Friday, February 6, 2015

How to Get Stores to Care About Your Creator-Owned Comic (And Other Dream-Enabling Wisdom)

By Liz Baker

It seems like everyone is trying to write a comic these days. With so many publishers out there, along with the power of the internet, there is now more of a chance than ever to get your story out into the world! The problem is, pretty much everyone has that golden idea that could make the best comic or zine ever to grace the history of the written world. And although there are a lot more outlets for writers and artists, the comic book market has also gotten increasingly competitive to break into as a result. Luckily, you found this article, so you are ahead of all those crazy creators who want to write stories about their toasters coming to life or cops with killer chicken sidekicks.

Here are a few tips and step-by-steps for getting your comic into your local Comic Store:

1) Get in the Game! Prepare for Battle!

Every soldier must prepare before they head into battle. In the case of the comic book business, this means getting to know your environment. You wouldn't just walk up to a volcano without wearing some seriously heavy-duty sneakers, would you? Of course not. That's ridiculous. Treat your local comic book stores like your ultimate volcano (they're hot stuff.) Create a relationship with your favorite shop that--this is important--has the capacity to distribute your book. Once you find your one and only, the next step is to become a customer if you aren't already. I know this sounds like a "no duh" kind of tip, but not everyone does it, and it can greatly help out your chances of your book being carried by a shop. This does not mean you should spend your entire savings account at a comic book store in the hopes that they throw you a bone. That's just bribery, and since comic book stores aren't Congress, it just doesn't work that way. Being a customer just helps the store get to know you and who you are. And really, if hanging out at a shop and talking about things like whether or not the Scarlet Spider has the best costume ever (No, he doesn't) with the coolest people on Earth doesn't sound entertaining to you, you're gonna have a bad time. 

This is what giving up looks like.

2) Don’t Ask For The Owner

Now that you've created a blood oath with your store of choice, it's time to think about how you're going to approach talking about your incredible ideas. The first tip here is, please, DON'T ask for the owner. I know it sounds strange, but asking for owner is just about the equivalent of asking to talk to the President in the middle of an Area A crisis. While it seems like a good idea, the reality of it is that if you ask for the owner, you’re basically taking them away from something that is almost definitely more important to them than your comic book pitch. There’s a good chance that, being the owner of a small company, they've probably been dealing sales people, both on and off the internet, and have been saying “No” for the past few hours. It’s crazy, even now with caller ID, how many people desperately NEED you to change phone services or radio services or delivery for your Beet of the Month Club services. If you absolutely must ask for the owner, always ask for them by name. This shows that at least you did some research before showing up and trying to convince them to join the cause that is your awesomeness.

"Which one do you like better? Beets me."

In case you're wondering, don't ask for the manager either. Most shops don't actually have managers, and those that do probably do more nah-saying than the owners on the daily. Sure, they'll listen to you, but it might just go in one ear and out the other if they've got a stack of projects on their hands.

Bottom Line: don’t ask for the owner. Talk to the representative who is at the shop instead. They are as good a source as any.

More Awesome Tips, after the jump!