Don't let slick presentation and the overwhelming critical praise fool you, many of your favorite independent comics like New Brighton Archeological Society are produced wholly out of pocket at great cost to the creative team, making the endeavor a labor of love as much as a very real economic gamble for hard working artists. While this harsh reality of publishing outside of the big two (Marve & DC) allows for creators to sidestep bureaucracy and maintain maximum control over their books it also makes it damn near impossible to press on at times given the economic realities of the publishing world, even for someone as well established and respected as Mark Andrew Smith. (New Brighton Archeological Society, Amazing Joy Buzzards, Aqua Leung etc.)
Dave Banks over at wired.com spent a few moments with Mark discussing the current state of independent publishing, the state of all ages comics and the new Kickstarted campaign behing the second installment of his all ages epic, New Brighton Archeological Society.
GD: You’re getting ready to work on NBAS Book Two and you’ve turned to Kickstarter to help generate funds, yet you are a proven producer of award winning books. Why is it necessary for you to personally go out and raise money?
MAS: We’re eight thousand dollars in the red on the New Brighton Archeological Society Book One for coloring and lettering costs. I put up the money that I made teaching to pay for the costs on the first volume. We do our work for free, creating the book, and both have full-time jobs that enable us to createThe New Brighton Archeological Society. If we have to, we’ll put in our own money for the second again. I think there is an assumption because we put out such a polished book, have critical acclaim, and awards, that we have a publishing deal and get a huge advance to produce New Brighton. But it’s not the case.
We front the cost of producing the book and promoting the book. The publisher prints it and the distributor distributes it and that’s the short version of it. But the production money comes out of our own pockets and if we don’t get past a break-even point for publishing, then we don’t recoup the money that we invested into the book. In the model we’re publishing under, we’re the last to recoup. In that way it’s upside down. I think we have an excellent book and that trying something a little new and different, such as Kickstarter, can help us to finance the second volume and get it to readers in a more timely way.
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A project well worthy of your support, not because it's independent but because it's be damn good.