In addition to the items above publishers,
- Would never sign an exclusive distribution deal that prevents retailers from taking business to the distributor best suited to meeting their needs.
- Quit being so damn paranoid. Work with your peers (competition). Combine marketing efforts and advertising. Develop co-op campaigns WITH retailers and their local community media.
- Stop debuting projects at conventions AND use conventions for what they are really for, OUTREACH. The only shops that are damaged by convention debuts are shops that ARE ALREADY SUPPORTING YOU. As hard as it can be to get shops to carry your work, why make life less rewarding for those who are buying in to you? You should know what conventions you're attending in advance, create a flier listing all known area retailers who suport your product line and in conjunction with these retailers develop a bounce back reward program that will drive these motivated buyers into those shops. These shops are your sales reps for these communities the other 361-364 days of the year, don't cut them off at the knees by selling into their customer base and running off at show end. Sow the seeds, tell the customers that you know that Comic Shop A will be there for all of their current and future needs and if they take this flyer in this coming week, not only will they discover a great shop but they'll get an exclusive freebie.
Don't know what local shops are supporting your work? Shame on you! In a matter of minutes you can go to
The Master List of Comic & Card Shops
The Comic Shop Locator Service
The Indy World Indy Friendly Stores List or even something like the
Verizon Online Yellow Pages (which currently lists 2,259 comic shops)
and reach out and touch someone.
- Would devise incentive rewards for retailers who support the first three issues of a new or retooled series at a predetermined level. Not these bullshit Dynamic Forces/Avatar Foil Logo "Variants" but something that adds value to the vendor/vendee relationship as well as enhances the positioning of your produc(s) in front of the consumer.
Antarctic Press has a great program called Fistfull of Dollars that allows retailers to get 10 copies of a specified title for $10 (~68% discount). Jeff Mason has offerred Buy 10 Get 10 Free on Graphic Novels from his Alternative Comics label. As mentioned earlier on, Image Central offered Retaillers an additional discount for matching their Fell #1 initial order numbers to their orders for (still popular) Spawn #150.
Even DC and Marvel (What? DC and Marvel need to stump for orders?) have greased the wheels on 52 and Civil War, books that would already have place in the top 5 any way. DC is offering retailers an unprecedented ability to return their entire order of 52 provided they initially meet a minumum order level. (*There is a cost of 25cents per returned issue which has both supporters and detractors.)
Marvel is offering multiple incentives on Civil War including a massive free shipement of an introductory sketchbook, a staggered variant cover program and a two tiered bonus discount based on matching orders to House of M.
These are just a few examples, retailers you are working with might have some other favorites to add and every publisher should be able to find ways to tailor many of these to thier budgets.
- Build STREET TEAMS!!!!! I like the possibly less PC term Army but whatever you call it, I don't care what your promotional budget is, EVERYONE can afford a street team and if you're book(s) are worthy, you'll likely have more volunteers for your volunteer army than you can shake a stick at. Create a page on your site that tracks efforts by your Army to promote your project(s) and award points for these efforts, listing the top scorers on your front page as well. Host downlaodable ashcans, and other artbomb type items for their use. Give them ways to approach friends, family and businesses (legally and respectfully!) to help build recognition and readership. If you can't move your fans to action, who can you move?
You know what else, a sketch, a signed issue/poster, a page, a t-shirt, being drawn into the panel of an issue... are all things that cost you very little $$$ but will be invaluable rewards to your fans.