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Thread: Comics Cultures, Part 3

  1. danialworks Guest

    How many creators need to be paid? How many units can this type of material expect to sell?



  2. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    Okay, we've regressed a little here, which is to be expected.

    Let's tackle each of these suggestions:

    1. Originality of the concept.

    So I have a story for the direct market about a baby with magic poop that, when sprayed out, turns everybody into chocolate people...who are mmm-mmm good to eat. And Willy Wacko's Chocolate Factory wants this totler for its very own, so it can cut down on the cost of production. After all, baby food is cheaper than cocoa beans.

    Now, that's original, and, if well done, might even sell a copy or two. But the originality of it won't help get the creator more money, will it?

    1. Name recognition/existing fan base.

    These aren't quite the same...and "fan base" implies something that might or might not translate into sales. This idea needs more targeted work, but it's not too far from being something that's entirely relevant.

    Re. name recognition, let's face it, some well known creators don't get work at DC or Marvel because their work is considered passe or out of style. So much for name recognition.

    2. Quality of work on the current project.

    Now, this is important...but why? It certainly has to do with whether the project will be produced as well as it's needed to be, so that's good.

    There are two roads for "quality" to take, as it affects payment. What are they?

    HINT: one has to do with the creator, and the other has to do with the project.

    Welcome to Wonderland!

    --Lee
    I want to bring this discussion back to the forefront, because we haven't effectively tackled it yet.

    --Lee



  3. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by danialworks View Post
    How many creators need to be paid? How many units can this type of material expect to sell?
    I think it's fair to want to know how many pieces the "creator" pie is going to be divided into. Let's keep it simple for now, though, and, once we've nailed down our payment discussion about ONE creator, I think you'll find it's applicable to each member of a creative team.

    How many units can "this type of material" expect to sell?

    Interesting qualification, when "How many units can this project expect to sell?" does a similar job.

    I think you are getting close to one of the two roads I HINTED towards.

    Without ignoring the question I moved forward, what are the variables that determine how many units a project might sell?

    We've been tap dancing around this topic, but it's time for somebody to nail it, to cut to the heart of the matter.

    NEW HINT: for those of you with whom I've spoken about "the three reasons projects sell," please channel your memory of those discussions for this topic, because they just became extraordinarily relevant.

    --Lee



  4. RonaldMontgomery Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post

    Without ignoring the question I moved forward, what are the variables that determine how many units a project might sell?


    --Lee
    1. Market Penetration
    2. Price



  5. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by RonaldMontgomery View Post
    1. Market Penetration
    2. Price
    Yep, but we are still focused on creators and how their pay is determined.

    What are THOSE variables?

    So that nobody smashes their skulls onto the their desks too soon, try looking at this a different way: What are the three types of salable projects? The answers to this, lead to what creators get paid.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 12:49 AM.



  6. MartinBrandt Guest

    Is it something like:
    Projects with Established Property (IE: BATMAN, XMEN, MATRIX)
    Projects with Established Name (IE: MILLAR, CLAREMONT, BENDIS)

    Or am I off track here? I can't think of one more salable project. Would it be something like CROSSOVERS, they draw big numbers and bring larger sales to books.

    I would think I'd pay my creators based on previous unit sales, not just in their proven track records, but also in the area the project is marketed towards. (IE: Capes vs Horror vs Romance vs ...)



  7. RonaldMontgomery Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinBrandt View Post
    Is it something like:
    Projects with Established Property (IE: BATMAN, XMEN, MATRIX)
    Projects with Established Name (IE: MILLAR, CLAREMONT, BENDIS)

    Or am I off track here? I can't think of one more salable project. Would it be something like CROSSOVERS, they draw big numbers and bring larger sales to books.

    I would think I'd pay my creators based on previous unit sales, not just in their proven track records, but also in the area the project is marketed towards. (IE: Capes vs Horror vs Romance vs ...)
    OH, MARTIN. You went Direct Market on us.

    Be glad Lee's not a nun with a ruler...



  8. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinBrandt View Post
    Is it something like:
    Projects with Established Property (IE: BATMAN, XMEN, MATRIX)
    Projects with Established Name (IE: MILLAR, CLAREMONT, BENDIS)

    Or am I off track here? I can't think of one more salable project. Would it be something like CROSSOVERS, they draw big numbers and bring larger sales to books.

    I would think I'd pay my creators based on previous unit sales, not just in their proven track records, but also in the area the project is marketed towards. (IE: Capes vs Horror vs Romance vs ...)
    "...something like..."

    Yes, those are one of three reasons projects get set up: branding.

    From those examples, branding applies to both creators and properties.

    Q: If a property is branded, does a creator make more for working on it?

    No, not unless the creator is branded.

    Q: If a creator is branded, does that branding ensure more sales?

    If people will buy something simply because of the attachment to the brand, yes.

    We've danced around the branded creator concept with terms like "name recognition" and "fan base," but branding cuts to the heart of both.

    So, we've identified one of the three reasons books sell, and THIS is the one that connects best to affecting how much a publisher will pay a creator.

    What I'm asking DOES have an obvious answer, but it must be asked and answered: why does a publisher NEED to pay a branded creator more money than if the creator wasn't branded? Is there a "bonus for being famous" that I haven't heard about and cashed in on yet?

    Be crassly commercial in your answer, and you've got a good chance of being spot on. You'll also be far along in having a more practical view for how publishing works.

    --Lee

    PS. We still have a question that hasn't been addressed:

    2. Quality of work on the current project.

    Now, this is important...but why? It certainly has to do with whether the project will be produced as well as it's needed to be, so that's good.

    There are two roads for "quality" to take, as it affects payment. What are they?

    HINT: one has to do with the creator, and the other has to do with the project.

    ***

    We've identified the one that has to do with the creator, which is "branding," (and we're continuing to discuss it), but since property branding doesn't affect payment to a creator, #2 is still waiting to be figured out.

    Oh, "branding" was the easy one. THIS is the hard one.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 05:28 AM.



  9. danialworks Guest

    There's always is it a miniseries, a one shot, or an ongoing. Direct sales or straight to trade. Graphic novel or manga series. All questions of format and distribution.



  10. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by danialworks View Post
    There's always is it a miniseries, a one shot, or an ongoing. Direct sales or straight to trade. Graphic novel or manga series. All questions of format and distribution.
    Thanks, Danial, but you're wading in waters that don't necessarily affect the current discussion.

    Harry already helped us get to how publishers ask themselves variations on this: "How much do I have to pay creators, on top of all the other expenses, to make the profit I hope to?"

    In essence, this means the publisher has an estimated level of profit for the project (which comes from questions of editorial, talent, format, distribution, printing, promotion, etc.). Danial, your format and distribution notes are certainly lead to what a publisher expects to spend and make, but it's other aspects that relate to what a publisher needs to pay creators.

    It's the creator variables we're concerned with.

    From Harry's answer we now have two questions on the table: why does a publisher NEED to pay a branded creator more money than if the creator wasn't branded? Is there a "bonus for being famous" that I haven't heard about and cashed in on yet?

    Again, the answer to this is simple and rather obvious, but it MUST be stated, because it puts our eye squarely on the most important ball there is.

    And we have this:

    2. Quality of work on the current project.

    Now, this is important...but why? It certainly has to do with whether the project will be produced as well as it's needed to be, so that's good.

    There are two roads for "quality" to take, as it affects payment. What are they?

    HINT: one has to do with the creator, and the other has to do with the project.

    We've identified the one that has to do with the creator, which is "branding," (and we're continuing to discuss it), but since property branding doesn't affect payment to a creator, #2 is still waiting to be figured out.

    Oh, "branding" was the easy one. THIS is the hard one.

    ***

    Back to work.

    --Lee



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