I think we have gotten enough foundational principles down now. We can get to work. I want to make no qualms about the purpose of this site. This site is for the above average comic book creator, who has a serious desire to make comics and to make money doing so. If there is enough desire, I can work with anybody. Maybe you’ll be a penciler, maybe you’ll be an editor, maybe you’ll be a colorist. maybe you’ll be in sales, or accounting, or advertising. Guess what. Comics are business, and if you want to keep make comics for a living, you’ll need to make some cash. That’s what this post is about.
You don’t have to make cash to make comics, nor do you have to make comics to make cash. If you want to make comics as a hobby and explore your own creativity then go ahead. Many times those endeavors can reap you many more rewards than a paycheck. But what a lot of creators who are in the business of making comics are in it because they love getting paid for doing what they love to do. And “hey”, we’re making comics! What could be more fun than that. I hope you believe in yourself enough to make your dreams happen.
I tend to be a little more practical. Comics is a business. I want to help people make money making comics and begin doing what they love to do. I’m tired of people spending their energy and burning out on creating product that goes nowhere. As I’ve been listening to more and more leaders, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is direly critical that creators making comics in the industry change their way of thinking. I hope someone has been on this same path before me, but if someone is, I haven’t seen much of them. What I see is people in the same rut. Are you?
Have you been pushing out a webcomic for 13 months straight and have an audience that doesn’t care whether your story lives or dies? Have you printed 50,000 copies of a comic and have it sitting in a storage unit for the last 5 years? Have you been waiting to make that awesome comic because you know…you just know…that it will make you a million dollars in proprietary rights, but NO ONE will publish it? It’s time you started reinventing comics money, otherwise you are not going to have any. And if you don’t have any money, it means you won’t be able to make comics for a living.
I see very FEW artists, very FEW writers, very FEW creators really make a difference in people’s lives with their OWN stories or art. You’d think that if you create this world that is within you and express it, that you will be the .001% of creators in the world that will be the Todd McFarlane, Alex Ross, or even J.K. Rowling. The hopeful creator wants to gather huge paydays from book deals, even bigger paydays from movie deals, and don’t forget to throw in all the extra change from marketing the toys. Ka-CHING $$$ Wide-eyed fantasies will get you almost nowhere.
The best advice I can give to start reinventing comics freelance businesses and earning more money is to have anyone even thinking of beginning a comics career to start thinking of yourself as an entrepreneur as opposed to freelancer or a creator. Every freelancer/creator I know has to run his/her own business. You have to pay taxes. You have to discipline yourself to get the job done. You have to invoice your client. You have to pay the mortgage/ office/ utilities/ electric/ gas bill/ cleaning. You have to get new clients, you have to plan for vacation, medical absences, and rehiring of others when you can’t get the job done. All in all, you own a business. The business is you. You are an entrepreneur, my friend, not a freelancer. If you want to be taken seriously and start reinventing comics freelance business money you have to change your name.
I’ll try not to get too technical here, but just look at the history of the words. What would your rather be?
First, let’s look at FREELANCE. (Dictionary Version 1.0.2 (1.0.2)Copyright © 2005 Apple Computer, Inc.,)
working for different companies at different times rather than being permanently employed by one company: a freelance journalist.
• independent or uncommitted in politics or personal life.
Pretty normal, right? I don’t like the uncommitted part, but the rest sounds okay, doesn’t it? Well, let’s dive deeper–
historical (often free lance) a medieval mercenary.
primarily concerned with making money at the expense of ethics
• a person primarily concerned with material reward at the expense of ethics:
1 mercenary self-interest money-oriented, grasping, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious, covetous, bribable, venal, materialistic; informal money-grubbing.
2 mercenary soldiers hired, paid, bought, professional.
a group of mercenaries soldier of fortune, professional soldier, hired soldier, gunman; informal hired gun.
Ouch, this may be why we freelancers always get a bad rap. And why we have to go the extra 50 miles just to prove that we are not the things we say we are when we use this word–freelancer. So let’s change it.
Now look at ENTREPRENEUR. (Dictionary Version 1.0.2 (1.0.2)Copyright © 2005 Apple Computer, Inc.,)
ORIGIN early 19th cent.(denoting the director of a musical institution): from French, from entreprendre ‘undertake’ (see enterprise).
a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.
2 we want candidates with enterprise initiative, resourcefulness, imagination, entrepreneurialism, ingenuity, inventiveness, originality, creativity; quick-wittedness, cleverness; enthusiasm, dynamism, drive, ambition, energy; boldness, daring, courage, leadership; informal gumption, get-up-and-go, oomph.
Anyone who has kids and a mortgage and is just trying to survive on their “freelance” income realizes the vast amounts of financial risks you endure. Don’t let anyone tries to tell you differently. Plus, we even get to use the creativity from the musical origin. Awesome. Take this to heart. It’s the easiest thing to do to start reinventing comics freelance businesses and start making money.
You may be thinking, no Daniel, “I’m not an entrepreneur, I’m a freelancer. Remember William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet taunt: “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;”?
True. but just look at the word. Do you really want your name associated with being a mercernary? … trying to go from the next job to the next job on a whim? We have to set you up with a clear identity, so you can know who you are. And others can know as well.
I will try one more time to convince you and we’ll leave it with this. What do you think of when you hear the word freelancer? working his butt off to pay the bills? scratching for the next job? poor? scraggly? scraping by? free? cheap? cheap quality? independent? what else?
so maybe one good trait out of ten.
Now what do you think of when you think of the word entrepreneur? rich? businessman? successful? intelligent?genius? gets things done? motivator? leader? snob? what else?
so maybe one bad trait out of ten.
Take this to heart. It’s the easiest thing to do to start reinventing comics freelancing and start making money.