From the start of all this, I haven't exactly ran this like a business. I have my graphic design biz so I didn't really want to consider this a business. But as I go on and on with it, I realize there are things, if I was to succeed in some capacity that is, I'm going to have to do.
My plan for the series was to offer new books as I did cons. But even with as many cons there are nowadays, I realized that it wasn't enough to keep me motivated to produce. And it would keep me very regional and might one day inhibit growth. So I thought about formal distribution, which for the comic industry is Diamond Distributors which practically has a strangle hold on the comic retail side. Even well know books have problems finding an audience with the current distribution model. So i'm not too sure how much I should focus on that.
Other than cons, digital distributions like Comixology, Indy Planet or Drive Thru Comics seem like viable options, if anything a place that I can regularly produce the series. I'm a print guy. I prefer feeling the book in my hand. But I think digital has some perks that I may partner with whatever other method I'm going to do the print comics in.
In constructing my plan of release, I decided I wanted to have a primer book that would allow me to tell a little story that takes place between scenes in the graphic novel. This story would give a reader who hadn't read the graphic novel a taste without spoiling the journey to Tommy's taking on the mask. They would get broad strokes but I won't reveal how Tommy came to his decision or the conflict within. Also within this PRELUDE, would be a character by character "WHO'S WHO entry. It'll be a mix of a bio and where I'm trying to position them as the series begins. Also going to throw in some behind the scenes notes of their creation and why I included them in Tommy's story.
This PRELUDE factors into my distribution as an entry point for those that have been hesitant to pick up a $15 graphic novel. It tells you enough to enjoy the series but allows for you to find stuff in the graphic novel I don't plan on retreading. The graphic novel was my quick origin of Tommy and his family. I focused on key events opposed to drawn out scenes. I knew I would lose some people of the price and length. As I've said before, the graphic novel was for me and if you enjoyed it, THANK YOU SO MUCH. The series I'm making for myself but also for those that have encouraged me to continue. With distribution, I just want to make sure I can reach as many as I can.
A lifelong comics fan, Mike W. Belcher is the writer/artist of MAN IN THE MASK. A story he's had with him for over 20 years.