A lot of crap is laid at the feet of comic book retailers by publishers and creators. If you have spent any time at all talking to comic book makers, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. Complaints about retailers not “taking a chance” on indie comics or not ordering enough copies of an issue or not supporting a series…I could go on and on with the list of complaints.
The annoying thing for me is that absolutely none of these things are the “fault” of retailers. A retailer is going to pick up a new title (from a big publisher or a little one) for one of two reason.
Reason the First: The retailer has an emotional reaction to your book or to its creators. In other words, the retailer happens to like it. In this case, whether or not there is an active interest in the book, a retailer is going to hand sell the title and do whatever they can to “share the love.” This is fantastic when it happens. Unfortunately, these sorts of sales are few and far between, and it will never be a universal thing. It’s tough to get one person to fall “in love” with you, it’s impossible to have everyone do it.
Reason the Second: The more common reason a retailer orders a comic is because they think there will be a demand for the book and they’re going to make some money from it. This is what business is all about. If you’ve got a product that fills a need in the market, or one that is receiving a ton of media attention, then a retailer is going to take a risk on your book.
Notice the word I use there: risk. When a retailer pre-orders your comic, that is exactly what they are doing — risking capital on your product that might otherwise be spent elsewhere. Retailers do not have unlimited resources and you are very much in a contest to convince them to spend a portion of their cash on you.
So, what can a comic book publisher (and this goes for a publisher of any size, from the smallest of one-man indie operations up to the bigger companies who tend to forget they are as vulnerable to the process as anyone else — Boom! Studios and IDW Publishing, I’m talking to you!) do to have a better chance at getting retailers to order their product?
Well, I’m glad you asked, because that is exactly what I am going to talk about today!
Before I got to my list of tips, I’m going to assume you have done your due diligence in terms of product development. I won’t go over what needs to be done specifically because I’ve gone over it in other articles. However, I will give you a quick list and links to make sure you’ve got everything in place BEFORE you approach a comic book retailer to spend money on your new comic book series.
Make sure your product fills a need in the marketing:
Do Market Research/Analysis:
Put together a Marketing Plan:
Make sure to support your product online and on your website:
- How to Launch a Comic book Series, Introduction
- Building a Foundation for a Successful Comic Book Product Launch – Part 1
- Connecting with your audience – Part 2
OK…have you done all of that stuff to make sure you have a product that is pro-quality, fills a need in the market, understand who you are selling to, have a plan for selling the product AND have support in place for the product? Good. Now we get on to the work of convincing your retail partners to order your comic book series.
The 3 Steps to Getting Retailers to BUY Your Comic Book
1. Give Retailers a Reason WHY They should buy your product.
Do you have a well-known writer or artist on the comic? Is your comic based on a popular cartoon license? This is where you let your comic book retailer partners know what sets you apart from the crowd of five-thousand other products clamoring for their attention and, more importantly, their buying dollars.
Read the rest in my new book, “Comic Book Marketing 101,” now available as an eBook for only $4.99!
- Doing marketing analysis and research to maximize your comic’s potential for success
- Developing a marketing plan
- How to do a proper Product Launch
- Hands-On case studies using the work of publishers IDW Publishing, Boom Studios and Moonstone Books! Learn from their mistakes!
- And more!
For the Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Comic-Book-Marketing-101-ebook/dp/B005PPPRIU/
In multiple formats: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/91945
-Mat Nastos, Super Genius