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Alternate Press Syndicator Heavy With Webcomics

Here's a link I missed during last month's focus on webcomics-to-print: Creative Comix is a small syndication company focused on the alternative press market. They have quite a few webcomics on their roster of clients including: BoxJam's Doodle, Soap on a Rope, Gluemeat, Lost in Appleton, Innies and Outties, Tex & Jenny, You Damn Kid, and HOUSD.

Here's a few more details for creators on submitting your work to them and a FAQ on the company.

UPDATE: In the comments Rob Balder notes that the Creative Comix contract may not have the most creator-friendly terms.

Re: Alternate Press Syndicator Heavy With Webcomics

pclips's picture

Jesus H. Christ on a crooked crutch! This "syndicate" keeps 75% of your fees?!

This looked really neat and interesting until I looked at that, and the example contract. Look at clause 1:

1. Artist hereby grants to Creative Comix the
exclusive right during the term of this agreement to
advertise, market, sell and distribute
"__________________________" for publication in newspapers,
magazines, periodicals, Internet websites, and other such
media. Creative Comix agrees to use its best efforts in
submitting Artist's work for the purpose of securing
publication of "_____________________".

This means they can tell you, if they want, that you can't even BE a webcomic, except through their site. The most liberal reading of "other such media" would mean that you couldn't publish a book of your strips, either.

I can't understand the reasoning behind signing a contract like that, rather than contacting the editors of papers directly. I ran my own direct mail campaign to get into the papers that have carried me, and if I had to cough up 75% of the fees I earn, it wouldn't be worth doing a comic at all.

I know some of these guys who have signed on have posted at Comixpedia, so maybe one of them can explain it to me. I don't see anything that this syndicate does for the creator that I don't do more profitably by self-syndication.

Re: Alternate Press Syndicator Heavy With Webcomics

umm...someone should tell BoxJam that it was the "Cartoonist's Choice Awards", now known as the "Web Cartoonist's Choice Awards".
"Webcomic Choice Awards" was another awards program, ended up running once, in 2002.

Re: Alternate Press Syndicator Heavy With Webcomics

I haven't signed my contract just yet. Still need to look it over with a lawyer.

<a xhref="http://www.inniesandoutties.com">~leonard</a>

Re: Alternate Press Syndicator Heavy With Webcomics

pclips's picture

OK well at the very least, get that clause cleaned up! Don't forget what happened to the Penny Arcade guys, losing the rights to publish their own work in a book. These guys running the syndicate may seem above board and all, but man...don't let them take away your rights to run your website and all.

I shouldn't have been so negative, I guess. I can understand why someone would sign with this syndicate. It's a hassle balance, really.

When I did my direct mailing to newspaper editors, I had to research everything, build a database and populate it, buy all the postage and envelopes and mailing supplies and get the sample packets printed up, get a feature agreement drawn up with my lawyer...the whole thing cost me in the low four figures.

I came at it from a background of running targetted direct mail campaigns and database development, too. I can see where all of that expense and work and specialized expertise would be something you'd rather hand off to someone else. I just can't see getting $2.50 a week from a small paper and letting the syndicate keep the other $7.50 is all.

Sorry if I came across as being harsh. I guess I have kind of a weird perspective on this (and as a self-syndicated creator I can't say I am thrilled at the new competition in alternative markets). Take my reaction for whatever it may be worth, but don't let me dissuade you from doing this if it seems right for your strip. Good luck (and how come Innies and Outies doesn't load at stus.com any more? It fell off my regular reads b/c of that.)

Re: Alternate Press Syndicator Heavy With Webcomics

I've got a number for a lawyer here in LA finally, so I'll be able to look over it and address any concerns that way. I see it less as a money-making making opportunity and more of an advertisement for the website that I would be getting paid for - also, it takes the effort out of trying to do the distribution myself, something I'm not really into. I'll have to look more closely at the contract, I hadn't realize the clause included net distribution as well.Other issues that aren't addressed include how to handle artist appearances, books, and any possible merchandising aspects.

Innies and Outties doesn't load at other websites any more because of my move to keenspace. I had been running Innies and Outties for more than three years for free on the same server as TheFunnyPapers.com, but they went down nine months ago and didn't reinstate my site despite attempts to contact them. I made the decision to move over to keen and lost the ability to have the strip inlined at other sites - losing about 700-900 readers in one fell swoop. Some sites still retain the linkback, though, but my readership numbers have yet to recover, hovering around 300-400 readers a day now if you include the e-mail list.

<a xhref="http://www.inniesandoutties.com">~leonard</a>

Re: Alternate Press Syndicator Heavy With Webcomics

And if I remember correctly, the longer you stay with them, the harder and longer it is to break the contract. Didn't sound like a good deal to us anyway.

Gisele, http://pennyandaggie.com

Re: Alternate Press Syndicator Heavy With Webcomics

housd's picture

i havent signed yet. the contract seems a bit off, the whole "exclusive rights" to marketing, dustribution, and advertising is somewhat diconcerting.

Re: Alternate Press Syndicator Heavy With Webcomics

Yeah, I'm having a problem with that as well. The only positive I can see is that the contract is only a one-year commitment. Now, if another syndicate comes along, this will be a problem.

<a xhref="http://www.inniesandoutties.com">~leonard</a>