What It's About
An artists creates a side hustle spinning science fiction stories in the form of graphic novels.
Words of Wisdom
Travis says that conventions and social media—especially Reddit—have been the best way to market his Liberty series. He also says becoming a part of these online communities, and adding value to them is crucial to organically growing a fan base while making friends and continuing to learn about the genre.
Liberty creator Travis Vengroff started out with a bang: at the first convention he premiered his debut volume, he beat a world record for the most copies of a graphic novel sold at any event. Though the record is still pending verification, Travis made a new sale every 6.5 minutes, eight hours a day, for four days—totaling 304 copies. Since then, he has averaged 150-200 books at each event.
Notes from Chris
The science fiction world Travis Vengroff has created is an elaborate one: set on the colony of Atrius, it describes inhabitants who have been cut off from humanity and endured generations of civil war. A gleaming city remains, and beyond its walls sprawls a lawless expanse—but, as the story goes, the government may be hiding something worse. This world, called Liberty, is now Travis’s side hustle, portrayed through a graphic novel and a podcast. And yes, this side hustle makes money! Travis says he started the hustle because he thought it would be easy, as well as inexpensive, to make a comic and produce a podcast. He began by selling his book at a convention called NY Comic Con last October, and things started out extremely well. The first weekend he got a sale was also the weekend he broke a record for sales at a convention, with 304 copies of his graphic novel sold. He effectively made a new sale every 6.5 minutes, 8 hours a day, for 4 days straight, without any established brand recognition or fan base. He says he remembers dancing with the last customer to celebrate the surprising success. Currently, 90% of the side hustle’s income comes from book sales—sold at conventions, as well as through the Liberty website and a few digital stores such as Comixology and DriveThru. Travis has recently begun a donation page as well as an advertising campaign for the podcast, which is released every two weeks. With volume two of Liberty almost ready to print, Travis’s hard works seems to be paying off. He says he loves seeing the new art produced, and receiving parts from his voice actors. And he describes every day working on the hustle feeling like Christmas.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Liberty Comic: Get a more in depth look at the colony of Atrius on Travis' website
- Kickstarter | Liberty : Deception Vol 1: Check out the kick starter campaign that Travis launched in order to get the funds for his graphic novels
- Comixology & DriveThru: Some of the e-commerce websites that Travis uses to sell his work
- Jeff Goins | Real Artists Don't Starve: If you're interested in making money off of your art, here's a fantastic book to help you get on the right track!
- Data Scientist Starts Science Fiction Magazine: A Colorado scientist publishes a science fiction magazine and builds it to a sustainable income of $1,800/month, funded largely by his readers
- “Cosplay” Photographer Earns $47,000 from Epic Star Wars Portraits: A Texas photographer combines his love for art and science fiction to add magic to his photography specializing in cosplay and all things geek
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