Comic Book Prints

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SilentBat
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Comic Book Prints

Post by SilentBat » Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:00 pm

Where's the best place to get a comic book printed? Any suggestion?

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Tmara
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Post by Tmara » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:31 am

You could try Lulu.com?

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SilentBat
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Post by SilentBat » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:35 am

Ooo this looks promising. Thanks I'll be sure to take a deeper look into this when I get back home.

EDIT: That site definitely helped! Thank you so much!

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jdalton
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Post by jdalton » Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:16 pm

I finally bought myself a laser printer and can now make comics entirely in my living room! :P

It's the cheapest way to do smallish print runs of colour books or high-quality B+W, but it is also very time consuming. And I can't print anything bigger than legal size.
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SilentBat
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Post by SilentBat » Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:33 am

jdalton wrote:I finally bought myself a laser printer and can now make comics entirely in my living room! :P

It's the cheapest way to do smallish print runs of colour books or high-quality B+W, but it is also very time consuming. And I can't print anything bigger than legal size.
Laser printers are amazing!

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laser printers

Post by caroline » Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:41 am

Printing stuff yourself is good, because you can be completely nitpickey and controlling about the quality of your work.
It also allows you to mess around with the format if you're doing a small print run (cut out pages, different quality of paper ect)

Having said that, the laser printer has to work properly, otherwise it's extremely time-consuming and frustrating and you will feel like pounding the damn thing to bits with a sledgehammer.

It's always nice to get your stuff "professionally" printed, even though minimum print runs usually lead to fifty comics festering in a box under your bed (literally, in my case) But everything I've seen from Lulu has been pretty good and they have print-on demand.

Each way has merits; I guess you need to decide which way would be right for you.

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DarkMarc
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Post by DarkMarc » Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:38 pm

If you're looking to do comics single issues go with one of these guys. They're a bit cheaper then lulu. If you're trying to do graphic novels go with lulu :D All these places offer online stores as well, so you have that benefit between the three.

http://www.ka-blam.com
http://www.comixpress.com

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Blom
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Post by Blom » Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:13 am

If you make your own comics they can be sold trough Etsy.com, handmade stuff website. :D
Tor Harald Blom

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SilentBat
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Post by SilentBat » Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:42 pm

It's a one time graphic novel. But I'm not planning to print them for another few months (when it's actually done). The only problem I have now really is that I need an ink & colorer for the comic.

The way I was going to pay and order for the graphic novel was I was going to ask anyone who wanted to buy that they had to pay me the ordering fee and I would combine all that money, send it end, and wait for the prints to come back.

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Matt Bernier
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Post by Matt Bernier » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:22 pm

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

So, let me get this straight: Your idea is to go up to people and be like "Hey, I made a graphic novel. It's not printed yet, no one wants to print it, and I haven't made the commitment of paying to have it printed myself. I was kind of hoping you'd pay me to help have it printed. All you have to do is pay for a copy of this book of mine that doesn't exist, and which no-one-including-me wants to pay to have printed, and I'm going to go around getting money from other people who don't mind paying for a book that doesn't exist, and when I finally get enough orders to fulfill the minimum print run for wherever I'm having it printed (usually 500-2000, depending), I'll send you all copies. Whenever that happens. Which may be years, or maybe never. Doesn't that sound like a great deal? How could anybody not want that?"

How are you planning to pay your inker and colorist for their work in the meantime? Did you hire them on as work-for-hire, or do they have some kind of royalties in their contracts? And if so, how will that work out? Royalties are based on sales, but in your case making a sale will mean nothing until you gather up enough to print the books. Will your creative team be stuck in the same indefinite limbo as your poor readers, waiting for you to build up the critical mass to pay them/ send them the books they paid for?

This business plan has some serious problems. It's protective of you while being hostile and unprofessional to both your collaborators and your readers, two groups you should endeavor to treat better than yourself.

You can't cover your ass like that. Making a book means risk and investment- and as the creator, the burden of that risk needs to fall on you, not your readers and collaborators. If you don't believe in it enough to risk losing money (and in the comics industry, you almost always will. I lose money self-publishing much of the time, and so do many of the people I know), then you don't care enough about it for it to exist at all.

P.S.- if you haven't found and inker or colorist yet and you think this is getting done and printed in 3 months, you have a terrible shock coming to you.

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angeldevil
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Post by angeldevil » Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:38 pm

I was going to leave this thread alone because I do not self publish my comics. The reason I don't self publish is because I am the co-publisher of an indy film magazine and that is enough work, I don't need to add another publication to my headache. I agree with Matt Bernier that pre-order printing a book is not a great idea. I've seen (non comics related) pros ditch out with subscribers' cash despite twenty years in the business. Do you want to enter the comics field in such a way that people question your business practice? No, not if you want a career or even to do another book down the line. On top of that, if you are going to spend months (and possibly years) of your life (and that of your inkers and colorists)on a project, do you want to risk a pre-order system that could kill the book before it hits the stands? If you aren't going to take the risk, then maybe self publishing is not for you? If you are really concerned about up front sales, when you have the thing together, print up a dummy or PDF it and see if Diamond Dist. will take it on. If doing a traditional print run is still too spendy for you, then Print on Demand is the way to go. It's a more reliable version of that pre-order thing you had in mind. Or, there is always the web comics alternative which was my back up plan for the book I'm doing before I landed an agent a few months back. If the project is important enough to put your time and creativity into it, it should be worth putting your wallet on the line too. Depends on how badly you want it, and to self publish a book -- you really need to WANT it.

Some notes on Print on Demand and digital publishing while I'm at it: Rolling Stone has a great article this month (year end edition) about sound quality of MP3 files. I'm bringing this up because the difference between Offset Printing and digital printing may seem minor, but there is a quality issue to be addressed. For most projects, digital press is just fine. Hey, for a lot of music an MP3 is just fine... but if you sit down with a great pair of headphones, a nice stereo system and a turntable with a cherry vinyl pressing of something layered like, say, Dark Side of the Moon... well, lets say the MP3 falls a little short when you put them side by side. Digital press is great, but... Offset, if you feel like risking the cash is a thing of beauty. What can I say, I grew up around the printing industry. At least I'm not telling you to grill your printer about what type of press he runs the job on (in a perfect world it will be a Heidelberg, in case you were wondering).

Anyway, good luck on your book and you might want to consider inking it yourself (or who ever the artist for the project is might). I like the control aspect of inking my own stuff, and when time allows I do all the colors myself too. You know, if you want a job done right...
Last edited by angeldevil on Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Matt Bernier
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Post by Matt Bernier » Sat Dec 22, 2007 11:31 pm

As Angeldevil said, you need to think about what level of quality you're looking for in this book. Quality=cash, as always. And it sounds to me like you're really squeezed for cash. You may, in fact, be so squeezed that you cannot, just CANNOT lay down 2000 bucks for a small initial print run with a cheap printer like quebecor or whatever. Which is something I didn't address in my last post, so I'm going to amend that a bit.

First off, I have to admit some bias here: I really like the way that having to assume the cost of actually printing something yourself forces you to ask a question you may not have to confront: Is this project really good enough? Do I believe in it, with my heart and soul? Did I do my absolute best? And is my best something I'm prepared to eat ramen for two years and never go out and sacrifice for? Once you have a thousand books in boxes in your bedroom, and a big hole in your wallet, you and that book are married to each other, and there is no divorce. Once the big money comes up, the dilly-dallyers, amateurs, and those lacking in passion will run screaming and wet-pantsed in the other direction. As they ought to.

But I recognize that this bias is unfair, because some talented, driven people are just broke-ass poor and that's that. They simply cannot, in the near future, afford to assemble, and then possibly lose forever, 2000 or more dollars. So, if this is your case, the internet and modern technology has created many ways out for you, ways that don't include you making a fool of yourself with some bone-headed half-baked printing payment scheme that sounds like an email phishing scam.

Angeldevil and a few others on this thread have suggested print on demand, which I really suggest you research the hell out of. There are tons of print-on-demand services now. Off the top of my head there's lulu, comixpress, and Amazon.com just launched a service. You have to layout your book to their specs, of course (usually they have a few formats, sizes, and binding methods to chose from, plus paper stock), but the benefit is that they have the infrastructure in place to print and ship each order as it comes. They take a cut of the money, for the cost of production and then a little off the top for them, but the prices are generally very reasonable, and what you lose in total money from the book (You won't make as much as if you'd printed it yourself), you'll gain in not having to put up a huge chunk of skrill for a bunch of books you may never sell.

Another great solution would be to use the power of the internet. You should be using this anyway! It seems to me you've not thought much about how to promote this book. I checked out your website (your blog, rather), and except for a few posts that are buried in the archives, it's hard to tell you have any kind of professional project brewing at all. Your penciler can probably ink a few illustrations for a website- MAKE A WEBSITE! NOW!!! You should already have one, this close to when you want to print the book. Every month a whole bunch of comics get printed that I can't afford that I want, badly, to read. Same for everyone else. If we never hear about your book, and hear how great it is, you won't be in that pile of books we eventually want to buy. You need to think about how you can not only get into that pile, but how you can get high up in that pile.

Now, assuming your book doesn't suck balls, actually showing people some of a comic generally makes them want to buy it. Think about this: If I go "Hey, look at some of this great comic!", you'll probably be like "Wow, that looks great! I want to see more! Where can I buy it?" Right? So, as it happens, the internet gives you a next-to-free way to both promote and publish a book. You build a website, and post up a page or a few panels or wherever every week, and show maybe a quarter or half of the book. The great thing about doing this weekly thing is the artists can still be working on the unfinished book while you post parts of the comic. Again, assuming the comic dosn't totally blow donkey choad, people will read it, tell others, link to it, and then when you are ready you'll have a customer base that you know will buy the book. And in the meantime, before the book comes out, you can sell merchandise related to the book, to raise funds to print it. Even if you had a tiny 60 page graphic novel, posting half the book, one page a day, would give you 210 days to promote, spread word about, sell merch for, and collect money to print your comic. All basically for free.

These are things you should have been thinking about, which you need to start thinking about right fucking now. And you need to have your penciller involved, and the inker and colorist when you get them, too. Get all your heads together, and make sure they have a say. I expressed concern in my previous post about how you seemed to be covering your own ass, and how it didn't sound like you'd planned much for how you were going to pay the other creators. Please remember that these people aren't your hired workers- they are co-creators of this project. They will probably be better known for this project than you, if it does well. People don't see the writing in comics, they see the art. Make sure they know everything, have as much of a say as you do in where this project goes, and most of all make sure you won't be known later as the scheisty con-man asshole who screwed them.

Get your business shit together man, and start right now. And keep asking questions about the stuff you don't know.

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angeldevil
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Post by angeldevil » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:44 am

Matt Bernier wrote: You build a website, and post up a page or a few panels or wherever every week, and show maybe a quarter or half of the book. The great thing about doing this weekly thing is the artists can still be working on the unfinished book while you post parts of the comic. Again, assuming the comic dosn't totally blow donkey choad, people will read it, tell others, link to it, and then when you are ready you'll have a customer base that you know will buy the book. And in the meantime, before the book comes out, you can sell merchandise related to the book, to raise funds to print it. Even if you had a tiny 60 page graphic novel, posting half the book, one page a day, would give you 210 days to promote, spread word about, sell merch for, and collect money to print your comic. All basically for free.
One again, Matt Bernier seems to be on the ball with this. He knows his stuff!!

You know, a lot of people say about web publishing "Who'll buy the cow if you get the milk for free" but that isn't the case. I read two long form webcomics on a regular basis, and you can bet I'll be ordering their dead-tree volumes in the near future too. And may I point out that web comics are not just for amateurs and first-timers. Platinum Grit (the hobby strip of an accomplished artist in Australia) has more professional art and storytelling then stuff I've been seeing in print this year. I grew up reading Phil Foglio illustrated projects (and I'm old, so he's been around for a long time), but his entire deal seems to be web publishing these days and he does well with it (so I'm told). Both offer all their webcomics in print-on-demand style volumes... and they sell great! So in other worlds, for a first book, the web is a good place to start. Hey, look how much attention you get just by wandering onto a forum. The web is also a great way to hone your craft. If your story is lacking, if your art is scratchy, all you have to do is pull it down and put something new up. Actual print is very final, and hangs around forever.

One more option is to do the ashcan thing. When I was a teenager it was a badge of honor to pump out cut-fold-and-grind style books. I had all sorts of tricks for making my photo copied comics look fancy without upping the cost much. Sure its old school, but so is vinyl and that didn't stop me from babbling about it in my earlier post.

Comics is a weird business, get creative!
Last edited by angeldevil on Sun Dec 23, 2007 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Kazu » Sun Dec 23, 2007 3:13 pm

I think Lulu is a great option. And I would definitely put the comic online. Publishers are always looking for good work, and the internet is the biggest source.
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SilentBat
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Post by SilentBat » Sun Dec 23, 2007 7:16 pm

I haven't read most of the long responses yet but I read the first paragraph of the first one and I think you all are misunderstanding or I'm not being clear enough.

This is a really small project being done by high school kids who are not paying anyone for work. All work being put into this comic book is all voluntary. The comic book would exist before we told people to pay for their orders and I would have previously put an order out for a book to see (1) how long they take to get here after I order them and (2) so I can see how it looks like when it's printed and (3) so I can show people what a finish book would look like so they can get excited and buy one. When I search around Lulu I believe they said I can buy as many as I want starting with one copy (if I wanted) ... Also we're not out for profit for this book we just want people to have one. The book would have already been out on the internet and would have a video along with it like this (http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/video/video_d ... mea=160485). And then we would ask if anyone wanted to buy a copy they would have to pay us so we could make the order. Most of these people would be school mates and friends.

Imma continue reading all the other passages and answer everything or dicuss anything that needs to be discussed.

EDIT: Yeah, after reading everything I think you guys misjudged and I didn't clarify enough. Yes I don't mind having an "MP3" comic book and no one is being paid. I was just where I could find a comic book printing place. I think what sparked most of the discussion was my sayin' that I would have others pay for the orders if they wanted it and also my need for an ink and colorer (which I'm now bestowing on myself). I'm definitely not trying to sell these comic books or put them on shelves or promote it if anything. If I were to promote anything it would be the film which this comic is being made for.

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