What are you pricing your book at?
This is something most creators don’t think about. They’re too wrapped up in creating the book that they don’t give too much thought to actually selling it. In order to sell it, you have to price it. That price could be zero, but you still have to price it.
For the bulk of us making comics, we’re going to be the ones setting the price for the comics we make. If you’re able to be picked up by a publisher, they’ll help you to set that price, but for most of us, that won’t be the case. We’re on our own, and as such, we have to think about what to sell our wares at.
The first thing to know about determining the price is how many copies are you having printed up. In order to break even, you have to sell enough books to cover everything: creation, printing, shipping. If your book costs you $4k to produce and another $4k for printing and shipping (I’m using round numbers), then you are $8k in the hole, and you have to make that up in sales.
Now, how many pages is your book? This will have a deep affect on your price. The fewer pages you have, the lower your price point, and vice versa. Easy stuff to grasp, but it leads directly to the next point.
The next thing to know is what the market will bear. If you try selling your book of twenty-two pages for $5 a copy…you probably won’t get too many copies sold. As an indie, a $5 book of twenty-two pages just isn’t appropriate. (Not in stores. You may be able to get away with it at a convention where people are willing to pay a bit more to support your efforts, but that won’t happen in stores.)
Another thing to consider is if you’re selling a b/w or a color book. If it’s b/w, then you have a lower price point. Few people are willing to buy a b/w book at full price. If it lacks a logo from one of the major publishers, they generally aren’t going to go for it. Especially since you’re saving money by printing in b/w. If you’re going color, that’s a different matter.
And while we’re on printing, let’s talk about paper stock. The thicker and more glossy the paper, the heavier it will be, and the more it will cost (both in plain cost and in shipping). I’m not saying you should be using newsprint which is thin and flimsy, but give some thought into what paper stock you want to print on.
What should you price your book at? Take a look at comparable books from other companies (paper stock, number of pages, color or b/w), and then price similarly to that.
Pricing can get complicated. Do your best to keep it as simple as possible.