Seeing some of the spite going on over at Twitter people should realize that this is not one size fits all or is it mandatory. In fact, this is one size fits few, and is a completely voluntary. For example, we're not applying because we have the financial means available in order to create entire projects independently, so this program doesn't fit our situation.
What this program is are for artists who don't have the financial means to stop full time from another job to do comics full time and risk having no income. Say you have this great story but you can't quit your day job to do it, so you never do it. Which is better? 50% of something or 100% of nothing? This is an option for those people.
Also you still own a portion of the IP. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had to give up their IP in order to work in the comic industry, IP that is now worth billions (that's what Disney paid for Marvel).
This program is also for artists who need guidance and editorial oversight. If you've never hired a professional editor before, it can get very expensive, especially if they edited works that went on to sell well.
This is basically a limited partnership equity agreement. Tapas is paying in all the money and the artist is paying in their time and ideas. Sorry everyone, hate to say it, but ideas in the publishing business are a dime a dozen. So all the artist is contributing is their time, time that they are getting partially paid for. Tapas is paying in twice, once for a portion of the ownership, and the second time to pay for the labor attached to the project. The artist is paying in once with sweat equity. Sweat equity is the difference between what the artist feels they should get and what they actually receive. If you want $120 a page for work-for-fire and Tapas pays $100, then $20 is your sweat equity, and if that page goes on to earn out more than $120 a page then you came out ahead on the deal than if you just did work-for-hire commissions all day long.
What all the negative people also seem to forget is that 80% of books fail. Fail is defined as all of a book's costs (production, printing, advance, marketing, distribution, etc.) added together taken against its sales.
Publishing is HIGH RISK. A lot of creators out there are doing entire graphic novels, spending 2,000 hours in the process and doing a $20,000 Kickstarter where $10,000 goes out in rewards and people feel this is successful. Is it? The creator made the equivalent of $5/hr and this doesn't count the 100s of hours they put into their social media accounts growing their following or running and fulfilling their Kickstarter rewards.
Tapas is taking on a huge amount of risk. If most artists took their talent and their ideas to a private equity investor (e.g. ABC's "Shark Tank") they'd find out that they'd have to give up a huge portion of the IP in order to get an investor to play ball for what is essentially a concept. "So Bob, what's your revenue?" "Nothing Robert." "Sorry Bob, I'm out." Most investors would cut loose right there. "Bob, what assurances do I have that you will finish the project?" "None." Again, if your hand breaks or you get sick, or you lose interest and want to draw something else, what does Tapas get? Nothing. They can't force you to finish. The publishing industry is rife with bad creators who under deliver or fail to deliver. We're not saying that anyone here would ever do that, but its happened before with publishers, which is why many won't take on anything but a complete project. Tapas is willing to take a risk many comic publishers won't. That's saying something.
Would we offer this program? No. Because there is a lot of risk involved with no guarantee of success. Amazingly Tapas is willing to do this because they have done their due diligence and it's their conclusion that they can make it work.
Creators need to see things from both sides of the equation, just not their side.
The reason why Tokyopop failed was because they capitalized on their good name from prior licensed quality titles to churn out exceptionally low quality in-house titles (both artistically, editorially, and physically) and they rammed a ton of it down the pipeline due to unabated greed. Their poor product eventually poisoned the readership. They also wrote contracts where the IP stayed indefinitely with their company because they had no foresight. Nothing lasts forever.
Tapas should do everyone a favor and automatically write in a termination clause. After 5 years of the IP going "out of print" which to us would be defined as sales under a certain amount of money, e.g. $300/mo, the IP reverts to the creator. If the project fails to "earn out" then the winner here will be the artist and if historical statistics prove true, the majority of the winners from this will be the artists. What Tapas is banking on is 1 or 2 IPs out of 10 being exceptionally successful and making up for the rest. Is that fair for those 1 or 2 artists, to carry the weight of the 10? Well, that is up for those artists to decide prior to submission.
Some projects don't work out financially, in fact many don't. Creators, yes you are important, but just because you are important doesn't mean you are always a good investment. Tapas is taking on a big risk, respect them for that. Not every single creator out there wants to start their own publishing company, or has the financial resources to do so, so for those people, this is a useful arrangement. Finally Tapas is a for-profit company. They have to make money in order for this platform to continue to operate and expand and its not immoral of them for wanting to do so.