Wednesday 20 October 2010

Renaissance men in training

The last month has been a super-steep learning curve for me and Leo as we’ve been busy making ourselves familiar with the worlds of printing, book distribution, marketing and app development - all at the same time.

At times over the years we have worked in prose and illustrated novels, choose-you-own-adventure style books, role-playing games, comics, television, videogames, websites and Flash design, radio and even movies. And now we’re getting up to speed on the production as well as creative side. It’s exhausting but exhilarating. Like pushing your bike up Porlock Hill and then coming down without brakes.

It means that at long last we can start to firm up some details of what you can expect to see between now and Christmas. First of all there’ll be the long-awaited iPad app. I know – not everybody has an iPad yet. But why not? It’s like going from black and white to colour TV. Comics have dawn-of-time colors on that perfectly-sized screen and, with average prices per issue around $1.99, you’re saving money and shelf space. And with most comics apps (ours included) you get to read the first issue free. So you can try more titles.

A friend of mine who works in marketing asked about our pricing. I said each episode of Mirabilis after the first will be $1.99, because that’s a dollar off the cost of a typical print comic. He was surprised. “In most fields you pay more for convenience, not less.” So there you are. Get ‘em now, as the comics ads used to say, before we come to our senses.

The iPad versions will be the only way you’ll get the full comic book style layout for Mirabilis including letters page and “coming next issue” blurb. But if you aren’t ready to give up buying physical books just yet, we have a couple of options planned. First of all we’re looking into getting our own paperback edition of the Winter book up on We’re risking the supposed stigma of self-publishing but we just like being in control, striking out as pioneers, doing our own thing… Also we don’t have any contacts among US book publishers yet!

Here in the UK, we have a publisher negotiating to release Winter as two 112-page volumes early next year. These will be European-style large format hardbacks, a little pricier than the iPad or paperback options but eminently collectable.

I’m cautious about giving definite release dates as we’re breaking new ground with all these ventures. Each day usually brings an unexpected setback followed by a flash of inspiration to solve it. But Christmas is the season we’re working towards. Updates to come…


  1. Great News Dave! I wish all of you every success in this enterprise - Mirabilis is such a beautiful and captivating concept and to hear that it's now on the cusp of happening is great news indeed!

  2. Thank you, Peter. I must admit there have been one or two moments in the last couple of months when Leo and I began to wonder if it wouldn't have been easier to try and go the conventional publisher route. But for what? They pay an advance of 7 or 8 grand and for that they get 50% of your entertainment rights and maybe three times what you get for each book sold.

    And when it comes to apps, forget it - one publisher we spoke to even thought apps were sold on discs. (And that was the people in the e-publishing division...)

    I would recommend every author to go it alone if they can - and if anyone needs details of how to get their comics on iPad, we'll be happy to put you in touch with our own developers. The comic creators' freedom movement starts here!

  3. I'm surprised you don't have a US publisher! Have you spoken to the guys over at NBM? I think you would be a great fit!

  4. I would have thought so too! But my email to Terry Nantier went unanswered, so possibly they're not so interested in British comics as in European ones. (Can't blame them as I feel a lot closer to the USA than to Europe myself.)