The digital publishing revolution has made it easier than ever for comics fans to get their hands on digital comics, and for writers and artists to create them. The problem has always been that it isn’t easy to get a self-published digital comic in front of its audience. There are ways for self-publishers to get access to large online distribution platforms, including Amazon Publishing and Comixology Submit, but navigating the approvals processes of these sites can be challenging and unpredictable.
One response to this challenge comes from online comics publisher BotComics, who are working on a submissions platform that jettisons the publisher-side submission process in favor of community-based content curation. Signing up for a BotComics Submit account is simple, and submission is almost as straightforward. It’s also free: BotComics takes a cut when you sell copies, rather than up front.
Once the submission goes live, the key part of the process unfolds: earning community ratings. Rather than moderating the content of submissions themselves, BotComics bases everything on responses from fans. Titles that receive high ratings are also included on the BotComics homepage and in marketing campaigns and subscriber newsletters, so a good body of ratings is also a way to earn some free publicity. Users can follow particular publishers; they’ll be notified whenever a publisher they follow uploads a new item.
BotComics kindly gave me the chance to gain early access to the creator interface, and I was able to log in and play around with some of its features. Having used other online publishing systems, I was pleased to see that the BotComics Submit site is simple, intuitive, and good-looking. I was able to create a profile and upload my first product within a few minutes — although creators who don’t want to just write nonsense in their descriptions will probably take a little bit longer. The simplicity of the interface doesn’t limit its versatility, though. For example, creators who want to establish multiple brands can set up multiple different pages from the same account, which lets you differentiate brand identities if you want to. Payment details are simple enough to set up — you can even arrange to be paid in BitCoin — and the stats interface makes it clear how your sales were doing (although since the platform isn’t actually live yet, my sales weren’t too brisk).
The account combines multiple different features. One login connects user, publisher, and affiliate accounts. Users who don’t upload any content can still earn money by driving referrals using their affiliate accounts; for publishers, this means that they can earn twice by driving sales through their BotComics account. Users will be able to purchase comics individually through BotComics or subscribe to a service that lets them stream unlimited content.
The combination of an easy-to-use interface and community-led curation makes BotComics Submit a strong publishing option for starting publishers, creators working in niche genres, or seasoned pros looking for an additional revenue stream. It could be the easy-access publishing platform a lot of independent creators have been waiting for.