1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Taking this futher in self publishing - Comic series?!

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by live2write, Sep 9, 2014.

    I have a very good friend of mine who already has self published a comic book and is wanting to turn this into a comic series. The idea of the story revolves around the anime/jrock community incorporated into a semi-realistic story. He personally asked me to help him figure out how to reach out to a larger audience and if I know any place that would be interested in reviewing or ideas to advertise this.

    He has already self published the first series both for print and web media. He has tried to sell the series on an e-publishing site, but generated no revenue. He caved in and posted the first series online here http://www.fixercomic.com/read/ for free.

    I did address several issues to him. One of them being, he should stop calling it a comic series and instead call it a graphic novel or a graphic series.
    Second is outreach and advertising. Before spending any money on monetizing and advertising on websites, he would rather reach out to enthusiasts and have them review in exchange for merchandize or a sneak preview of the second series.

    Main issue I come across is the audience. It is so niche that I do not know where to start. It is true that nobody wants to spend money on a series like this, but offering it for free is out of the question. I had suggested to him that with e-publishing you can always add advertisements to help generate revenue on his website. But that is another topic.

    What advise should I give to him to reach out to a wider audience? Creative ideas are also encouraged since this is not a novel but...as he calls it a comic series.

    What are also somethings to be changed/altered or considered in this case?

    I have suggested also to do some creative advertising in a youtube channel. That is on the table, but they budget for it is not a #1 priority.
     
  2. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    What about other social networking sites like facebook and twitter? Also, are there any social sites or web forums that specialize in your friend's genre??
     
  3. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    He already has some form of social networking set up on facebook and twitter. The problem is (how I see it) is it is targeting only a niche audience rather than being open to everybody. If not everybody then another genre similar to the subculture this intentionally targets.

    There are some forums and websites that might be of help. I just don't know how to approach this without spamming these. Except offering advertisement.

    Do you think deviantart is an option?
     
  4. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    The thing is, because it's specialised, the only people that will find it is people who are looking for it and if no one knows where to look ... you get the picture.

    FB and Twitter are ok for reaching some potential new readers, if you do it right - but don't ask me how to do it right because I really don't know! I do have limited success with FB and twitter but that's because a friend of mine who runs her own business, knows a shitload more than I do about social networking.

    Is the FB page set up as a business page?? he really needs to have one (it's free until you start boosting posts and creating adverts) but it means he can run the page completely public and start liking other business pages which means his posts will be seen by a more diverse group of people and, as I recently found out, you just never know who's going to come across your page next!

    Has your friend get a website set up? If he has, then I would suggest he advertises this regularly on FB and other networking pages as you will get a lot more content on a website than anywhere else.

    I don't know a lot about graphic novels but I have seen some in my local library, as your friend thought about asking there?

    As I said, I don't know a lot about the genre so I'm just throwing ideas out there.
     
  5. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I did post the website in the OP.

    I'll ask about the business page as well.
     
  6. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    That's what happens when I speed read! Off to look at it now!
     
  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Lush artwork! I could actually get into that but not on the screen, too much scrolling about, I would definitely prefer to read it in a book!
     
  8. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    It is in the works to create a site that reads in book form. Thus why transition into changing some things.

    As far as the book, I did advise to hold off of publishing it in print until he has a series of 3 done. Then he can push to creating revenue to create a graphic novel/series book.
     
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  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    As someone who grew up on manga comics, and I used to draw my own fair share of comics for fun, I can't say that your friend is good enough to be publishing for money. His artwork isn't on par with any manga I've seen, nor on par with any American graphic novels I've seen in terms of artistic quality. It may have been the black and white but it definitely reminded me of manga, and I don't think I'm wrong considering you say it's anime and jrock inspired. So I wouldn't necessarily say I'm judging it on a different standard to that which it should reach if it hopes to be sold and read.

    The drawings of the people are slightly stiff and lacking in energy. One drawing of a guy falling over crying "Agh Fuck!" clearly had issues with foreshortening. Out of about 4-5 pages I've scrolled through at random shows me there's no background anywhere. Every frame is blank in the background. The only 2 backgrounds I saw were black block-like houses and another was just the grids of a floor. It's not good enough - there's no atmosphere - and it looks like a draft rather than a finished product. It's not a style issue - even amongst manga there're many styles (admittedly within a certain kind of framework, but they can look vastly different). So honestly it's not because the style itself isn't typical typical manga. The drawings lack a certain fluidity and a certain energy - the frames have no impact for me.

    Also, in many places it's obvious that the lines are rough sketch lines because they're not even straight.

    Last thing - that site the comic's on needs to be optimised, or else perhaps the images need to have a lower res. It takes 5min to load each page for me, whereas even a full-colour spread on any "read manga online" site loads instantly on my laptop. Even if the comic is terrific, no one's gonna sit for 5min waiting for each page to load - that's gonna kill the book no matter how good it is.

    In any case, I'm not sure there's any money in selling this in the western world - it's neither American nor is it truly, fully Manga. So you can't sell it to the American comic houses, and manga in the western world tend to be freely available and downloadable these days. You're really only left with the East Asian world and for that you'll have to compete with a world of exceptional artists, plus you'll have to translate it first to Japanese or Korean to even get into the market over there. But then you'd actually have a market to fight in, whereas right now there's nowhere. But to compete with the Japanese and Korean on their turf is gonna be frigging tough.

    My suggestion - your friend clearly has some talent judging from some of the frames and covers. Be a bit more critical about each frame and polish it up. It doesn't look polished right now. And gear it for ONE market - the western or the oriental (if the oriental then you're gonna need to budget for a translator) - but gear it for one. And then sell it to that one. Right now it's neither here nor there. If your friend really wants it to be a mixed style like he has it, his story and art are going to have to go up many, many notches by virtue of the fact that there's no current platform/industry for such and that he has no reputation behind him.

    EDIT: Another piece of advice - go find some forum geared towards graphic novelist and/or manga artists. They're bound to be out there. They would likely have much better advice than any of us here, because we on this forum mostly write normal prose in English geared towards the western world. Comic artist forums would also have members who would be in a far better position than you or I to judge the quality of your friend's artwork.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
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  10. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    @Mckk
    I did read your post and I apologize that it takes 5 minutes to load. On my end it loads instantly but I do agree the interface needs to change.
    As far the art goes, if you look at the credits, the creator did not do the artwork for the comic, another artist was commissioned to create it. To public knowledge, the original artist decided to leave the project to pursue his education into his career. Another artist has come abroad and there is little I can tell about it.
    I do agree that it is a gray area when it comes to where it belongs in genre. It is not traditional manga style and it is not American comic style. More of somewhere in between. Reason why I say Jrock style is, it is a story about the rise of a Jrock/Visual Kei inspired band from the U.S.

    As far as narrowing down to one market according to one style...well the response I got to that was "why?". Audience I can understand but changing the direction of the art is up to the creator of the story. I will tell him but I will get the same answer.

    I did suggest to him to look at what the creators of Metalocalypse did but put it on paper and possibly find somebody to animate a music video. (I do have friends in the music/record industry that are willing to help if we show this has potential). I even offered an idea that he should use this as an idea to make into a animated series if all else fails.
     
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