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Differences Between Printing, Publishing, and Hosting Comics

Printing (aka: self-publishing)
Pros
• You can draw and write whatever you want
• All your rights are belong to you
• You keep all profits

Cons
• Must be able to finance yourself
• You need to publicize yourself or hire a Literary Agent
• No guarantee in profits/breaking even

Publishing
Pros
• You will be paid
• Publicity and distribution is handled by a sales team/person
• You're considered to be a part of the comics industry

Cons
• You will be on a schedule
• Changes in story/characters may be requested by editors
• You may be bound to do something you hate
• It's hard to get a publisher to notice you if you're a beginner

Web Hosting
Pros
• Instant publishing through the internet
• Good way to build up a fanbase
• Artistic freedom (see Printing)

Cons
• You will need some knowledge in coding websites
• Lots and lots of competition
• Little chance of substantial monetary gain
Printers
If you do not follow file specifications of the printer, your job will be delayed, billed extra and/or printed incorrectly
Printers have the right to refuse service.
A list of common printing terminologies.

User Image = Confirmed to print adult content

Your local printers
Questions to ask:
• Do you print graphic novels/comic books?
• Do you have a price chart?
• What types of binding do you do?
• What is the minimum page count?
• How much are the margins for bleed?
• Is there a minimum amount of books I have to order?
• What sizes are available?
• Can I see some examples?

NOTE: Minimum Price only for books made with the printer's cheapest options!

360 Digital Books (USA)
Binding: Perfect Bound, Stapled
Minimum Pg. Count: N/A
Minimum Order: 25
Page size(s): 5.5x8.5 (Digest), 8.5x11 (Letter), 6x9, 7x10 (~A5), 9x12, custom sizes
Minimum Price: N/A
Pros: 25 copies of a 7x10 perfect bound, 38 pg book is about $3.50 per book. Offers hardcovers, dust jackets, several selections of paper and coverstock, excellent customer service.
Cons: Turnaround is about ~1-2 weeks or more, though it's possible to receive your books in a little less than two weeks.

Cafe Press (USA-CA)
Binding: Perfect Bound, Wire-O, Stapled
Minimum Pg. Count: N/A
Minimum Order: 0 books
Page size(s): 4.18x6.88 (Mass Market Paperback), 5x8 (Standard Paperback), 6.5x10.25 (Comic), 7.5x9.25 (Technical Manual), 8.5x11 (Letter)
Minimum Price: $0
Pros: Print-on-Demand. Also offers a wide variety of other products.
Cons: If you want to buy your own books in bulk, it's expensive. You also don't get the amount of human interaction you can have with a small press. I found some fan products about the site, but fan comics might be iffy. I've heard their quality is not up to par from one Gaian.

ComiXpress (USA-NJ)
Binding: Stapled, Perfect Bound
Minimum Pg. Count: 4 or 48
Minimum Order: 0 Books
Page size(s): 5x8, 6x9, 8x10.5 and custom sizes.
Minimum Price: $15
Pros: Everything is laid out very well in the website, from calculating costs to printing the comic. Offers distribution from online store.
Cons: Slow in general

User Image CreateSpace (USA)
Binding:
Minimum Pg. Count:
Minimum Order: 0 Books
Page size(s): 5x8, 6x9, 8x10.5 and custom sizes.
Minimum Price: $0
Pros: Offers distribution from online store and Amazon.com.
Cons: Extra charge for buying through Amazon on creator's side.

Indigo Ink (USA)
Binding: Stapled, Perfect Bound
Minimum Pg. Count:
Minimum Order:
Page size(s): 5x8, 6x9, 8x10.5 and custom sizes.
Minimum Price: $
Pros:
Cons:

Ka-Blam (USA)
Binding: Stapled
Minimum Pg. Count:
Minimum Order:
Page size(s):
Minimum Price:
Pros: Offers several options to cut down on printing costs.
Cons:

Keness (USA-CA)
Binding: Stapled,
Minimum Pg. Count: 8 or 32
Minimum Order: 100
Page size(s): 5.5x8.5 (Digest), 5.25x8, 8.5x11 (Letter), 8.25x10
Minimum Price: $65.42
Pros:
Cons:

Lightning Source (USA)
Binding:
Minimum Pg. Count:
Minimum Order:
Page size(s): 4.25x11, 5.5x8.5 (Digest), 7x8.5, 6x9, 8.5x11 (Letter), 8.5x14(Legal), 6.5x10.25 (Comic), 11x17 (Tabloid)
Minimum Price: $
Pros: Print-on-Demand.
Cons:

Lulu.com (USA-NC)
Binding: Perfect Bound, Spiral Bound, Stapled
Minimum Pg. Count: N/A
Minimum Order: 0 books
Page size(s): 6x9 (Approx. Digest), 8.5x11 (Letter), 6.5x10.25 (Comic)
Minimum Price: $0
Pros: Print-on-Demand. Also heard that the quality of the books are very good.
Cons: If you want to buy your own books in bulk, it's expensive. You also don't get the amount of human interaction you can have with a small press. Fan comics might be iffy for publishing.

Moxi Copy (USA)
Binding: Stapled, Spiral Bound
Minimum Pg. Count: 4
Minimum Order: N/A
Page size(s): 4.25x11, 5.5x8.5 (Digest), 7x8.5, 6x9, 8.5x11 (Letter), 8.5x14(Legal), 6.5x10.25 (Comic), 11x17 (Tabloid)
Minimum Price: $0.08 (not including shipping)
Pros: Very, very VERY cheap. Quite a few paper options. Print quality is OK for the price.
Cons: If you don't send in your files as a PDF, you'll take a pretty big hit on image quality. Also, the bleed margin is HUGE (twice the size of the average bleed margin)

User Image Patterson Printing (USA)
Binding: Stapled, Perfect Bound,
Minimum Pg. Count: N/A
Minimum Order: 1
Page size(s): 4.25x7, 5.5x8.5 (Digest), 6x9, 8.5x11 (Letter), 6.5x10.25 (Comic), 11x17 (Tabloid), custom sizes
Minimum Price: N/A
Pros: Color covers available in CMYK + custom Pantone inks (up to 5)
Cons: B/W interiors only + 1 custom Pantone ink

User Image Side Kick Printing (USA)
Binding: Stapled, Perfect Bound, Wire-O, Comb
Minimum Pg. Count: 2
Minimum Order: N/A
Page size(s): 9x12, 6.625x10.25 (Comic), 8.5x11 (Letter), 4.25x7, 5.5x8.5 (Digest), 6x9, custom sizes
Minimum Price: N/A
Pros: Offers dust jackets and hardcovers, 10% off order over $500, same day turnaround, responsive customer service.
Cons: Need to upload files over 100 MB on separate FTP or other file upload service.
Distribution
Links to sites that allow your comics to be viewed by the public by various mediums.

Web Hosting Sites
All hosting sites are free unless stated otherwise.
heart = Hosting with benefits (services, goods and/or money)


Comic Fury
• Relatively simple customization for almost every aspect of a layout
• Easy to get involved in the community
• Option to schedule updates by date and time

Drunk Duck
• Relatively easy coding for customizing
• Uploading in bulk is easy (Shift+Click)
• Banner ads

heart MangaMagazine
• Must complete a submission form to be eligible for hosting
• Mentions of payment via Paypal. Does not specify how payment is determined

Scribd
• Upload download-able PDFs of your work
• Can be shared through Facebook

SmackJeeves
• Allows customization for almost every aspect of a layout
• Option to schedule updates by date and time
• Has one of the largest webcomic communities on the web
• Banner ads for non-members/those not signed in

heart The Rampage Network
• Must complete a submission form to be eligible for hosting
• Free advertising campaigns and website coding services for hosted websites
• Free domain name of your choice ( "mycomic.com" instead of "mycomic.otherdomain.com" )

heart Wirepop
• Must complete a submission form to be eligible for hosting
• You receive a percentage of the profit the website makes. No percentage specified
• Looks primarily for Asian styles, but other styles accepted

Xepher.Net
• Must complete a submission form to be eligible for hosting
• Website must be built completely from scratch
• Does not specialize in webcomic hosting

Distribution Services

Diamond Comic Distributors Inc.
• THE distributor of comic books.
• Must make $6,000 in gross sales for distribution [x]
Business (Under Construction)
All sites listed are free unless otherwise noted.
Links with [X] are posts with more information on that product/service.

Promotion/Sales

Consignment:

Conventions: Anime and comic book conventions such as Anime Expo, Comic Con, Alternate Press Expo (APE) can make connections and exchange information about printers and publishers.

Internet: Sites where you can connect to your fans and/or share updates about you, your work as well as promote through e-word-of-mouth. Google only searches by text, so keeping a blog will let people be able to stumble upon your comic.
Livejournal - Has option to create a community. Image hosting available with paid subscription
Blogger/Blogspot - Offers free image hosting
WordPress - 50 image limitation for free accounts

Literary Agents: When an agent chooses your project, they fight for it to get published. Agents are paid only when they sell a project.
Literary Agents Who Represent Graphic Novels

Networking:

Legal Documents

U.S. ISBN Agency - To be able to sell your books at retailers (ie: Borders, Amazon, etc), you will need to register for an ISBN.

U.S. Copyright Office - In order to protect your story and characters from possible creative theft, copyright your work here. There is a fee, but it's not very expensive (unless you're buying an individual copyright for every character you create rather than having everything under one copyright)

California Seller's Permit - In order to participate/sell merchandise in the Artist Alley for large conventions in California (Anime Expo, Fanime, Comic Con), you are required to fill out this form for a seller's permit.

Financing

Grants: Foundations that grant money for certain aspects of self-publishing and/or promotion. See individual websites for details.
Xeric Foundation

Fundraising: Sites that provide a means for amassing money for pre-orders and/or donations.
Kickstarter [X] - All-or-nothing fundraiser site.
Paypal - More useful for transactions, but also has a feature for donations.

Bookkeeping

Keep personal funds and comic funds in separate accounts.
Talk to your local banks and find out what options there are for small business accounts.

Keep any receipts of any goods/services you've purchased for comiking for IRS or grant purposes. This includes:
• Hardware (printers, scanners, ink cartridges)
• Art supplies (paper, pens, ink, software, etc)
• Outsourced jobs (inkers, colorists, writers)
• Promotional events/aids (postcards, convention badges, AA table/display fees)

Software/Services
Google Docs - Free online spreadsheet program. Has options for sharing and downloads documents to your computer.
Microsoft Excel - Industry standard spreadsheet software.
Quickbooks - Online accounting program. Free 30 day trial.
Articles of Interest

Printing
May 20, 2009 Working in Harmony - The legal side of a printer's right to refuse service on religious grounds
April 3, 2007 Brenner Says No to Adult Comics - Trends in printers refusing to print adult material
~June 2009 Print On Demand Service Review

Publishing
wahmbulance The Submission Guidelines for every Comic and Manga Publisher in the Universe wahmbulance
(Date N/A) Dark Horse: Portfolio 101 - A guide of how to present your portfolio at conventions.
Nov 8, 2010 Literary Agents Who Represent Graphic Novels
Nov 4, 2010 Manga is not a dirty word…
Aug 25, 2010 When a Japanese Artist's Art Isn't Japanese Enough
May 26, 2008 Tokyopop Manga Pilot Pact Signs Away Legal Rights

Distribution
Nov 13. 2010 Ghetto Manga Monthly's Samax Amen on Distribution
Jun 29, 2010 Life After Diamond
Jun 16, 2006 Consignment is a Con

Aug 21, 2008 DrunkDuck vs. SmackJeeves
Sep 24, 2005 Comparison of free comic hosting services - DrunkDuck vs Comic Genesis vs. SmackJeeves
Completely revamped this thread of old llD;;

Did some heavy clean-up, so all the links should work.

Added two more printers too ^^;;
Seijaku_Ishida's avatar

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