Author Topic: Are there any one-stop shops for getting graphic novels made from books?  (Read 1251 times)  

Offline David VanDyke

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Are there any one-stop shops for getting graphic novels made from books?

Something like ACX or anything close to it--a studio that I could (for example) work with and pay to do everything I can't do, to take books and turn them into graphic novels?

I've talked to people at cons from time to time and the answer always seems to be "well, start trying to get a team together and try to get them to work with each other and yeah, mostly we just wanna work on our own stuff." But there has to be the graphic equivalent of moviemaking or ghostwriting around somewhere...


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Online Randall Wood

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If you get an answer to this please let me know.

 I'd love to find that one artist out there that has the business sense to know he/she could support themselves, and build their portfolio, while doing this and still working on their own stuff.


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Offline AliceS

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Art there any art schools / colleges with that as a major? You've got me intrigued.

Have people asked when you would do a graphic novel or do you think it's the next logical step?


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Offline lethomasjr

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Wow, I don't know the answer to that question -- but it sure would be cool!

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Offline David VanDyke

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Art there any art schools / colleges with that as a major? You've got me intrigued.

Have people asked when you would do a graphic novel or do you think it's the next logical step?

I've spoken with people who say graphic novels are on the way up and why don't I get my books turned into them. I know I could market them alongside my prose--but I've floundered in trying to get any traction producing them, and I haven't made it a big priority, but I keep wondering.

Maybe it's like getting a movie made--it's an ad-hoc thing rather than a set-team thing. But wouldn't it be cool if there were a team thing out there? A business or studio with everything available for a price, ready to take commissions? Maybe there just isn't demand for it.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 03:19:27 PM by David VanDyke »


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Offline Bill Hiatt

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We're all intrigued, but none of us have the answer.

A movie would be considerably more expensive. A graphic novel does require a lot of work, though. The trick would be finding artists between projects who might like to take something like that on.

These days, I'd think there'd be a demand for it. I'll bet most of us writing in genres that would lend themselves to that would love to do it if the money was in our budget.


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You'd probably be able to find a studio overseas. The Philippines for example.

One thing to remember with graphic novels is that it's sure to be pricey. $10k plus easy, but probably closer to $50k.

Offline idontknowyet

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I will say I have limited experience in most things pertaining to writing, but have attended more than my fair share of comic con's. If those are the cons you are talking about I would be careful about how I talk about Graphic Novels especially to comic geeks. They can be the redheaded stepchildren of the comic world. That said its and intriguing idea for a book, but I would expect it to be extremely expensive to produce. Not for the actual publication but for the art work. The detail expected in a graphic novels is off the charts. Audiences for them are known to dissect every detail and spend hours just looking at each picture. There are some artists that work fast and clean, but that's usually on their own inspiration/product. Also in a graphic novel the artist is just as valuable as the writer if not more so. People buy comics for their art work not just their storyline. Which is a big reason you don't really see as many "ghost"drawn graphic novels.

Offline X. Aratare

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As some one who publishes manga of my own stories, I can tell you the cost is large.  You might think one image says a thousand words well it take more pages than you would think to tell any one of your stories. Also, the size of the ebook you can do for a graphic novel is limited by the delivery cost. So Amazon takes not only its cut of the sales, but dollars out of your price in addition to that.

That being said, when I was looking for more manga artists, I posted on upwork, etc. and I recall that a company approached me to do the whole thing, but the costs were too high for what I was looking for.

Offline traineroflegend

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An alternative approach is found in Japanese light novels. In these, manga pages are interspersed between pages. A 50k word book might have 8 or so black-and-white pages with dialogue bubbles and the like. In my experience, each of these pages could cost between $75 and $150. These artists can be found by prowling through DeviantArt.

Offline J. Tanner

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The cost and time commitment is pretty high. It generally takes a publisher to be interested in covering that overhead and wrangling the support talent because they think it will sell into their (non-refundable! Smartness compared to trade pub!) direct market.

In general, established artists get pitched to, not just hired. They often want to work on things where they share in the creation or at least are highly interested in.

A less established pencil artist (ie outright hirable) alone is over $100 a page, then you've got inkers, colorists, and letterers to pay, all before print costs. But you're probably in $10K per single 22 page issue, and a graphic novel is generally 6-12 issues collected (which typically only occurs if the single issues show there's demand).

There's an indie market, but it tends to be total DIYers working on passion projects.
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Offline Spinneyhead

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I'm trying to remember the site I used to check for potential artists (for projects that never took off). DeviantArt has a page for people looking for artists- https://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/offers/

Edited to add- here's a professional comics writer's take on it- https://medium.com/writing-comics/q-a-how-do-i-find-an-artist-to-draw-my-ogn-5bdf7f89e87a

Option 1 might be interesting- write a short piece set in the universe of your stories as a teaser. Get a few together, and you'll have enough pages for a book.

I've just started option 3 in the last few weeks. Not based on any prose books, but a tale in itself, to be published as a webcomic at a page or two a week.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 12:53:55 PM by Spinneyhead »

Offline Perry Constantine

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I've been doing indie comics work longer than I've been publishing novels, mostly on the lettering side but also some writing and editing. As far as I know, there isn't any ACX equivalent for assembling a team to put together a comic book. Those who have said it can be expensive are absolutely right. If you don't have any familiarity with writing scripts for comics, you might also want to consider hiring a writer, because adapting a novel into a comic script can be very challenging. With comics, you'll need to assemble a team, so you're looking at four or five main positions--writer, penciller, inker, letterer, and colorist (obviously the last one isn't necessary if you're doing a black and white comic). There are some very talented artists who can do everything but the writing and you may be able to save a few bucks if you get one of those guys as it may be cheaper than hiring separate people for each job. Although as a letterer I should say have someone who understands comic book lettering to double-check artist lettering samples, as I've seen stuff from artists who claim they can do the job to be pretty awful.

To give you an idea of the cost, the average length of a single comic issue is twenty-two pages and you're looking at maybe $50-100 per page on the low end for an artist. So that's $1,100-2,200 for just the artwork on a single issue, and that may not include inking, coloring, and lettering. A graphic novel is generally around the length of four to six issues, so you're looking at anywhere between $4,000-12,000.

A way a lot of people are putting together comics these days is through Kickstarter. In fact, one of the comic book POD companies, Ka-Blam, offers free shipping for fulfilling Kickstarter rewards. The last two projects I worked on were both Kickstarter-funded.

Finding people is always the tricky bit. Especially because though I love them to death, comic book artists can be somewhat flakey. I was at San Diego ComicCon last year and I took part in a kind of "speed dating" for comic creators where the whole idea is to match up different creators together to work on projects. I got contact information from several artists, they were all really enthusiastic about my ideas, and so after the show I sent out emails. Some never even responded to those initial emails. Others did respond, but then quickly disappeared. One guy even contacted me first and after I replied to him confirming that I'd love to work together and elaborated on some ideas he said he was really intrigued by, he never sent another email again.

DeviantArt, as mentioned is a good place to find artists. If you go to the Digital Webbing forums, they have help wanted boards for both free and paid jobs. There's also a subreddit called Comic Book Collabs.

Also, at the risk of being too self-promotional, feel free to contact me about lettering/writing.

Offline David VanDyke

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You'd probably be able to find a studio overseas. The Philippines for example.

One thing to remember with graphic novels is that it's sure to be pricey. $10k plus easy, but probably closer to $50k.

The third-world provider thing intrigues me--my cover designer is from the Philippines. I'll ask him. I don't have any problem dropping 10K on a speculative business venture. 50K would be a lot tougher.

Amada Lee, howzabout you try it? ;)

As some one who publishes manga of my own stories, I can tell you the cost is large.  You might think one image says a thousand words well it take more pages than you would think to tell any one of your stories. Also, the size of the ebook you can do for a graphic novel is limited by the delivery cost. So Amazon takes not only its cut of the sales, but dollars out of your price in addition to that.

That being said, when I was looking for more manga artists, I posted on upwork, etc. and I recall that a company approached me to do the whole thing, but the costs were too high for what I was looking for.

What did "too high" look like, ballpark?

An alternative approach is found in Japanese light novels. In these, manga pages are interspersed between pages. A 50k word book might have 8 or so black-and-white pages with dialogue bubbles and the like. In my experience, each of these pages could cost between $75 and $150. These artists can be found by prowling through DeviantArt.

That's a fascinating idea.

***

Tanner, Spinneyhead, Constantine, thanks for the great info. I'll be bookmarking this thread for sure, and if I ever do anything on this front I'll post again.

I'd be interested in anyone else who's ever tried such a thing too.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 03:29:00 PM by David VanDyke »


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Offline X. Aratare

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The third-world provider thing intrigues me--my cover designer is from the Philippines. I'll ask him. I don't have any problem dropping 10K on a speculative business venture. 50K would be a lot tougher.

Amada Lee, howzabout you try it? ;)

What did "too high" look like, ballpark?

I was doing a very, very, very short manga (30 pages), B&W interior, script provided, etc., 4 color cover wraparound. I was looking for someone to do it for $2k and they said that wasn't enough money.  So while they did not counter, it was clear to me that they were way out there in terms of pricing.

I would just tell you that 1 book does NOT equal 1 volume of a graphic novel.  It's more like 1 book = 3 to 5 volumes of a graphic novel, depending on how you structure it. 

Also, consider this, to draw a B&W page of manga at a fast rate can take a page a day.  Others can be faster (but I haven't found quality with this, bc they have to sketch, line, shade and then add the text).  Now imagine how many pages your graphic novel is going to be.  Let's just pretend 350 (which would be too large for Amazon's delivery system but I digress that's another story), how long would it take one artist to draw 350 pages?  Let's be generous and say that they could do it a year or less. That's full time. How much do you think a person even in a country with lower costs would want for that?  Yeah, it's hella expensive even going across the world.

Also, I don't know who has been telling you that graphic novels are the wave of the future, but ... I haven't found that to be true.  Recouping your costs (which are thousands) is tough.  You also can't go POD through Createspace because their printers can't handle bleeding to the edge and also depending on the program used to create the images there are artifacts ... those weird lines and stuff.  So you have to likely go offset press and then store those books and then ... you can see I've been down this road.

This is not cheap. This is not easy. I'm not saying don't do it. But I am saying that this is a full hands on thing to do with A LOT of upfront cost without any guarantee of recouping your costs even.

That's my 2 cents.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 03:38:28 PM by X. Aratare »

Offline David VanDyke

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Thanks. The anecdotal consensus seems to be $100 a page and up. I think I could swing that if I could get the total production for that--$10K for a 100-page book, in other words.

One interesting caveat to me is that graphic novels, once produced, should be easier to translate. Just the words (far fewer than normal) and lettering, and bam, German or Japanese version or whatever.


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Offline X. Aratare

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Thanks. The anecdotal consensus seems to be $100 a page and up. I think I could swing that if I could get the total production for that--$10K for a 100-page book, in other words.

One interesting caveat to me is that graphic novels, once produced, should be easier to translate. Just the words (far fewer than normal) and lettering, and bam, German or Japanese version or whatever.

Yeah, that's a much more likely price point.

As to the translation, publishers came to me to do that with The Dark Earth series and I said no b/c all they were going to do was put it up on Amazon.  But there's also this "moral rights" aspect with translation, which gives the translator some kind of rights. I don't fully understand it, but if you went down this road and did it yourself, you might want to look into this.

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I've been doing indie comics work longer than I've been publishing novels, mostly on the lettering side but also some writing and editing. As far as I know, there isn't any ACX equivalent for assembling a team to put together a comic book. Those who have said it can be expensive are absolutely right. If you don't have any familiarity with writing scripts for comics, you might also want to consider hiring a writer, because adapting a novel into a comic script can be very challenging. With comics, you'll need to assemble a team, so you're looking at four or five main positions--writer, penciller, inker, letterer, and colorist (obviously the last one isn't necessary if you're doing a black and white comic). There are some very talented artists who can do everything but the writing and you may be able to save a few bucks if you get one of those guys as it may be cheaper than hiring separate people for each job. Although as a letterer I should say have someone who understands comic book lettering to double-check artist lettering samples, as I've seen stuff from artists who claim they can do the job to be pretty awful.

To give you an idea of the cost, the average length of a single comic issue is twenty-two pages and you're looking at maybe $50-100 per page on the low end for an artist. So that's $1,100-2,200 for just the artwork on a single issue, and that may not include inking, coloring, and lettering. A graphic novel is generally around the length of four to six issues, so you're looking at anywhere between $4,000-12,000.

A way a lot of people are putting together comics these days is through Kickstarter. In fact, one of the comic book POD companies, Ka-Blam, offers free shipping for fulfilling Kickstarter rewards. The last two projects I worked on were both Kickstarter-funded.

Finding people is always the tricky bit. Especially because though I love them to death, comic book artists can be somewhat flakey. I was at San Diego ComicCon last year and I took part in a kind of "speed dating" for comic creators where the whole idea is to match up different creators together to work on projects. I got contact information from several artists, they were all really enthusiastic about my ideas, and so after the show I sent out emails. Some never even responded to those initial emails. Others did respond, but then quickly disappeared. One guy even contacted me first and after I replied to him confirming that I'd love to work together and elaborated on some ideas he said he was really intrigued by, he never sent another email again.

DeviantArt, as mentioned is a good place to find artists. If you go to the Digital Webbing forums, they have help wanted boards for both free and paid jobs. There's also a subreddit called Comic Book Collabs.

Also, at the risk of being too self-promotional, feel free to contact me about lettering/writing.

This.

And from my experience, it's also about the art itself, the flow of the story and the general vibe - which means the team is kind of everything. Saga is fantastic, but without Staples' art, I'm not sure it would have been the same hit. My point being, comics are way more than generic art, even really good generic art. I think you need amazing or special or something to stand out, which is why comic art rock stars are a thing. Image Comics

I've been exploring the idea for a while, and even though I can do a lot of the work myself, so far it's been prohibitively expensive, extremely time consuming, AND, I haven't even come close to finding reasonable talent. No, that's not true - I've found some amazeballs creatives, but they're booked up through the Second Coming.
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Offline J. Tanner

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I don't have any problem dropping 10K on a speculative business venture. 50K would be a lot tougher.

If you find a team at that price point that produces quality art, you've stumbled on a unicorn. Ride it. But expect it to be double that at the low end, before printing if you want physical copies. (And that's based on ~5 years ago prices I'm familiar with which have probably risen since then.)
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Offline idontknowyet

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Just a random idea. You have a following as a writer. Why not look for an illustrator that has a following. Find an illustrator that you love and work with them to create exactly what you want. Set up a partnership of sorts  share profits. Then you both will put your best into it.


Also a note graphic novels main audiences are not in traditional stores. You will want to look into getting distribution to comic book stores.

Offline Scott Reeves

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About ten years ago, there was an outfit called Atlantis Studios that is exactly what you would have wanted. For two thousand dollars, I got this (among other comic books) from them:

http://www.indyplanet.us/snowybrook-inn-2/

They were a one-stop shop for everything: you pick one of their artists, give them your script or story, pay them about $100 per page, which included pencils, colors, lettering, etc, and then about 3-6 months later they sent you the final jpegs to do with as you pleased. Unfortunately, they went out of business just before Kindle launched, and I haven't found anything comparable since. I really miss them, because they perfectly filled a much-needed niche.

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Offline Spinneyhead

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I'm going to be cheeky, and post a link to my webcomic project (one of them, anyway, the other is X rated) - http://spinneyhead.co.uk/category/spinneyhead/writing/spinneyhead-comics/

One page so far, the next one tomorrow, and then, hopefully, a page a week. It's plotted at around 50 pages, but that can go up or down.

Offline Bill Hiatt

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Just a random idea. You have a following as a writer. Why not look for an illustrator that has a following. Find an illustrator that you love and work with them to create exactly what you want. Set up a partnership of sorts  share profits. Then you both will put your best into it.


Also a note graphic novels main audiences are not in traditional stores. You will want to look into getting distribution to comic book stores.
Profit-sharing might work if an author who could find an artist who really liked the author's work--and if that work were really selling well. Then again, that sounds like the only kind of book that has a chance of being profitable, anyway. With a price tag substantially above audio, it would take quite a few sales for the graphic novel to earn out.


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Profit-sharing might work if an author who could find an artist who really liked the author's work--and if that work were really selling well. Then again, that sounds like the only kind of book that has a chance of being profitable, anyway. With a price tag substantially above audio, it would take quite a few sales for the graphic novel to earn out.

Actually, the point of doing it as a Kickstarter is to make the project profitable before it begins. Some people Kickstart their novels, which may or may not be economically necessary, but a graphic novel certainly would require an investment in advance. There are cooperatives who have created their own comics, each artist involved kicking in a proportional share. Lots of versions of how to do this. Any artist good enough to draw your story is going to have other opportunities for income, which is why people don't set up as service providers. They don't need to.

Offline Perry Constantine

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Just a random idea. You have a following as a writer. Why not look for an illustrator that has a following. Find an illustrator that you love and work with them to create exactly what you want. Set up a partnership of sorts  share profits. Then you both will put your best into it.

This might work if you're developing an original project with the artist who will co-own the rights. But many artists are wary of profit-sharing because they've been burned by it in the past. Going with a page rate (and having a contract for it) also improves chances that the artist will stay onboard. I've tried many profit-sharing projects in the past and know many others who have done them. They're far and away the kinds of projects that artists tend to flake the most on.Another issue which I've personally experienced with profit-sharing is the artist could very well be offered a paying gig in the middle of your project. That happened to me a few times and the artists dropped out to take on the paying gig.

Having a following as an author also doesn't necessarily translate to the comic developing a following. One of the projects I lettered was an author adapting his novel into a comic. I don't know the numbers, but I do know it wasn't as successful as the book. You can't count on fans of your novel to all pick up the comic adaptation. Case in point, I love Neil Gaiman's novel Neverwhere and I was first introduced to Gaiman through his comics work, but I have no interest in reading the Neverwhere graphic novel adaptation.

Quote
Also a note graphic novels main audiences are not in traditional stores. You will want to look into getting distribution to comic book stores.

That's an uphill battle. Diamond Comics Distributors has a monopoly on comic store distribution. DCD themselves recommend publishers don't submit to them until they've spent a year going to cons and building up their brand. They require a submission package which includes a marketing plan and they take six weeks to review the submission. I've also heard that if your book doesn't meet a minimum threshold in pre-orders, they won't even ship them to the stores.

Bottom-line, don't count on comic store distribution. Focus on digital, much like with novels.