even a dang baby can do it!
So you’re wondering if you should make ebooks of your comics.You should, but before I explain why, let me explain how simple it is to make an ebook of your comics. You can make one in like 2 1/2 seconds. *NOTE: This tutorial is Mac-centric, sorry.
Making a PDF on a Mac takes two steps. And you know what? I’m gonna cut one of those steps out for you. Download this app I made.
Literally just drag any group of image files onto that icon and it makes a pdf out of them. The pages will be in sequential order. So if you want to change the order of the pages you can just change the filenames. You can even batch rename them.
You can even make your own app if you want, it takes the same amount of time as that PDF took to make. Just open up the built the mac’s built in program Automator and then…
There ya go, that’s easy. Making a CBZ is just as easy.
CBZ is another comic-reading format that some people like. I dunno what the big draw is, but power users like ‘em. Here’s how you make ‘em:
A CBZ is literally just a zip file with all your images in them.
Two things to keep in mind:
First, Zero padding. Once again, your pages will appear in sequential order but it’s weird about numbers so instead of 1, 2, 3 you’re gonna want to name your files 001, 002, 003, etc. Once again, you can rename them in bulk.
Secondly, Mac problems: For some reason, ZIP files made with OSX’s built in archiver are sometimes wonky and won’t work for some people. Many have recommended zipping up your files with the confusingly-named WinZip Mac.
That’s how you make a file, but you’re gonna want to make your book look good! You could hypothetically just use the same web-sized images you output for your webcomic but make it pretty! Make sure every page is the same size! Leave a little margin around the panels, unless you’re going for full bleed. Add in a nice cover, maybe a title page, a contact info page in the back.
Your workflow will depend on your comics, but remember that anything you have to do the same way a whole bunch of times (resizing, cropping, placing, rotating, etc) you can record and replay a Photoshop action.
Export each of those suckers as a .jpg. You can use “save for web” in Photoshop to keep the file size down.*
There’s no industry standard resolution, but I tend to just Google “newest iPad resolution” and make mine the same resolution as the newest hottest model. Right now, that’s 2048 pixels on the largest side.
*NOTE: When you use Photoshop actions to resize in bulk, “image size” remembers the actual measurements you give it, whereas “save for web” just remembers the percentage. So use image size first to get the size right, then save for web to get the file size down or else you’ll end up with unmatching pages.
Sell those suckers! You can have ebooks for sale in like 10 seconds.
You’ll get a link you can share anywhere, and they handle everything. Taking payments, delivery, customer support,etc. Money just pops up in your account!
So your comic is free online. Why would anyone want to buy a pdf instead of just reading it free? What if you make it and nobody buys it? First of all, waaah. That took like 12 1/2 seconds, total. If even one reader wants an ebook of your work, it’s worth the time investment. And let me tell you something: I buy PDFs all the time. I buy PDFs of comics available in their entirety free online all the time.
When I’m taking a break from work and find an awesome new comic with a massive backlog, I don’t have time to stop what I’m doing and read 1000 pages so that I understand the newest page. But if I can download a book that will catch me up and read it at my convenience, then I can pop that sucker in an RSS feed and follow along with everybody else!
Look, your website is awesome for reading a page a day. But have you ever tried to read your own comic from the beginning? Scroll down, read, scroll down,find button, click, wait to load, scroll down, read, repeat. Times a million, it gets really annoying. It’s like watching a YouTube video that’s still buffering.
Dude, I spent huge chunks of my life on trains, planes, boats, in remote villages… and that’s where I read all my comics. I don’t got no internet! I load up on ebooks every time I travel!
I like seeing a book and knowing “Ah, a 200 page story. Cool, I can get into that.” I know that if I buy that book, I can get a nice, curated chunk of story in one sitting and not have to worry about an impenetrable archive or starting to read something that’s never going to be finished, or is going to go on hiatus, or be interrupted by filler and apologies for late pages. I will impulse-buy an ebook much faster than I will impulse click “go to first page” on a webcomic.
I have bought digital versions of a comic that I’ve already read, and never bothered to even download them. Because I already read it for free, and I think it’s worth money! Just sending a donation feels creepy, I don’t want to buy physical merch because getting crap shipped to Korea means I’m giving money to the post office instead of the artist.
I recommend letting readers name their price, especially if your stuff is already free online. Everyone has different reasons for buying. Whether they wanna collect ‘em all, get caught up, show a comic they like to a friend, or just sneakily donate to their favorite artist- and they will be honest about what it’s worth to them. Lots of people will pay the minimum- but the generous people will more than make up for it. And people will be more apt to share and promote your comics to others if they know those people can name their price. But whatever! They’re your books, I don’t wanna get all up in your junk.
This was written by Ryan Estrada, who makes all his comics available as either free or name-your-price ebooks. He hopes that if you found this helpful, you will help support his newest project Broken Telephonein which you can name your price for a subscription to 18 digital comics by 18 artists. (Ryan practices what he preaches)
A little while ago I made an announcement about the The Whole Story: Broken Telephone project I’ve been invite to work on. It’s a project put together by Ryan Estrada, who’s single-handedly brought together 18 different artists around an opportunity to create something pretty amazing. It’s basically 18 different stories each by a different creator. Each story also features a hero who is the villain of the previous story.
It’s taken Ryan 7 years to write and I’m honored to be a part of it.
Unfortunately, it’s has begun to look, for the first time, as if this project might not happen. As of writing this, the projects still needs $11,000 in pledges with only eleven days to go. At this rate it’s going to fall short of its kickstarter funding goal by a few thousand dollars. I’m REALLY hoping that doesn’t happen, so in an attempt to help the project reach its goal, I’m doing my part, as one of the creators, to spread the word. It’s hard to get the news out about a kickstarter (especially around this time of year) so I’d like to talk for a moment about what (to me) really makes this kickstarter worth contributing to.
Sure there’s great comics. Ryan is literally hemorrhaging comics. He loves giving them away and there is almost no way you’re going to get just the comics you ordered, should you contribute more than a couple bucks. Yes. The comics are really awesome. But for me, it’s about the creators.
I mentioned that there were 18 creators involved. Well, here they are:
- Average Handling Time by Rachel Dukes
- Backscatter by Brittney Sabo
- The Gecko’s Tail by Irena Frietas
- Unfriendly Act by Ryan Estrada
- Grievous Harm by E.A. Denich
- Shark Hacking by KC Green
- Threat Language by Amanda LaFreinas
- Restricted Items by Justin Peterson
- High Risk Driver by Elias Ericson
- Exceptional Circumstances by Carolyn Nowak
- Cell Warrior by Kelly Bastow
- Savior Complex by Will Kirkby
- Unattended Minor by Amy T. Falcone
- Isolation Zone by Chad Thomas
- Foreign Object Damage by Maya Kern
- Dual Criminality by Dan Ciurczak and JR Robinson
- Ancillary Orders by Tauhid Bondia
- Disengaged by Matt Cummings
You might be surprised by some of the names on that list. I certainly was to find at least two of my personal heroes there. But equally as exciting is the cast of up-and-comers and relative un-heard-ofs also included. While I may not have heard of some of these guys they are all shockingly powerful artists. And because of Ryan, many of them will (hopefully) be getting to complete their very first paid comic gig with Broken Telephone. Maybe you wondered why the funding goal seemed a little high for this project. Surely, we’ve all seen graphic novel projects KickStart for half what Ryan is asking. It’s because this isn’t just about getting a comic made. It’s about getting artists drawing. Ryan is a machine and could easily have put this entire book together himself. But instead, part of his vision was to have the story told in 18 different ways by 18 different talented people and ensuring that each of them was fairly compensated for their work. When he contacted each of us, he was very frank and upfront about this being a paid art job. In fact, the title of my invitation read “I want to hire you” (which did manage to get it dumped right into my spam folder, I might add). If you don’t know, this is something that talented young artists generally don’t see until they have become much more well established. The early years of trying to live off your art are comprised almost entirely of being taken advantage or “paying your dues”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been offered payment in the form of “Exposure” or simply found myself forced in to price renegotiations after the work was complete or simply stiffed for my work altogether.
So to have someone approach you with a real job that pays a real, competitive rate, which is offered to you up front, to create meaningful, quality art in COMICS is basically the holy grail, no matter how long you’ve been in the game. I feel I can confidently speak for all the artists involved when I say working on this project is somethings we really look forward to doing. Especially those of us without a whole lot else on our plates at the moment. It would be a real shame for any talented artist to miss out on an opportunity like this and just as big a shame for you to miss out on seeing what they can do. So why not give the Broken Telephone Kickstarter a first or even a second look and think about whether it’s something you’d like to contribute to. And, hey if you can’t afford to back the kickstarter you can still help IMMENSELY by spreading the word! You can link this post or reblog it or whatever! Or you can link the Kickstarter itself or my previous post on the project. Anything that gets people talking, because as much as this thing needs dollars, it also needs BUZZZZZZ! Thank you kindly for these moments of your time young people :)
I wanted to do something special for Cyber Monday so The Whole Story 2014 now has a tier that comes with 5 extra subscription codes for all your online shopping needs!
We also added a new book! Our bundle add on now includes the digital premiere of Wax & Wane by our very own Kelly Bastow!
It’s a 27 page story making it’s online premiere! You won’t have seen this at all, unless you happened to be at Canzine in Toronto this year.
I’ve automatically added it to the rewards package of everyone who pledged $48 or more as a little Cyber Monday gift.
But remember, crazy bonus comics aside, if you want to get in on this action and get a subscription to 18 comics by 18 artists all it takes is a dang dollar!
BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL! Get 18 issues of Broken Telephone for about 5¢ a piece! Wait, that’s normal price? Holy crap!