How Do You Manage Your Comic Book Business?

gamalhennessy Community • Oct 16, 2020

As part of the lead up to our free financing webinar on October 29th, I’d like to explore the fundamentals of creating business management as it pertains to your aspiring comic book company.

What is Business Management?

Management is the organization and coordination of business activities to achieve defined objectives. As an independent publisher, this means finding the best ways to use your time, energy, and resources to achieve the milestones and goals for your comic.

Now as a creative individual, you might consider business management a subject to avoid. If your goal is to make comics, then dealing with budgets, contracts, and schedules might be the last thing you want to do. But before you dive into making your comic, consider the possible negative outcomes of avoiding business management:

1. Vital aspects of your publishing process either won’t be done properly, won’t be done on time, or (worst of all) they won’t be done at all.

2. Some or all of your money could be wasted on issues and problems that could have been avoided.

3. The idea that you own and love will fail despite the quality of the idea or the creative work you invested into it.

4. You could lose control of your idea completely.

If you are a creative who doesn’t feel they have the time or the headspace to handle the business side of publishing, you could bring in someone to handle those tasks. Either way, you’ll still need a basic understanding of your business plan to achieve your goals.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan outlines the strategies and tactics a business intends to utilize to achieve its specific goals. As I mentioned in a prior post, business plans are often used to attract outside investment, since most experienced investors want to know how you plan to use their money (See How Can You Get Others to Invest in Your Comic?). They can also serve as a valuable roadmap in the publishing process. Your actual publishing experience probably won’t match the details of your plan, because reality has a habit of deviating from our intended schemes. But a flexible and thoughtful business plan, combined with your IP and your investment, can get you closer to your objectives.

How Do You Write a Business Plan?

To build a roadmap for publishing your book, you need to:

1. Understand the business environment your comic will compete in.

2. Envision the process of publishing from acquiring the idea to the sale of the book.

3. Break down every step in the process and figure out how you’re going to complete it, taking into account the realities of your business environment.

4. Summarize the assets you have to complete the process

5. Explain how the business makes money

6. Predict the possible outcomes of your business

There are a lot of different plans and templates for creating a business plan, but the outline below is a template you can use to get started. Feel free to modify this template for your own purposes. Like your idea structure, don’t be afraid to let your business plan change and grow over time.

1. Business Description (What kind of business is it?):
a. Intellectual Property: (What is the idea for your comic?)
b. Goals (What do you want to accomplish with this business?):
c. Ownership (Who owns or controls the IP for the comic?):

2. Investment: (Where will the initial funding come from?)

3. Costs (How much investment is required to make the comic?)

4. Talent (Who is working on the comic?)

5. Market (Who is going to read this comic?)
a. Ideal Reader (What are the demographics and psychographics of the Market?)
b. Competition (Who is making similar comics to yours?):
c. Differentiation (How is your comic different from the Competition?):
d. Size: (How many ideal readers are in the Market?)
e. Growth: (What are the opportunities to increase the size of the Market?)
f. Interaction Methods: (How will you connect and communicate with the Market?):

6. Distribution (How will you deliver the comics to your readers?):

7. Production (How will the comics be created?):

8. Sales Strategy: (How will you sell the comics to your readers?)

9. Revenue: (How will the comic make money?)

10. Finances: (How will the Revenue be distributed?)

11. Next Steps: (How will you and the business react to the success or failure of the comic?)

Next week, we’ll look at the four basic business models for comic creators looking to have a long career in the business.

Have fun with your comic.