Well here it is – the findings of the surveys I posted regarding ‘Comic book sales at Australian Conventions’. Firstly thanks to all respondents. I would have liked more respondents to be sure of trends /averages but I have posted here what I have. While the surveys are separated by event the information presented here is amalgamated into one data set. My goal was not to find the best venue but what’s happening overall. So do you like pie?! Your do! Awesome – cause here come the pie graphs!
The kinds of comics on sale - the majority are selling a single title which is creator owned – which is nice to see. Only a small amount are involved in selling licensed properties. We have about the same amount of people banding together under one table as we have titles gathering under a publisher.
Genre of comics: We have a very pretty broad selection of genres by Australian comic creators with Anthologies, drama and horror being the most common.
How many comics are for sale? Most people seem to be gathering together to sell comics. The typical table has about 4-6 books for sale (titles and issues). If we compare this to ‘titles for sale’ about half of the books will be from a selection of 1-3 titles.
The Price of the average best selling comic: The average price of the best selling comic is not surprisingly between $2-$5 – which is a bit below what is considered normal from the major publishers (DC, Marvel etc) whose monthly comics are between $5 to $7. The next most common price point is $6-$10.
How many comics sold: If you sell comics at a convention the most common question you will get from your fellow exhibitors is ‘ so how’s sales?’, to which the answer is ‘umm good.. yeah… I think’. So just what is good? What is normal? Normal amount of sales appears to between 20-59 comics. If you are selling over 59 comics then you are doing very, very well – have a pat on the back. You are also almost certainly selling licensed work as part of your offering.
What costs did you have to cover?: To attend the convention everyone has to cover food, table hire and insurance. A bit over a third of people had to cover additional expenses the most common being travel from interstate.
Did you recover the costs of attendance from sales?: I received some blank answers from this question so it is not as clear as I would hope -or possibly I should consider the answer to be ‘no’? Most people responded with ‘no’ or ‘not sure’. Of those that did recover costs the only ones to succeed while selling 100% creator owned work only had to pay for table hire and insurance. Only those selling comics with licensed characters as part of their table offerings was able to cover any other costs.
Recovering printing costs: A strange result from this question hitting a broad selection of responses. The largest response was 38% of people are needing to sell between 50-75% of the entire print run to recover the cost of printing. After that 28% of people need to sell 76-99% of their print run to recover costs. Responses for other values are spread out evenly which also included the response ‘I cannot recover the costs of printing, even if I sell all issues’.
How do you price your comics? This question was open ended so I got a variety of interesting responses. The majority responded in the terms of what they thought people would expect to pay, by gut instinct and by what other people are selling their comics for.
“…what I expect fans to reasonably spend.”
“What I would pay for things crossed with what I expect fans to reasonably spend.”
“What I thought was fair and what I thought people would pay. “
The next largest group seemed to have no intention of recovering costs or do not seem to think it’s possible:
“Making money doesn’t interest me. Making comics does.”
The smallest group was people who responded in terms of cost. The common approach people took was to figure out the cost of producing one comic and doubling it for sales price. Or as one responder put it:
“Cost + 100%.”
A portrait of the average person selling comics at a convention: So from all this information lets have a look at what the average exhibitor selling comics at a major Australian Convention looks like.
They will be selling comics in the genre of Anthology, Drama and Horror. They will be selling them as part of a group or a selection of comics under a publisher. They will be 4-6 comics from 1-3 titles on offer. The comics are likely to cost between $2-5. They have about a 50% chance to have sell 20-59 comics need to sell 50-75% of their entire print run to recover the cost of printing. They will be selling prints and badges. They price their comics by gut instinct and/or by what they think customers are likely to pay. They will be covering the costs of food, table hire and insurance to attend the event. They will not recover these costs or be unsure if they did.
And thats all there is. If you think have not filled out the surveys then you still can at the links below. If I receive a large amount of additional information I will make another post of findings.
Gavin THE pie graph making Thomson.