Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Writing is Hard: The Death of Indie Single-Issue Comics

Jason and I had already decided to pitch Kill All Monsters as a graphic novel, but this news certainly reinforces that we made the right decision there.

For those of you who don't follow comics news and don't feel like clicking through, here's a summary of what's going on. If you do follow comics news, you can skip this post because it's old news to you.

The one-and-only distributor to comic book shops has decided to increase the minimum amount of money a comic can make and still be carried by them. Which means that books not meeting that threshold can't be sold in comics stores (unless the store is willing to go through the inconvenience of buying through another means like directly from the publisher). This isn't the first time Diamond Distribution has put limits on minimum orders, but the threshold is now high enough that most independent comics won't be able to meet it. Indie comics just don't sell well enough.

That doesn't mean that indie comics are dead, of course. It just means that indie creators and publishers will have to focus on selling their books through other means. Bookstores, for example, have other distribution choices than just Diamond. The distributors don't carry monthly, single issues of comics, but they do carry graphic novels and collected editions (basically, anything with an ISBN number). So if you're publishing in those formats, you'll likely be okay. If you're not, you probably will be soon. Either that or - as industry watchers are also predicting - via Print on Demand and the Internet.

Comics aren't dying, but they are changing.

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