Research, Research, Research: Distribution: Diamond Comic Distributors Now What? Part Two: Comic on Shelves

A column article by: Ace Masters

Tuesday is now the past, and has given way to Wednesday and this is the day your title hits stores nationwide. So, what exactly do you do now?

First... Take the day off work and get your ass down to your comic book store for when it opens! Get there first thing and find your title on the shelf. The overwhelming emotion and elation of this moment will be worth everything you went through.

If you stick around for a while, someone may even buy a copy while you are there, giving you an even greater high.

This is if you haven’t set up a day-of-release signing at the comic store. Even if you have, still do the above.

Of course, things aren’t over just yet. And it doesn’t matter at this point if your title is a graphic novel or first issue. There are still a few things you can do to help your cause.

The question is, once again, “Now What?” The answer is simple, continue to push forward.

It’s awesome that your title on the shelf, but that is only the part of the great achievement. What’s greater then titles on the shelf? Two words: sell out!

That is to say, you should have a legit, not a distributor’s sell out. A distributor sell out is a little misleading. All it means is that the distributor filled the order for the copies pre-ordered by retailers. What you want is a sell out at the retail level.

Another way to put this is that you want your title to fly off the shelves and leave an empty space behind. The empty space where your title was is a good thing. It means your title has sold, it could also mean potential reorders. These reorders may not be enough to warrant a second printing, but you may be able to sell the extra copies you undoubtedly will have.

What can you do to help this along? Remember everything listed in Now What? Part One - Comic in Previews? Time to do some of that again. It’s called follow through.

This time you want to focus on readers and retailers, you can ignore the media be for the moment.

  1. Call Stores - Call around the same stores you did before, when the title was in Previews. You should do this about two weeks after your title hits the shelves, give it some time. Thank them for ordering your title and ask how it sold. Let them know if they need or want any more copies, they are available, from you or Diamond.

    Do not get discouraged though if the title hasn’t sold for them, or if they aren’t interested in reordering, it’s part of the industry.

    If you get a chance, ask these retailers a simple question: In their opinion, what can you do to help encourage sales at the retail level?
  2. Social Networking - Get back on your website, twitter, facebook, youtube, keep updating your pages and keep encouraging your friends, family and everyone else who sees what you post to support you. Let everyone know it is in stores and if it is sold out, let everyone know that it is available for reorder.
  3. Conventions - Is there a major or minor convention while you’re title in on shelves? If so, and you can afford it, get a table and sell, sell, sell.
  4. Postcard Follow Up - Send out postcards again to all retailers. Let them know they can still put in reorders if needed.
  5. Visit Local Stores - Do rounds to the local stores again. Touch base see how sales went and once again, let them know they can reorder copies. Do anything you can to try and build a relationship with your local retailer. Offer to do signings, or maybe you can hold a “how to” seminar in their store for aspiring creators. The more of a positive relationship you can hold with a store, the more they will support you.

All this can help. None of it guarantees reorders, but it doesn’t hurt and it can show that you are serious about what you are doing.

If your title is a first issue, make sure that in any follow up you also promote the second issue. Don’t waste the opportunity.

As always, these are only ideas. You may come up with something on you own. Try anything and everything to get attention and get your book where you want it, in stores and in reader’s hands - and maybe some reorders.

Next Time:

Is your title a graphic novel? Great. Guess what? Diamond has a division called Diamond Books that deals with mainstream book stores like Barnes and Noble. Your graphic novel just might be a good fit for your local book store.


Ace Masters.

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