When I first had the idea for Spare Parts Press, I felt uncomfortable with the few aspects of the venture. In some ways, I think the awkwardness was from being too timid and in other ways, the awareness pointed to important aspects of what I was trying to do.
things I felt weird about
1-Calling it a business
Technically I was starting a business, and I was offering a service that hoped to make money. However, my main goal was to curate and promote great work, the money side of things were in place to 1-pay the hosting costs and 2-place a value on quality work. In some ways it is silly to avoid calling it a business in other ways I feel it is more apt to call it a venture.
2-Calling myself, a publisher
Calling myself a publisher felt weird because I didn't feel like what I was doing fit neatly into the traditional publishing role. As I'm just beginning I don't have the capital/finances to pay advances or to 'make' careers. Also I felt as if the comic artist themselves are the publisher as I deal with independent artists in a nonexclusive way.
3-Asking comic artists to consider my services
As an artist, I get strange emails and DMs regularly. In fact it can be a sure sign that you're making some waves on social media when you start getting random DMs to solicit marketing services or 'business opportunities. As an artist, I am extremely weary of these mostly impersonal DMs trying to sell me something. "We came across your site and love your work and think you would be great on our new platform..."
My offer was almost identical to this at face value and I am fully aware of that.
4-Charging for my service
I just want to help artists get their work out there. I am so passionate about this that I would do it for free. I think that feeling is a great indicator of work you should pursue (both in life and artistically), but it is also important to assign value to your time and skills.
- Partly a real concern and partly not. Technically it's a business, but I felt 'venture' is a more apt name
- I don't think I am a publisher in the full sense of the work. I am a publisher in terms of curating what work I'd like to add to SPP, but I believe what I'm doing is more distribution. With zines distros being the closest similar thing.
- So far I have had more luck with close friends who know and trust me. Otherwise, I do come off sounding like the usual scam. While I have been tempted to send out a generic shotgun email/form letter to solicit new artists, I have maintained a personal approach, contacting people directly and speaking to their work and why I think it fits.
- I wish I could offer it for free, but I also know that I need to take this seriously for my sake and more importantly for the artist's sake. We all love free content from the web, but at a certain point, we all need to respect and honour the source of content. This means buying that album you like, paying to rent a movie, buying that comic.