Jenny, our wonderful rep from Diamond noticed that Watchmensch had hit the torrent/free download sites. She asked if we minded being torrent-ed and for my opinion of the push for publishers to going digital and then possibly later moving their books to print. Here's my reply:
As far as how I feel about the downloading thing, part of me is flattered. We aren't a really big company and when I see this sort of stuff I think "Wow someone took the time and scanned this whole thing. I've got pictures sitting on my desk screaming to be scanned and I'm too lazy to scan them." I went ahead and downloaded the scan and whoever did it did a really good job. Will it turn into more orders? I don't think so (I've put requests to Rapidshare and Demonoid to remove the files/torrents).
But it's this sort of thing that has moved us (Brain Scan) into the digital world, we've got a couple of new books we went the digital route with, our belief is that the new creators will build an audience and drive them towards a printed collection. The big issue we see with the whole idea is that most creators don't do a whole lot of planning, they think "the first issue will pay for my gloriously planned-out multi-issue series" and when the money isn't what they expect they disappear like turtles in their shell. A lot of folks think if they release a book and just disappear folks will flock to them. It sadly doesn't work that way.
Offering our books digitally allows folks to experience "us" with little upfront cost, and it's instant gratification. Now that I'm living on my iPhone I want to grab that new issue from an up-and-coming creative team now, not wait for Amazon or my LCS to deliver. With blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. the small publisher can build their brand with little cost and if folks love you and your brand they'll buy your stuff. We all hope. :) On top of it all, me and my little family moved to Boston back in July into a much smaller apartment. Guess what didn't come along? A whole lot of longboxes that are now living at my parents house. In their place I've been picking up graphic novels, because we just don't have the space. A download is nothing but space on that computer or phone.
It should be an interesting year for publishers big and small, we'll see how it turns out. Hopefully for the better.