Here’s a conversation about digital comics

A conversation I had with Eric Orchard on Twitter last week, on the subject of digital publishing. Eric just self-published his direct-to-tablet comic Marrowbones which, incidentally, is a very fine all-ages book (or precisely not a book?)

I think comic people are recognizing the importance of having revenue streams at all levels of publication, to make it sustainable
@Inkybat
eric orchard
...says @ who has cut out the middleman and is self-publishing his gothilicious Marrowbones comics for tablets! #fromthehorsesmouth
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ It actually has more to do with speed than economics, wanting more material available. Trad. publishing is very slow.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ I know, in more ways than one. One reason I'm making my own little books now.
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm

Said “little books” available here, here, here, and here… We return to our scheduled program:

@ I'm still working all this out, publishing seems to be a bunch of things now....
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ as in digital is an ongoing changing process and print is the artifact.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ Yeah, blogging, for one thing. Imagine every blog having an ISBN...
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ I guess it's really just making something public, in a distributable or accessible form?
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ Yeah, I think access is a big thing. Acceptable pricing to a lesser degree.But that needs a lot more research.But access for sure
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ Somehow I would like to see people publishing paper objects with the same (lack of) filter they publish things online.
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ I think visibility and access are the 2 big things in digital.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ When you see it that way, putting your book on TPB isn't that big a step. It's all publishing.
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ absolutely. I'm adopting the philosophy that digital publishing is more fluid and less exact while print is a more finished thing
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ Exactly, which is why we make certain updates and samples freely available as "blog posts" :)
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ and both free content and paid online content is all part of that fluidity.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ It's more like being a street musician. People can stop and listen; if they like the music they'll tip, and maybe buy the CD.
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ yes! And I've received 'tips' or donations beyond the price of the comic.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ And with digital publishing you won't have to play guitar in the rain...
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm

And it kind of petered out from there. Eric went on to write an almost shocking blog post about his rookie experience with digital self-publishing. “Shocking” in the ease with which he got the technical side sorted out, making one wonder how long there will still be a mass market for dead-tree books…