The Economics of Web Comics

Here is a review of some of a leading webcomic book that shows why economics in the comics market has much better hope for the future.

A couple of months ago, I read The Economics of WebComics 2nd edition by Todd Allen.
This is a study in converting content into revenue.

There are several things I agree with in this book and it is a great journey into the indepth look at statistical numbers. However, there are many conclusions in his journey I do not agree with. Even though Todd did look at a number of factors in writing this book (and I applaud him for writing this book and I highly recommend you buy this book and read it and see if you come to the same conclusions I do.)


When there are conclusive evidence to be found Todd Allen delivers this information. In his study he seems to jump to conclusions where there are no conclusions to be found. I can not fault him for jumping to conclusions, because what else are you to do when no information is present? I would like to offer some different conclusions that may spread more hope into the economics comics community.

Typically, when Mr. Todd Allen jumps, he is pessimisstic, lacking in vision, lacking in solutions. The study is about problems upon problems that the webcomic community faces rather than offering any real solutions. I think the problem with the approach is rather than offering solutions or possible outcomes, he sticks right into the facts. This way the reader can decide for themselves what is best. However, the conclusions at the end offer no hope, no direction, and pretty much leaves the reader knowing that no one knows what to do and you won’t either, so keep working forever until you figure it out.

If you would like to get some real solutions you can find out here:

Todd Allen does intereview a number of successful comic creators and hopes to gain insight from them. Unfortunately, as with many creators in our field. It seems they don’t know how they get to where they are except through persistence or being lucky. With the economic of any comic up until this point it is clearly in the realm of persistence.


We know LUCK doesn’t work. It is only persistence and making connections that work to make a successful comic.  Here are some of Mr. Todd Allen’s conclusions that I would like to comment on.

“There is an audience for webcomics, we just don’t know the size.” — The size is limitless.

“Don’t know the price. It is not set” —
The price will vary depending on whay you offer. I do think the price is much, much higher, than anyone is using. It depends on who you are selling to.

“Don’t know the format. It is not set” — The format for webcomics may never be set. It is about giving your audience what they want. However, to capture a cold audience, metrics will have to be used to gauge conversion rates on which webcomics capture more audience.

“Paypal is a tool” —
Yep. I would argue it is THE tool.

“All types of content are selling” —
The reason for this is the comics are a tool that can be a product to tell any message you want, sell any service, and promote any idea. When you combine that with the power of the internet with strong sales and marketing skills, there is no limit to the amount of money you can make.


“Use printed editions.” — Imagine the profit if you didn’t have to print. And I don’t think you do. The key if you do do print editions is to get orders before you print. Why would you make a bunch of product you didn’t know if you could sell? It makes no sense.

“Sell it on your website and ignore the Direct Market” — Yep.

“The conversion from free to paid subscriber is about 1%” — I propose that with a better marketing to your subscribers, you can turn a free comic into a very profitable one with a much greater rate of conversion. The problem with testing this theory, is that those with 1000s of subscribers to not want to risk offending their audience, by changing anything they have worked hard over the last 5 -10 years to develop. However, if you have under 500-1000 fans, and want to convert these fans at a higher percentage, I could probably help you. contact me if you are interested:

“Webcomics have the strangest incentive in that while web comics have a similar income potential to independent print comic book, the amount of material being produced a month is less.” – Like I say work less, get more.

“The internet is the quickest route to, expansion.” — and the most profitable!


“Micropayments and subscriptions are tools to economic efficiency” — No. Big contracts, and bigger payments marketed to the the people who will pay for it are the tools for economic efficiency.

“Experiment to find out what kind of selling works best on your site” –No. Learn from others who have high converting sites and follow what they do.

“Expect to make more money if you can sell a physical product that’s either an off-shoot, or complementary to your product.” — No. Sell your webcomic digitally.

“The printed edition is the end-product of a webcomic” — No. There is either no end-product because the web comic is a journey. Or, your digital webcomic can be the end product in and of itself.

“Beware of falling in love with paid download model if you don’t have a publisher.” — No. Be your own publisher. Launch your own comic. Sell that digital download.

Whether you agree or disagree with any of these ideas. One thing we can agree on is that you have to learn the marketing skills needed if you are going to make greater economics in comics.

If you want to really learn how to make money from a webcomic checkout the Comic Academy’s Webcomic Marketing Masterclass. to learn all about comics in the new economy.