I've been sending invites out to writers inviting them to join a publishing venture similar to what Image did many years ago, a single label for writers get work under.
Like Image, everything will be creator owned and the rights split between the creative teams. The publisher will only be compensated for the cost of printing, everything else is for the creators. Right now, writers have to shop books to different publishers. As an example of what I want to avoid, let's use Warren Ellis, one of the best writers in the business. He currently has books out from SEVEN different publishers. Ignoring the corporate work for hire, this is way too many. Imagine if you could have gotten all his books directly from him under one imprint?
We won't be making anything off the writer's work, nor we will be paying anyone. Everything will be a back-end split between the creative team. If we get big enough to be spending our days on books we might have to charge a small fee, but we're not looking to make money. Where is the profit in going with a publisher who charges a fee that takes up most of your profit?
Here's how it will work:
- We'll invite or take on a writer. The bigger the name of the writer, the easier it is to find an art team. We'll put a team together.
I know what you artists are thinking, no page rate? There are very, very, few companies paying a page rate today and even a few who say they'll pay but never do. If you are going to put in the time and invest in a book you may or may not see any money from, wouldn't you feel safer working with a well known writer whose work you like?
- The books for the first couple years should be single issue one-shots. We all know fans are reluctant to make long term commitments to new books but everybody loves an exciting new idea. The creators keep all the rights based on what they agree on between each other.
What a better way to show diversity of the medium than by creating diverse comics?
- The books will be released digitally through Graphicly. We're looking into signing up with some of the other digital content providers now, but this takes time. We're making arrangements with Liber and a smaller distributor in the U.S. about getting the books out. We'll be doing mostly print on demand. If I have to, I'll call all the comic stores myself and sell them the books the old fashioned way, with hustle and style.
What writers need to keep in mind is they are in charge of this industry. The pencillers build it, but the writers make the blueprints from which two major licensing corporations build their empire. Smaller publishers desperately need you, while acting like they don't. It's time to stop going door to door with our stories and open a store front where people always know where to find them.
Once we have enough writers on board, we can discuss how to tackle the DIAMOND issue. But they no longer need to be a primary concern, there are thousands of other venues opening up. Let's make it happen.
Anyone with questions can contact me or the EIC Anthony Hary. Anthony is the nicest guy in comics. I know some people have taken issue with my outspoken views and politics in the past so if you find me disagreeable, don't ignore the opportunity because of it, Anthony will be more than happy to discuss things with you as well.