Saturday, November 10, 2007
Tired of trying to break into a direct comics market struggling to sell mid-list books from the Big 2, let alone anything from the other 99% of the industry, Red Flag Publishing has made the decision to premier the content of its next publication free at Web Comics Nation. At first it was hard to give something away for free that we felt had a value, but it's harder and harder to get noticed in today's crowded comics market with hundreds of Hollywood producers, screen writers and actors lending their talents or even just their names to new products flooding an already over-crowded market filled with aspiring or semi-professionals trying to get attention and sell books.
Since the release of our first two books, we've had to struggle with the decision of what to do next. Paying for another print run wasn't going to be easy and we still had plenty of books unsold (the more you buy the cheaper they get so those extra couple of hundred books sounded like a great deal and besides, the public was going to LOVE it!). The people who read our books enjoyed it but we were having trouble getting it into the hands of the public. We really wanted to put together another edition of our anthology of new and promising comics talent, "Red Flags," and we had some amazing stories from writer James Hitchcock and some really sweet drawing from artists James Tingley, John Moore and me- at least, I hope I managed to not embarrass myself completely this time out. But we didn't want to make another tree fall in the woods with no one around to hear it. So we sat on the book and thought about our options...
Watching from a distance, we've seen more and more people find a way to break the bottle-neck of comics distribution via the World Wide Web, especially through the free entry point of increasingly popular web comics portals such as Web Comics Nation. While we're not new to online comics distribution, having already offered paid downloads of our comics at our own site for some time, this is our next concession to the realities of the marketplace- it's the difference between opening your new business on the outskirts of town or right on Main Street. Appearing at Web Comics Nation and accessing their audience and free tools, allows us to better concentrate our efforts on producing more content, instead of raising money for our next print run or trying to post on a million message board threads to draw people's eyeballs to our site.
This is actually something I'd been wanting to do for some time. At first I had to talk Jim into it, he was initially hesitant about giving something away for free and then asking them to pay for it later but after a while I wore him down and kept showing him examples of people who had successfully done it. The hard part was talking our financial backer into it- after all if we weren't losing money hand over fist then how could he hide his massive winnings from those illegal Thai cockfights he fixes? In the end, all it took were a couple dozen shots of some strange green liquor, a few lines of Bolivian snow and one young woman of questionable age in a cheerleading costume to get him to agree to the plan.
While we plan to retain our own domain name and home page and also continue to pursue print distribution, we plan to offer all the contents of what we hope will soon be the printed edition of Red Flags #2- or whatever it ends up being called- at our Web Comics Nation page. So far, the first story has been posted with more to follow soon. We hope you enjoy!