Some links floating around about the economics of making comics, and it’s all razor-thin. Two via Simon Jones :
Here’s a breakdown of the costs of producing a doujinshi (a fan-made manga, some of which sell thousands of copies.) The calculations start with two doujinshi, selling price 500 yen, total 10,000 copies = 5,000,000 yen. After printing, distribution, paying help at the booth, taking everyone to dinner and so on, about ¥1,000,000 is left or about $10,860. The considerations involved are quite precise:
As for paying large amounts for the guys helping out, to the point of paying all transportation and accommodation, it’s so that even when there is a queue at the booth a person would not need to queue for longer than 30 minutes. There is a big difference when getting people that can work really fast, and the circle tried having only 3 people at the booth once and the queue got really bad.
Another post at GGYmeta looks at the metrics of POD publishing and concludes that distribution via Diamond or others is a money-loser:
If I decide to sell to other distributors, they take 60% per book sold [Diamond, Haven, all of them!] so that $2.55 per book cost is still nice…dealing with a 60% distributor would still net us $2.64 per book sold. I wouldn’t be able to deal with outside distributors at all using ComixPress or LuLu– I’d lose money. :(
Finally, Johanna Draper Carlson interviews Girls with Slingshots’ Danielle Corsetto about making a living making webcomics.
I’ve been living off income from a mix of the webcomic and caricature gigs since June of 2007. I’m still a little shocked that it’s working, although I’m just barely hanging on. I’m breaking even and am able to pay my bills, but my bills have become enormous in the past year (new house, new car, both necessities). I still have a roof over my head, so I see it as a success thus far!
Are you willing to share readership figures?
Sure. I’m averaging between 25,000 and 32,000 unique visitors a day. It’s not Questionable Content or PvP numbers, but it’s pretty high and it’s keeping me alive. That, and I have some of the greatest, most dedicated, and generous readers in the world.
Margins, margins, margins.