AICN COMICS Q&@: The Dean talks with Graphicly CEO Micah Baldwin about the future of viewing comics!!!
@’s by Graphicly CEO Micah Baldwin!!!
DEAN: So what was it that prompted Graphicly to move from being primarily a digital comics provider into this self-publishing territory?
MICAH BALDWIN (MB): The demand from authors and publishers using our system. It was a logical progression for us. We became experts on converting image-based content for multiple marketplaces (for our own apps). Then authors and publishers started asking us if they could use our system to put branded content into the major marketplaces. Finally, we released that toolset to the public.
DEAN: Is it just comic books? Can amateur novelists publish their work with you? Maybe a family who wants to compile a book of recipes that have been passed down through generations?
MB: It not just comics. In fact, we have had children's books, text-based books, magazines, and (soon) a cookbook or two converted through the system. Having an embeddable web widget (think YouTube) and being the only way to read, sell and share books on Facebook, we have had to become highly effective at web-based DRM. There is actually more protection using our web reader for text-based books than doing it via PDF.
DEAN: What benefits does publishing and promoting your work through Graphicly offer over other providers, like Apple’s iBook Author or Lulu?
MB: We are focused on distribution and marketing. Apple iBook Creator is really focused on creation, and distribution to *only* iBooks. Lulu is more about print on demand. Either way, our focus is completely on post-creation at this time.
DEAN: Walk us through the process of an author hoping to promote their work through you – How easy is it to get started, and what sort of costs can a self-publishing author expect?
MB: Super simple. They upload a PDF, add some meta data, make sure the pages are in the correct order and in the proper orientation, join double-page spreads, and define panels. Push a button. Drink a cup of coffee. See their stuff live on the web, Facebook and ready for distribution to the major marketplaces. (We are still doing a manual QA of all content, so it might be a few cups of coffee.) Web- and Facebook-only is free. Add the major marketplaces, and it’s approximately $150/unit, depending on volume.
DEAN: Your program offers the use of “real-time analytics” for authors to check on how readers are responding to the content. Could you elaborate on this, and explain what sort of analytics would be available to the author?
MB: We are most excited about the analytics. Beyond sales data, we are providing actionable insights to authors about reader behavior. Most everyone is caught up in the form factor that digital books are read on, but not *how* reader's behavior has changed. For example, we know that across our network, people read approximately 30% of a book per session. That means for a 22-page comic book, folks are reading about 7 pages. Think about how that effects editorial, marketing and promotion. And it’s not really surprising that behavior has changed. Think about how YouTube has changed video consumption. A 2-3 minute video is optimal. Music? People listen to singles, not albums. Why would we believe that digital doesn't change how we engage with books, especially on devices that optimize distraction like the iPad, NOOK color and Kindle Fire?
DEAN: Finally, what’s on the horizon for Graphicly? Digital comics have been a hot topic for several publishers and providers this week, including Marvel teasing a March announcement for their “revolutionary” new way to read comics. What can readers and authors expect from Graphicly going forward?
MB: We are excited about helping authors and publishers get their content in as many marketplaces as possible. We believe that story should be seen, and are working hard at helping authors and publishers understand how their content is engaged with, how to market it effectively, and how to distribute it globally. Our focus is on making that as simple and cost-effective as possible. Not super sexy, but super important as digital continues to revolutionize the publishing world.
DEAN: Well, I’m sold. Find out more at Graphicly.com!
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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