Mike sez, "Phil Foglio describes why he posted Hugo-winning comic Girl Genius online for free."
First of all, printing comic books is expensive. I figured that by not having to do the comic book we were saving close to $20,000 a year. When you lay out a comic book and then lay out a graphic novel, it's two entirely different jobs. You have to do it all over again. All we do now is sell the collections. Also, printing the comic was really expensive, and we were in a cash crunch at a particular time and we were like, "Is this really worth it?"
And thirdly, for years people had been coming up to me and saying "I would like to get into comics" and I had been saying "Screw comics. Do a webcomic. It's the wave of the future and your production costs are super low," and eventually I realized that instead of just giving this advice I should take it.
A lot of the success of Girl Genius I think could only have been done by a person like myself who had a long career building up an established name and being in independent publishing, because that meant I was publishing my own books. So when Girl Genius went online, we were able to sell people Girl Genius books from day one, whereas almost everybody, who starts a webcomic has to collect material before they get a book. It takes them sometimes up to two years before they can begin to monetize our core product. We went in with a functioning store, and all we had to do was say "Like it? Buy it now."
Unbound: Talking with Phil Foglio
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