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Comixology Launches Submit, a Lackluster Self-pub Service

ComiXology_Submit_TMCM_iPadI have long been an advocate of authors publishing their own work without a traditional publisher so when I read today that comiXology had launched a self-pub service, I was thrilled.

But then I really started looking at the service and it stopped being quite such a great option for authors. Compared to the self-pub services run by Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, and Kobo, Submit comes up short. It pays far less and is more restrictive.

First, Submit will accept any graphic novel in PDF format, but comiXology will only distribute the title after it meets their approval. Comixology isn’t clear on what they are looking for, but they do say:

We reserve the right to reject any submission. We’ll have a team of people looking at the quality of each submission. The high quality of our customer experience is the key to comiXology’s success, and something that we do not take lightly. For this reason we will be choosy about what type of content we accept on our digital comics platform.

That almost reminds you of Apple’s process for accepting content into iBooks, doesn’t it? It surely does not resemble how any other ebookstore operates, though given ebooks I have discarded for poor writing maybe they should.

Submit also requires a fair amount of ancillary artwork like a publisher’s logo, series artwork, cover image, and so on, and it looks like the title might not be approved if some details are missing. Again, this is more nitpicky than other services but perhaps it will lead to higher quality.

And then there’s the money. ComiXology only pays the author half of the net income. For example, sales via the comiXology iPad app will net the author 35%. First Apple’s vig is subtracted and then the remaining 70% is divided between coniXology and the author. Payments are made on a quarterly basis.

Not exactly a good deal, is it? Can anyone recommend a better option?



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Kwanza March 6, 2013 um 5:11 pm

If you’re comparing it to Apple and calling it "lackluster" isn’t that sort of ignoring that the App Store has been a smashing success for Cupertino and developers? cX reviewing content makes sense as they have to spend toward converting that PDF for iDevice reading– those are salaried heads.

Add in employees reviewing the content, which for a free service to authors, is their right. They will screen for porn and let’s be honest, crappy comics. What is wrong with curating content to give their main concern; customers, the best experience? There is a lot of garbage apps on iTunes, so I hope cX can exercise a more discerning palette.

Nate Hoffelder March 6, 2013 um 8:44 pm

I was thinking of iBooks more than anything. I’ve clarified the post.

Bill Smith March 7, 2013 um 8:02 pm has been publishing all sorts of digital comics for years. Also roughly a 50/50 split.

Nate Hoffelder March 7, 2013 um 8:19 pm

Really? In that case I think this market is ripe for disruption.

Edit: According to the FAQ that site pays 60% royalty (or higher). That is a lot better than Submit, and in fact it is a lot closer to the rates offered by Amazon, Kobo, and B&N.

Todd McCullough August 9, 2013 um 11:28 am

How is Amazon a good deal?

They’ve forced me either to offer my comic there for $2.99 with a pay out to me of a $1.05 or for $1.99 with a pay out of $0.77.

That royalty rate is garbage.

On Submit I can charge a decent $0.99 and either get a crummy 30% or a respectful 50%.

Go ComiXology.

I am going to check out right now.


Now that Amazon Owns Comixology , What Will Happen To Submit? – The Digital Reader April 19, 2014 um 8:17 pm

[…] launched their self-pub platform and/or publishing imprint in March 2013, and over the following year 1,000 titles were accepted for […]

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