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Let's talk Money.


The Toronto Comics project is about learning how to make comics, and a large part of that education is focussed around dollah dollahs. It's important to us that all our creators can see where money is going, and this info may be useful to you as well!

All prices below are in CDN, and often reflect heavily discounted or practically donated services from friends and suppliers.

Core Book costs


ItemSourceNotesCost
Cover Art, Artist and Writer paymentsCreatorsWe paid $25 a page, split 40/60 between the writer and artist. Most well-established anthologies pay +-$50 a page, but we're not yet able to offer that.
Our cover art was provided by the talented Adam Gorham.
$6,770.00
1,500 BooksMarquis Books12pt glossy 4-colour cover, 70lb Husky Smooth paper, 6" x 9", 280 pages. 3 week turnaround time including delivery.$5,703.93
100 shirtsHardboiled IncGildan Soft-style with 4 colour screenprint. Sold during Kickstarter and at conventions.$1,078.42
Editor paymentsEditorsEditors need money too!$600.00
Tabloid Printer, ink + paperStaplesA wide-format printer is invaluable for printing proofs instantly at home.$225.46
Font licensesBlambot & Admix DesignsBemio, Longbow, Dearly Departed.$119.04
Subtotal:$14,496.85

Promotional costs


ItemSourceNotesCost
2,800 ButtonsPeople Power PressWe hand these out free at conventions as a lure. As a promotional tool they're super effective. Also a KS reward!$749.19
1,680 6"x9" prints on 110lb cardstockAdam Graphics IncBuying any of our books entitles a buyer to their choice of prints. Out of deference to the artists, we don't sell these directly. Also a KS reward!$630.98
Roll-up display banner, table suppliesModell, Uline, and Carr McleanDouble-sided banner stand, a full set of acrylic display easels, etc.$569.00
200 Promotional Kickstarter pamphlets for ComicconRapido BooksHanded out during the March Comiccon to promote the KS. Also distributed to friendly comic stores.

Rapido is very good at printing small-format booklets cheaply and quickly. They can't cost-effectively do much larger than 6x9, but for promotional material they're great.
$357.93
Kickstarter video suppliesMerissa TseCovers equipment rental and crew food only. Thanks Merissa!$254.25
Promotional Kickstarter business cardsAdam Graphics IncWe handed these out at Sarnia and the March ComicCon to raise awareness of the KS.$100.56
Subtotal:$2,661.91

Fulfilment costs


ItemSourceNotesCost
Mailing KS ordersChitChats ExpressA USPS broker is an enormous help in reducing the cost of shipping fees. They saved us $2-6 on every parcel for both domestic and international shipments.$1,768.50
Shipping suppliesUlineUline is like the IKEA of Office Supplies. I already had a huge pile of Uline shipping supplies on hand, so our cost for this project was reduced.

Unfortunately, it was brought to my attention that Uline funds anti-LGBT causes, so I will look for a different supplier next year.
$120.00
Subtotal:$1,888.50
All told, the total Toronto Comics: Volume 3 cost is a staggering

$19,047.26 CDN.



Nineteen thousand dollars.

And that's not including convention table fees, hotels or travel costs! Even a small-scale indy anthology with a low page rate like ours costs an enormous sum of money.

There are ways we could have cut costs - fewer books, reducing the number of promotional items and cutting out conventions, for example. The shirts were a very expensive experiment as well. In future projects we may print fewer books, but I feel the other elements are necessary for building our brand as an ongoing project.

Revenue Sources


ItemNotesIncome
KickstarterWe ran a successful Kickstarter for $12,398 CDN. This paid for the vast bulk of creator and printing costs, but did not offset promotional or fulfilment costs. Without the enormous success of the KS the project would not be possible at all!$11,310.13
TCAF salesTCAF is simply the best show in Canada. The crowd is intensely passionate about discovering new comics, the staff are incredibly friendly and organized, and I can't recommend it enough.$3,251.00
Contributor pre-ordersWe allowed creators to purchase pre-order extra books at production cost - about $4 CDN a book.$859.50
Niagara Falls ComicConWhile a fun show, I wouldn't recommend it to indy creators, unless their product was a horror or nerd nostalgia item.$545.00
VanCafVery intense and very arts-focussed! Zines, prints and original paintings seemed to sell best at this show.$250.00
Website ordersI wrote a very simple Paypal cart to take orders, and do fulfilment myself from home.$421.00
Indigo Yonge & EglintonWe have a consignment deal with this Indigo location. That means they keep our books on their shelves, but we only get paid if the book sells. Thankfully, ours do!$340.61
Page & Panel storeThe Page & Panel store is an enormous supporter of Indy comics in Toronto. We give them books and shirts, they sell all of 'em, and we give them more.$688.50
The SidekickThe Sidekick Cafe is a great comic store and cafe in Leslieville, and a big supporter of the local scene.$421.50
Paradise ComicsParadise Comics are a North York based store, and the friendly local comicbook store of many of Vol 3's creators.$165.00
ConBravoThis is a very panels and activity focussed event, and alas their dealer's room doesn't see a whole lot of traffic.$405.00
Fan ExpoFan Expo has very high table prices, but it IS the biggest show in Ontario. If your book has an audience, you can make real bank there.$1,735.00
The Word on the StreetProbably the best single-day show in Ontario! Just like TCAF, it's full of hungry readers looking for new books.$860.00
Subtotal:$21,252.24
All told, since the Kickstarter wrapped in March, we've moved 525 books and 73 shirts, and we're 2204.98 CDN in the black. That said, that does NOT include hotel fees and table costs, which are about $4k so far this year. I expect the project to fully break even by Christmas or early in the new year.

If you're looking to start your own anthology, here's my advice:


1) Start small.
Our first project was just 90 pages long, and a far cry from perfect. For that book, the writers pooled together to cover print costs, and artists donated their work. The more small successful projects you build, the more credibilty you'll have when you start something really ambitious.

2) Have deadlines and stick to them.
If you don't have an intended release date for your book, it'll probably never come out. Do some research and talk to artists and writers about how long they think it'll take to finish their tasks, and then build a release schedule around that. Set small manageable goals and pursue them as hard as you can.

3) Plan for failures.
Always make sure that even if half the creators drop, you still have enough to print something. Look for potential points of failure, and try to build a backup plan for them. But most importantly, hitting the deadline is more important than making your first project amazing.

4) Build relationships with your suppliers.
Be on good terms with printers, artists, camera people, and everyone you meet. Being friendly and professional ( and paying promptly! ) will help a great deal.

5) Have an emergency fund.
The long winter will hit, and if you don't have savings you will be forced to sell blood and furniture. I've been there, it ain't great.

6) Be a part of the community.
Connect with fellow creators on your level on tumblr, reddit, Something Awful or the local comics community in your city. Find other people who're passionate about making comics, learn their strengths and go build something amazing!

I welcome feedback and suggestions at @cardboardshark!

-Steven Andrews,
Lead Editor