Are you a comics fan looking to connect with others to get involved in your community? Are you an industry professional looking to network with other writers, artists, and colorists? Are you an indie creator looking to break into the industry and put your book out there? Then we need to talk about The Trade. Conceptualized and developed by artist and life-long comics fan Jean Michel, The Trade is a professional network for pros and fans alike, revolutionizing how comics are produced and marketed.
According to Michel,
The Trade is like a comic book convention online for professionals in the industry. This includes publishers, all the creators involved in each stage of the comic production line, booksellers, and even convention organizers. Creators use the site to ﬁnd jobs and showcase their work on a beautiful interface, and businesses can post jobs and ﬁnd skilled talent and resources to get their projects done, whether it’s publishing a book, planning a store signing, or organizing a convention.
The potential for the website and all its applications ranges from creating a marketplace standard of page rates due to workforce transparency, to alleviating the stress of deadline chasing through project management accountability, to creating a fresh, centralized, and diverse pool of talent and products on a global scale, just as iTunes did for the music industry.
Excited yet? If you make or read comics, you probably should be. Websites like this have existed for years in other industries and publishing markets, streamlining the production process and putting power back in the hands of creators. The Trade could seriously change the game for pros and fans alike, making it easier for creators to promote their work and for fans to show their support. With a community as immense and diverse as the comics industry, a network like this could bring more people together and get more quality comics out into the world. And that’s a win for everybody.
The industry is already beginning to take notice, and the response has been positive:
“…seems like an idea whose time has come! Finally!!” —Walter Simonson, creator/artist Ragnarok, writer/artist Thor
“A site like this is long overdue. It’s going to help a lot of creators both already in the business and those just starting out.” —Erica Schultz, writer M3 and Revenge
“So wait…a company that connects professional comic talent to conventions, publishers, sales and other comic book opportunities and it’s…free? Hell yeah…Yes, please…May I have another?” —Mark McKenna, creator Combat Jacks, inker Batman, Avengers, X-Men
If you’re interested in The Trade, head over to www.WeAreTheTrade.net for more information. They are currently funding the site through Kickstarter until April 13th, and once funded the beta site will be up for pros, businesses and fans. The team is also offering some truly amazing awards to project backers so if you weren’t sold I suggest you give them a look, too.