Thinking about opening a comic books business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Independent Comic Book Publishing
Comics and comic books have existed (in various forms) since the early part of the 20th century. Over the years, the genre has developed to include a variety of sub-genres and content creators like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and others who pioneered the superheroes at the heart of comic book publishing's golden age.
Today, the comic book and graphic novel industry has changed dramatically, yet it continues to present a viable entrepreneurial path for the right individuals. Unlike previous eras, the name of the game these days is independent publishing. The upside is that independent publishers no longer need to share their profits with big publishing houses; the downside is that creators themselves are responsible for process requirements like production, printing and marketing.
Publishing Challenges for New Comic Book Entrepreneurs
As an entrepreneur interested in pursuing a comic book publishing startup, it's important to understand the challenges that you will face right out of the gate. Assuming you understand the genre and are capable of creating quality comic book content (or are prepared to acquire good content created by someone), your first major challenge will be printing and publishing.
In the old days, starting a comic book or graphic novel publishing operation required a substantial upfront investment for printing and binding equipment. Nowadays, there are several self-publishing options that limit startup costs. Third-party providers like ComiXpress specialize in providing printing and distribution services for independent comic book publishers.
The advantage of using ComiXpress or other POD (Print On Demand) services is that it will enable you to get into the game quickly and inexpensively, limiting your investment risk and shortening the time it takes to bring your titles to market.
Marketing Tips for Independent Comic Book Publishers
In many ways, there has never been a better time for independent comic book publishing entrepreneurs to get into the industry. As an independent publisher, it's your responsibility to handle your own marketing and promotional requirements -- and social media and online marketing channels provide low-cost avenues for reaching large numbers of comic book readers.
To be successful in social media marketing, you need to establish a strong and consistent online presence, starting with a first-rate business website dedicated to giving potential readers access to your comic book line and publishing brand. Whenever possible, look for ways to engage in a two-way conversation with your readers through social media, giving them an opportunity to discuss your titles and incorporating their input into future releases.
Core Characteristics of Comic Books Company Business Plans
Every business plan is unique, yet the most effective plans share a handful of essential traits.
If your plan lacks required elements like an executive summary or marketing plan, it could jeopardize its potential to deliver real benefits to your startup.
To discuss the external factors that will influence your startup, consider dedicating a section of your business to a PEST (Political, Economic, Social & Technological) analysis.
Look Over Competitors
Prior to opening a comic books business in your area, it's worthwhile to see how strong the competition is. Use the link below to get a list of local competitors in your city. Simply enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of comic books businesses in your town.
Gain a knowledge of how existing firms have positioned themselves in the marketplace, and then design your business in a way that sets you apart from the others.
Getting Advice from Experienced Entrepreneurs
If you are interested in starting a comic books business, it's a wise move to learn from folks who are already in business. Local competitors are not going to give you the time of day, mind you. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.
But, a person who owns a comic books business in a location that is not competitive to you can be a great learning resource for you, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. Many business owners are happy to give advice to new entrepreneurs If you are persistent, you can find a business mentor who is willing to help you out.
What's the process for finding a comic books business manager who is willing to advise you because you live in different cities?
It's not that hard. Just use the handy link below and enter in a random city/state or zipcode.
Advice for Acquiring a Comic Books Business
Many entrepreneurs elect to acquire a profitable comic books business instead of navigating the challenges of a business startup.
But before you can seal the deal on a comic books business purchase, you're going to need financing. If you're prepared to deal with lender requirements, you'll find that lenders are more open to financing established operations than they are to take a chance on a startup.
Even so, before you approach lenders, we strongly recommend you dedicate a few minutes to reviewing our resource on Business Acquisition Financing Tips.
Is Franchising the Right Option?
The odds of achieving your primary goal of being a successful business owner go up significantly if you opt for franchising and benefit from the prior work of others and their lessons learned.
As part of your process in starting a comic books business, you would be wise to assess whether buying a franchise could increase your chances of success.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you sell to comic books businesses, we've got better information for you elsewhere on our site. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.