Saturday, April 11, 2009

Digital Options

There's a lot of stuff floating around about the new wave of going digital and most of it deals with having comics available as digital downloads. Of course, there are other vehicles being used and promoted and some of them seem to have great potential whereas others, well, not so much. I see a lot of comments from columnists who state that there are too many publishers reluctant to go digital and I'm not sure that is really the case. I think most publishers (whether a self publisher or a larger corporate type) have accepted the reality and future of digital comics but they're investigating the methodology of it rather than the feasibility of going digital at all. In my case, I have some titles of mine (and Caliber's) available as downloads from Drive Thru Comics and they're available as PDFs. I like a lot of what Drive Thru does but it's pretty apparent that their bread and butter is on the role playing games and so the comics get little attention. When I first signed up with them, they were one of the first and the few people who utilized downloadable comics were aware of them. However, it seems that so many others have appeared on the scene that Drive Thru has sorta got lost in the shuffle (their comics section, not the games...that seems to still do quite well.) It's not that the sales have crashed from Drive Thru but rather they haven't moved much and with the increase in acceptance by fans, it should go up and go up dramatically. I have received numerous offers from other sites who can put the material up and make it available (in various formats but generally, we're talking PDFs). The problem comes from deciding which direction to go. On some, there is no exclusivity so branching out to multiple vendors is not a problem but others want some kind of exclusive arrangement and in a way, I don't blame them. If they're going to promote specific titles, they want to make sure that they reap the benefits, not some similar site that could undercut them. It seems that I'm in the same situation as many other publishers...determining which is the most viable. You don't want to link up with a company and have it disappear. And when I look back on the companies I was talking to just two years ago, before deciding on Drive Thru, most of them are non-existent now. Being in control of much of the Caliber library plus the 25 books I've done can help provide a growing site with quite a bit of material. Series such as Deadworld, Realm (and Legendlore), H.P. Lovecraft, OZ, and Raven Chronicles each add 10-50 issues per title. It's a situation that I have to spend more time evaluating (once school gets out) and I'll figure the best way to approach it. The main problem is that most of the material is older so it is not in digital format and I'm certainly not looking forward to scanning in all the pages to put it in a digital format. Other avenues have popped up, mainly for handheld devices. Again, most of us realize that this is a fast growing market but most comic pages are not going to fit into the smaller viewing screen. From talking with quite a few of the potential sources, it would require "cutting" up the pages into panels and scenes which makes a lot of sense. However, that also requires an enormous amount of work. It comes down to configuring if the amount of work scanning and then reformatting the pages is cost effective at this stage yet. It may be...but how cost effective. Taking my time from more profitable areas on a potential doesn't seem the best way to go and hiring someone to do it without knowing what the realistic sales are going to be is also problematic. So, when you see a reluctance on some publishers going digital, it's likely that they've accepted the idea, but the trick is making sure it works. Update on some products. A MURDER OF SCARECROWS is now available in stores. Coming next is the DEADWORLD: SLAUGHTERHOUSE graphic novel. The first issue was released as a comic but Joe Pruett, the publisher of Desperado, decided to forego the comic periodical format altogether for Desperado, so issues 2-4 have been collected (along with issue one, of course) into a graphic novel which is essential 75% all new material. That should be out in May, I believe. EXPLAINING THE DEADWORLD GN NUMBERING If you go to Amazon, you'll see Deadworld: Slaughterhouse listed as Deadworld Volume 3. That's because Desperado, as they're collecting the Deadworld material that came out under their imprint, have decided to start numbering the volumes. So, DEADWORLD: REQUIEM FOR THE WORLD (published when Desperado was with Image Comics) is volume 1. The DEADWORLD: FROZEN OVER collection is volume 2, and DEADWORLD: SLAUGHTERHOUSE is volume 3. There was the DEADWORLD: DEAD KILLER (also from Desperado and Image) and that will make up volume 4 when Desperado reprints it. Of course, there is also the DEADWORLD CHRONICLES but that is a stand alone graphic novel made of shorter stories (all new). The DEADWORLD: BITS AND PIECES collection (from Transfuzion) reprints many older short stories. Hope you got all that....

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Blogger Templates