Back when I was starting this project, I was really following the lead of other the creators who were members of the Making Graphic Novels forum (guys like Jason Brubaker, Rich Barrett and Travis Hanson to name a few). So I figured I would just publish a webcomic until I’m done at which point I’d print the whole thing and sell it my adoring fans.
Boy have plans changed.
First up are all those adoring fans. Now I have no idea what the audience for most webcomics is but I know that mine has stayed pretty steady for the past year or so. But to be completely honest, there aren’t enough of you guys reading this on a weekly (or monthly) basis to print up 1000-5000 copies of my book and sell to. So I need to either find a way to get more people reading this thing who actually want to get a book at the end or I’ve got to find a way to sell it once it’s printed.
Secondly, digital didn’t exist (not in any really mainstream way) when I started. So the idea that I could sell digital editions is something that wasn’t even crossing my mind. Now that I’ve gone down the digital route with Comixology, I’m starting to try to figure out how to adapt the “main” OTV story into “issues” that I can then sell through that platform. Plus, can I then sell a collected edition? These are things that I’m exploring. IIf I break up the story into chapters=issues, how does the differing length of the chapters affect things. I mean when this was just a webcomic and printed book, the length didn’t matter. But if I’m breaking it up, it just might. Plus, how does it read? Does the Prologue make sense the way it’s written? And if that was the very first issue you picked up, would you continue reading the series? I didn’t write the Prologue with the intention that it was going to be an “issue #1!”. So I’ve got to take a look at stuff like that before I just start selling.
Next is the fact that when I started, I was going to work on solely one story (from start to finish). And as I think you can see by the various stories that I’ve posted over the years, that plan got scrapped. The “On the Verge” world has grown considerably and what was once just a simple “graphic novel” is now a whole world with lots of different stories that all slot into a very planned out timeline. I’ve got at least two solid books that will collect the shorter stories and the longer “main” story that started the project. But, I’ve also got a lot more ideas jotted down in sketchbooks and floating around in my head. So the “end goal” has definitely changed since I’m now working towards 2+ books.
And finally, now that I’m over halfway through the “main” storyline, I’ve finally started to really think about just how I want to print this thing. Plus there’s the whole other issue of just what to do with the printed copies once I’ve got them. How do I sell them? Who do I sell them to? These are some very real problems that I need to figure out before I commit any money to anything. The obvious choice is to run a Kickstarter to try and find backers who actually want a copy of the book(s) and that’s a whole other component to wrap my head around and produce. Do I want to find a publisher? Maybe that’s better, I don’t know…
So yeah, lots of questions with no easy answers. The big “END GOAL” that I’ve been working towards since the start of the project has changed but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a goal. I just need to figure out exactly what that is.