Black Sands Entertainment, an African American-owned publisher and media company focused on content for African American consumers, launched the Black Sands Publishing app, a digital comic book platform, over the week -end of May 1st. The BSP comic book app was built on the business model, gaming features, and vertical scrolling display of app-based digital comic platforms like Webtoon.
The BSP Comics app is the latest initiative from a black-owned publishing company that has used social media / crowdfunding platforms to sell its books and raise over $ 1 million in investment over the course of the last year. The new app provides access to a variety of digital comic book series created by Black Sands and approximately 16 independent publishers and artists. The app launched with around 20,000 downloads, according to the ESB, and is currently available for iOS devices. The company has around 18,000 pre-orders for the Android OS version, which is still under development.
Black Sands Entertainment was founded in 2016 by the husband and wife team of Manuel Godoy, president of Black Sands, and Geiszel Godoy, publisher. The couple, who wrote much of ESB’s early content, managed to build a publishing platform using a variety of social media platforms. ESB’s initial funding came from crowdfunding through Kickstarter, and ESB successfully used Facebook to target consumers interested in its books.
More recently, Manuel Godoy has played an important role on TikTok launching ESB posting plans, using the short videos platform to make entertaining and sometimes wacky investment calls. Over the past year, ESB has raised over $ 1 million in equity investments from over 2,000 investors on WeFunder, a crowdfunding site that allows the public to make small investments. equity in WF companies and hopefully get a return on investment. this.
Initially, Black Sands released a mix of comics, graphic novels, chapter books, DVDs, and picture books aimed at black parents and their children. The house’s main publishing series is Black Sands: The Second Kingdom, a two-volume graphic novel series (a third is in progress) about a young boy destined to become the king of an ancient African kingdom.
Much like platforms like Webtoon or Tapas Media, the BSP Comics app allows fans to read comics for free via vertical scrolling with plans to also offer a premium level of access for a monthly subscription. Later, Godoy said, the app will accept micropayments, like a video game, which will unlock chapters or new content. Chapters can also be unlocked by completing missions and adventures in the African Kingdom. And Godoy expects to introduce opt-in advertising: users will be able to watch an advertisement to unlock content. BSE is also supported by a Patreon account, which is subscription-based crowdfunding that allows supporters to donate money on a monthly basis over the long term. Godoy says the ESB has about 1,550 clients who collectively donate about $ 20,000 per month to the company.
Funds raised through ESB’s WeFunder campaigns, Godoy said PW, were used to develop the BSP Comics application, support the BSE digital and book publishing program, and to develop a series of animated pilot shows based on Black Sands: The Second Kingdom, a series of graphic novels, and Cosmic Girls, a comic book series about a 13-year-old girl space bounty hunter. Both series are in production and Teunis de Raat, former vice president of Bron Animation, is now the head of Black Sands Studio, which produces the animation. And Godoy said BSE checklist titles continue to sell well through his website and online retailers. BSE books are distributed to the book trade by PGW.
Godoy said the company is focused on getting more funding (it’s looking to raise $ 3 million in the next round of WeFunder campaigns), using the funds to add new features to its app (the version 2 is in development) and increase the number of black publishers. and artists on the BSP platform.
ESB’s plan, Godoy pointed out, is to create a black entertainment media company capable of delivering all kinds of content to black consumers. “There is no support for black creators on Webtoon or Comixology,” Godoy said. “We have built a platform designed to support black art that enables black creators to attract their target audience: black consumers. “