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Amazon.com Comic Strip contest
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Writer@Large



Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 34
Location: Dearborn, MI

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:43 pm    Post subject: Amazon.com Comic Strip contest Reply with quote

Amazon.com presents the Comic Strip Superstar contest. (Brad Guigar parses the rules.)

Five years ago, I would have been all over this. I have been a frustrated cartoonist-wannabe since high school, and something like this would have been worth taking a weekend to crank something out and try, just to say I did.

Now, however, I'm not so tempted by this kind of contest. I have an idea I truly want to nurture, and I have chosen the webcomics route for my idea. I'm completely in the mental "zone" of development right now, and I have a plan for launch. Which leaves me with two choices, as a creator, if I want to enter this contest:

1) Put my launch on hold and submit my idea to this contest, meaning that I set aside a lot of work and planning for a fool's hope; or

2) Start developing a second idea alongside my first for this contest, risking dividing my attention and producing two mediocre (or even craptacular) ideas instead of one good one.

So tempting, but so many downsides ....

--W@L
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James Sawatsky
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Joined: 09 May 2006
Posts: 1270
Location: Vancouver Island

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whole "never been published" stuff got me... But, now I have a wicked idea I think I'm going to expand and submit that.
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steve_i



Joined: 02 May 2006
Posts: 155
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this looks like it might be quite interesting. I got an idea for a gag strip that I developed a while ago that I never did anything with. I might put that together and send it in. We'll see!
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funnyninjas



Joined: 13 Aug 2008
Posts: 364
Location: In Ohio

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

67thavenue wrote:
The whole "never been published" stuff got me... But, now I have a wicked idea I think I'm going to expand and submit that.


Yeah, that got me too. Does that mean that you can't have any characters from a comic published online? I read the rules, and the webcomics.com article, and I still don't see a clear answer.
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tpiro



Joined: 31 Aug 2007
Posts: 986
Location: Bay Area

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've already posted my opinion elsewhere online, so sorry to anyone reading this again.

If the marketing machine of Andrew McMeel Universal really had any value, they would be able to make profitable strips without having to resort to contests.

According to the Comic-con syndication panel, there are over 6,000 submission for syndication each year and from 1 to 2 are chosen each year to be launched. Out of this 1 or 2 per year, no strip has been popular enough to allow the artist to quit their day job in recent memory (can anyone correct me here?).

If this is the case, then what are you really hoping to win by entering this contest?
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Novil



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 393

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Universal Uclick will pay the Grand Prize Winner a monthly stipend of $300 for each month during the term that Grand Prize Winner submits 20 comics for feedback and evaluation by Universal Uclick.


Holy cow, thatís $15 for each strip. Thereís just one way to say it: CHEAP BASTARDS!
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mooncity
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Joined: 27 May 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Tis true, sadly. The formula for a syndicated strip is roughly this:

Let's say a newspaper will pay $30.00 a month to carry your comic. Half of that goes to the syndicate, which leaves you $15.00. Then take out taxes for state and federal, and you might be left with what? Let's say $10.00. So in order to make a living wage, you'd need to be in at least 200-300 papers. Big strips are in several thousand papers, and the guys making them do alright, but most people will be lucky to get in 100, and it's doubtful you'd get into that many papers just starting out.

And that's just to begin to think about a living wage. We're not even talking about costs for health insurance and whatnot.

Plus, newspapers are a dying industry. So ultimately, your comic will wind up where? On the Internets. Where you could put it right now. And while you wouldn't get syndication money, you would make all the dough from books and whatnot yourself.

And don't forget, you'd have complete editorial and creative control, something you won't get from a syndicate.

So for all the good things being offered (and there are some), it just doesn't seem worth it when you consider the whole picture.
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Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow since 1976!


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Zaron



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite simply, anyone who enters that contest is selling themselves short.
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LukeSurl
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Joined: 24 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Novil wrote:
Quote:
Universal Uclick will pay the Grand Prize Winner a monthly stipend of $300 for each month during the term that Grand Prize Winner submits 20 comics for feedback and evaluation by Universal Uclick.


Holy cow, thatís $15 for each strip. Thereís just one way to say it: CHEAP BASTARDS!


Not quite. It's $300 per month plus a $5,000+ bonus ( the "+" is if book sells very well and you recieve more royalties) after aproximately a year. Minus tax, but plus being able to claim art supplies back as work expenses (you can do that in the UK if you're a professional, don't know about other parts of the world)

Assuming that you work for them for a year, and receive the minimum payment from the book sales ($5k), it comes to about $35 per strip before taxes. This isn't fantastic money, but then again considering that (a) The vast majority of webcomics run at a loss when art supplies + hosting is considered.
(b) To reach this number of people you'd have to spend thousands in PW ads
it's probably financially beneficial.

Also, as far as I can tell, all that Andrews McMee take from you is first-time publication rights, the strips, after a few months, become yours to do as you please.

And although "exposure" is something that we expect to be offered by silly teenage writers on the dogpile board this sort of applies here. Despite webcomics often smugly smiling as newspapers die, these people still hold a lot of power and influenence in the wider comic reading world.

It may not be worth it if you have to create something which would be useless to you if it's not picked up, but to me it's just a matter of building up a 12-comic buffer and then having to forgo use of it for a couple of months.
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jpcline



Joined: 24 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

my guess is all the naysayers will end up entering themselves anyway LOL
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Novil



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I wonít enter for sure.
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ttallan
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Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The real appeal of something like this, especially for us webcomickers, is being published. Not self-published, in other words, but published by a recognizable company name. That's worth a lot of street cred to the average reader-- it makes you, to borrow the Wikipedia term, notable. For all that self publishing is wonderful and certain people are very successful at it, it's still considered by most to be just shy of vanity press. You even hear the Halfpixel guys complain in their podcast about that stigma-- it's hard even for them to explain to non-comic people what they do for a living.

So, if you're considering this contest, that's the real benefit, I think. It'll look good on your resume and will make your next project much more marketable.
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cdrcjsn



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 429
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The $15 per strip is the deal with uclick, which plans on distributing your content on iphones and other handheld devices. Let's face it, if a webcomic were to try to do an app for that, then they most likely would've done it for free anyways. 99% of webcomics wouldn't even bother with this.

As long as you can secure the rights that you would have had as an independent webcomicker (i.e. ability to sell books/merch through your own site/appearances), then there's really very little down side.

If universal does nothing else than get your books into retail shops then it's worth it in my opinion as long as you are still able to do the things you could do as an independent comic creator (i.e. maintain a site, sell merch, grow a community, etc).

Unlike Zuda, you still own the rights to your strip, so there's no stopping you from printing future editions of your work and creating that "savings account" that is the main selling point of the independent webcomic business model.
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nothinghappenedtoday



Joined: 15 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was seriously considering entering, until I read the webcomics.com breakdown of the rules. Plus, I don't see myself having a shot at winning (too much drinking, smoking, and off-color jokes in my strip).
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mooncity
is awesome cool.


Joined: 27 May 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Among other reasons, I'm too lazy, and I don't have the drawing kung-fu required, so I won't be entering either.
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Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow since 1976!


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