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Often i get asked why i put my books online for free when i am trying to make a living of them

Well, here's why. Comics are a small and a very competitive market. Ten times so if you are working on creator owned stuff and ten times over if you aren't a big industry name.

And multiply it twice over again if you as a writer aren't a big name.


Now me, i am moderately known for my art. Trust me people being e-famous for some silly superhero jokes doesn't translate to comics sold XD

In fact there is a general prejudice about the priorities of artists who take up writing. I still remember early reviews that exclaimed genuine surprise that my stories were actual stories and not just excuses for splash pages and spreads.

So, with all of that working against me, here i am in the market that is fughting for a very small number of readers, all things considered.  People buying comics have limited funds, so i am supposed to convince them to take a risk on me because...reasons?

Truth is, it's not even an option. Creator owned comics live and die by their sales even more so than your franchised ip stuff.  I have seen many die. It is a terrible feeling to see your creations evaporate due to lack of awareness. Hell, we'll take it when they die because they're shit! That's on us as creators, you know... but seeing a good story die before it can even take off ...that shit hurts!


So what's with me and all of this free stuff left and right?

It's simple really. The way i got it figured, we live in the age of crowdfunding. For multiple reasons i will not partake in that but i do very much believe that people are willing to support good projects that they like.

So here i am with my simple premise: i make comics, if people like them, they can support them by buying them. That way i get to make more comics.


My way people actually get to see the comics in their entirety and decide whether or not they want to support my storytelling addiction XD



There are four books i am actively creating

Sunstone (for adult readers) you can read the webcomic on my account

Death vigil…


Ravine (with my friend and co writer ron marz)…

there are volumes of these books available online through amazon barnes and noble, online comic shops and real bookstores and comic shops (that decided to carry them)


Oh... and once again, i don't do crowdfunding.

3 reasons:

 1 my country doesn't have the taxation for it quite worked out

2 the feeling of owing peope rewards would eat me alive and run me into an early grave

3 the lure of it deteriorating to on demand port scares the shit out of me XD


So yeah, that's it.

I make books, if you buy the books i get to make more books, if not...well, i can always find other stuff to do :)


Stjepan out!

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Metal-Rocker Featured By Owner May 15, 2017
"Trust me people being e-famous for some silly superhero jokes doesn't translate to comics sold XD"

Sell comics of silly superhero jokes? =P (Razz) 
Kurk44 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2016
The only comics I actually read, keep up with, and BUY physical copies (and digital copies) of, are your comics. Mainly Sunstone and Death Vigil.

I really think it's because you made it already available and easy to find. On top of that your art really is top notch (in my opinion) So owning the physical copies just to be able to look at the art is more than worth it for me!

I really hope you'll be able to keep making comics for a living
TheWanderingCactus Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2016
ditto this ^

Well, that and a weakness for "Empowered." But pretty much ditto the above comment in all other respects but exclusivity 'cuz its "near total" not "actually total" in my case. You are pretty much the only artist I can consistently count on to make graphic novels I like and find interesting.
Grim-smith Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2016
Well I for one support your method as it means that I can point others towards your work online with the firm instruction of "Buy this! If you do (and convince others to) we all get more!" I saw a single page of Sunstone posted online and had to find out more about because of the art - yes, I turned up initially for the erotic, fetish, lesbian pictures but stayed for the story. Mea culpa. Suffice to say, I'm more than happy to put my money where my mouth is, hence me having print copies of the Sunstone issues published so far, Death Vigil and now looking to add Ravine and Switch to the bookshelf! From my perspective, you have a wonderfully developed sense of the ridiculous paired with a dry humour that means I have to read more (I was raised on Monty Python) and there's something in your style of art that just grabs me.

I also hear what you say about crowd funding, I've seen many a project kill itself by offering too much too quickly, admittedly most of them being in the video games arena, to view it with anything other than distrust. That doesn't mean that I won't support it, just possibly not as much as experience has taught me that it may often simply be money thrown away. However, have you considered a simple donation model? That way those that wish to contribute can with there being no pressure or expectations on either side. You can't guarantee a living off that sort of thing but maybe it could make the difference between "I need to work an extra six hours this week to pay the bills" and "I have a little bit of a margin at the moment, what do I want to do?" Paypal support that model rather well, you'd have to look at applicable fees and taxes to determine whether or not it would be worthwhile but I'd be more than willing to donate some of my income towards yours as it may, in turn, benefit me. Even if it only grants a little financial peace of mind it may be beneficial as I understand the pressures of running on by month contracts and not knowing whether or not the funds are going to be there in the future.
SlingBlade87 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2016  Professional Writer
I know I speak for myself here but also a few others when I say that I avidly seek out and acquire your comics at the earliest opportunity.

I first encountered your Witchblade and similar material years ago when I was still in college, I've enjoyed it ever since in all of its forms.
ferrarikiller484 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2016
Can't help it but Ravine is awesome. Really hope there'll be far more than 2 books from it.

If only MMORPG's reflected the beauty of Dragons as well as the art in Ravine.
Overtall98 Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2016  Student
Hey Stjepan! I love all of your comics and was wondering if we are actually getting an issue 3 of Ravine?
Ouca Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2016  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I would love to buy a copy of Death Vigil off of amazon, but I want to make sure I am buying directly from you and not someone reselling.
this is the right item directly from you right? owo
Smelph Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I love your work!  you write better characters than anything I've seen from the big guys and that's why I keep coming back for more.  Just wanted to leave a note that says (and this has probably been said by others) there are a lot of us out there who love your work and are absolutely voting with our wallets in an effort to make sure you can continue doing this wonderful stuff!
Myles1972 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Also a big fan, I love your characters and the subtle expressions you give them. I bought Ravine, Death Sigil and sunstone vol 1 recently. Tried to find switch at my local but they didn't have it stocked. Also I'm a big fan of buying the complete series in one book. Death Sigil is my fav by far, can't wait for another. Keep up the good work!
DemetrioBraga Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2016   General Artist
Hi Stjepan! I'm a big fan of your work and you are totally right!
I bought death Vigil in english, even my mother tongue being Portuguese, because I loved it!
Even this kind of stuff being really expensive here on Brazil! (taxes are killing us here guys! Cuz the corrupted politics and goverment and stuff...)
But you deserved it!
Thanks for the awesome job!
SilentQueen Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2016
Hello! I am a big fan of yours and I agree with you, it is a way to make themselves known, and it is difficult to attract customers you I imagine I'm in Venezuela (but that's another story). Indeed, your job is extraordinary and if in my country it was easier to buy your comic, I would, believe me, but things are a bit difficult, I have years without buying one, but just keep seeing your work on this side, Greetings.

Hola! soy gran admiradora tuya y estoy deacuerdo contigo, es una forma de darse a conocer, y su te es difícil captar clientes imagínate yo que estoy en Venezuela (pero eso es otra historia). En verdad, tu trabajo es extraordinario y si en mi país fuese mas sencillo de comprar tus comic, yo lo haría, créeme,  pero las cosas son un poco difíciles, tengo años sin comprar uno, pero igual sigo viendo tu trabajo por este lado, saludos. 

Urikanu Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2016
As soon as I have a stable job, I am buying the entire Sunstone set. So it works. Trust me. 
lostpapers Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2016
Your point of view makes sense and it is a good thing that you share it.

I'll definitely have to see if I can find & buy your books in english, as they are not all translated in French (and I really prefer original version) as I have loved reading them, and now I feel compelled to reward you for this hard and honed work!!!

Thank you for everything
Aridax Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Stjepan, thank you for all your really informative journals--they're some of the only peeks I get into this industry that you've been a big part of. It may be sobering a lot of the time, but I also feel less naive as a result.

Also, I hope you won't completely discount crowdfunding in the future when your country sorts out taxes! You upload such great content so frequently that I know people will want to support you even if there are no extra rewards. Heck, I am notoriously miserly and I actually bought a lot of your comics and books! The reason why crowdfunding is appealing to me as a potential patron is that I don't like collecting material things, but I still want to support your career so that I'd get to see more of your amazing work in the future! Let me know what you think!
Rhian-Skyblade Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I am so happy I could get your comics at amazon :3 loving Death Vigil 2, Ravine and Bloodstein.
Now I wait faithfully for the next volumes getting released.
I love story, characters and the whole style how those are made. Most of all, I love dragons, demons and the likes  - your comics really feed my little fangirl heart with all that shiny stuff!
ipoco Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2016
Bought Sunstone book 1&2 because I wanted to support you writing the story. Bonus is, I now have the (as I see it) premium version of those books on my shelf.
korpakukac Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2016
I want to buy some of your comics, but I want my money to go to you without the companies taking a lot of it...
OpiumSmoke Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The fact I could read Sunstone on DA was motivation to purchase the actual books. It is as simple as that: I prefer to have stuff I actually like on a shelf, so this chance to first read and fall in love with the story has lead to a natural need to have it in paper and support the creator.
Thank you for creating the story and letting me fall in love with the characters! :3
Riowein Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2016
I'm from Uruguay, comic books here are really expensive, and it's a small industry dependant of Argentina, if it wasn't for the fact that you publish your comics here, I'd never would have even heard of Sunstone, but now I have 3 of the volumes bought through a friend which I randomly learned was a fan as well. I'm thinking of buying Death Vigil as soon as I get one of those international cards, I'm not so good with that kind of bureaucratic stuff and only have the local card from my work :-P
So, keep it up! Fans will support you from all over the globe, that has a crazy (in a good sense) meaning.
Angelsp Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I actually kinda hoped you had a booth at Dallas FanExpo, I looked around and didnt see you, most of the money I spent, was going to the creator owned stuff, because i think comics, as an art form, need people to be innovating, and that a good story doesnt need branding, they were all super excited to see their books sold, Ill have to remind myself to pick yours up online, Im forgetfull with so many shiny things to buy lol
jeroenbrugman Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Good reasons for not crowdfunding.
CharlieK-33 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
From you, where is the best place to buy your comics from? Amazon, or Image Comics or something? I hate the idea of more money going to the company rather than the artist. 
Twilight16Master Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2016  Hobbyist Writer
word to that. I feel you. and that is why I am glad, eager even, to spend what little money I have on your Sunstone comics whenever I can.
cb5264 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2016
I have to admit, your comics are poison to me I got addicted to. Yeah, I guess that describes it well.
I started reading Sunstone online and finally got me the books as they're amazing work and I'm always wondering where you did get those brilliant ideas from. But still I'm waiting for every update while wondering how you actually make it to survive.
kingmeiv Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2016
I'm happy to see that Ravine and Death Vigil are still comics that you consider to be actively creating. I've been a bit worried since the poor sales of Ravine Book 2 and having not seen any new material pop up on here, but this gives me hope that the story isn't dead! Randomly coming across and buying Ravine Book 1 in a local comic book store is what really brought me back into reading comics after about 5 years hiatus and what began my current love of Image, Top Cow, and creator owned projects in general.
kyle-culver Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2016  Professional Filmographer
I've always been scared away from crowdfunding because of the extra demands of rewards and such, too... ugh. Why can't we just do what we want? lol

I haven't read your comics (I admit, I'm not much into comics/manga like I used to be...) but this certainly makes me curious. So I will at the very least check them out when I get a second. :) Thanks for sharing your talent with the world! :w00t:
Sepulturagnarok Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Amazon lists french edition of Switch coming this October, is that right?
Kiyomi-Nakamura Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
All too true. I'm still plugging away at my comics myself. But it's really hard sometimes. Especially with a full-time job just to make ends meet. For now, I'm just happy to get views. Hopefully being able to sell books will come later. I haven't made a Patreon either because I don't think I could produce enough extra stuff to fill the award system... not only that but I like everyone to see all the work I do so it'd drive me sort of nuts to have pay-to-view-only material. ;A;
DementedPirate Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
cuddly-evil Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016
Still so frigging happy  that Death Vigil hasn't all died yet.
And i still haven't given up hope on Ravine. I love it so much.

So I'll just wait here and buy all the books cathywritesfantasy.files.wordp…
maovonema Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016
same here! patiently waiting for more Death Vigil (own the first volume) and Ravine (have 2 volumes) and of course Sunstone.
heck, I've even bought Rat Queens, just because of Stjepan! :D 
rafigomez Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Professional General Artist
I started reading Sunstone this past Friday and haven't been able to put it down. Your character development and storyboarding is so good. I get so caught up with the story I have to go back to really appreciate the art. Your subtle facial gestures and how you crop the frames are fantastic.

I am reading chapter four very slowly as I don't want it to end.

Keep up the great work. You are very inspiring.
YukiOni Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I support you by buying Sunstone (and Death Vigil :heart: ) I just love the way you bring all these inspirational and strong women to life by your beautiful artwork. It's such a blessing to read and follow your new pages and volumes!
Linkfan196 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Student Artisan Crafter
Death Vigil was fanastic, and I'm hooked on sunstone. is there a way to pre-order all the switch issues?
SoupNaziMark2 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016
After a couple of years recommending you to my friends, I can no longer avoid my next question.  How should I pronounce your name? 

Currently, my best guess sounds something like "Stee-YEP-pun SEDJ-ick." 
Vermin-Star Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Professional General Artist
I respect your decisions. Crowd-funding and the rewards they entail can really take over from actually making the comics themselves, which is quite counter productive. I'm trying to keep my Patreon rewards simple, mostly based on behind the scenes work I'm already doing, so there hopefully isn't too much extra workload involved. Free content is the way to go though, it gives people the chance to get into something and try it out before deciding if they want to support or not. 

I saw Sunstone in a local comic shop here in Spain :) Going to buy myself a copy when I get funds. So nice to see it distributed over here!
RougeCerberus Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I really love it when authors allow the readers to read their comics for free in their entirety and also give them the option to buy copies of it. Most of the comics on my shelf are from independent creators, and i never would have bought them if i didn't already love the story they've created and shared. Death Vigil is one of my favorite ones and i can't wait for more of it. So thank you for creating all the wonderful works you do and sharing them with us free of charge. I truly enjoy reading them (both for the incredible story and breathtaking art) and spending money on them when i can (because i love having a physical copy and supporting my favorite artists so wins all around).
SuperScrib Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
I often find that comics that are both written and illustrated by the same person are often some of the best. Excalibur when done by Alan Davis is a great example (and incredibly underrated). Also, Sunstone is on my Amazon wishlist and will be coming home soon. XD
Stormangel13 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016   General Artist
Birthday is coming up soon and your comics are my self gifted presents this year.
faile35 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016   Traditional Artist
Very insightful read here. Thanks for sharing! I'm waiting on the next Sunstone comic to come out (August?) so I can add it to my collection and support a sixth issue. :nod: Well, and also to view/read it. =) Good luck!
WafflesToo Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016
...and that's one of two reasons I put mine up free-of-charge. I get you perfectly.

(I should read through your stuff one of these days. In my *snicker* "free time")
TorchPhoenix Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I know exactly what you mean both as a limited funds buyer and hopeful writer/artist in Croatia.

I find it difficult to buy a comic without reading it before so this model - 'online reading then irl buying' - would be what I would expect from my own readers (when/if I get those)

I've had little time to indulge in comics recently, but I've got you on watch so I'll be rooting through your work soon enough!
manuel1234321 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016
It worked in my Case. Im more of a Manga Fan, so im not all that much into american Comics (me not being american doesn't help either) but because i could read Death Vigil and Sunstone online, I bought them, first electrical Copies and as the Books came out on Paper I bought those too and I bought Switch just because i knew it was from you which made it a No-brainer for me. 
Thanks for creating these wonderfull Comics and I hope you can sell many more (so i can read/buy many more)
JaiDeeWorth Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016
GREAT post.
BurlingtonBeast Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is there a way to preorder your books?
Erehime Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016
You got me at Sunstone '-'
Still saving money for Death Vigile and now, Switch /o/
Thank you for feeding my thirst of comics well-written and dwell-drawn ^-^
Siseja-sama Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Funny coincidence, I actually bought the first three volumes of Sunstone and one volume of Death Vigil today. I would never have known about them if I hadn't already read them here on deviantArt so from my perspective your marketing strategy is 100% a full success, and I can't wait to get my hands on Ravine and Switch as well!
LovgrenO Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016
You should of course do whatever you like with your creations but I will NEVER expect or demand you or anyone else to give away your hard work for free. That is why I bought some books you were involved in. I like your style and you can be quite funny so I figured I should show my apreciation somehow.
Leundra Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks so much for still posting them :) I really adore your work and I bought comics from you just because I saw your works here. ;)
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