Satanic Hell has signed with the esteemed NYT-bestselling indie comics publisher, Alterna Comics (who just happens to have a movie in production with Rowdy Roddy Piper, but that’s another post). The seven-issue digital comic series about a metal band trapped in a dystopian Texas will be released monthly starting November 1, 2014. Fantastic news. But this wasn’t always the plan. When I began putting the team together for Satanic Hell, my initial plan was to self-publish. Self-publishing is the route many creators take and is an easy way to get your publication out to readers. In fact, the first three issues of Satanic Hell were self-published on Zeno Telos Press. But due to the time it was taking to release each issue, I decided to halt further releases until the entire series was finished. At the same time, I had our new letterer, E.T. Dollman, redo the letters for the first two issues and I added some edits in the process. Satanic Hell illustrator Kevin Enhart and colorist Jimmy Kerast also put together a new cover for the first issue. And then I submitted it to some indie comic publishers to see if they were interested and thus came the Alterna Comics Deal.
There are a lot of benefits to self-publishing, like the ability to maintain more control over your product and build it from the ground up, and I’m still a fan of it. So why did I change course? Creative control wasn’t an issue. Alterna Comics and most indies give the creator 100% ownership over their property. The main factor I was considering was exposure. Satanic Hell had a great initial reception when it was self-published on Zeno Telos Press. However, by going with an established name with a reputation for quality, it can increase the number of eyes seeing Satanic Hell and thus expand readership. It’s a struggle to stand out in the crowd and going with an established indie may help. There is also the convenience factor. By publishing through Alterna Comics, Satanic Hell is going to appear on Comixology, the leader in digital comics, and more platforms to come. With distribution taken care of, I can focus more on promoting Satanic Hell and working on my next projects. Will it mean less money for me? On individual issues, it will. After the distribution platforms take their share of each issue, around 30-40%, Alterna Comics will get another 40%, which leaves me with about 20% of the cover price. Of course I would like to get something back on the comic, but making money was never a primary concern for me. If it was, I wouldn’t be making comic books. So this was a non-factor in my decision.
By going with an indie this time, it doesn’t mean I will stop self-publishing. Zeno Telos Press will continue to produce and publish comics and novels. For each piece of work, I will decide what’s the best route to take – either through an established indie or Zeno Telos Press. There is no best way. Self-publishing is a great path. You, the creator, must decide.