I recently mentioned how much I have enjoyed the comedy in Hayate the Combat Butler but Kenjiro Hata occasionally decides to drop some hardcore truth on us as well. In chapter 319 we learn the truth about the doujinshi market. Only 5% of doujinshi sell over a thousand copies, about half sell less than 50 copies, and 70% lose money on their efforts. In one page it shatters the idea that people are casually making themselves famous or making a casual living through doujinshi. When you sit back and think about it the reality of the situation is quite obvious but sometimes you need it laid out in plain black and white. It is easy to see CLAMP and Type-Moon create a career out of their amateur work and assume this happens more often than not. You always hear stories about doujinshi artists who turn down professional work because of the insane hours and might conjecture they are making a living doing their independent projects. I guess I always assumed the success rate was higher even if that was a very naive notion.
On the other hand I am curious how different this is from trying to make a living off of doing an independent or web comic. I am sure there are a great number of people who try their hands making a living off of their creative talents but only a select few that ever become anywhere near successful. I just wonder if a career via doujinshi has any higher or lower success rate versus other forms of independent comic art.