Must read: Ryan Estrada on making and selling ebooks

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Webcartoonist Ryan Estrada (Plagued, Aki Alliance) has a tutorial complete with widget on how to make an ebook out of a webcomic, and then how to sell it. It really is about as simple as falling off a log, and there is no downside:

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.


It’s true: an ebook can be easily downloaded on a tablet or other device, sold in a variety of storefronts, and otherwise monetized. And making a ebook is simplicity itself.

You can upload the book to ComiXology’s Submit portal, and probably sell it through Amazon or right on your own website. Estrada recommends a “pay what you want” model, but you can try charging a little, too.

I’m guessing that most veteran webcartoonists know all this—successful webcartoonist are like those Thai women who help out William Holden in the Bridge on the River Kwai. They don’t talk about it, they just load shells into bazookas, drag heroes to safety, and do whatever has to be done. They are fast and efficient. But for non-veterans, this is all good advice.

Comments

  1. Rich H says:

    “Why would anyone want to buy a pdf instead of just reading it free?”

    I think another way of persuading people to buy is to drop teasers, or only show them part of a story (obviously the story needs to be thrilling) and then have a “for more of the story, buy it here”. So you serve the free and paid worlds, with the hope that the free-seekers will be intrigued enough by the story to pay for the rest of it.

  2. gianni says:

    “successful webcartoonist are like those Thai women who help out William Holden in the Bridge on the River Kwai. They don’t talk about it, they just load shells into bazookas, drag heroes to safety, and do whatever has to be done. They are fast and efficient”

    Good call! I think it applies to anything that is worth in life!!

  3. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    Why would anyone pay for it? I know I would and have on several occasions. Organization and convenience is one reason, wanting to support the artist is another

    When I was reading Digger – which is a fully sequential web graphic novel, and not very episodic – I was hampered by the fact that it was literally around 800 pages long, and not very well organized. If you finished page 296 and wanted to read more tomorrow, there was no easy way to find a link to where to you left off, or type in the page number you wanted and get that page. You had to click through a whole chapter to get where you wanted to go. At the time, I devoutly wished there was a digital edition, so that I could take it with me or “open” it to where I left off. When they had an omnibus kickstarter for Digger, I snapped the digital copy up immediately.

    I tried keeping up with Girl Genius as a webcomic, but it was just not as great of a reading experience as reading it as an ebook or collected edition. It’s thousands of pages long, it’s hard to pick up where you left off, and you can’t take it anywhere. Paying a bit to have a copy you can keep and take with you is totally worth it if you have a few bucks for entertainment, and are willing to spend it for convenience.

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