How to Make Digital Comics Pt. 4 (Being Your Own Boss)

I wanted to talk about being your own boss last week but that post was running long. So to recap there’s been 3 parts already on my How to Make Digital Comics articles. You can find them all here.

This week’s post is about how you can set up your own digital storefront directly on your website. There’s a number of reasons why you should do this but the most important reason has got to be higher royalty. With no distributor or middlemen taking a portion of your sales, that leaves more for you and/or your team. All you need is a digital delivery provider and Paypal. And yes, I’m aware that there’s other ways to go about this but this is what works for me. So far I prefer this method.

When a comic writer and I first started looking at digital providers we found: Pulley (which is a sister site to BigCartel),  E-Junkie and eventually Digital Delivery App. I’m sure there were more we looked at but for the life of me I can’t seem to find any trace of them in my email. I remember we liked Pulley the best but its pricing was a little out of our range for what we had in mind. Mainly it was the storage that we had issues with…

On the lowest scale for $6/month USD you get 25 unique products, unlimited orders and bandwidth with 100MB of storage. Granted there are a number of things you can do to get your file sizes down but with certain distributors asking for 300dpi files, eventually your storage is gonna be thrown out the window. One of my digital files for ex, hovers around the 25MB+ range. We were looking to add a number of different comics plus on all the different formats. (Mobi, ePub, cbr/cbz, PDF, etc) I could foresee us getting into the higher price brackets solely because of storage regardless of whether we needed the extra products or not.

One might assume that it’s in our best interests to keep costs down, no? Otherwise we start losing sight of the reason we’re trying to do this ourselves in the first place. Higher royalty. In the end, I personally chose to go with DDA (Digital Delivery App.) My writer and I may choose to go with someone else later for EnemyOne but for now I’m happy with them.

DDA is unique in that say for example, you don’t make any sales — then you don’t owe your month’s charges. That’s pretty cool, no? So let’s have a closer look at their plans.

DDA Plans

Even on their lowest end, you can get 1GB of storage for $9/month USD! As you can see you also have the option of hosting your website with them, offering subscriptions, pdf stamping, and utilizing affiliate programs. There’s also no transaction fees, no transaction limits or bandwidth fees. You pay your monthly fee and that’s it. (If you sell anything of course.)

Some highlights of DDA for me include:

  • their robust Dashboard,
  • live reporting of sales and orders,
  • live editing of products (such as the name, price, file, as well as get access to any test mode statistics.)
  • able to create Packages (For example if you sell three products at $10 each, you may decide to offer all 3 in a package for $25 encouraging people to up their purchase.)
  • able to issue Free Orders
  • able to configure your own Order Emails and communication to Buyers
  • able to send updates for free (Meaning say that you have altered a file that was previously made available, when you upload it again, you now have the option of sending out the new version to previous Buyers.)
  • able to create Mailing Lists
  • able to create Discount Codes
  • receive weekly email summaries of your sales stats
  • works with Paypal, Google Checkout and AlertPay

I could probably go on. I kinda love it and best of all, it’s so easy to work with. The system was designed to be user friendly so it doesn’t take a lot of work to figure out. I haven’t had any real trouble with anything aside from one small thing and the response back was swift and from the founder no less! (Thanks again, George!)

The only area some people might struggle with a bit is this area here. Configuring your Paypal. Basically here is where you would set up your payment gateway in order for the money to pass through them and into your Paypal account. It’s an area full of acronyms like IPN, API, PDT but if you follow along closely and read their tutorials, you’ll get there.

So what does all this mean? Well, after you set up an account with them and a Paypal account if you don’t already have one, you’ll be able to upload your digital file to them and start selling right away. Then it’s a matter of making a storefront somewhere on your website with some links and html and ta-da — instant store.

Another small tidbit I’ll suggest is changing your Paypal account to be a micropayment account so that you’ll receive more money from each sale as well. I’m assuming since you want to sell digital comics (otherwise why are you reading this?) that you’ll want to charge a minimal price for said comic, correct? Well, then you’re better off changing it to the micropayment type.

I encourage you to comment below with any questions and to share this post back out to everyone around you. Like you, there’s many other would-be creators dying at the chance to learn something new about creating digital comics.

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About Adam

Adam got his start in comics illustrating and colouring the book Shuddertown from Image Comics/Shadowline. He’s now concentrating his efforts on self-publishing and a larger move into writing novels and helping other authors get their work published. He recently launched his first small press publishing company, EnemyOne, which was realistically over 10 years in the making. He enjoys reading comic books and in particular old, pulpy, crime novels.

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  • Thanks for putting all this info together about web-based storefronts, Adam! This is an area I really want to learn more about, and I’ll be using this article as a resource. Great stuff!

    • Oh no problem at all, Michael! That’s precisely why I started these articles. Glad you found them useful!

  • You are the man!

  • You are the man… Thanks for writing this and saving me headaches !