Graphic Scotland has news of an upcoming discussion evening at the University of Glasgow’s Boyd Orr building entitled “Do we need comics publishers?”. From the description:
“The typical self-published prose novel is still considered a very poor relation to formal publishing. But in the comics and graphic novel industry, self-publishing is an established, respected way to produce work. Indie halls at comic cons are bulging with unique and beautiful stories. So what can the publishing industry do for comics, and what can comics do for publishing?”
It’s an interesting point – self publishing has always been around in prose work, but most readers, reviewers and booksellers have tended to be, at best wary of such works, at worst seen them purely as badly edited ‘vanity’ projects (and yes, it is grossly unfair that a whole swathe of writers falling under the self published banner would be tarred with one brush, but for the most part that’s what happens). And yet, as we report on regularly here, the comics world thrives on self published works; we see (and Richard frequently reviews) a large amount of such work, much of it of great interest and high quality, each year. And there is a different attitude to it in comics form than there is with self published prose work. With the increase of digital media we’re seeing more and more authors who have either been unsuccessful with the traditional publisher route, or else decided it wasn’t for them, and they are putting out their own work in digital form. Forget even a print on demand version by Lulu, some are selling their own book in digital directly on Kindles, iTunes store etc.
I can’t vouch for quality on such works and assume that, as with any book, from a major publisher, smaller press or self published, they will vary, but that does mean this debate being hosted at the university is even more relevant to today’s scene, surely? Being part of a larger publisher can mean a creator has someone else to do the press, media, jacket design, editing, proof checking, distribution to stores and online etc while they get on with writing and drawing the next work, but then again doing all of that yourself would be more time consuming and harder (especially distribution into stores), but it does mean the creator maintains control over their own work all through the process and also doesn’t have to share any profits (although it means they have to put all the start up money into it by themselves!). Taking part in the discussion will be Martin Conaghan, Gary Erskine and Ernesto Priego,while the discussion will be chaired by a well-kent face on the Scottish comics and publishing scene, John McShane. The event takes place on September 27th at 7.30pm, check the Graphic Scotland site for more details. (via Allan Haverholm and the Comics Grid)