I love what I do. It's only part of the whole puzzle, and without commissions and gifts we wouldn't yet break even, but between the comics, stories, art and music, it's a good life, based more on intensity than any material things I've gained. We are just now getting lots of things to the point to where you can buy them! Unfortunately, I didn't get a lot of takers on the t-shirts idea yet, but I do have some nice silk-screened shirts in the works, and a brand new cover for DnA #1, as well.
Just the same, without a movie deal or a big company name, it's rather difficult to make a living as an independent artist. In the comics game, I think this letter summarizes succinctly just what the true indie is up against, so I'll let it speak for itself.
Here is a open letter to creators by artist Will Calligan (http://www.comixboogiepop.blogspot.com/)
''My letter to all creators: Please read and pass along.
First off, all these creators like Mr Niles and Mr Powell are not indy creators. Both work for Image or Dark Horse. These are not indy companies. So, they truly have no idea what a indy creator is really having issues with in the industry.
Secondly, the biggest problem that faces indy creators is not marketing or blogs telling people to buy this book or that book. It isn't Marvel or DC doing super hero books, in fact, that is a bonus for indy guys because it gives us a piece of the market to appeal too. No, the real problem is Diamond Distribution. Diamond has a strangle hold on the indy guys. Diamond takes up to 70% of indy comics money off of orders. Let me say this again 70%. For those who can't do math, let me break it down for you. If you sell the minimum order of 2000 copies and make $2 off of each book, then Diamond gets $1.20 and the creator gets .80. This adds up to Diamond getting $2400.00 and the creator getting $1600.00. This is a huge problem because now the creator doesn't have the ability to substain his creation. This amount doesn't even cover the cost of print. This is highway robbery and if folks really want to get upset then get upset with Diamond. Tell them to give the little guy a level playing field.
You see, I don't need Mr Niles, Mr Powell or anyone else to market my book for me. That I can handle myself. What I do need is the ability to get my product into the hands of the reader. Let my product speak for itself.
What I do not need is Diamond and their "committee" deciding and dictating what will go into shops. Most folks do not even relaize that if a creator wants his or her book carried in Diamond it has to be chosen by the Diamond Committee and allowed in. Diamond is a distribution center, not a publisher. They have a horrible strangle hold on this industry and until someone stands up to them then nothing will change.
Also, by Diamond placing a minimum order of 2000 copies on indy books they have destroyed the strongest tool of marketing that comics had, and that was "word of mouth". Most indy books started out with low numbers, 500 to 600 copies but the comic community is small and word would get out on books like Bone, Cerebus, Madman, Poision Elves and other great titles. This is what made the indy guys succeed and until someone comes up with a way to fix it then all the blogs and belly aching in the world will not help.
My last thoughts: Diamond, quit using unfair business practicing and quit trying to screw the little guy. Give the products the chance to prove themselves and build an auidence. I have all the confidence in the world with books and my products but if you can't get them in the hands of the readers they will fail.
Update Update Update Update Update:
I wanted to post this link up because some folks believe I am not telling the truth with the 70% that Diamond is taking.
Here you go: [link]
They flat out tell you that they are taking 60 to 70% in the first paragraph. In the following paragraphs they explain that you get a standard 30% minus any discounts that you would like to offer.
This needs to stop.''
This is why, dear readers, Integr8d Soul Productions will need your support, directly. The creative process, I share generously; that, together with your reactions, forms a whole other great experience. But if we're ever going to achieve freedom, we are battling from the margins of the distribution system. Even if we become absorbed therein, as you can see, we would be victims of, well, thuggery. Try to imagine: this is the chief way to distribute your product.