What Are the Risks and Rewards of Financing Your Own Comic Book Publishing?

gamalhennessy Community • Sep 17, 2020

So far this month, we’ve taken a look at the three economic realities of comic book publishing and the basics for creating a comic book budget. Now that you have an idea of how much money your comic needs before the idea can become a reality, the next logical question is “where will the money come from?”

In general, there are two sources of money: your money and someone else’s money. Let’s look at your potential as an investment source first, before we go reaching into someone else’s pocket.

What Are the Advantages of Investing Your Money to Make a Comic?

It is not unusual for an independent publisher to dip into their own pockets to publish their comic. Even in cases where someone else contributes funds to the cause, your outside investors will be more at ease if you contribute money first. After all, if you’re not willing to pay for your dream, why would anyone else?

Outside of the optics, there are several advantages to using your own money to publish your comic, including:

1. Certainty: You know exactly how much is available to spend.

2. Time: You won’t spend time chasing money, so you’ll have more time to focus on your comic.

3. Control: You can make the comic you want the way you want if no one else is holding the purse strings.

4. Independence: You don't need to pay back or rely on outside investors or lenders, who could decide to withdraw their support at any time.

5. Revenue Potential: You get to keep all the money your book might make.

6. Responsibility: You might be less inclined to engage in excessive spending if the money is coming out of your pocket

What Are the Disadvantages of Investing Your Money to Make a Comic?

Of course, investing in something as risky as comics has downsides (remember economic reality #2), but these can be relatively low in the long run.

1. Stress: As discussed before, there is a chance with any comic that it will never be completed, never get published, or sell zero copies once it gets published. If any of those things happen, all the money you sank into the project is gone. While you can get more from publishing comics than just a return on your investment, the potential financial failure of the book creates a natural level of stress. However, if you only used the money that didn’t impact your day-to-day existence, the stress won’t be as high. It will certainly be lower than if your book failed AND you had to pay back a loan or other interest-bearing investment.

2. Time: Depending on how much cash you’re sitting on before you get started, and how much disposable income you generate on a regular basis, it might take some time for you to save up enough to collect the funds for your comic. While no publisher wants to wait to see their comic book out in the world, the various other aspects of publishing comics can also take a considerable amount of time to develop. If you’re saving cash while working on other aspects of your book, then time can be an asset instead of a liability.

3. Limited funds: Your ability to save money for your comic may be limited based on your income and other life obligations. But you aren’t limited to just using your own money. Your investment can be supplemented by other forms of money and revenue as the project begins to take shape. Once interested parties see you’re willing to invest skin in the game, they will be more likely to join you.

There are five individual sources of personal revenue that you might have access to. We’ll look at each one and the implications for using them in next week’s post. Until then…

Have fun with your comic.