After spending a long time writing, drawing, and illustrating your own comic book, you deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labors. It’s time to put that comic book online and sell it for a profit!
Creating a comic book is hard work, but finding a place to publish that book doesn’t have to be. If you are thinking about self-publishing your very own comic books, graphic novels, or magazines, you’re in luck; with the tools and platforms available on the Internet, you can publish your own illustrated comic book online and generate an extra source of income.
All it takes is knowing the right steps to success.
Below, you’ll find a few tips and tricks to show you how to sell your own comic book online and knock your profits out of the park with a real kapow!
How to Self Publish a Comic Book
Nobody wants to read a comic book that is unfinished, poorly created, or rife with spelling errors. While you may be eager to get started with online comic publishing, you need to make sure your comic book is fully prepared first. This means proofreading, editing, and cleaning up any stray lines before making your book available for purchase.
Here are a couple more things to consider:
1. Choose Your Comic Book Layout
Make sure your comic book is split into panels, however many (or little) are needed to display your story in the appropriate format. Depending on the website or online platform you plan on publishing your comic book on, you might want to format your comic book in a very specific way.
It is important to look for size or panel specifications before publishing your comic book - or use a format that feels the most natural for the type of story you want to tell. If you aren’t sure what format is right for you, you can play around with some comic strip designs on Adobe Spark, it is free!
2. Find the Appropriate Audience
You should have a good idea of who exactly you want to sell your comic to before you get started. What kinds of people are going to be interested in your story? Is your comic book marketed towards kids, or is it for mature audiences only? Your audience will determine which online publishing platform will work best for you, as different platforms attract different audiences and different types of readers.
3. Publish with the Right Format
There are a few different types of digital comics that you can publish on the Internet. You can publish your comic book with digital rights management protection, or DRM, which means that no readers are allowed to actually download and keep your comic.
Instead, they can purchase it from a site like Comixology and rent it instead of downloading it and reading it on another device. If you want your comic to be available in a variety of different formats such as PDF and ePUB, you should consider publishing a DRM-free comic. Most platforms allow for DRM-free backups anyway.
Where to Publish and Sell Digital Comics Online
Once you have put your masterpiece together, your next question is likely, "Where can I self publish a comic?"
You will be pleased to know that beyond the more traditional self-publishing platforms such as Amazon KDP and IngramSpark, there are a plethora of platforms dedicated to digital comic books specifically!
To help you narrow down your search, take a look at the industry’s top-recommended comic book distribution channels online:
Probably one of the most well-known comic platforms in the world, ComiXology is a large resource for both well-known publishers and self-publishers like yourself. You can sign up for ComiXology Submit, allowing indie self-publishers like you to submit your own comic books.
There is a submission process that requires a professional team to take a quick look at your comic before it’s approved. The website does take some royalties, but you can determine how much to charge per page. Prices and royalties may differ depending on the operating system it is purchased on.
For example, you may earn fewer commissions when your comic is sold on iOS instead of a different system.
You may not think of an eBook website as the best place to sell comic books or graphic novels. However, the Apple-based platform iBooks is a popular hub for aspiring graphic artists and comic book publishers.
If you own a Mac, you can use iBooks Author to automatically upload and publish comics to the platform. One drawback of iBooks Author is that the tool is not free to use, so you have to get ready to make some investments upfront.
The Apple submission process is strict, but that makes publication on the platform all the more satisfying.
Probably the biggest platform dedicated exclusively to self-publishing comic book authors, Graphicly is a wide-open opportunity for you to hit your online comic book sales stride with real oomph. It is not the newest comic book platform around, but it is one of the most well-known.
Something that Graphicly users love is that the platform will automatically distribute your self-published comic to other platforms like Kindle, Facebook, iBookstore, and even Barnes & Noble. Plus, you can sign up just by using your Facebook account.
If you are in the market for a more professional, hands-on approach to your self-publishing needs, you might consider iVerse to be your platform of choice. But before you can submit your comic book for publication, you must be a part of a company - or form your own.
iVerse only works with businesses and does not provide actual publication for you. What this platform offers is tools and resources that will help you publish, market, and distribute your comic books. You have to be careful that your comic is up to snuff with the appropriate formatting before it can be considered for iVerse.
If you don’t see other common websites like Kindle and Kobo Readers on this list, it’s because those websites work exclusively with eBooks. Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to publish a graphic novel or comic book on most eReader platforms.
Sell It Yourself!
Don't rule out the option of selling your digital comics from your own website. It will take a lot more effort but could be more rewarding in the long run. Plus, if you build up a strong enough readership they will reward you with their loyalty and shopping on your website.
WordPress and plugins like Easy Digital Download have made this SUPER easy! And if you are feeling up for the challenge you can very easily turn your site into a membership site.
You can also offer them discount coupons and other incentives to keep them coming back! I particularly like the idea of upselling with your own branded t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, hats...anything. If you have a set of likeable characters that you have designed then you should absolutely make the most of your intellectual property!
Keep in mind, you do not need to buy and ship these yourself, there are many printing services that offer worldwide distribution and do all the leg work for you, for a commission. Try Printful; they are pretty good.
Self-Publishing Comics on Amazon
Of course, if you do not need to be on a platform with an in-built comic book fanbase, you can always self-publish your comic on Amazon KDP. This can be achieved in the same way as you would any other book - by simply uploading your file and setting a price. One advantage of self-publishing on Amazon is that you retain full control over your work, from the creative process through to marketing and distribution.
Be sure to research your keywords first, you want to avoid strong competition. Make sure you have a solid marketing plan in place before beginning any marketing campaign. Publisher Rocket is a good tool to do this and will save you wasting time in the long run.
How Much Does It Cost to Self Publish a Comic?
The cost of self-publishing a comic can vary greatly depending on the platform used. If you want to print your comic independently, you will need to pay for the printing costs as well as for any distribution or marketing efforts.
Alternatively, there are a number of online platforms (as mentioned above) that allow users to self-publish comics for free or for a nominal fee. These platforms often provide users with a variety of tools and services that can help with marketing and promotion as well as selling their comics.
How to Promote Your Comic Book
Now that you’ve found a place to call your comic book home, how can you raise awareness for it?
What can you do to let the whole wide world know that your comic exists and that people should pay for it?
Figuring out how to sell your own comic book online is more than just finding a publisher.
You’re going to have to come up with some marketing plans as well.
Social media is always a good place to start promoting your work. Platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Patreon, Facebook and even Youtube can be powerful (and free!) vehicles for spreading awareness about the existence of your comic.
If you plan on publishing individual issues or pages, make sure to do so on a regular basis. By consistently putting out new content, you will always be pushed to the top of the list, and you will always come up in recent search results.
By putting yourself and your comics out there, and by sharing links and helpful information, you are doing your own marketing and pushing yourself to success. Keep going, keep improving your craft, and think with a long-term goal in mind.
🌟Top Tips For Self-Publishing Comics
Before you head off on this new part of your comic-publishing journey, you might want to consider doing the following:
- Offer a subscription service.
Sign up for Patreon or Kickstarter, where readers can support you by offering a monetary subscription. In return, you can provide them with exclusive content or early-released comics.
- Attend comic book events.
Whether virtually or locally, there are bound to be some upcoming comic-related events for you to take advantage of. Participate with the comic book community and get your name out there.
- Never stop writing.
The more you keep writing and illustrating your comic book pages, the bigger your audience will grow. Stay committed to your craft and you will earn a loyal following. Eventually, it will become easier and easier to find success when self-publishing your comic book online.
- Never stop thinking about your individual readers.
One advantage you have over traditional book authors is that you don’t have to worry about selling your book to a store or a retail distributor. You can sell directly to the readers, which helps you focus more on your art.
Start Earning Money from Your Comic Books Today!
Knowing how to sell your own comic book online starts with knowing yourself and your craft. It takes time to create and polish a comic book. Once you are ready to start publishing online, you can search for the platform or website that can help you reach the best readers in the best ways possible while giving your wallet some much needed ka-ching.
But don’t forget to participate in your own self-promotion as well! Take advantage of community events and social media platforms, keep searching for helpful resources, and never stop drawing. You can make a real profit from your own comic book today!