On Going Non-Physical

September 23rd, 2010 | daybook

In the few quiet moments during the general horror and mess of this week, it’s been sort of dawning on me that I could, as a comics writer, go pretty much all-digital for new releases at this point. (With a few outstanding exceptions.)

FREAKANGELS has been a successful project, doing what lots of people told me (and Avatar!) couldn’t or shouldn’t be done — paying creators to make a weekly webcomic and then making the money back on the (re)print collected editions. It must be doing okay, because every six months I hear from the Avatar compound that William’s rubbing money on his chest and giggling as he drinks gin from an athletic Brazilian girl doing a handstand.

Online, FREAKANGELS gets between 30 and 40 thousand readers a week. (We’re on a veeery shallow constant upward trending curve, but the actual count is a bit more jagged.) I don’t have solid numbers on the book collections, but, like I said, there’s rubbing and crimes whenever a new volume goes out, so I guess they do okay. I know there have been occasions where we’ve done 5K copies of a FREAKANGELS book on release month, and have been continuing to move at least 500 copies of that same book per month several months later. We do okay. We earn out and go into profit.

If this were a print periodical, 30-40K a pop for an indie book about weird kids in London would be kind of a big deal. Not least because forty thousand readers for a monthly comic about people building greenhouses and jabbering about the true shape of the mind would be, in this market, close to impossible.

The stores obviously like selling the collections, though. More than they’d like selling the singles. (And if that were untrue, THE WALKING DEAD would be the best-selling comic in English. As it is, THE WALKING DEAD, probably the best longform serial in American comics today and about to become a prestigious tv series, has taken 77 issues to wrestle to an audience of 27K per month. Its collected editions do extremely well, as they should.)

Which gives one furiously to think.

Which I will be.

(Not fully baked. Must go back to work. I’ll end up with a coherent thought, though. Really.)


One Response to “On Going Non-Physical”

  1. […] Warren Ellis Explains All In the few quiet moments during the general horror and mess of this week, it’s been sort of dawning on me that I could, as a comics writer, go pretty much all-digital for new releases at this point. (With a few outstanding exceptions.) […]