To charge or not to charge

I've always been a big proponent of sharing work as freely as possible. My first zine 7 Pages was distributed freely, thanks to a free use photocopier at University; that only lasted about 5 months before the administration realized people were abusing it). 

It's also the reason I love sharing my work online and avoided putting my work behind paywalls or subscription-based services. 

My venture into digital publishing has raised a few questions. On one hand, I think it's important to value your work, and I think that if you make quality creative work then it deserves some form of reimbursement from the audience. But then another part of me sides with the general consensus of the internet which is, everything should be free. 

To be more precise, everything should be initially free and don't bother the audience with how you support yourself. Usually, this takes the form of advertising or the sale of related products. 

image of a model wearing a tshirt with a cartoon design

Here are some common models,

  1. Advertising 
  2. Merch (T-shirts, stickers prints etc)
  3. Fundraising (indiegogo, Kickstarter, Pozzible etc)
  4. Subscription. (Predominantly Patreon, however other sites have similar models.

For me, each one of the above can be problematic for various reasons

  • Advertising: I'm generally not in favour of using advertising unless it can be specifically relevant
  • Merch: This is almost like another job. Tshirts can be popular but there's a lot of work that goes into it and postage is huge.
  • Fundraising: This can be an ok option, however, you have to have a unique concept and a large following for it to be successful.
  • Subscription: This seems to work for a lot of people. However, I have never felt that it fit me. If your art isn't your day job then taking on a Patreon successfully would surely become another job.

But I think there's another option, and that's digital publishing. Offering downloadable ebooks for sale. Readers are free to buy the title when it suits them. I also don't have to deal with printing, keeping stock, and trips to the post office. I plan on publishing my last few autobiographical comic collections as ebooks in the coming months. I'm looking forward to be able to offer them to readers once more. Especially my four issues series 'Sketchbook Comix.'

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