The following is an interview with Gamal Hennessy on his return to Kickstarter for his new book, The Business of Freelance Comic Book Publishing. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Hennessy about the genesis behind the new project, his advice for guiding creators and publishers through the challenging freelance landscape, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Following the success of your last book which focused on independent comic book publishing, what encouraged you to tackle this new subject?
Gamal Hennessy: The business model impacts many of the decisions you make in the comics industry. Freelance comic book publishing is a very different animal to independent publishing, because the different business models (owning all the rights to the comic vs. owning none of the rights) create differences in legal status, financial motivations, and long-term incentives. In many ways, freelance creators and independent creators are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Although they often work together to produce comics, they are working in different businesses. I wrote this new book to address the unique concerns of freelance comic creators that don’t apply to independents.
BD: The comics landscape is replete with freelance creators. How does your book guide both creators and publishers through the path towards finding mutually beneficial work opportunities and crafting a business model that will allow for success?
GH: I structured the book to guide freelance creators through a four-step process: establishing themselves in the industry, finding clients, getting paid, and completing their assignments. At every stage, I break down the process into natural questions and answers that a freelance creator might have during the course of their career. I think this will help both freelance creators and their clients get a better understanding of how to approach the business relationship and solve potential problems before they start.
BD: The Kickstarter campaign for your last book exceeded its goal by 600%! What was your biggest takeaway from the crowdfunding experience?
GH: I always tell my clients that the secret to crowdfunding is in the name. If you have a crowd, then it’s much easier to get funding. The first campaign was a clear example of that. So many of my backers were former clients, colleagues, and other people I knew from my twenty-five years of being in the comic book industry. They not only backed my campaign, they shared it in their networks and encouraged more people to support the book. The community provided a lot of support for my work and I’ll always appreciate that.
BD: Are there any specific backer rewards for your campaign that you would like to highlight to readers?
GH: In 2021, I started an online membership community called Comics Connection to help creators develop and maintain ongoing business models. For the new campaign, backers at the higher levels can join Comics Connection and get two free months with their pledge. This will give them even more access to up-to-the-minute information that will help them make the most of their comics. The Comics Connection memberships will be available alongside digital and print versions of the book, and the chance for anyone who missed The Business of Independent Comic Book Publishing and wants to pick up a copy.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about The Business of Freelance Comic Book Publishing and its Kickstarter campaign?
GH: If you’d like to follow the campaign, you can use this link.