This past weekend I did a one day show. My primary reason for going was not only because the tables were free, but because I was conducting an experiment. I recently became a member of a newly formed digital comics company along the lines of say SNAFU or maybe Keenspot (but still different enough haha)
So, we had come up with some ideas about how to sell digital comics (a virtual good) at a physical comic convention.
the idea I had was digital Trade Paper Backs.
I put the first 15 issues of my comics in high res format, along with exclusive 2 special convention only comics, an exclusive wallpaper in 4 different sizes (dictated according to the screen sizes of my readers observed via google analytics) onto a burned CD, and added an exclusive high quality sticker, and a postcard, then put them all into dvd cases with packaging that emulates the covers of my comics online (landscape) and presented them for $8.00.
AND THEY SOLD!
IT WAS AMAZING!
i'm so absolutely thrilled that people excepted it.
and I believe it had to do with a couple of extra factors.
1. I had my sisters kindle fire at the show, so I was able to demo the actual comic and how you read it. very simple demo.
2. I had 2 printed issues from the series, i had previously made that allowed me to explain the cost of printing, shipping and handling to the customer.
I explained how they could buy a single issue at $20
(yes it costs 20 bucks to make at Ka-blam, and that's around as low as they would let me drop the price.)
versus the great value they would get by buying the digital TPB which included 15 issues, plus a bunch of extra stuff.
I made 4 of them in total, because I wasn't sure how big of a crowd would come out, and I sold 3 of them.
They didn't cost me much to make the entire product (mostly because I had a lot of the materials left over from my college portfolio show)
I'll try to link to some of the mock ups I did and some scans (don't own a camera) of the finished version
$1.73 for the dvd sleeve and interior liner, $5 for a pack of 10 CDs (.50¢ each), and 65¢ for a sheet of 4, full colour stickers, and 65¢ for a sheet of 4, cardstock full colour postcards.
I was spending a total of less than $3.50 per dTPB (because one sheet of stickers and one sheet of postcards covered 4 dTPB) which isn't totally bad for an experiment.
I was originally going to sell them for $10 but i thought $8 was a more comfortable number for people. They watched the demo on the tablet, listened to my short but sensible pitch and took a chance.
My next experiment is going to be at AWA in september, with a slightly more dramatic display, and demo station. I promise to take pics and/or videos.
here is the link to the pics of the mock up and the final version of the dTPB i made –>https://picasaweb.google.com/104721488386943450374/GoblynConventionExperiment?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCLehkNWxksvAQA&feat=directlink
I apologize for the quality of the pics, they were taken with a phone. :/
let me know what you all think.
I for one feel like i've started to get over that hill of how to sell a virtual product at a physical show. I always felt out of place at cons because all i could do was point people back to my website, and hope they would remember at the end of the day. now they have something physical to take with them from my table.
I will say, for anyone who is still in these forums and reads this.
I do have plans to eventually adapt and evolve beyond burning the issues to a CD for selling at cons.
i thought of putting them on usb cards and customized usb cards that look like the cover of the dTPB, but i don't think the purchasing audience is comfortable enough with digital comics, and reading them on tablets yet, to be ready to except a dTPB on a usb card.
out of all the people who stood at my table and read through the demo version, and talked with me (not only the three who bought the book) I had three very vocal protectors to digital comics. one of which who was trying to guilt me for trying to kill comics and his business.
I have personally been self publishing since 1998 and thee mounting cost year after year (travel, table, hotel, printing, promotion) was killing me. something had to give. and this was it. digital comics, will free up creators from the escalating cost of printing. and sure it will reduce the value of collectibility, but i also kind of think this happened in thee crash of the 90's. the paper quality and print runs insure that few comics will ever have a value too far above their cover price.
this particular format gives a little taste of that collectible nature, to something other than a paper comic.
it's like collecting dvd's or video games, is the way i see it.
but it gives us the chance to move beyond that, and focus on the stories, and art. the things that make comics so great, and interesting.
Thanks for the update on the con-scene! I don't know why, but actual CDs vs. USBs never occurred to me. With the DVD/CD slipcase you can also slip in some cool cover art for the price of a postcard. Nowadays, the cost of a stack of high-quality CDs is pennies, so I could even see doing a one-two combo of both CD/USB just in case someone has a laptop or tablet that doesn't have a CD drive.
With Comicon here, I'd imagine this site will pick up.
April 11, 2012
That was really good that you added an explanatory video of your work.
I have also considered usb card as a future method of delivery.For comics and other creative media.
I think the problem is the physical product in the hand scenario,especially for comic buyers.
A purchaser likes something for their money and your dvd is also of a size that infers value for money,whereas a usb card may not.
But things may change in much the same way as l.p.'s were replaced by c.d. and now by mp3 which are invisible.
Thanks for making the effort and sharing.
April 7, 2012
Great post, Solomon.
Pat McNamara and myself have got a con coming up in mid November and we've been looking at possibilities for creating some kind of a hard copy to sell at the table. The ideas have been coming and you've given us further ideas to play with. Thanks.
Once we have something up and running I'll post the outcome here with photos also. This will be our first experiment for selling 'The Legend of Spacelord Mo Fo' as a hard copy.
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