How Do You Measure the Dollar Value of Your Target Market?

gamalhennessy Community • Jun 3, 2020

It’s one thing to know how many copies you can sell to your target market (See What Is the Size of Your Market?). It is another thing to understand how much money that market can generate.

Market value is the amount of revenue a market generates over a given period of time. For example, if the average price of a monthly print comic is $3.99, and all the competitors in that market sell 20,000 copies collectively, then the monthly market value of that niche is around $80,000.There are three things you need to remember when looking at market value for independent comics, because like market size, market value isn’t an exact science.

The numbers are going to be gross—not net—so the payments to both the retailer and the distributor will be deducted from what the publishers ultimately receive.The numbers are based on the average cost of each comic. It doesn’t include discounts, premium sales, subscription sales, or per page sales.This example only takes into account single issue sales. A similar analysis would have to be done for graphic novels, trade paperbacks, digital sales, or any other distribution model you plan to use.

How Do You Measure the Growth Rate of Your Market?

Market size isn’t a fixed number. Every month and every year, the market size can change, especially for discretionary entertainment like comics. As an independent publisher, it would help you to know if your market size was growing or shrinking before you make your book.

Fortunately, sites like Comichron have been tracking monthly and annual sales trends since 1995. Once you determine how big your target market is now, go back between six months to two years and see if you can see any trends.

Did the number of competitors go up or down?Did the overall market grow or shrink?What do the past trends suggest about the future?
This last question is mostly speculation, since there is no definitive way for you to know what the market will look like two or three years from now, especially in an era of lockdowns, pandemics, and riots. But if you see numbers that are continuously dropping month after month, you might want to take that into consideration.

How Do You Determine the Patterns of Your Market?

In the same way there are trends in terms of rising and falling, there can also be a predictable sequence of events in comic book sales. Check the monthly sales number to see if you can spot them for your niche.

Do more books get sold during convention season or the holidays? Is there a dry spell every year when no one is releasing new content? Do sales of new issues fall off a cliff the month after release, or do the sales from month to month appear stable?
Understanding the specific patterns of your target market can help you decide when and how to release your book and give it the best chance to succeed.

Knowing the size and characteristics of your existing market is a helpful tool for building a foundation with your customers. But if you are a new independent publisher trying to fight for the same ideal readers as all of your competitors, you will be fighting a battle that most publishers lose. It is vital for your project—and for the industry as a whole—to expand the target market to that vast untapped population that has never read a comic before.

So next week, we’ll take a look at the challenges and strategies for growing your target market.

Have fun with your comic.


s1-en 7 months ago

The data on comichron seems to be catered more towards trends physical releases. Is there a resource that deals with digital ones? Or is that a number that is too hard to quantify (e.g. Because companies like Tapas would not be willing to share their data, etc?)


Christopher admin 7 months ago

This data is extremely hard to quantify. Even to get aggregate numbers on country or even continent, to build the business plan for GC took a stupid amount of time. That said, you can actually use some formulas to convert comichron into estimates for what you're looking for - but the calculation would be different for each I think.

@gamalhennessy do you have any better insights here?


gamalhennessy admin 7 months ago

Unfortunately, there isn't a single source of truth for digital sales, but I did offer a formula for estimating digital in the Market Size post last week.