•  
Home    Archive

News: Our Community Comic "Gunbaby" is and always will be open for submissions. Any submissions received will run on the site front page on Sundays.

00:00:30UncleRobotI know CPR...
18:39:34Chadm1nSpammers must die. Now.
16:56:16Chadm1nAs promised a few weeks ago, Webcomics Community has been upgraded!

Author Topic: Business Brainstorming  (Read 4734 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jeffa

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 87
    • Galactic Beacon
Business Brainstorming
« on: February 02, 2011, 01:30:36 PM »
Hi, guys.

I've been out of touch for several months because I was running GiveCampAtlanta.org. Holy smokes was that a lot of work, but also hugely satisfying.

Any way, I'm kicking around an idea for a side business/hobby and looking for input.

My site is GalacticBeacon.com, and I have mobile apps on WebOS and Windows Phone 7 (also on Kindle). I plan to hit Android next and maybe iOS eventually.

The idea originally was that I would publish mobile app and eReader anthologies of science fiction, fantasy and comics. My first volume contained only my work since it was free to me, but my plan was to solicit fiction and comics from other people when I made enough from the sale of the apps.

So far I've made a grand total of $95. Unless someone wants to sell me comics and stories for a nickel each, I need to change plans a bit.

What I'm thinking about now is releasing the apps for free with advertising, and have them update from the web. Nothing revolutionary there, but a change for me. Personally I'd rather pay for an app and avoid ads, but I seem to be in the minority in that regard. Talking to other small-time/part-time/side-business folks leads me to believe I could reasonably expect $500-600 per month with this tactic. Never going to replace my day-job, but not bad for a hobby.

For this venture to be a success I need to either buy content from real writers and cartoonists or miraculously improve my abilities via some sort of lightning strike/radiation/bite-from-radioactive-person-with-actual-talent sort of thing.

It seems easier to me to gauge free-lance rates for writers than cartoonists. What I'm hoping to get from you guys is an idea for what you would consider fair. The comics I'm looking for would be of the single panel New Yorker variety, but with a science fiction or fantasy slant. You can check out the sad little ones I have done on my site for an idea of what I'm talking about.

It looks like the going rate from The New Yorker is about $500 for a comic. That is completely out of my league, of course, so I'm curious what people would find worth their time.

I think I can get fiction somewhere in the $0.04 - $0.06 per word range. My reading of various writer's market sites leads me to believe I could reasonably offer somewhere in that range with a cap of $100 per story. I'm looking for shorter fiction, so I think that would be seen as a fair deal.

So what do you guys think?

Just to be clear, I'm not actually offering anybody anything at this point, just trying to figure out what if anything makes sense. I am going forward with the project with my work exclusively at first. I still have a lot of coding to do before the new versions of the apps are available.

Any thoughts?

Offline Rob

  • Resident Dick!
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1324
  • Easily Confused, Feeble Minded Founder
    • Remedial Comics
Re: Business Brainstorming
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 03:19:32 PM »
Most of the artists I know from cons would be happy to get $10 for a full color sketch at a convention (which is what we charged but our prices are going up a bit because we were crazy busy at the last con). I'd be surprised if you couldn't get a pretty large amount of comics for $10 a piece with them being single panel and all.

Now that's what I think you could get them for. And the people who are willing to sell them to you would be fine with the transaction as long as it was within the terms of the deal. But there is an argument that has been made to me by more than a few artists that just because I CAN get something for a certain price doesn't mean I should. I should pay more because.... well because they say so and they think I don't pay enough. Frankly I've never understood the argument. But you should be aware right up front that no matter what you offer... even if it's nothing or $500 a comic... some people will take the deal and some people will ignore it and some people will think you aren't paying enough and will tell you so. The amount doesn't really matter... those are the three reactions you will receive.

What I'm telling you is that paying $10 a comic will get you a bevy of comics of decent quality (at least in the art department I can't speak to the writing as what is quality writing is often even more subjective than art). It sounds like a great idea and at some point I need to get you to tell me how to make apps so people can read my comics on line. But until then I shall simply wish you good luck sir! ;)

Offline Gar

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 408
  • Really quite hairy.
    • Neko the Kitty
Re: Business Brainstorming
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2011, 06:55:27 AM »
I'm going to turn this around on you a little: How much would you charge to make an app of my comics that I can sell through my own site ? I'm looking to assemble my three separate storylines as individual compilations and sell them as apps. I don't know how to do this, but would be willing to pay you to do it for me.

Offline jeffa

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 87
    • Galactic Beacon
Re: Business Brainstorming
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 10:51:09 AM »
That's an interesting idea. I'll have to think about how we could make that work.

I'm currently working on Windows Phone 7 and WebOS and plan to move to Android next. iPhone/iPad is down the road a ways (I don't own a Mac...).

The real wrinkle comes in how you sell the apps. Most of the app stores require you to have a developer account to sell your stuff and only allow you to sell via their app stores. One option would be for me to sell apps for other people, but the down side is I have accounting to, well, account for. I'd have to keep track of how much of the income was from which other people and disperse the funds. Hmm. That's the part I'll have to think about. Not hard to do for apps that are sold, but pretty hard to do for free apps that get money from advertising. My experience has been that people ignore paid apps and download the be-jebus out of free apps.

I'll think about it tonight and post something back here outlining what I see as possible workable options. I suspect other people might be interested as well if I worked it right.

In the meantime you can read some of the reviews of my apps here: http://galacticbeacon.com/blog/the_reviews_are_in

Basically folks were praising the apps themselves and trying hard not to hurt my feelings about the comics/stories... I'm definitely a better programmer than artist!

Offline jeffa

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 87
    • Galactic Beacon
Re: Business Brainstorming
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2011, 10:10:51 AM »
I'll think about this some more over the weekend, but I think I could make it work in one of two different ways.

When I say "you" in the following stuff, I mean you or anyone else who wants me to get them into app-land.

First approach is I charge a fee to take your comics and create an app (or apps) for you using my framework. You pay me a flat fee
and take the app(s) and go. In that case it would be up to you register as a developer, submit your app and keep up with it.
Not a big deal, but it does take some up front cash to register with the various app catalogs and you have to deal with the hassles
that may come along.

Second approach is I become a publisher of sorts. I handle all the details. You keep your IP, and I publish apps with your work for a cut
of the advertising dollars. Maybe I charge a smaller up front fee? Maybe not? I'm not sure yet on how to make it work out financially so that
it's worth the time I'd have to put in...

Clearly the first approach is easier for me. I make an app and sell it to you. You run with it. It would be harder for you since you have the
details of working with various app catalogs and devices.

This is new territory for me as well as potential customers, so experimentation would be required to get things right on the business model. Since I don't
forsee this making enough money to be anything more than a side venture for me, I have to be careful how much I bite off...

Offline Rob

  • Resident Dick!
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1324
  • Easily Confused, Feeble Minded Founder
    • Remedial Comics
Re: Business Brainstorming
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 12:29:15 PM »
Well the first thing that comes to my mind in reading this either/or scenario you have going here is why not both? For some of the smaller folks like myself it would be beneficial for me to have you handle the details and it helps you get some ROI for the initial investment of registering as a developer rather than the sites charging the fees making most of the money. And as my site grows and I perhaps become bigger and more independent and I'm more interested in running my apps on my own you can turn the code over to me, I'll register as a developer and then deal with things on my own.

Neither solution is perfect. Both offer more options to more people. And if you can make money doing both then the only real question is are both solutions feasible? Obviously you can make the apps so charging up front and turning the code over is feasible. If you feel you cannot provide the structure/infrastructure to maintain apps for the smaller folks who would rather you took a chunk of the ad revenue for a smaller up front fee then that isn't feasible.

But optimally offering both solutions offers the best benefit for your potential customers.
 ;)

Offline jeffa

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 87
    • Galactic Beacon
Re: Business Brainstorming
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 11:01:08 PM »
I'm not sure how I can make it work time-wise. The irony is that one of my goals for this year is to focus and do FEWER things better... I just can't seem to resist the urge to take on just... one... more... project.

The other big thing that makes me afraid to bite on this is that without really solid contracts, SOMEBODY would wind up upset eventually. That would be OK if I were doing it full-time and making enough money to cover lawyers, but in my wildest imaginings I can't believe it would make that much. I'm guessing in the hundreds of dollars each month. Not enough to buy a lawyer lunch...

First example that comes to mind is that I can't think of a good way to set up auditing so that clients wouldn't just have to take my word for how much ad revenue was generated. If I tell you I owe you $50 for this month, and I can't show you anything you can be 100% sure I didn't fake, then bad blood would come of it.

The real dilemma for me is that I can probably legitimately hope to succeed with one hobby-project this year, and I suspect that the best chance would be the trivia game I'm also working on...

A large portion of the infrastructure work I'm doing would apply to either the game or comics/magazine apps. I have a couple months worth of work before I reach the point that I could realistically start on producing comics apps. I'll check back in when I get farther along.

I can't do anything the easy way. Step 1 is to finish out the blog/comics engine I'm working on. I'm currently using it for several sites, but it isn't done yet. I don't plan to release it, by the way. It is just for my use. There are better solutions out there, I did this to get myself back into web development after about 12 years of doing other kinds of development (a LOT of database work).

If anyone is interested in seeing it in action you can go to these sites:

http://galacticbeacon.com
http://funzietown.com
http://ggmug.com
http://givecampatlanta.org

They are all using the same blog/comics engine, but not all the same rev. GalacticBeacon has the latest version.

For that matter if you want to see my mobile apps go here:

http://developer.palm.com/webChannel/index.php?packageid=com.ammonsonline.galacticbeaconvolume1.catalog
http://www.appsfuze.com/applications/windowsphone.fiction/galactic-beacon-vol-1,2993

 :o Makes me tired just thinking about what I need to do this year.

Offline jeffa

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 87
    • Galactic Beacon
Re: Business Brainstorming
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 01:15:19 PM »
Ran across an option for creating apps fairly easily from RSS feeds that I thought you guys might be interested in:

http://www.appmakr.com/

It looks like the way to go for a non-programmer to get content into apps.

I haven't tried it myself, but it looks worth checking out.