ComiXology Submit — a self publishing tool that allowed comics creators to upload their comics to sell on the ComiXology platform — will be merging into Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon’s long-running program. The move is part of ComiXology’s ongoing integration into the main Amazon marketplace, as reported earlier this week.
Creator Jody Troutman, who has her own Troutcave storefront on ComiXology, started the conversation when she noted that only two of her Submit titles were available on Amazon.
So, as a follow-up, Comixology has said we'll know more about the fate of Comixology Submit "in the future." Which isn't super reassuring. Nonetheless, it does seem like at least SOME books might make the leap. I actually managed to finally search out TWO of my issues. pic.twitter.com/Gexj9YGrIF
— Jodie Troutman (@LongTallJodie) September 1, 2021
Submit was a creator-owned program that allowed cartoonists to “submit” their books to be sold on ComiXology — once approved, they were converted to Guided View and put up in the platform. The Submit page currently lists hundreds of titles, including such well known books as Aw Yeah Comics, Oh Human Star and many, many more.
A FAQ explaining the conversion to KDP was posted yesterday — among the many changes, creators will have to edit their own Guided View panel transitions for their comics, and perhaps more significantly, their cut of royalties has gone down, from 50% to 35%.
Also, and this is a big one: insofar as I can tell, new publishers will have to abide by Kindle's royalty split, which is only 35% for the publisher. Comixology Submit's deal was for 50%.
— Jodie Troutman (@LongTallJodie) September 2, 2021
The immediate reaction on comics Twitter was frustration that yet another tool for selling comics had turned into another arm of a faceless tech giant, but a few people mentioned that KDP could be a more versatile tool for self-publishing.
And indeed, KDP is a well supported aspect of Amazon, already used by thousands of authors. According to Publishers Weekly, more than 1,000 KDP had royalties surpassing $100,000 in 2020 and total royalties last year were more than $370 million. It’s a very established platform that has launched many best-selling careers. And Amazon has recently branched out into the “UGC short stories for mobile” format that is all the rage, with their Vella program, so KDP won’t be going away any time soon.
Still, graphic novels can be huge files that are hard to convert to the KDP format, and the transition is unlikely to be seamless. And authors will have to republish their books on the new platform, as the FAQ stated:
Will my existing Submit books automatically be made available to Amazon customers on the brand-new Amazon.com storefront?
No, you will need to publish your books on KDP to have them available to customers on Amazon. Starting this fall, the comiXology storefront will be re-directing customers to a brand new experience on amazon.com. As a result, publishing your books to Amazon via KDP will be required if you wish to continue earning royalty payments.
Once you have created your KDP account, you can click here to get started publishing comics on KDP today!
Obviously, the loss of a program purpose-built for comics is going to be a problem for some cartoonists — especially the cut in royalties — and reuploading is going to be a burden. And apparently, making changes to a file once it’s uploaded is also a chore. Some creators may go back to Gumroad, a more direct means of selling digital comics to consumers — and those who were always suspicious of Amazon will have no problem doing just that.
But once again, KDP is a proven powerful tool for authors who want to self-publish while still taking advantage of Amazon’s huge reach. As ComiXology is integrated into Amazon’s “experience,” it seems there could be chances for more visibility as well.
Who knows, maybe Amazon will finally be able to sell The Boys comics right alongside the TV show.