The excited combustion of the Amazon/Comixology announcement has cooled off and now people are just wondering when the first effects of this blockbuster deal will be seen. While many people have been fretting about the survival of Comixology Submit—their upload it yourself, share the profits platform for indie comics—it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that Amazon would be averse to since they are also big on upload it yourself portals.
When I first wrote about his deal, I linked to Ryan Estrada’s take on Submit, which was that it wasn’t ahuge money maker for him. However I received an alternate view of Submit from Graham Johnson, co-creator of Of Stars and Sword (above)and a member of Serious Turtle Studios. With his permission, I’m quoting his comments here. ONe thing before you read it, check out Of Stars and Swords, it’s a nice looking webcomic!
My name is Graham Johnson and together with my wife, Caroline, we make the comic Of Stars and Swords. It’s primarily a webcomic, but we’ve been on Comixology through Submit since they launched the program. I was reading your article on the whole thing and wanted to throw some of my own thoughts your way. We’re tiny and not really well known, but a couple things you mention about Submit aren’t entirely accurate in our experience with it.
Mainly, the idea that Submit takes about a six month turnaround. It’s definitely longer than it was at the start (which was about a month), but our most recent issue went live in early March after having been submitted in December. It was even rejected for some low rez text that I quickly fixed and resubmitted. This kind of leads into some things I’ve noticed about Ryan Estrada’s blog post that also don’t fit with what we’ve seen, nor many of the other Submit creators that we know. Rejection definitely happens a fair bit, as Comixology is extremely picky about making sure files are the right resolution and such, but quite a lot of creators don’t seem to e-mail them. Whenever we’ve had a problem, I’ve sent an e-mail and had a reply within hours and had help figuring out the problem. We’re scrambling to make do like anyone, and I know it’s busy, but the Submit program isn’t nearly as bad as many of the posts seem to talk about.
Not only that, but places like Gumroad and such might bring more money to creators with a name, but it does nothing for the rest of us. Submit is a HUGE deal for Of Stars and Swords, as well as for the other comics from friends of ours that are also in those first few years and not well known. Places like Gumroad are more or less useless to us, as we’re already stretched thin on the marketing end and no one knows who we are anyway…but Comixology puts us right there with everyone else on a slightly more level playing field. It’s really the closest thing to an Artist Alley at a convention.
To be entirely honest, I’m not really all that worried about Amazon buying Comixology. There are the obvious, usual fears that come to mind when a larger company buys a smaller, well liked one, but the potential positives HUGELY outweigh the negatives for us smalltimers. Mainly, the chance at a larger audience (maybe) is a big deal, even if we’re still kind of drowned out. Whereas if Comixology is just folded out completely and destroyed, it would be terrible, but we make so little money ANYWAY that Comixology is much more about exposure levels and eyes. Besides, that’s where places like Gumroad and our own website come in!
It seems that Submit will be around for a while, so it’s worth noting that the biggest slowdowns are with improperly formatted files. If you want to get your comics up there, make sure to read the instructions for DPI and resolution—although to be fair I hard a hard time finding those instructions on the Submit portal.) Perhaps that will be the next post in this series!
Have you had an experienec good or bad with Submit, Gumroad or other digital comics stroefronts? Tell us about it!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.