My Annotated Reading List for Self-Publishing Comics

By Jason Li

2017 November 02

Written in chronological order of how I’d wish I’d read them, though you may not need to actually read them all. I’ve starred the three that I think are most useful, though I have to admit my overall learning has been supplemented by many short Tumblr posts that I haven’t kept track of.

📚 Background reading

The Gift book cover

The Gift : Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World
By Lewis Hyde

An incredible book about the history and anthropology of gifting, and how it relates to art. Is good background information for thinking about the tension between art and commerce. But it is super dense, and will take a while to read.

The Art of Asking book cover

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
by Amanda Palmer

People have touted this as a must-read about crowdfunding, which I think is half-true. It’s a wonderful book, and it does help explain the spirit of crowdfunding, but that’s more of a side effect rather than it’s main point.

Austin Kleon book covers

⭐️ Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative + Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered
by Austin Kleon

Ignore the sensationalist titles: these books are actually very succinct, handy guides to being an independent creator. Super helpful in terms of what mindset to take, particularly the second one when it comes to show your process to attraction attention/fans.

💥 About comics publishing

Complete Guide to Self Publishing Comics book cover

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Comics: How to Create and Sell Comic Books, Manga, and Webcomics
by Comfort Love, Adam Withers

A easy-to-read, comprehensive guide that covers both making and publishing/selling your own comics. Because it tries to cover everything, it felt a little too beginners-oriented at times.

Unnatural Talent book cover

⭐️ Unnatural Talent: Creating, Printing and Selling Your Comic in the Digital Age
by Jason Brubaker

A sort of edited and compiled version of his popular blog: a great, behind-the-scenes peek at what worked and what didn’t work for him. Lots of great tips and everything is applied/practical. (Unfortunately, much of the advice related to how to market yourlsef on the internet is now outdated.)

How to Self Publish Comics book cover

⭐️ How to Self-Publish Comics: Not Just Create Them
by Josh Blaylock, Tim Seeley

An easy-to-read “business book” on publishing comics. It’s a business book because it’s salesy and slightly brash and often breezes through things too fast, but I think it’s a very important perspective to read about. Plus, did I mention it’s an easy read?

Economics of Digital Comics book cover

The Economics of Digital Comics
by Todd Allen

A book that reads as 50% economics research and 50% publishing guide, this is a bit of tough read. Lots of little nuggets of data and advice throughout, but may not be the most useful for a single creator (as opposed to aspiring publisher).

Webcomics Handbook book cover

The Webcomics Handbool
by Brad Guigar

Lots of great stories, advice and tips for running a fiction webcomic series. Downsides: it’s super specific on webcomics, and is out of date when it comes to online advertising/social media.

➕ Bonus: podcasts

See You on the Bookshelf cover image

See You on the Bookshelf
by Jack Cheng

A chirp, easy-to-listen to podcast of an author’s journey to get his book published (from finding an agent to going on a book tour). In this case, the book is well loved by its publishers and so the podcast paints a very vivid picture of what a good book deal looks like.

By Jason Li.

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