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Monday, August 31, 2015

Do I want to Publish Isis Series Comics…Or Isis Graphic Novels?


Last week I finished my first comic script, an adaptation of E’steem: No Good Deed. And right now I’m working on a new comic script, an adaptation of Isis: My Sister, My Frenemy. I’m testing the waters and getting ready to pursue one of my lifelong dreams of writing comics.

 But if I took the plunge and actually published comics at SJS DIRECT, what format would I prefer to produce work in? 32-page Comics or Graphic novels?

While I grew up with 32-page comics and I love them, they’re just not cost effective for me as a publisher to produce or to sell to the reader at retail. Today a floppy 32-page comic costs $5. Any customer could go to a local bookstore and put a few dollars more with that to get a full paperback book that provides a higher entertainment value per dollar.

Would you buy an Isis series Graphic novel? 

If I published comics, most likely they’d be in graphic novel format. As anyone who has read this blog regularly knows I’m a big advocate for selling comics in the trade paperback format. It’s the format most people buy comics in these days and it gives readers the most entertainment value for their dollar.

From a publishing perspective graphic novels are the best fit for the work I publish. Stories like those I write in the Isis series work best as graphic novels in the trade paperback format. With each story being told in single self-contained volume readers can pick and choose whatever stories they want to read at any point in the series.

Graphic novels would also provide me with an opportunity to reach the largest audience of readers. In addition to comic shops, Graphic novels are also sold in bookstores like Barnes & Noble and online retailers like And thanks to their long shelf life they offer an opportunity to reach those retailers like drugstores and big box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target.

I’ve seen examples of the kinds of Graphic novels I’d like to produce in the YA/Kids section of Barnes & Noble. The Graphic novel trilogy Smile, Sisters and Drama from Scholastic perfectly represent the format I’d like to use for the Isis series. These paperbacks are just the right size for reading, carrying and sharing. And the price (Under $14) is perfect for allowing new readers to buy and try titles.

If I published Isis series graphic novels they’d be about 120-160 pages in length. I believe that’s a pretty reasonable size to tell a story effectively in pictures. A 120-160 And cost wise it’d be easy to price at $14-16 after it’s printed with a POD company or with a printer like Lightning Source.

In addition to the print copies, there’d be digital ones as well. eBooks are a big part of my business model and they’d be an integral part of any graphic novels I’d publish. The prices would be a LOT higher than 99 cents though.

Latest Isis series book!
All of this is still in the planning stages. While I’m finding my voice in the comic format the same way I found it in screenwritng, there’s still a lot to for me to learn before I go out and look for an artist to pencil up my ideas, an inker and a colorist. Comics are a team project and each person has to work well with the others to produce the best quality publication possible.

And after the comics are created, there’s the business side. Finding a printer, finding a distributor along with promotion and sales. I’d love to have a webcomic preview of any comic I published just like the sample chapters I publish.  And If I went and spent the kind of money needed to produce a graphic novel I’d want to start doing comiccons and shows and meeting people.

Producing a Graphic novel would be part of a major business expansion. And I’d love to do it. But I’m taking it slow. Building towards that foundation is writing well-crafted stories and I’m making every effort to make sure that the comic scripts I produce are just as strong as the original Isis series books.

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