The following is an interview with Gamal Hennessy on launching the Kickstarter campaign for his new book, The Business of Independent Comic Book Publishing. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Hennessy about the genesis behind the project, how his experience as an entertainment attorney aided his work in compiling the guide, what he hopes that aspiring creators will take away from the book, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for your new book, The Business of Independent Comic Book Publishing. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the genesis behind this project?
Gamal Hennessy: I decided to write this book when I noticed a gap in the professional literature of the industry. You can find a lot of great books on the market about the creative aspects of comics. There are a couple of books on specific business and legal issues. But up until now, there was no one source on the entire process that an aspiring creator can turn to for everything from their initial inspiration to successful ongoing sales. This book is meant to be that primary source and fill that gap.
BD: Navigating the comic book production process and the industry as a whole can be quite complex. How does your book guide creators through the creation, publication, and marketing processes?
GH: The overall concept of the book focuses on understanding your specific situation and building a publishing program that makes the most sense for the comic you want to make. Publishing independent comics isn’t a “one size fits all” type of process, so much of the book is about understanding your options.
Everyone has different goals and brings different resources to the process. I help readers understand the overall process of comic book publishing, explain the decisions that have to be made at each stage, and the implications of those decisions on the business and financial outcome of the book. By the end of the book, every aspiring comic book publisher can create a business plan tailored to their unique circumstances.
BD: With more than 20 years of experience as an entertainment contracts attorney, how do you feel that your background has aided you in compiling this guide?
GH: Working in the industry since 1999 in a variety of different settings provides perspective and context. I’ve moved from international licensing of anime and manga at a startup company to licensing and talent deals for major comic book publishers to representing freelance creators in contract negotiations to helping aspiring publishers set up their companies and develop their business plans.
Everyone was trying to achieve similar goals of publishing profitable comics, but everyone has a different road to get there. I used those varied situations to build the overall framework for the book and explain all the different directions a reader could take with their own comic.
BD: What are some of the fun backer rewards that are available to those who contribute to your campaign?
GH: The main rewards are digital and print versions of the book, but higher level rewards include a one-on-one consultation with me, where I’ll help my backers lay out the framework for their unique publishing plan from start to finish. I think this added level of attention will be very helpful for someone who is comfortable with the creative aspects of comics but has less exposure to the business fundamentals.
BD: Are there any other special features about the book that you would like to highlight for our readers?
GH: This book is designed to be empowering to artists in an industry where they are often marginalized and mistreated. A lack of knowledge and understanding can easily lead to fear and frustration in this business. Adding a basic understanding of the industry to your artistic goals and your creative vision will give you a much better chance for success, whatever your definition of success might be. The Business of Independent Comic Book Publishing can give you the information you need to turn your ideas into published comics.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about The Business of Independent Comic Book Publishing and its Kickstarter campaign?
GH: The best way to learn more about the book and back the campaign is to visit our Kickstarter Page.
You can also follow us on Twitter at @bizofcomics, and there’s a community group on Facebook.