like I could have gotten started sooner as far as pre-selling is concerned. I wanted to be sure that the book was a reality before I started promoting it or making arrangements for sales. At this point I'm comfortable in publicly stating that it's on the very near horizon. I figure I'll have the finished product in my hands sometime next month.

Based upon what I've read so far, this would be a good time to begin pre-sales. Would you agree that it's time to move in that direction?

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Greg B
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Good for you Charles. Get yourself someone who can do promotion for you and you'll be a-okay. I can put some words in for you with some distributor folks or agents if you don't have one.

Michel has supported my point earlier that once you get established and trusted you can just show some art and get pre-sales. It's about reliability and trust. Once you get over those hurdles you're good to go.

Bottom line here is that everyone and their brother can put out a book nowadays but is that book worthy of breaking the barriers? Is it original yet familiar enough? Professional or amateur?

I'm sure with what you'll be putting out Charles it'll be a fine first step to many, many more! If your books are educational they'll get picked up by libraries and schools. Now THERE is some crazy loot!

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Greg B
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In addition for pros.

With the expansion of the market base via the internet you can reach untold millions overnight with the right link.

I've got dozens of friends who have radio shows who promote books. Matter of fact one of them is the #1 site for selling a book on Amazon. One appearance you hit #1 at Amazon.

It depends on your target audience.

So let's say you put out an art book or graphic novel with a $10 price tag. You could print 1,000 copies, autograph em' and let em' sit in your garage and sell from home. Add to that website links and even offer an affiliate program and others will sell FOR you. A tidy sum could be had that way easy.

Radio is still one of not the hottest ways to sell books. The advantage art books and comics have is that the cover prices are higher and if produced by the artist the higher percentage of cover price can be gleaned. You bypass standard 60%+ off cover some distributors charge.

Lower print runs, higher price tag, direct to consumer...don't get better unless they were showing up to your front door.

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SNAKEBITE
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I don't feel comfortable with presales when it comes to independent publications. lots of stuff can happen between the "pre" and the "sales".

I think its wise to get as much done and polished
before you hit the market, even a few books in the hole if you have the patience. I have found with alot of artists, including myself, that we get very excited
putting together a book in the beginning. getting alot of pages done, then sht rent is due, gotta get other gigs, hard to find the pace again to produce.
inspiration is lacking...oh man, the presales, gotta get this done, rush rush.

the book can either not get done to make that self inflicted deadline or it
gets done rushed and not as good as the first part...some people need that drama to make sht happen, I don't.

Charles is at a point where he's almost finished so this might not really apply but if he was asking earlier in production I would suggest to hold off until he is 100 percent happy with his first self publishing venture. the market doesn't know it exists until you're ready for them to know.so why rush it?

Having a couple of books done is good for market response. if they respond well you'll be ready for the next round . don't want to let them wait too long for the second one, the market has short attention spans.

just one mans experience.

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SNAKEBITE
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in addition, self publication is about self gratification. when it comes to books theres no real
profit model that applies to everyone. success is making enough to fund the next round. as much as I know Charles books will have an impact even he knows
he's not gonna see a house from this right off the bat (although I wouldn't be surprised). but what Im tryin to say is that its about the quality in every aspect.

the page remembers what the body forgets.

Im not sayin take your sweet assss time, Im sayin its ok not to presale. theres no evidence that that helps anything other than feeling good people are noticing you.

and hell, AN has a great fan and participant base.
I'm guessing he'll sell out of his initial order just from AN viewers alone.

bet

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Charles
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There's a definite educational aspect to it. It's been in the works for a long time, gradually emerging. It's not something I'm kicking together at the spur of the moment. Started working on it in earnest last year, then got sidetracked, then picked it up again about a month ago and am bringing it on home as I write this.

I plan on getting a small run printed at first. I'm thinking around 500. My chances of initially selling through at that level are better. I'll be setting aside a number for family. With students, friends, colleagues, I think it'll do okay. I planned on selling face to face and online. If the book moves I'll print another run.

I'm in the process of getting bids from printers right now plus I'm almost finished with this. I'm only a few days away. Working with the text, numbering pages, proof reading, taking care of technical details. Very close. Once I've got a printer lined up and the production process has started, I'll test the waters will a pre-sale and see how it goes.

Your comments are helpful guys, thanks. As soon as I'm done with this one I've got another lined up. I can have a second publication out in just a few more months. This first one is going to be the initial learning experience. I'm enthusiastic about making books. It's fun to do.

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Brian Reynolds
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Hey there Charles, sign me up for one of the first run books, I've been waiting years to finally get it and I definitely want to be one of the first to get a copy. [Smile]

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Gagne Michel
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I posted this in the other thread about self-publishing by mistake. It should have been posted here. Moderator, would you please remove the duplicated post in the other thread.

Post:

Hey Charles - I don't think you're late at all. I never solicit anything until it's completed and ready to ship to the printer. Having the finished book sit for a few months prior to printing is a good way to catch errors. My advice is to finish the book, test it out with distributors to gauge interest. Once, you've got feedback from distributors, decide on your print run.

As far as money goes - I have been doing self-publishing for 10 years and I have yet to turn a real profit. After all your expenses (warehousing, freight, publicity, printing, tradeshows, donations, etc.) there's isn't much left. A single ad in the Ingram catalog will run you $6000! I certainly don't do it for the money, I do it out of love for the medium.

Eventhough I have enjoyed self-publishing tremendously and will keep doing it to some extent, most of my current book projects will be published by other publishers. Sad to say, but there's only so much you can achieve as a self-publisher...

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Greg B
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Gagne I can't believe you haven't turned a profit with your talent.

If not, I just think it's a matter of promotion. You need to find the right person to see the value of your work and hit the public with it.

Heck, I've always turned a profit publishing and just realized I should get off my ass as soon as I'm done doing my studies and publish stuff. I do admit I've been in publishing since I was a teenager and have always, always done well. I guess the internet and it's easy money are making me lazy!

Charles, when you're ready to promote your new book you just drop me an email. I'm sure you're gonna sell a heckuva lot more than just 500. Like I've told you before, you've got pals out here who lurk on the boards [Wink]

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Greg B
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Shucks! I jot got me an idea!

Stand by gang. Anyone who would wanna illustrate a children's book stand by.

I'm gonna ask some popular media folks I work with if they'd be up to writing a children's book. If they say yes then that's 90% of the battle cause their tv and radio shows promote huge.

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Gagne Michel
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Greg - From my experience and talking with publishers, it's very hard to start showing real profit when you're printing only a few thousand books. None of my books have sold over 10 000 copies yet. The editor of Flight at Random house told me that 10 000 sold copies would signify a flop for a big publisher. In fact, they would loose a significant amount of money if that's all they sold. To start making good money, you need to be in the 20, 30 & 50 000 bracket. These numbers, are very difficult to handle as a self-publisher.

There are people like Jeff Smith and my pal Terry Moore who make a good living self-publishing but their business has pretty much taken over their lives. I'm not as dedicated as they are to one medium. I like to do animation, books, comics, fine art, concepts etc. I don't want to spend all my time doing self-publishing. That's why I'm happy with my success and do not wish to grow my publishing business beyond what it is.

From this point on, I'll let others handle the publishing for the projects I feel have big numbers possibilities, and will continue to self-publish projects that I feel are more limited in their mainstream appeal.

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Greg B
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Gagne, re-read my post. If you go to a 'big publisher' there's no way in heck you're going to make a profit with a few thousand books. My point was SELF publishing. Believe me, if you self publish you can make a wallop of a profit from a full thousand books if you sell correctly.

A well done art book or nice sized graphic novel with a phat cover price sold from source would do quite well. In the old days prep work took up all the costs. Nowadays you do your own prep work at home and just email the stuff in. That's where the savings comes in.

Paper costs nowadays are more expensive but not that much.

SELF is the key here and patience.

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SNAKEBITE
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Gange does top notch hard bound books.

what is the missing link between his sales and his potential sales if he's got the quality thing covered?

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Dennis Woodyard
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I took a one day class a while back and the instructor recommended this book as "The Bible" for self-publishing, Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, 16th Edition: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book.

Here's the Amazon link:
Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual


It covers all aspects of self-publishing including self-promotion, and presents a very specific timeline from concept to release date and sale.

It's worth checking out.

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The Gods that smiled when you were born are Laughing now - My Favorite Fortune Cookie Saying

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Greg B
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Snakebite, Gagne's books must be top quality judging from his work on his site.

I don't know his admin architecture so I'd have to assume he's got people publishing 'for' him? If not he may not be taking advantage or aware of advantages that would get more sales.

If you have quality products, you will make a profit. If you're not, you have to look objectively at what you're presenting, who is part of the developement and who isn't.

Are others selling your books 'for' you via their websites? That's a major plus right there. There are people chomping at the bit for products to sell on Ebay or their own websites and via Amazon to name a few.

Are your products accessible to marketing. Do you utilize the licensing groups such as LIMA?

Who is your niche?

Example, let's say you publish books about unicorns. Then you make sure you exploit every possible marketing/communications system for reaching that market base. Let them know there's a product to be had and they'll come to you.

Showin' off is good!

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Charles
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Dennis, I've been referring to that book (14th edition) thanks to Offbeat's generosity. He loaned it to me a few months ago and I've been reading through it periodically in regards to the book I'm working on.

As far as presales are concerned, the author pretty much recommends not starting too early or too late. He suggests waiting until the book is at the press for a first timer. He goes on to say that the first time is a learning experience and to expect delays and assorted potential problems arising, to wait and be sure that everything's in place before you actually start selling. I'm paraphrasing, but all in all his advice is consistent with my own thinking as to how to approach and handle presales.

He makes a strong point concerning promotion and creates the impression that promoting is more important than pre-selling. He mentions that promoting your book a year in advance is not too soon, and to build as much anticipation for it as you can ahead of time.

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Gagne Michel
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Hey Greg - Except for "The Saga of Rex" which is being serialized in the Flight annual anthology published by Random House, I publish everything myself.

I have a good distribution network and plenty of on-line retailers sell my books. Just do a google search ( http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22michel+Gagne%22+books&btnG=Search ).

There are bookstores and comics stores selling my books all over the world - I was recently in Singapore and was shocked to see that some bookstores there were carrying my books.

I think I've been quite succesful as a self-publisher and I'm constantly asked to lecture on the subject at colleges and conventions. Yet, despite all that, there is very little profit to show for. That is the nature of the self-publishing business. I'm just a little guy, not a big corporation with tons of capital for advertisement and marketing.

Have you ever self-published, Greg? If so, did you make tons of money at it? If you did, then I offer you my most sincere congratulations. You should be the one lecturing on the subject, not me.

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monkeydad
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Michel, I first picked up "Flight" because of "Rex", and now I'm hopelessly addicted to the series. What a terrific venue for short alternative stories, or serials like yours.

My wallet is now significantly lighter having bought all the existing volumes of Flight, but I'm enjoying it and find it tremendously inspiring. Thanks for clueing in us clueless ones about it's existence.

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Greg B
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Gagne, yes, I've been in publishing for around 30 years. Newspapers, books, magazines.

We had a huge publishing company in my hometown as well. It used to be called Western Publishing. I was lucky as I had them to study under and at the same time was working for the Gannett News Service one of the biggest news publishers in the U.S.. I think I published my first comic in '86. 12,000 copies. Actually sold out in around 5 days. It was during the b/w comics days then. Everyone said I wouldn't sell but I did. Actually there were some big time independent comics publishing from the same printing company as I and they put that company under with unpaid bills. The printing company then asked me to sell the other companies' comics! I was lucky because I had distribution and collector ties as well as a small fandom. Made a profit! I kept drawing more books and other publishers would publish them. In retrospect I did good! Published two more comics in the 90s, made a profit. Combined my small comics publishing stuff with being published by other companies as well.

Now I think I see a pattern here. I was working at all levels of publishing. Brokering deals, working for companies, publishing myself, working with distributors and exploiting new areas of distribution. That's when the web opened up and I saw the potential of the web instead but the graphics programs couldn't match the quality til the mid '90's.

So I think my meager-to-resounding successes are based in the fact that I don't put all my eggs in one basket. Heck, even today I see some of my stuff on Ebay! Pisses me off too. Guys getting 400% of cover in some cases.

Gagne, how much is the cover price to your books? If you're selling 3-5,000 copies I'm hoping with your talent those cover prices are $7-$10. If not, they should be! Your work is beautiful. I've not bought your books but I first heard of your books from mass media market.

Do you go to the LIMA shows? If you're not going to the LIMA shows you are missing out big time. You would be a hit at those shows.

So I've been in all areas of publishing and can't think of anytime a profit wasn't made by me. I've seen publishers lose money but not on my stuff. They lost money on their own misfortunes.

So if you're not making a profit I can't figure out why.

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Greg B
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Okay Gagne, I see the cover prices of your books are in the 'goodie' range. What's the overhead of publishing? If you were selling direct to consumer with $12 cover prices and circulations of 3-5,000 you should be rolling in dough unless your overhead from printing is abominable. Mind you, if you're doing the writing, illusrating, editing etc. those are salaries you should afford yourself and if you can't you write them off.

If you're publishing yourself with a good four to five figure circulation # direct to customer and even via distributor with %50 off cover you should be doing great unless there are fees you're paying I'm unaware of. If the printers are charging you an arm and a leg they should be beaten. Find another company to bid on the projects to lower that overhead. If lawyers are inflating your overhead find new lawyers.

With your talent you should be making six figures easy with your web presence and track record.

I've been spending more of my time the past 10 years in web publishing. For me it's faster, easier more solid profit. I spent part of this year chatting with my pals who are and were in publishing hard copies including newspapers. Newspapers are getting their asses kicked. So are far too many book publishers. It's scary at times. Some authors make a good five figures and some far more but those are rare. Visual books on fine quality paper with today's reproduction quality I feel are a more solid investment. Niche novels still reach and can build a solid backbone.

It all boils down to necessity and quality and spin.

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Gagne Michel
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Well Greg, not sure how you do it. I applaud your success. It seems that you're equally good at art and business. That's rare for an artist. I tip my hat to you, sir. Well done.

Now here's my reality. Distributors won't keep you long if you don't advertise with them. Like I mentioned before, ads are extremely expensive (up to $6000 for a single ad with some distributors). That's most of your profits right there. Freight cost is also expensive. I pay a warehousing fee of $150 a month. Insurance (liability and inventory) is not cheap either. Due to the huge amount of traffic my website gets (up to 1.5 million hits a month) I can no longer benefit from the cost saving of a shared server and have to pay $75/month for a dedicated server and bandwidth. I also donate a percentage of my books to charitable organizations.

It took me 5 years to break even. Now, I can self-publish a book and know that I have the mechanisms in place to have it pay for itself. I'm grateful of that, but I'm realistic and understand that I need another source of income if I am to make ends meet.

There are many benefits to self-publishing, far greater than making a quick buck. If someone's primary reason for self-publishing is making money, I suggest they try another field... or apprentice under Greg B. [Wink]

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SNAKEBITE
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at one point, I have to have examples to see the point. I have my theories too, but would like to see
direct reference of models you speak of, Greg.

You've been talking this game for awhile now and I have yet to see an example of what you are talking about. other than tactics already on the field.

and sht bro, if you can sell that much and do art for a living full time. why don't ya? thats just retardation to a guy like me.

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SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
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that wasn't rhetorical

any examples?

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Greg B
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Gagne, now I see what you're talking about.

At first you were dependent on the standard model and that's where the rub is.

With 1.5 million hits a month you have to be on a dedicated but that fee isn't as bad as it looks if you run ads on the site. With 1.5 million hits you should easily be able to sell ad space for some choice money. That's heavyweight promo that's not easy to come by.

If you're now at the point where you can self publish then your overhead should just be you and your operating capital unless you have a staff under you. I hope it's not that you're paying for people's health insurance etc.

So if it's you as the talent and trade you're in a position by default to become exceptionally successful. Matter of fact from those website numbers alone per month you are a success in the realm of promotion and publicity. You need some major news press and you'll need an agent for that. They'll take a chunk but what you've got going so far is brilliant. You're at levels of power self reliance and you need to maximize on that.

Snakebite, sure here are three examples going from big time newspapers to just publishing from out of the kitchen.

Publishing isn't always a one person operation but a team effort. When I was very young, 20 years old, I was asked by my managing editor about a national newspaper they were thinking of putting together. We had meetings and such and we did demos and I didn't realize the impact of it then. I was working for the Gannett News Service at the time. We all pitched in and USA Today was born. It was great seeing that even me a new staff member was being asked questions about it by the big shots of the company. Mr. John Heselden was one of our big shots then. He stopped by the office and I was surprised he wanted my input on things. We tried new everything on that newspaper and you would have loved it because we tried new color techniques the other newsheads said wouldn't work. That was in the days of using rubylith and bendaix to cut and place with exacto knives and hot wax! Add that to the daily drive of publishing not only one newspaper but being part of an international publishing arena where our artwork and stories and suggestions were used by almost a hundred newspapers worldwide. It was cool to do a cartoon for your newspaper and it could turn up in a dozen newspapers around the world. We had then, what we call the internet now. We used to have to scan artwork and send it through primitive modems etc. So I got schooled, tested, daily in all areas of publishing.

How did that help later? Easy. I got to learn selling, and especially selling ads and negotiating printing costs. I'll try to give you the short version, but it's tough of my first 'out of the kitchen' publishing attempt.

I wrote a story about a bunch of broke superheroes. They were on welfare and as county as you can get. They lived in a rooming house above an old lady's fried chicken store. A Cinderalla story gone chaotic. A guy, two girls decide they'll get into the big superhero society and have it made. They then find out the superheroes are a-holes and they team up with some of the superheroes to thwart a murder attempt. I pencilled, inked, lettered, layout that book in two weeks. With no money took it to the printer who, get this, was printing millions of comic books in my hometown. My hometown used to publish the bulk of comic books in the U.S. for decades. That company went under and an offshoot took up. I didn't know this at the time because they were only supposed to be printing materials for NY state and the city. So I walk in, knew exactly how many I could sell and five days after publishing we did. There were tons upon tons of everyone else's stuff still sitting around and they asked me a year later to help sell everyone else's comics! I couldn't. I had parlayed that first comic into working on other comics. That comic was my attempt to make fun of the b/w comics industry and I didn't expect it to sell at all I was just doing it as a protest, a joke and gave it the dumbest title ever but guess what, I STILL get fan letters and emails to this day, ready for the title:

"Miss Ma'am's Intergalactic Fried Chicken And Super Hero Club"

When my mother and editors and other reporters heard the title they fell out of their chairs screaming but they actually LIKED the story. Now here's what gets me. To this day people still sell that comic book upwards of $25! It made a profit, got me more work, made me more money.

That's only because of the experience I had gotten through Gannett.

Now another one in 1991. I had been working doing toons for Thrasher Magazine the skateboard mag. I had written and drawn a 76 page skateboard, kung fu horror story called RADREX. Thrasher felt it was too much and asked me to do something else. Ed Riggins was the boss then and a fellow who you remind me of named Kevin 'Large' Ancell. Riggins said to send something new in. I had a kid's comic called 'Evol Baby' about a baby that rides around on a skateboard kicking butt for food. It had a new storytelling format that was like a song but the layout was different. I remember I had to update the character and drew it up real fast and a chap named Malcolm Jones III who was an artist for DC Comics, most notably Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman' stopped over at our studio, saw the Evol Baby comic and fell out on the floor screaming with laughter. I was so honored! Malcolm was an exceptional talent! He actually inked up some Evol Baby art and I got a better feel for what I should do with the character. Sent it in to Thrasher and they sold like mad. Thrasher had taken to publishing comic books then so it fit right in.

Now, here's what I mean by combining things. At the same time I was working for Thrasher I was working doing comics for other companies, helping negotiate publishing deals with other magazines, books, newspapers. Comics-wise, I then got a chance to work at Malibu Comics where I did a comic called "The Monster Posse" that I had to write, draw, ink, letter in like 2 months. All three issues mind you. It didn't sell a ton because Image came out just before it debuted BUT I did get licensing and movie deals and still to this day on that one property.

So at that time I was working with several companies at the same time, publishing with many companies and at home for fun. I published another Evol Baby comic and paid for it by selling ads. Inside AND I talked to the printer and gave them the full color back page of the comic and cut my overhead by 70% from ad revenue alone. Printed up a modest 3,000 copies, made a profit and then collectors and distributors showed up. If you create it, they will come...if you create it they will come....

Now the books sell upwards of $50 signed and I'm glad me and my pal Steve I was teaching how to do comics and publish kept a good lot of them. Joe Koch of kochcomics.com just emailed me again last week asking me to publish more Evol Baby comics as he made good money off of them as well as the RADREX comics that his brother Pete put out as a 3 issue series in the early 90's as well.

So I'm trying not to be convoluted here but I work in lots of areas from small to big time publishing but this thread reminded me that I've never had a failure. Even when things looked dark there was always, always a silver lining to that cloud.

Publishing books got me jobs at other companies and I learned even more. However, the mid to late 90's I saw the value of the internet and we started exploiting publishing power of the web when many colleagues said it was just a fad.

Matter of fact, I just remembered! I found AN because of that pursuit. I had gotten movie options for three of my comics and one was with an animation company called FUNimation. I had to research on the animation market. Found AN through someone's animation site but don't remember whose. I'll backtrack through my old folders as I keep all my records.

So I'm not talking to hear my gums flap Bite. [Smile]

I've seen it all and been through it all. From printing off of old lead plates to digital wizardry. I had forgotten a great deal of my life has been around publishing. I've now seen it blossom into what we had dreamed of years ago where regular folks could publish stuff and get it out to the public with high quality and outside of the stranglehold of the old distribution system.

I've had my ups and downs but you know what I've learned? Never dwell on them. I've never been destitute, lost a home, been in court. I've had my debts and bountifuls and the bottom line I've learned is that it's the company, the people one surrounds oneself with that makes all the difference.

So one can publish, the goal is to have fun, with me the goal has always been to have fun and make a profit. That profit comes in many ways, sales, more opportunities with jobs or film options, toy licensing etc. The best part is the people you meet whom you can depend on to do their jobs.

That's where Michel Gagne is now. He's fought from the ground floor up and is now in a position to engage on quite a lucrative endeavor for the rest of his life. I had thought Gagne was my age and had been in publishing as long as I have so I see where he is now and I still say he should be making a fortune considering his talent.

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SNAKEBITE
IE # 101
Member # 17

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man. you crack my asss up, GregB. really brutha.
these are you're examples? this is what you want to put on the table to back what you are sayin?

please man, don't make me pick that response apart.

look, you're either talking the big talk about huge print runs and big corporate types backing you and back that sht up or you take the "I do this for fun and I sell out a 3k print run for the experience and connections"position. pick one, yo.

When you talk game about publishing art, thats what I do..for 15 years. art. thats ALL I do. no casual art, art on the side. its just art with a mission. everything serves some sort of purpose, either for others or for personal projects with destinations lined up. Gagne, that dude bleeds art. no part time to job to make up for it, just art. so if you
know something we don;t I want to learn it. really want to learn it...but then you say nothing even
in a long response, theres nothing really. they are nice happy positive words, but your examples are lacking.completely...you went from USA today to Evol Baby? really?

they don't really prove anything if one took the time to research your examples. totally contradictory to what you are saying to Mr. Gagne.

C'mon Greg. You play a big self proclaimed role on this site. alot of people come here to learn and experience who we are. I'm not mr perfect but I don't open my mouth about what I do without evidence to back it up. if you're gonna be a
unique color to AN so we can form Voltron you gotta come correct.

I appreciate your positivity but your wisdom to the publishing world can leave a person feeling empty yet full at the same time.

I know this aint the first time I've busted your balls but I'm always hoping for the day that you show me up. show me how wrong I am about you. Working in LA can make a person cynical so I'm sensitive to that...but really,dude, c'mon, brutha, show me the money. Give me an example of huge profits for indie on going titles from authors
of visual art books.

I really want to know. Hey,if you don't want to share for free write a book about it and I'll be the first one to buy it and get an autograph from you. you can sign it, "see I told you so, G.B."

sorry for the rant. you moved me.

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Greg B
IE # 118
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Terribly sorry you feel that way Snakebite.

You asked for some examples and I gave you some.

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Charles
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Peoples will be peoples. I've enjoy your input on AN Greg B. I pick up on what you have to say about things and of course I've always appreciated the good word you have about the site.

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Greg B
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Thanks Charles!

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Gagne Michel
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Hi Greg

quote:
I had thought Gagne was my age and had been in publishing as long as I have
Well, I said it took 5 years of self-publishing to break even, but I've actually been doing it for over 10 years now (published my first hardcover in 1998). GrantedI don't have as much experience as you, but I have a pretty good feel for where I'm at and where I'm heading. It's all good.

You know, for me self-publishing is just an extension of what I've always done: create projects and enable resources to get them done, be it animation, art shows or whatever. So in that context, I guess I've been doing this my whole life.

quote:
With 1.5 million hits a month you have to be on a dedicated but that fee isn't as bad as it looks if you run ads on the site. With 1.5 million hits you should easily be able to sell ad space for some choice money.
My website is my world. I only advertise my own projects. It may not be the smartest decision, but that's the way I like it. Any outside advertisement would feel like an intrusion. I've had several offers and have turned them all down.

quote:
your overhead should just be you and your operating capital unless you have a staff under you.
I have no staff. GAGNE International is me and my wife. That's it.

quote:
I see where he is now and I still say he should be making a fortune considering his talent.
Thanks for the vote of confidence. I intend to keep creating work with integrity and passion, and one day perhaps, I'll have your financial success.

Being in my studio, working on my projects and loving my wife is the meaning of happiness. As long as I can keep doing that, I'm happy as a clam!

Snakebite - You always have encouraging things to say about my work. Thanks bro!

monkeydad - Glad I got you hooked on Flight!

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Greg B
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Now it makes sense Gagne.

I asked colleagues in online advertising and when I told them ( didn't show them your site ) you had a mainstream site with 1.5 million hits a month they all agreed you should at a minimum be making a great 5 figures off ads.

Your unwanting of ads answers the big questions right there. Might I suggest that when you advertise, you not only get revenue to invest, but you get brand recognition so that consumers of those products may buy your products from association.

One way to have fun with ads is to look at the products you adore and ask those companies to take out ads. You might be surprised!

I discovered the value of ads and that led to products getting out. Those books I mentioned earlier ( RADREX, Evol Baby, Monster Posse ) all ended up with film/tv option deals. That was money and exposure. A branch off from using smart publishing tactics and just having stuff that was fun to create published. They still get offers to this day.

So that's just my strategy. I can see your philosophy and I hope it works for you. With that much web traffic and publishing from your own brand at home, shoot for a target that's comfortable for you is best I can say.

Low overhead, high returns for the short and long term. I've found sometimes stashing a 1,000 books for ten years can make more than the initial print run. There are variations to a theme and it depends on your loyal fandom.

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SNAKEBITE
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Gagne, my pleasure. your work always encourages me. thank you for your inspiration and your integrity.

Greg, brutha.those weren't examples of what we are talking about.

Howa bout this? if you are able to sell successfully then why, as you say, do you take or make jobs to make up for the lack or revenue in art? If you can bust out as much as you do so quickly and then have price points that compliment limited print runs and you are financially successful at it then why would you do anything else?
People are always knocking at your door to motivate you to do your art and publish again so to make everyone lots of dough cuz your models are so successful. then why is your last example from 15 years or so ago? and where are the cold hard facts to support your position.

When was the last time you played on the field?

I'm sure Im coming off like Im picking on you when really you have to understand Im just a man doing my best to learn about these things you speak of yet frustrated to see alot of nothing when I inquire about it.

I guess I should just say, theres nothing here, and move on. But you're a challenge to understand and I like challenges...and you're here on my mother ship message board. a place I call home and feel comfortable to do or say as I please.

anyways, looking forward to you avoiding the questions.

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