Job Description:The publisher of a comic book is the one to release the comic to consumers. This may have many roles in it. One may be that of editor, making sure content is good and up to the standards of the company or individuals. It may also take the role of a marketer, getting the word out on the comic to various news sources. It may also be a financial position, coming up with money to pay the various artists and printing costs. Another facet of publishing is retailing, or selling the comic online, to stores, or at conventions. Some people choose to do this themselves, and other turn to comic studios such as Image Comics or Dark Horse.
- Business Know How – The publisher needs to be able to know what needs to get done and when. If the colorist is waiting on the inker to finish production, they may take a job elsewhere and tie you up even more. You need to know whom to trust with your product in areas such as printing, taking reliability, speed, cost, and quality into account.
- People Person – It will really help you in the long run if you are a likeable person. Others will bend more to helping you and will go farther for you if they like you. A totalitarian dictator will only drive people away.
- Financially Savvy – Knowing how much to pay for things is critical. Are you paying too little for artists work? Or how about too much? Is that glossy cover going to drive the cost of the book up so much that no one will pay for it? Workers not getting paid on time? These are all kinds of questions that need to be answered. If you aren’t careful, with the power of the internet, you can have your entire future destroyed by your actions.
- Honesty – Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Burning a bridge with one creator can lead to having many creators turn against you. The world of comics is actually very small, and people talk. If you are honest and open with people about contracts, schedules, pay, and other areas of your business, it can go a long way in protecting your reputation.
Equipment Needed:Basic Equipment
- Money – It requires cool hard cash to be a publisher. Not matter what form you use, you will almost always need some kind of funds to get things done. The most common costs will be printing and paying talent, but there are things like marketing, conventions, and other equipment to do the job.
- Computer – For some of the other professionals, a computer is still probably in the “optional” category, but not so for the publisher. Due to the technological advances that have been made to us, a publisher will need a computer for many things. Email, writing and sending press releases, checking work sent in a digital format, building websites, accounting…the list goes on and on. I doubt there is any publisher out there that does not use their computer in the many aspects of the comic creation business.
- Printer – Whether this means your home computer, the one at Kinko’s, an established printing firm, or even the web, the term printer here means a way in which to get your comic into readers hands. Most comics will be printed, but with the rise in popularity of webcomics and downloadable content, digital comics could be the wave of the future. The nice thing about paper comics is that it is a tangible object. It’s real. The nice thing about digital content is that it is vastly cheaper to produce.
- Help – Publishers need people to help them do things. Mailing packages, taking orders, answering phones, setting up booths, manning said booths. You can probably do all of these things at first by yourself, but I’m sure if you’re a “People Person” (see above) that you will have some friends that can help you.
- Marketing Firms – Some people use these firms to do the PR (public relations) for them. This will probably come down to money and time for the publisher. If you don’t have the money, but have the time, do it yourself, but if you have the money and need the time elsewhere, it may be the point in your career to hire someone else to do that job.
- Diamond Direct – Diamond Comics is pretty much the distributor for comic books. If you want comic stores around the U.S. to carry your comic, you pretty much need to go through these guys. They have a whole section of their website detailing the process.
- Contracts – Let’s be honest, people sue for lot’s of things these days, some legit, some not. Having a contract can greatly protect yourself and your creators down the road. Having a carefully worded contract can be the thing that could bail you out later down the road if someone drops the ball. Protect yourself when dealing with others, even friends. The price you pay could end up costing you your dreams.
Some Comic Book Publishers:DC Comics
Top Shelf Productions
After Hourse Press