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If one had a story that was as yet undefined but wanted to work out the economics of a manga publication - how would one go about it?

How does one get to top artists (any artist, otherwise)? Are there any costs associated with contacting accomplished manga artists?

Where would one get access to manga artists in general?

What are the publication costs of such an endeavour likely to be? As you probably can't provide explicit monetary values, can you help me to identify the different costs associated with this venture?

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This question appears to be off-topic because it really doesn't relate to graphic design. –  Alan Gilbertson Jul 10 at 7:31
    
@AlanGilbertson Others have expressed the same opinion, I tried to edit it in to scope, but if that's how you feel you should ping one of the mods quite soon, because this question appears to be gaining views quite fast. –  DumbNic Jul 10 at 7:43

3 Answers 3

Start by going to your local comic book shop. Many local comic book stores have artists come in regularly for signing and sketches. A lot of employees might also moonlight as illustrators. They may not be Manga but they might be able to do it or know someone that does.

If you already have an artist in mind, drop them an email or twitter. Say you want to discussion commissioning them for a new comic you're funding. Be sure to include words like commission, funding, paid, etc... So they look at it. Otherwise you're just another guy trying to get a free piece of artwork to them.

You might also need to hire more than one artist. A lot of times one person draws, another inks, and a third does just the lettering.

Again talk to some guys at the local comic book shop. Tell them what you're looking at doing and what type of hourly rate they would charge for it. Take their business card and stay in touch with them. You're going to need fans and distribution at some point anyways.


As far as costs. This is really dependent but some factors to consider:

B/W or Color Ink, Paper Quality, Page Count, Size of Run. Depending on size of run you'll need a lawyer to speak to and make sure there's not going to be issues on that side. And finally marketing / sales / distribution.

Like DA01 said this all depends on if you're doing an actual print run or just putting it up online. Either way though if you don't promote it online or in stores then nobody will know it exists. Especially if you're paying money for it you'll want to try and generate some revenue back.

As with any new business you should expect to lose money on the first few issues. Once you get a distribution and reader base it will be easier to get your costs down, and potentially sell a page or two off for advertising.

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If you are willing to hire someone working remotely, I'd strongly suggest to also check DeviantArt, the manga community is huge over there. –  Yisela Jul 10 at 5:04

how would one go about it?

Pretty much like you'd hire any professional. Ask around. Get recommendations. Look at previous work. Interview, etc.

any costs associated with it?

Again like any professional, you'd ask for an estimate. They'd provide that to you.

And what are the publication costs, in such an endeavor?

From free (self publish an e-book) to really really expensive (large press runs of high-end printing)

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Look for/post at job boards and online portfolios, make inquiries with the ones you prefer.

http://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/offers/

There are also "digital webbing" and "penciljack", but I can't post the link as I have to register here and build a reputation to post more than 1 URL.

On these you'll probably find more artists in the "American" style (except perhaps for deviantart, which I suppose approaches 50:50).

Their rates, standards and market philosophies will vary from place to place, and also from individual. Many will react with outrage against offers of spec work, others are even inviting them. I personally think that the best way to go is to "study" the artists, see if they fit the style you want, and if they have a good reputation/reliability/resume, and then inquire about rates (if they don't have them published already), but avoid asking for spec work if they don't seem to be almost offering it already.

I can't give a thoroughly good answer about the total of publication costs. It probably depends a lot. You could produce a "finished mockup" that's good enough to get a publisher (not that it's easy), for example, but that would probably have required a larger investment in the art side. Mark Crilley is an American mangaka and, besides several videos about the "craft" aspects, he has this interview "how to get published":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNleCLXGlx0

I think there are other videos on the subject in his own channel.

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