Re-packaging for the e-Book market
I’ve been sharing my experiences in creating digital downloads for tablets throughout the year. This is another in that series.
Over the summer, I started releasing a digital download at the beginning of the month that offered all of my daily comics for the upcoming month. For $3, readers could read the whole month in one sitting — or they could choose to read them one-at-a-time as they were updated on my Web site.
The response was very positive, and I learned a few things along the way.
Use your archive
The more pages I offered in the download, the more likely buyers would be to take the plunge.
Asking $3 to download am 8-page e-book is somewhat daunting. But a 23-page download? Done deal.
For me, that meant including a new feature in each digital download called “Tales from the Evil Inc Archive.” In some cases, this was a multi-week storyline. In July, in honor of Comic Con, I collected a group of comic-convention-inspired storylines. Last month, since I was launching a new graphic novel, the extra content came in the form of a two-chapter preview.
The point is: Your archive is a powerful ally in driving up pages in an eBook. And pages tend to be a driving force in sales.
A long time ago, I joked that my motto in webcomics was “do it once, and get paid for it as often as possible.” And really, that’s one of the central themes of wht we do. Most of us create a comic for a Web site, and then re-purpose it for a book. Some take that a step further by self-syndicating their work to print publishers (like newspapers and magazines). Then there’s the re-repackaging available from creating and selling Best Of books and omnibus editions that collect three of four earlier graphic novels into one volume.
The advent of digital downloads added more tiers to that ladder — offering the comic as an e-book, for starters.
But there’s another one I want you to consider: Re-packaging archive comics according to themes.
I got this idea when I was prepping the comics for next month. I have a nice Halloween storyline, and thought about how I’d market that monthly comic on my site. Then it hit me that it would be extra cool to group all of the Halloween-themed comics I’ve done into one extra standlone e-book offering.
So next month, I’ll have the Evil Inc monthly comic for Oct and a “Tales from the Evil Inc Archive” download that will feature Halloween-themed strips an storylines from over 12 years in comics. I’ll include all of the spookiest Evil Inc stories — plus, Halloween arcs from Greystone Inn and Phables.
It’s a great way to introduce my work to someone who might buy it as cool Halloween reading. It’s also a great thing to offer longtime readers who’d like all of that material grouped together. And best of all — aside from a few hours spent digging some of the strips out of storage drives — it’s very little extra work for me.
And after Halloween, there’s Christmas. But don’t stop at seasonal themes. Consider other themes — like all of your strips about World of Warcraft for a special WoW edition of you comic. Or all of the relationship gags for a special book about couples. Look through your comic for themes. I’ll bet you can find a marketing angle for it.