I am writing this while frustrated beyond belief at some of the comic book publishers out there. They have for sale comic books I want to carry, but cannot get the publishers to talk to me. No emails, no phone numbers, nascent contact forms that never get responded to, and a host of other ills. These problems are seriously going to doom independent comics, not just on the publishing side, but on the effective retail side of independent comics.
Realistically we need publishers to step up to the plate and be willing to work with retail and smaller distributors directly because Diamond is not the answer to everything. If anything, Diamond does not actively sell independents because the money is small, that is a business reality. I love Diamond and spend money with them on a regular basis, but when I want true independents I need to reach out to the publisher, and the publisher if they really want to sell stuff, will contact me back.
I cherish the publishers that let me purchase back catalog directly, or allow us to do our independent distribution list at a flat 50% discount. If any comic book store wants on the list let us know here and we will send you a copy of it. These are an amazing group of people who let me purchase back catalog non-Diamond contract items for distribution on our private list. We have sold thousands of dollars of back catalog product from these publishers, and it has been an awesome business arrangement. They get to clear their warehouse, and we get to focus on independents that sell amazingly well.
I am surprisingly annoyed with publishers who cannot get it together enough to want to sell either directly to retail, or through smaller distribution houses like ours over at Dead Tree Comics. On average, about ½ of the independent comic publishers that we attempt contact who are not in diamond never respond back. That is direct sales loss to the authors and the publishers. We will only try so many times until we get tired and go on to find alternatives.
Authors should not be putting up with this from their publishing houses.
Publishing houses should be willing to work with anyone who is waiving green cash in front of them because it is a sale, especially if it does not violate any terms in the Diamond Contract they may or may not have.
There is absolutely no excuse for this, because it is begging for failure, failure to get the comic reviewed, failure to get the independent into stores, and a major business failure because money talks, BS walks. If you are an artist, and your publisher is not selling your product, then you lose. Welcome to the dole line and your dreams of being seen in stores ruined.
There is also no reason any longer not to be connected to social media, Facebook likes, tweets, Google Plus, RSS, e-mail, sharing, those are where your customers are. We go to great lengths here at Comics Forge and at our just starting out under funded distribution company to push comics into those social media channels. This is marketing that introduces the comics, gives an honest review of the comics, and a bit of marketing that goes a long way in helping people find very cool independent comics and their authors.
Failure to do these things, work with retail or smaller distributors, not including social media as part of a greater marketing plan, not having fully manned and staffed customer inquiry support means you as a publisher is doomed. That means your authors are doomed, your business model will fail, and people will talk negatively about you, your company, and your authors in public. As a business can you really afford to have that happen? Is this fair to the authors that have hitched their wagon to you to help them find an audience? Is this the right business decision about your product line?
My answer is no, and if the independent comic book industry wants to find their market, they had better start selling product to people waving cash at them, and they had better get on board the social media process to make sure their authors get seen, and people know where to purchase product with a little customer service to back that up.
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