Sunday, June 07, 2015

Free Comic Book Weekend

Since 2011, I have not published a single comic book. Not in print.

That was the year when my first graphic novel, The Itch You Can't Scratch was released.

That was also the year we organised the first Comic Con India. In the run up to the event we met Penguin books. The person at Penguin, Varun asked us a question in the meeting - "Who do you think is the largest publisher in India"
We said "You?" "Rupa?"

"Diamond Comics"

We can argue, but what it was true to an extent.

As an authentic oversmart idiot, I cooked up a plan.

I would take my book to Gulshan Rai, the owner of the Diamond Comics (who was to meet for Comic Con India), convince him to distribute my book and then millions!

I met him, he took the book from my hand, and said

"The art quality is not good, my accountant can draw better than this."

"And this is black and white. You're selling it for 350/- ???"

And then he shared the Chacha Chaudhary comic books - some thick ones that he prints for at really low costs. I did not know what to say.

And then he puked gold.

"You write these books for 10% royalty, publisher brands/prints/markets them, hands them over to the distributer who takes 50% of whatever it will make and then hand stocks over to the stores.
Money has not changes hands yet.
The stores, after sales give the money back to the distributer who after 120 days gives it back to the publisher.

We follow a simpler model - newsprint. You buy comics from me - you pay money there and then. If you can't sell them, go burn them.

Also, you sell to say 30% of India. An India that's connected, an India that's distracted by all the content that's out there, international books, international shows - You're selling to a distracted audience.

I sell to 70% of India. To people who are not that distracted. I am selling to someone at the Jabalpur Railway Station."

Again, we can argue, but to a certain extent this was the crux.

Publishing has its issues, and there's no point being in denial.
Distribution is the biggest problem everyone planning to publish a book faces.

Online is the best distributor there ever was.
Scenario 1: You like a book, you tell a friend, he/she buys, not buys.
Scenario 2: You like a piece online, you tag your friend, he/she opens. from there on - content fights the battle.

Since then, I focussed more on publishing online.
That does not mean I haven't ever tried to publish a book in print. I tried twice since 2011, but it never worked out.

Till now, by my count, I have published 13 book length works online - free to read, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY/WEEK/WEEKEND - EVERYDAY.

Here are these, for your pleasure. Enjoy.

There's one published piece that I have skipped here. And another unfinished piece. 

But that's another story, for another day. 

Hope you have fun reading.