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Bluewater Productions, BS, and real numbers for creator owned revenue

The Columbian profiles biographic comic book publisher Darren Davis and his Bluewater Productions and his move to digital. Bluewater titles are typically biographic of celebrities and ripped from the headline stories.

From the Columbian:

“The biography comics changed the way that we published,” Davis said about adding nonfiction to his company’s catalog in 2008. “If it wasn’t for those, we wouldn’t be around.”

After a nearly 25 percent sales spike between 2009 and 2010, thanks to those biographical books receiving broad exposure, Bluewater reports its yearly income now generally gravitates around $2 million.

Johanna Draper Carlson calls BS on Bluewater claims of generating $2 million/year in profitincome and points to a write up by Jim Zub who outlines the costs of business producing, distributing, selling creator owned work. Nut shell: creators get a very, very, very, very small piece of the pie.

Creator owned slice of the pie

Jim ends by advocating comic fans to support creator own work directly so the greater portion of the money goes to the creator.

The above is simplified. Percentages vary depending on the publisher, special discounts and order volume. Even still, in the end, most of my numbers above are idealized and they still leave nothing/next to nothing for the creative team.

Believe it or not, I’m not bitter about all of this. It’s the price of doing business in the mainstream comic industry via retail outlets and international distribution. That’s how it works. I just want to make it very clear so people understand what I mean when I say I’m not getting rich making my own comic. Skullkickers is the most expensive hobby I’ve ever had.

That’s why you should

  • * Support indy titles.
  • * Support creator-owned comics.
  • * Pre-order books you’re interested in from your local retailer.
  • * Tell your friends about books and help build support.
  • * Support Kickstarter campaigns for great independent comic projects.
  • * Buy direct from creators at conventions so 100% of the cover price goes into their pocket.

Correction: I incorrectly labeled the $2 million income as net profit when it was first reported as simply gross income. My apologies to Darren and Bluewater.

Community Comments

#1 Darren Davis
November/28/2012
@ 12:20 pm

No where in the article does it say 2 million dollars in profits. This number was in gross sales – not net. This is how rumors get started when people do not fact check. Joanna has an ax to grind with Bluewater and I have offered to do an interview with her over the years – but she is biased and just a blogger who does not not want the facts.

Darren Davis
Bluewater Productions

#2 Jason Goldsmith
November/29/2012
@ 1:07 am

$2 million income isn’t $2 million in profit. Not by a long shot.

Beyond that though, Bluewater is the publisher, so the key take away from Jim Zub’s article would be that Bluewater would make about $0.35 an issue at a $2.99 cover price and somewhat more on a $3.99 book.

Yes, the writers and artists do not make much money unless they are working for the Big 2.

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