So you want to have a physical hard copy of your comic to give or to sell to other people. If you would rather have something professionally printed up rather than using your home printer or friendly neighborhood print shop, then you have some options.
There are two different kinds of printing options – digital and offset. I’ll explain these two forms of printing.
Offset printing is the more traditional method of printing. The offset method involves transferring your material to special plates, which are then run through a machine with ink to imprint everything onto paper. On the downside, offset printing usually tends to be more expensive and can take longer to complete. However, the more you print through offset printing, the lesser the cost per unit is. If you’re printing up tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, offset printing will be cheaper.
Digital printing, in contrast, is a fairly recent invention. Rather than using liquid ink and metal plates (like the aforementioned offset method), everything is done directly on paper using toner. The process is also quicker because nothing has to dry like the wet inks of offset printing and the papers only pass through the machine once rather than several times. However, while it is faster and it is a good idea for small print runs, it’s not economical if you want many copies. If you want more than 2,000 copies, digital printing isn’t a good idea.
I should add also that technology is rapidly improving. Who knows? Perhaps within ten years, these two processes will merge together…or maybe some other method of printing will come along to supplant these two.
As I am small press, I make use of digital printing through Ka-Blam. Some prefer to use ComiXpress. Regardless of what method you choose, I recommend you shop around. Look at many different digital and offset printing services. Ask about their costs. Ask about what they’ve printed and if they’ve printed comics (or magazines or trade paperbacks or whatever format you use). Talk to others about what they’ve used and their recommendations.
Once you choose a printing service to print up your comics, talk to them about what they’ll need from you. Most of these printers will need to make digital files or special plates from your comics pages so make sure you find out what you’ll have to do or you’ll have to give them.
That’s it for now. In the meantime, please subscribe via RSS or email if you didn’t already. Make sure you buy a copy of Sunnyville Stories Volume 1 or get a copy from these other retailers. As usual, your comments and questions are welcome. What’s your opinion? We’d like to know.