Where Books Go After They're Crowdfunded

By Jason Li

2018 October 29

Animated GIF of my comic going around a globe

Editor’s note: This update was sent to backers of the Teacher’s Pet Kickstarter campaign and has been re-published here with permission.

It’s been a year! Hello again!

First, a minor update on the larger graphic novel project: the writing and drawing was recently completed, and I’m currently on the hunt for the right publisher (hit me up if you have friends in publishing!). As a first-time author, it might take a while before I land a deal somewhere, but I hope to have some good news soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to take a step back to look at where Teacher’s Pet, the chapter that you all helped bring to print, has gotten up to in this world.

1. Direct sales! Sold! 💰

In sum, I sold 130-140 books, which means I’ve recouped 80-90% of the cost of printing through print sales alone. This is actually pretty great, because money in comics is hard – in case you missed the memo in Lucy Bellwood’s incredible 2016 XOXO talk (seriously, if you’re an independent creator you should watch it right now) – so I wasn’t looking to make much of a profit anyway.

2. In brick & mortar stores 🛍

While I’ve only sold about a dozen books to or through stores (they either buy outright or sell by consignment), I’m excited that our little book has made its way to some great indie comic book stores in Canada and the US, and to some of my favorite bookstores in Hong Kong. (Check out the full list of bookstores here.) Getting people’s attention inside a store full of other people’s books is hard, but I’m proud to have a presence in these fine establishments.

3. Gifting & donating 🎁

Since I basically recouped the cost of printing through sales and Kickstarter, I was free to do whatever I wanted with the remaining copies. Aside from the handful I sent out for reviews and random contests, I’ve really relished gifting my book to:

Giving back to people who’ve helped me in the past and paying it forward by giving to people in need has been an unexpected boon, and a new way for me to participate in the gift economy.

In a way, the print copy of Teacher’s Pet has become my new calling card. It’s gotten me into stores and schools abroad, I keep one on hand as a prop when I meet new people, and it’s even allowed me to donate to good causes in the wider world. Luckily, the book’s compact format is perfect for this – it’s small enough to carry around, cheap enough to give away, and still only a teaser for the full book! :)

Where else should I send/sell my book? Do you know a school, library, store or non-profit organization that might be interested? Let me know.

By Jason Li.

See other articles in Writing a graphic novel or go home.