Mirabilis – Year of Wonders, a graphic novel by Dave Morris and Leo Hartas that launched on iTunes last week, took just two days to reach #99 in the chart of top-grossing UK iPad books.
The full-colour graphic novel was partly financed by Random House, who serialized the first part of the story in their weekly DFC comic, but the app was coded and published by Morris’s and Hartas’s own label, Mirus Entertainment. The reader itself, which comes bundled with the first chapter of the graphic novel, last week reached #13 in the most-downloaded chart on UK iTunes books.
“If a publisher like Random House had released the app, our royalty would be maybe 20%,” says Mirabilis writer Dave Morris, a former number one UK best-selling author and videogame designer. “By developing the app ourselves, we’re getting more than 50%. Tablets and e-readers are going to make a huge difference to the rewards that content creators can expect for their work.”
Leo Hartas, the story’s co-creator and illustrator, says: “We’re able to release new episodes of Mirabilis on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. Owners of the app will get regular alerts and can buy the new content using the in-app storefront. As the publishing industry model changes, episodic revenue like that could supplement or even replace the advance an author would normally be looking to get from a traditional publisher.”
The iPad app comprises the first 200-page season in what Morris and Hartas plan as a four- season epic. The reader comes with the first 25-page instalment free, and other instalments can be bought on iTunes. A hardcover print edition is due for release in the UK next year by Print Media Productions, and a monthly Mirabilis comic book will be published by Comics Monkey in the USA from January 2011.