JSB, the name used by Chicago-based comics author and founder of The Simon Corporation label, launched his mystery comic, "It Looks Back," through Submit to make it more accessible. Until recently, he sold most of his books at conventions, through his website and at local comic shops.
"Going digital has essentially expanded my potential readership from the greater Chicago area to the entire planet," said JSB. He added that he's able to sell digital comics for less because he doesn't have to worry about stock or printing.
Digital sales can also remove barriers that prevent breakout hits from reaching a wider audience.
In 2005, Entertainment Weekly gave Hale Fialkov's self-published comic "Elk's Run" a glowing review. But he had printed only 800 copies, so few who read the review would be able to find it. Now, Hale Fialkov said mobile stores help convert good press into sales by making comics immediately available.
"It's really about availability. Comics are a pop art, and they haven't gotten too far from when they were in a spinner rack at 7-Eleven. It's still an instinct buy," he said.
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The digital storefront also gives self-publishers the opportunity prove a book's viability. Following the success of "The Bunker" Oni Press optioned to print it. The first issue hit stores last month and sold out in 24 hours.
It's little wonder some independents are changing the way they do business.
Ten years ago, Drumfish Productions founder Rich Bernatovech released his first title, "Sentinels," in four volumes of about eight issues each. The strategy showed readers he could finish a storyline and helped him avoid delays between issues, a common problem for first-time self-publishers.
Bernatovech changed course and released his new title, "Neverminds," in single issues, in part to sell digital copies. He said comiXology also gives him the opportunity to find new fans for "Sentinels" without investing in printing. He plans to release the book in color for the first time through Submit.