Looking For Advice Selling Digital Comics (ie: ComiXology)

Discussion in 'Comic Discussion' started by SNOWDON, Jul 17, 2017.


    SNOWDON 4-Stripe White Belt


    I'm looking to branch out a bit and begin selling high-res comic-reader versions of my comics on ComiXology, but I have absolutely no experience with the platform, or selling ebooks. If anyone here on the forum has experience selling through ComiXology or other digital comic platforms and would like to share I'm sure I'm not the only one who would benefit from it.

    I'm sure ComiXology has plenty of info for the technical side of things, such as what resolution and format to use, but I'm talking about personal experiences.

    Should I make use of the ComiXology DRM or should I release DRM free? Is ComiXology the right platform for my R-rated horror comic? What if I want to distribute copies of the ebook versions of my comic to Patreon supporters, or in raffles at conventions? Is there anything I should be aware of that I couldn't possibly imagine to ask about before it hits me like a tonne of bricks after I start selling?

    What experience and advice does the ComicBookHour community have to share on this topic?
    Donathin Frye likes this.
  2. Donathin Frye

    Donathin Frye Purple Belt

    Hi! Here's my perspective, from my few experiences publishing on ComiXology.

    - DRM vs DRM-Free probably won't much affect your sales; it's unlikely to be a critical decision. I go DRM free, because I'm not really worried about pirating. DRM is, I'm sure, mostly an option for broadly popular books and publishers with cautious lawyers who don't like to take chances. At the very least, there is a small subset of indie-minded consumers who will only purchase DRM free media on principal, so you may see a few extra sales.

    - ComiXology hosts plenty of adult/horror comics, so I wouldn't worry there. Right now, until a challenger really steps up (or unless you can sell directly to your market because you've great reach), ComiXology is sort of just the right platform, IMO. Moreover, ComiXology doesn't retain any rights to your work and isn't an exclusive platform, so it won't interfere with your other sales and campaigns -- you could push direct copies of your digital comic (in, say, PDF format) on your website where you could keep 100% of the sales, but still have your comic on ComiXology for the passive income and to attract new readers. There's not a lot to lose -- the only downside, besides teaming up with a megacorporation-with-world-dominating-plans like Amazon, is that you have to earn a certain amount in royalties before ComiXology will cut you a check.

    - It's time consuming, especially if you've not published your first issue of that comic with them yet. Expect between 2-4 months between the time you submit that first comic and the time it goes up for sale.

    - ComiXology does take a 50/50 split of royalties, similar to many print publishers. On the upside, you can set your price: I recommend increasing whatever you'd sell it for directly by 50% to help offset the royalty split. So if you're selling PDFs of your comic for $2 on your website, knock it up to $3 on ComiXology -- you're still making 50 cents less , but ComiXology's staff of designers will also create a very high quality guided view alternate reading version for your comic that many readers prefer when using mobile phones/tablets.

    - The submission directions on ComiXology's site are pretty good, but a little vague when it comes to the level of resolution required if you want them to create a guided view version of your comic (which you probably should, since they don't charge you anything for it). I can confirm that I've had success with 300DPI 2100 x 3500 dimensions for my pages with relatively small font sizes used sometimes (for whispering dialogue/etc), so that size is probably pretty universally safe.

    Hope any of that is helpful!
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
    ShaneWSmith and SNOWDON like this.

    SNOWDON 4-Stripe White Belt

    Super helpful, and exactly the sort of information I was looking for.

    Speaking of pricing, the first chapter of my comic is 60 pages of comic (not including covers, title and legalese pages). I was thinking $5. Doubling that for ComiXology seems a bit much to me but maybe I can get away with $7 on ComiXology. Am I underselling? Charging too much? Curse of the artist. I'm great at comics, not so much at figuring out prices.
    Donathin Frye likes this.
  4. Donathin Frye

    Donathin Frye Purple Belt

    Yeah, I wouldn't double it, but $6.99 or $7.99 (I'd go 7.99!) sounds like a good price for it on ComiXology! Just make sure you really bill it as "Volume One" -- I think your standard comic reader thinks of things in issues/volumes rather than episodes/chapters, so a volume of your book at that price is a rather good deal from my perspective.
    SNOWDON likes this.

    SNOWDON 4-Stripe White Belt

    Good call. I was going to call the first 4-5 collected chapters "Volume 1" when I'm ready to put them together into a trade but maybe I should rethink that if I want to sell the individual chapters digitally, for exactly the reason you bring up. Also good call on the 99cent mind trick.
    Donathin Frye likes this.
  6. ShaneWSmith

    ShaneWSmith 4-Stripe White Belt

    Re pricing.

    Check out other comics on the platform and price accordingly. You may notice that many big-publisher titles are only charging 99c for some issues, and only very rarely does that price creep above $1.99 per issue.

    Given the scope of the site, the pricing of the other comics on there, and the lower visibility of Submit titles, it might be a hard sell getting 60 pages out to people for $5+ (though personally I hope you can do it).

    Me, I've just put a 220 page book on there for $3.99. I can live with $2 per sale. I can't live ON it, but I can live with it :)
    Donathin Frye likes this.

    SNOWDON 4-Stripe White Belt

    Update on this. I submitted LOG:01 of The Sprawl and it was accepted! Right away, too. I got the acceptance email less than 24 hours after submitting. I did not expect that. I set the price at $3.99.

    I've also decided to submit in arcs rather than chapters. So the next book will include 2 chapters and be about 140 pages.
    Donathin Frye likes this.

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