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How to Launch a Comic Book Series: An Introduction

Before I get in to the meat of today’s post (a lead-in/introduction to a new series of articles on proper product launch techniques & tips), I’m going to make an incredibly clear, concise statement — one that will leave no room for interpretation and no room for me to wiggle out of down the road. It is also a statement that will annoy a large portion of my current readership because those readers at the people I’m specifically talking about.

Ready? Here we go.

If you are a comic book publisher with an Internet presence, then your current marketing people are one of two things, at least when it comes to Internet Marketing:

  1. Sorely inept at or completely unknowledgeable about their jobs (I really wanted to say “are Internet Idiots,” but my wife suggested I tone it down); or
  2. Are not doing their jobs to the fullest potential (originally I wanted to write “are slacking off and/or robbing you blind,” but, again, I deferred to my wife’s wisdom).

Current comic book marketing on the Internet is in bad shape.

This statement is 100% true from the smallest of self-publishers up to the Big Boys of the industry, and it is ESPECIALLY true for the licensed publishers I’ve ragged on a bit in the past (IDW Publishing, Boom Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Moonstone Books and Ape Entertainment being the ones who come most readily to mind). The only companies I excuse for this insanity are the smaller guys who are, essentially, hobby publishers with no real urge, plan or desire to make a profit. I also give the “movie pitch” companies like Top Cow and Radical Publishing a pass because, really, they aren’t in the business of selling comics for the most part. That being said, any and all comic book publishers could benefit from a marketing upgrade to help their sales and their bottom line.

That’s right, your employees, the people to whom you pay money, are not doing their jobs in any sort of an effective manner when it comes to growing your business online, or even exploiting a market you should already be selling to.

They are keeping you from growing your business and, in most cases, keeping you from profits you should be achieving. In other words, with their ignorance or incompetence, they’re forcing you to leave large amounts of money “on the table.”

Because I’ve watched so much “CSI” and “Law & Order” in my life, I like to call this “obstruction of profit.”

Normally, my advice to businesses in such a terrible mess would be: save yourself some money and just have interns do the work. However, that’s probably what got you into your current crisis in the first place. I’m also not sure my back-up advice would be much help either: “start requiring IQ and/or competency tests for all hires.”

IQ Tests mandatory for comic book employees? May devastate editorial as well as sales/marketing departments!

My mother always said “If you can’t be constructive, be silent.”

While, in the past, I’ve gone out of my way to point out and detail the incompetence (and/or ignorance) of various comic book publishers (as seen in “The Failure of Licensed Comic Publishers,” “7 Quick Tips for Creating Comic Book Content with SEO that Scores in Search Engines,” “The Curious Case of Moonstone Books – E-Commerce Mistakes to Avoid” and “The Sad Tale of a Comic Book Publisher’s Failed Product Launch”), I’m going to heed my mom’s advice and do something a bit different with this new batch of articles. What I’m going to do over the next few weeks in a series of posts is focus on how to put together a successful Internet presence for a new product release and how to do a proper Product Launch for it. I’m going to detail in fairly precise steps, how to lay the ground work for a new series before the launch, all of the steps up to the product launch itself and then go over what to do after the launch in order to continue to build your brand awareness and sales.

Oh, and to better drive my examples home, I’m going to use an upcoming comic book series from my old rant target, IDW Publishing. They’ve got some great properties that are being sorely mismanaged by their marketing department — really, they need a “product manager,” although in comics I had thought that was supposed to be the editor (although, that may not be totally appropriate in this case). If they aren’t careful, I very much see them going the way of Devil’s Due Press, a company they share a lot of similarities with.

The property I’m going to use in my example is their previously announced “Forgotten Realms” series, written by RA & Geno Salvatore. It is a licensed property with a ton of potential, but also one that is completely absent from the Internet in terms of previews/information, in spite of having a release date in early 2011 — only a couple of months away!

Let’s see if we can help them turn around what may otherwise be a disastrous release!

Come back on Thursday for the first part of the product launch series: How to Launch a Comic Book Series: Building a Foundation for Success (or “How to keep IDW Publishing from losing their shirt on the Forgotten Realms“).

Until then, get back to work!

-Mat Nastos, Super Genius

Article Series Directory
1. How to Launch a Comic Book Series: An Introduction
2. How to keep IDW Publishing from losing their shirt on the Forgotten Realms, Part 1: Building a Foundation for a Successful Comic Book Product Launch
3. How to keep IDW from losing their shirt on the Forgotten Realms, Part 2: Connecting with your audience

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Mat Nastos
TV, Film, comic book, fantasy & steampunk writer/director, known best for bad horror movies about giant scorpions, killer pigs & dinosaurs in the sewers. You can find his work on Smashwords or at his Amazon Author Page.

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