My First Month as a Digital Comics Purveyor

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My foray into the world of e-comics has been an experiment. I figured I’d give my books six months, and let my sales dictate what I did next:

  1. If sales were terrible (like a few dozen books sold) I’d see the writing on the wall and give up on the whole thing.
  2. If sales were okay (hundreds of books sold) I would keep experimenting with digital comics and see where they took me.
  3. If sales were good (thousands) I would redouble my efforts, and make finishing new digital books a focus.
  4. If sales were great (ten of thousands) I would seriously look into switching to a half-time job (as opposed to the full time day job I work now), so I could devote more time to cartooning.
  5. And if sales were spectacular, (hundreds of thousands) I’d take another stab at cartooning full time and see if I could make it sustainable over the long haul.
  6. And if sales were phenomenal (millions) I would buy a solid gold jet-pack and eat nothing but caviar for the rest of my life.

Okay okay, the latter half of the list are total long shots. But that’s probably for the best, since gold has a low melting point and I could get seriously injured if my jet-pack melted away while I was flying around in a caviar-induced stupor.

But I digress. Realistically, I figured six months of sales would fall somewhere between a few dozen books to maybe… I dunno, a couple thousand or so? That’s a huge range I know, but since the whole digital comics thing is new to me, I’m not really sure what to expect.

Now that May has come and gone, I have a full month of sales data under my belt. While there’s still another five months to go in my half-year time frame, I feel like I have enough info to draw a few tentative conclusions. So after one month, where on the sales spectrum did I fall?

I’m already firmly in the second tier, with 443 e-comics sold during the month of May.

I mean, okay, they’re not Harry Potter numbers or whatever, but not too shabby for a first attempt, I think! Even if I didn’t sell another e-book for the next five months, I’m already in the “provisionally keep at it” sales range.

So what will “keeping at it” entail, you might wonder? I have four main things in mind, which I cover in a blog entry next week. This will include a couple of totally thrilling announcements, so try not to get too excited, everyone!


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  • Victor Edison

    A gold jet pack and caviar? Really? …caviar? 

    …but seriously, thanks for keeping us informed of your progress and using real numbers. It’s both interesting and inspiring.
    If I ever find the time to throw my hat in the ring I’ll be shooting for a diamond rocket ship and eat nothing but cheese wine and chocolate. ^_^;

    I look forward to reading the rest. Good luck with it all.

    • larsmartinson

       Yup, that’s why we go into comics; for the opulent lifestyle!

  • In the world of e-books, 443 is pretty great!

    • larsmartinson

       Yup, I’ve been happy with the results so far! If I could get sales like that every month I’d be pretty happy. That said June sales have been down so far, so it’s time to get back into marketing mode again!

  • The really interesting elephant in the room (on the blog?) is to offer Tōnoharu as a digital book and compare sales between digital and print.

    • larsmartinson

       I definitely plan to do a Tonoharu e-book eventually, I’m just debating with myself about the best way to do it. In many ways I see these e-comics are a dry run for that, as a way to experiment with different formats.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I love both of the hardcovers but I find ebook release dates easier to follow and download compared to chasing the dead tree versions on Amazon.

      • Don’t get me wrong, I love both of the hardcovers but I find ebook release dates easier to follow and download compared to chasing the dead tree versions on Amazon.

  • Congrats on that success—443 books? 99c seems a reasonable price point to purchase bytes for. It seems to me that your diaries books are, while 80+ pp, done in a rather quick, slam dunk style, less refined than your Tonoharu books. Yah, I realize that there is a trade between speed and perhaps more time spent on each drawing panel, but…..just sayin. Don’t get me wrong, I’m on your side. Not trying to bust your chops. I’m considering my own digital comics. Curious how you do it– transfer natl media to digital.