Chicago, United States / Retail
A loan of $4,000 helps Neil publish our first book, which will create a new income source, and expand the company’s mission.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Radiator Comics distributes hand-made and self-published comic books to individuals, institutions and stores around the United States. In addition to bookstores and comics shops, Radiator finds nontraditional venues where our artists’ titles can thrive: arcades for a zine about pinball, toy stores for kid-friendly comics, and record stores for music-themed comics. By seeking out new venues, I expand the audience for alternative comics.
Since its launch in July 2014, Radiator has sold 3,000 titles to shops, libraries, and individuals. I am energized when I am able to talk about the qualities of storytelling and art in my catalog. Getting comics into the hands of new readers excites me, and I am filled with a sense of accomplishment when it is time for me to pay my artists for sold titles. So much effort goes into writing, drawing and publishing these titles, it means a lot to add to the financial sustainability of my artists’ work.
At this time, most of my wholesale clients are comic and bookstores. Placing titles in stores that don’t usually sell comics has been my biggest challenge, but it’s also my most exciting opportunity. After researching stores and approaching them with specific titles appropriate for their shop, I am often met with skepticism, so I work to educate store owners about the value of my product.
I am driven to grow Radiator into a business that supports the comics community as well as me and my family. My immediate goal is to begin publishing original titles, and continue to expand my distribution operation. Within three years, I envision Radiator Comics in its own office space, which will also host work-space for self-publishers, so Radiator’s home is an active center for alternative comics.
What is the purpose of this loan?
This loan will cover the printing costs of Radiator Comics’ first book, The Chronicles of Fortune by Caroline Picard.
The cost of offset printing 1,000 copies of The Chronicles of Fortune is $3,500. The $4,000 from the Kiva Zip loan will allow me to print a professional, high-quality book without putting a strain on Radiator’s finances. The additional $500 will go to covering shipping ($200) and storage costs for six months ($300). This will free up funds for promotion of the book, such as shipping review copies, advertising, and expenses for book events.
As a distributor, most of the titles Radiator Comics carries are sold on behalf of the authors who publish the titles themselves. The author dictates the retail price of the comics, and most of the money from sales go back to the artists I represent. Artists receive 50-70% of the cover price of distributed titles, and Radiator receives 10-30% of the cover price (the lower percentage is when books are sold wholesale to stores, the higher is when they are sold at full price to individuals).
The exception to this percentage breakdown is when Radiator Comics sells the comics that I publish in-house. Radiator Comics receives 60-100% of the retail price for these comics. Publishing comics allows Radiator Comics to set the retail price on those titles, and to earn more from each title sold.
Publishing Radiator’s first book also redefines my company and broadens its scope. Within the alternative comics industry, distributors are an important engine for sales, but are certainly not as well regarded as publishers. Publishing titles gives greater weight to Radiator’s overall curatorial vision, and increases the company’s stature.
Radiator Comics has become the primary vehicle for my passion to support and promote the alternative comics community. While I find great emotional reward in the work Radiator Comics has accomplished, I still have a lot of work to do before it is financially sustainable. It is my goal to support myself, and contribute to my household through the work of Radiator Comics. Publishing The Chronicles of Fortune with the assistance of Kiva Zip puts me one step closer to that goal.