So I’ve been chatting with a new comic writer on Instagram. He’s excited, really starting to get involved in the medium, seems to know how to hire the right people. But then he started asking me questions that raised some red flags for me.
What’s your monthly income?
What kind of sales could you expect from issue 1 sales versus issue 2?
How is a monthly production going?
To which I feel the need to tell every new writer: YOU’RE NOT MARVEL OR DC!
I am begging all writers coming into this business, please do not expect to do ANYTHING like the big 2. Do not worry about a monthly schedule. Don’t worry about profit margins just yet. Focus on building up an audience of 10, and then 20, and then 50. All while building relationships with fellow creators and artists. Do not think about money you make just yet…because you won’t. Unless you’re a marketing genius, the first few books will be cost-heavy and profit-light.
Writing comics is a marathon, and it’s all uphill for the first couple years. It’s hard. It sucks.
It’s a difficult question to answer. I mean, yes, it’s definitely a goal to earn money on our work. That said, it’s difficult for writers to make much money (if any at all) in independent comics. It’s possible, but it is not typical.
Most of us are trying to build up our craft and our business network enough to get paying gigs. It could be a good opportunity to work for Marvel or DC, but it is not for everyone.
You can be honest with him. You’re monthly income is not your primary goal right now. This is your self-education phase. You are building toward your long-term goal of producing better comics. That’s how you’re getting paid.
If he wants to discuss it more, send him here. We’re all ready to share our experiences and points of view.