My Graphic Novel: How Many Pages Should It Be?

studyingSo, I’m still here studying and doing research on different types of graphic novels. One of the issues I face right now happens to be page lengths…

whoa!

Exactly, how long should I make my graphic novel? What would be considered too short or too long? What would be a reasonable price range for say a certain page length?

A Slap In The Face...I think I’ve had this discussion before a long time ago. But I’m going to go over it again, since I haven’t done a graphic novel in my life. I’ll report my progress every step of the way, so that others will know of all my mistakes, my failures, and my successes.

Well, first of all, as a reader myself I would never want to disrespect my readers and audience by having such a high price tag to begin with. I’ve seen many authors/writers do serial graphic novels, because they’re popular and can make them a lot of money.

I’ve always wanted to create a 200+ volume set of my own, but looking at my budget and seeing as I tend to ramble, I’ll never be insane enough nor be ready enough to afford it. Maybe if I get picked up by a traditional publisher, it could work out. Maybe… Not to mention, I never buy a series with that many volumes. Once a series goes over the Volume 10 range, that’s it for me. Unless, it’s a very compelling story, but most times these graphic novels tend to drag on and on forever. Which is a main reason, why I cannot watch certain Anime/TV shows that go on for 10 episodes or more.

I love shorter series, because let’s face it, I don’t have all the time in the world to watch filler. I prefer stories that are more self-contained. The shorter the better, is what I say. Now, don’t get me wrong there may be some really great stories out there, but I don’t see the point of dragging things out. Now, the reason shows keep on going for so many years is because of money. Everything revolves around how much money a show, movie, and book makes. Sorry, but that’s the real world for you. I wish it wasn’t so…

However, as an indie self-publisher, without a company to call my own, putting my books on Amazon has never been easy for me. Now, with a graphic novel on the way (five years down the way), I could never have a 1,000 page epic nor a 24 page short. Either way, the price will be a little higher than say, my regular paperback novels with just black-and-white text alone.

So what is the problem with publishing on Amazon? There’s this thing called royalties, and in order for me to get a decent sum, the price of this graphic novel has to be higher than a certain amount, depending on page length. Whenever it comes to calculating page length, I’m always a bit concerned. What is a reasonable price these days? That’s the question right there.

If I do publish this graphic novel, I’m thinking 50-60 pages long. In the beginning, I thought 90 to 100 pages would be a lot better. However, just look at the royalties. For a graphic novel that’s all in color, ink is very expensive.

Here’s a list of page lengths per price range: (Red is Bad & Blue is Good)

  • 50 pages at $9.99 = $1.64
  • 60 pages at $9.99 = .64 cents
  • 60 pages at $10.99 = 1.54
  • 70 pages at $10.99 = .84 cents
  • 80 pages at $10.99 = .14 cents
  • 90 pages at $12.99 = .64 cents
  • 90 pages at $13.99 = $1.24

No Money coming in...

So there lies my problem.

I want to keep the graphic novel affordable for everyone, I really do, and I’d like to have them not too high. But in order for me to do that…I have to accept much much lower royalties, which frankly isn’t a smart thing to do. I’m already poor enough. .84 cents may not seem too bad for some people, but then, if you think about the cost of making a graphic novel and hiring a professional to help you, it’s not that great at all.

Let’s say a comic book artist costs about an average of $5,000 to $15,000. You sell your book for $9.99 at 60 pages. Do the math people. You’ll have to sell 8,000 copies of your book to break even. 😐

.64 cents x 8,000 = $5,120

I'm dead

Does that sound like fun to you?

All the world's a stageI’d be lucky to sell even one copy. Hell, even 50 copies! Let’s say I sell 100 copies. .64 x 100 = $64 dollars. I don’t know what’s worse, working on a graphic novel or a regular book. It may take me 10 years to finish either one, but the higher price tag is the graphic novel, no matter if it’s black-and-white or in color.

That’s why I’m using my own money to make this a reality. No one said it was cheap. Not only am I taking a huge risk, I may never see that money again, in my lifetime. So, the next time you think that making a graphic novel is easy… please think about it some more.

It’s not as easy as it looks. Some people never even finish. But I’m determined to finish mine. I don’t know when I’ll publish it, but we’ll see how things work out. Maybe I’ll get lucky someday and find a good paying job, so I can be able to publish graphic novels and regular novels. Who knows? 🙂

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