Home FAQ 5.1: Industry payment system
1/18/02, 1:27 a.m.
I'm weary about asking this question... I don't want to be too intrusive or offensive and by all means don't answer it if you don't want to... I was wonder publishing your own title... how do you get paid? I know Marvel and DC pay their artists by the page or with a contract. But for the self-publisher or indy... how is money made?
For Marvel and DC they pay you per page because you are doing work for them and they own it. That's a fair deal.
As for creator-owned comics, I'm sure there are some variations, but I'll give you what I know from my own first-hand experience.
I own Kabuki completely, so no one pays me for it. I do not get any page rate for it or any advance for it. The only way that I make any revenue from Kabuki books is based on royalties for each and every copy sold.
That means that if no one buys your book, you don't get any money and you still have to recoup your printing, shipping, and advertising expenses. Once people buy enough copies of the book to cover these pre-paid costs, then (and only then) do the royalties start to come in.
That also means that retailers actually have to order the book ahead of time before the book comes out in order for you to sell any books.
I don't start to receive any royalties until about 2-3 months after the book is published. The stores and the book distribution company also receive their cut from each and every book before the creator royalties are tabulated.
So for this system to work, readers of the work have to make sure that
their retailers order the books from the Previews catalogue (the distributor's
catalogue) ahead of time. They usually have to order, I think, 2-3 months
in advance. So readers requesting the title from their retailers is imperative.
Other wise the book stores will not order enough, and many stores wait
for many additional requests to motivate them to re-order a book that has
sold out of the intial copies ordered for the store.
But if you really believe in your work and you take the time and effort
to cultivate a readership, the rewards are limitless. There is no substitute
for doing exactly what you want to be doing and doing it in your own way.
That has to be the real reason that you are doing this. That has to be
the reward in and of itself, because it may take years to build the audience
for your work until your book generates enough to support a family.
I was focused enough at an early age to start cultivating an audience
for my work while I still lived on the fringe of society and needed very
little income to survive in my own modest way. Through discipline and perseverance,
the work has found its own niche.
It is great to build your own place in the industry, and you can if
you are dedicated to that. But I always look at the my books like they
are a communication between me and my readers. And a communication needs
both sides. Without readers to actively buy my books and enjoy them and
get something from them, my work would only be expression. I find communication
infinitely more interesting.