My first thought, actually, when Bleeding Cool reported the rumor three weeks before the official announcement that ComiXology might be purchased soon by Amazon, was about the Submit platform. I’ve known plenty of creators who have been quite happy with the creator-owned system for distributing digital versions of your comics through ComiXology, and I’ve done a few review columns of those new books as they are released. Every time I’ve explored Submit comics, I’ve found interesting and innovative works that reminded me of why I love comics in the first place. And so I was concerned.
It seemed to me, just as a reader without particular knowledge of how Amazon works, that Submit might fall by the wayside as something that was too community-serving and not big-business enough to generate interest for Amazon. But people have been quick to reassure me that it might, in fact, be partly the financial success of Submit that helped persuade Amazon to make the purchase, given their own development of fan-fiction and e-book publishing. I’m still a little skeptical since I want to see Submit thrive under this new ownership, but one Submit creator, Tim Gibson, whose comic Moth City I had reviewed in the past, had much more positive things to say.
He pointed out the strength of the “best Submit” comics chosen by ComiXology in 2013, and doesn’t feel that Submit is going to be on the chopping block. Here’s what he had to say about the impact the Amazon purchase of ComiXology may have on the Submit platform.
Tim Gibson, author and artist on ComiXology Submit title Moth City, writes:
I think it’ll affect Submit hugely, though it’s hard to tell how at this stage. I suspect with Amazon’s financial success with Self Published Fiction (a real money spinner for them, as seen here) Comixology’s Submit platform and its recent growth might have been the cherry on the top of the Comixology sundae.
From a Submit-creator point of view it could be fantastic, especially if our books are integrated into the Amazon.com system and allowed to benefit from their automated suggestion and charts systems that reward momentum and reviews. I think due to our industry’s print distribution and monthly releases schedule we, as comic readers, are very new-new-new reactive, but digital and the discovery systems that Amazon has built can allow for longer term growth that rewards quality.
Of course, there’s some niggle that creators might be concerned over, for instance my series Moth City has almost 500 reviews on its first issue – what will happen to them? Amazon has a different review system that only allows written reviews. Plus there’s the further potential Goodreads review integration on the horizon – Amazon purchased them in 2013.
Overall, I’m feeling optimistic. Comics and Graphic Novels make up such a small part of Amazon’s e-book system. Around 1% of e-sales if you believe Hugh Howley’s author earnings data (linked to above), so they’re an untapped market within the Amazon platform. They changed their submission engine to encourage more comic submission in the last year or so, but were hampered by some odd file-delivery fees and a small comic audience.
Comixology Submit was definitely the first priority for interdependent comics creators looking to sell digital comics, and if Amazon absorbs some of their systems and oversight it could open up a whole new audience for creators.
For your average reader downloading the Comixology app, or browsing their online store might be the same unconscious barrier as entering a local comic book shop, and having your horror comic next to the latest horror novel on Amazon might lower than barrier for people. Comics needs less barriers, no?
*If you are a Submit creator and would like to join the conversation about what the future holds for Submit, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will run some follow up discussion about what the future may hold for Submit…
Moth City has six issues and a one-shot out on via Comixology Submit platform, and was named one of their ‘Best Comics of 2013,’ along with other submit titles like The Mire by Becky Cloonan and War of the Woods by Matthew Petz. Moth City was also picked up by Mark Waid’s Thrillbent site, and utlisies digital-native narrative devices and storytelling. You can read the first issue of Moth City for free here. His blog ramblings and free comics exist at www.mothcity.com.
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