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Printing your own comic collection book

Lot of discussion has been had on the importance of DIY book printing to create high profit margins. A few have discussed the finer points of the process of doing it yourself. John Hambrock has posted the first in a series about how he went about printing the first The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee collection.

The next step was to lay the thing out. The first thing I did was stop by the Walgreens near my office and buy a huge pack of colored post-it-notes. When I got to my office, I cleared one wall and started sticking the post-its up, one for each page, using the various colors to designate the various types of pages (Sunday strip page, puzzle page, etc). I think we looked at several dozen variations before finalizing the look. It was now the middle of June. I had two months to put together the entire book. I had no idea what I was about to get into.

Once the book has been printed – the best source of information that I’ve read on how the get the book out to your readers comes from Schlock Mercenary creator Howard Tayler’s wife, Sandra.

Community Comments

#1 Howard Tayler
@ 2:03 pm

Thanks for the kind words, Alan.

Sandra and I were talking business stuff today and I was again struck by how incredibly fortunate I am to have someone so brilliantly competent on my team. Naturally I kept my opinion to myself because a) I am male, and b) I don’t want to have to raise her pay.

#2 John Hambrock
@ 3:14 pm

Thanks, Alan. Despite the tremendous amount of time and effort we put into this book, it was lots of fun! If I can squeeze in a nice, long vacation this year, I’ll consider working on Volume 2.

#3 Alex Hallatt
@ 3:35 pm

This highlights how despite being syndicated for 4 years and nominated at the Reubens, a cartoonist still has to do their own book. Even a strip with the following of Pooch Cafe is now in self-published books.

Only a few of the newer strips (CdS, Lio, Argyle) have the followings that make books worth publishing for the syndicates.

Be interesting to find out how e-publishing is going for the likes of Ginger Meggs.

#4 Howard Tayler
@ 4:33 pm

Rule number one of comics. Nobody Cares As Much About Your Comic As You Do.

Not the syndicate. Not your agent. Not your readers. Not your significant other. Not even your mom.

#5 Stacy Curtis
@ 5:24 pm

I have a question for John … since you did the book yourself, did you have to split the money with your syndicate?

#6 Dave Krainacker
@ 7:27 pm

As a major fan of comics, I look forward to when more strips are available in book form. Or even DVD form like MAD magazine.

#7 Rich Diesslin
@ 8:52 pm

John – coolio. Nice approach … your own sticky notes storyboard. Useful little things those ;)

I just ripped off Chad Carpenter’s layout (in concept) from the book he gave us in Vegas and laid out my own KNOTS scout cartoons book in a desktop publishing program, did all the ISBN LCCN# registration, etc. Converted it to a production quality PDF and worked with printing company and it all came together well. If I ever get enough orders to need a system, then I’ll read Howard’s tips!

Thanks for sharing the approach though, this is all helpful stuff and fun to see how others are doing it.

#8 John Hambrock
@ 9:45 pm


I did have to work out an agreement with King Features, and they will get a small percentage of the profits, as they should. I’ll discuss that in greater detail in one of my later posts, so stay tuned to my “Cartoonist Studio” blog. I’ll be posting weekly for the next 3 weeks or so.

I’m anxious to check out your new book!

#9 henry Clausner
@ 8:16 am

I’ve done this process numerous times…save money for the marketing…

#10 David Reddick
@ 10:39 am

John, this is great, and very inspiring. I am looking at this option myself right now on a few things and investigating proper channels, and I appreciate, like others do I’m sure, you’re openness in posting this as another guide to inspire and assist in the thinking process.
The same goes for Howard. Howard has been incredibly forthright about his processes in building his works and these sort of things are just gold to the business-minded among us.
Thanks, guys!

#11 Daniel Boris
@ 12:19 pm

Thanks for showing us how you did this, John!

#12 Steve Skelton
@ 12:37 pm

Yes, very cool. I am sure Edison will look great in book form! Best of luck with it, John. Thanks for sharing.

#13 Mike Cope
@ 12:45 pm

@ Steve Skelton … Edison sure DOES! I was lucky enough to come home from OSU’s recent Festival of Cartoon Art with a signed copy.

The Sundays are especially nice and bright.

Still trying to find a rocket to build my solar-cooked popcorn maker …

#14 Rich Diesslin
@ 1:18 pm

John – I’ll send you one for all your help with the BSA 100th anniversary cartoons! That was a lot of fun! ;)

#15 MJ (Michael Pohrer)
@ 2:28 pm

Wow, this would of sure came in handy when I was compiling Guy Gilchrist’s new publications for The Best of Today’s Dogg? “You Complete Me”

#16 John Hambrock
@ 3:04 pm

Mike?Call NASA. They may have a few old shuttle boosters in a back room somewhere that they’d be willing to sell you real cheap. Thank You, Rich!!

#17 b.j. Dewey
@ 7:45 pm

John – Shuttle boosters selling chearp? Sounds like something Edison would be into. Now what would he do with them? I enjoy the nicely-drawn strip and congrats on the book.

#18 Anne Hambrock
@ 11:04 am

John has added part two over on the site:

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