The most important thing you could possibly read this fine Sunday, at least within the otaku world, is Zepy's translations of some of Blackjack ni Yoroshiku mangaka Shuuhou Satou's blog posts in which he discusses the financial side of making manga. Shuuhou talks about how much it costs him per month to pay his assistants, rent, food expenses, and everything else, versus how much making the manga actually pays. He talks about what new mangaka make nowadays, how little manga magazines are making in general, and how he operates at a loss to publish his manga until tankoubon are released and he can make his money back.
It'd be interesting to compare the numbers Satou offers to how much American comics creators make, but I think it'd be difficult to do so fairly-- full-time artists working at, say, DC or Marvel get paid salaries, not on a per-page basis, and I expect they don't have to pay their own assistants either. On the other hand, an indie comicker may make even less in the end than a mangaka since it'd be based more on sales than a per-page payment, and freelance illustrators' pay will probably vary based on the client.
Moving right along, there were other things worth reading this weekend!
Over at Sporadic Sequential, we have a study of what makes a manga “addictive”-- i.e. makes you absolutely need to pick up the next volume instead of being negligible. The key ingredients? Cliffhangers, good art, varied characters and moods, and interesting hooks and subplots. I think it's worth pointing out that easy access to the next chapter/volume/etc. can be key, too: the manga that inspired this post was Ranma ½, which isn't just finished in Japan, but in the US as well.
Yes, I know, the word “yaoi” is involved here, but don't worry, boys and homophobes: the content is completely non-yaoi-related, directly anyway. Yaoi Press' Yamila Abraham published an article on eHow about how to publish a 250 copies of a ~20-page doujinshi for about $1 each. Considering how much North Americans are used to paying for Japanese doujinshi (easily $10-20 per), if you've got art and story that appeal, even $5 a book would make you an easy grand, assuming you could move the copies.
That should keep you busy for a few minutes! And for the record, I can't remember whether I technically stole this photo from Japanator or not, because I may have been the one who actually took it in the first place.