2011 Small Pub Report Card: Gynocrat Ink

My name is Tina Anderson, and I’ve written graphic novels and fan comics for fans of homoerotic stories, since 2004. I started Gynocrat Ink in 2008, it is my ‘doujinshi circle’, or what fans unfamiliar with Japanese fandom terms call, my ‘small-publishing house’.

Gynocrat Ink exists to produce only my own work, which has been illustrated by various talented artists.  Some of these titles are self-published by choice, while others were self-published due to issues with publishers that were originally meant to produce them.  Either way, Gynocrat Ink and its imprints ‘Circle-G’ and ‘EM Novels’, has always specialized in the ‘the works of Tina Anderson.’

2011 was a weird year for Gynocrat Ink.

I expected a hard year, with no sales due to a lack of new releases, and little fanfare because I no longer actively engaged fandom online.  Outside publishing, I acquired a job in banking and it’s taken much of my free time and rewarded me with some positive financial and personal growth.  I didn’t attend any conventions, write any new scripts, and did not resurrect my fandom blog Guns, Guys, and Yaoi—much to the chagrin of my blogger friends that were pushing me in that direction.  Yet despite no new releases and little to no exposure, Gynocrat Ink actually ran in the black, for the first time since eliminating my debt as a ‘business,’ last year.   While the profit margin was nothing compared to a traditional small-publisher, it was enough to give me hope that all the work I did (and yes, writing is WORK!), and all the criticism and drama I endured, was not for nothing.  Thanks to digital sales of existing titles on Amazon.com, and that organizations subsequent reach into foreign markets, sales were consistent and royalties continued to accrue.

I list Amazon as my most successful distributor, because be it print or digital, they’ve consistently remained a strong and user-friendly, sales outlet.  They’re generous with my take, easy to fulfill, sales info is never late or missing, and payment is always on time.  Also on my list of good partnerships turned out to be LSILoud Snow was produced with them last year and it came out great, and they took over my fulfillment duties with Amazon and BN with no hiccups, saving me the cost of shipping to these sales outlets myself.  I was able to enroll in Ingram, and sold to smaller bookstores—and while this didn’t bring me as much of a percentage as I liked, I appreciated the accuracy of their sales reporting and the willingness to distribute to smaller vendors.  Even the price change on Loud Snow went through without issue, and actually led to an increase in sales.

On my list of troublesome partnerships, Barnes and Noble still ranks high.  My patience with them is waning; despite their move to e-invoicing for print editions, they’re still forcing a paper-trail bill-to and invoice via snail mail.  There’s still no dedicated support to smaller pubs for digital works and product page set up—they raid the Bowker database for title information that’s often outdated, then list this misinformation as on sale and take pre-orders.  This has led to constant issues with readers emailing me and I’ve nothing to tell them other than ‘BN.com’ is wrong, when you see it in the store or on Amazon, then it’s available.  There’s still no easy way to track print sales and correct any pricing and product page data in real-time.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more cumbersome, PubIt, their distro transitional program for digital releases to the Nook, is always inconsistent with sales data; and the Nook itself is hindered by slow load times on graphic novels, even those with tailored file sizes made smaller for it.  I want Nook to succeed, but I want Barnes and Noble to please stop their resistance to making things easier for independent creators. Files sizes that work on KINDLE, SONY Reader, and iPad, should also work on Nook.   I made the decision to relinquish digital rights of the Nook on two works of fiction, and gave them to Amazon in order to allow Prime members to benefit from free reads on the KINDLE.  Barnes and Noble needs to get it together, or I’ll be moving all my titles from the Nook—the sales and lack of indie publisher-friendly service behind the scenes, is helping me make my decision.

As for Apple and eManga, sales were low due to my unwillingness to promote these titles.  When other digital outlets are giving me 70% of my sales, and Apple and eManga are not—they’ve made the decision for me, to prioritize where I want reviewers to send readers.  It’s nothing personal, it’s just business—and I still plan to distribute a digital edition of Volume 2 of Games With Me through eManga, but it will be the last graphic novel release I’ll submit to them.

Speaking of ‘last titles’, I announced that 2012 is my last year in GloBL, and for writing BL comics.  I’m proud of the work I’ve done (some more than others) and intend to go out with a BANG, literally.  The 80’s crime drama Roulette will be my last print and digital release in the genre, and I’m very excited because this title had a hard time getting completed—getting out there, and just being on its own as published.  It’s releasing in Spring/Summer in the US, to allow the Italian publisher the opportunity to publish in Italy.  Other release news for Gynocrat Ink is the print omnibus of Games With Me.  It’s been one of my best reviewed titles to date, and its being re-toned, and redesigned, for its print edition, and will release by Valentine’s Day!

It’s been a great run in comics, and I’ll always appreciate the people I’ve met, and the fans that’ve supported Gynocrat Ink.  2012 will be a great year for Gynocrat Ink—two final graphic novels releasing to close out Circle-G, and the future is bright for EM-Novels, if I ever get off my butt and finish my manuscripts.

Thanks,

Have a Happy New Year
Tina Anderson (Kolesnik)

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