Tuesday, November 8, 2011

WORKSHOP GUESTS: Comics Retailers Give Advice to New Creators

On October 25, 2011, two comic shop retailers joined the live, online Creators Workshop to discuss all aspects of the comic business with our community members.

Our guests were Patrick Brower of Challengers Comics in Chicago, Illinois and Shawn Hilton of Comics Cubed in Kokomo, Indiana.

Workshop members enjoyed a wide-ranging discussion, covering everything from the performance and impact of DC's "New 52" initiative to how the shops determine order quantities each month.

One very interesting aspect of the conversation was their advice for new creators trying to encourage ordering of creator-owned and/or self-published titles by comic shops.

Here's a few key tips that Patrick and Shawn offered at the live Workshop:
1. Description: Make your description in Diamond Previews clear and make it descriptive! This is your chance to convince the person ordering for the shop that your book is something they, and by extension, their customers, will want to read. But don't overwhelm them with text in an advertisement, for example. They have a lot of material to go through in Previews each month, so keep it concise!

2. Artwork: Show a cover that represents what's inside the book, or else show an interior page. If the cover is by someone who had nothing to do with the interior, the shop won't know what's inside, and may have to pass.

3. Direct Contact: A personal touch never hurts, such as a quick, concise email from the creator with links to a website or a preview of the book. If you make it easy on the shop owner, they may decide to order if they like what they see.

4. Loglines: A catchy phrase that sums up the book may help the comic shop tell which, if any, of their customers might be interested in your story. Pretend it's a movie pitch and your words have to "sell" the book in seconds.

5. Previews Code: Put your Previews order code on everything -- your website, Facebook, your postcards. Make it easy for your potential customers and the retailers to pre-order your book.
This is just a sampling of the tips provided by Shawn and Patrick. A recording of the entire discussion will be available to Workshop members for a few weeks. In fact, one Workshop member, while viewing the session, commented on the forums, "Watching the recording now. It's like gold. Thanks for bringing these guys!" So it's not too late for you to check out the full session, too!

The next two live sessions will feature a discussion of Skullkickers, Volume 1 with writer Jim Zubkavich (aka Jim Zub) on November 15, and a meeting with Mark Waid on comics and the "digital revolution" on November 29. (Read more about those upcoming session right here.)

Creators Workshop live sessions take place every month, giving members real-world knowledge that will help them succeed in their comics career. There’s still time to sign up before November’s session. We hope to see you there.

If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you'll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!

Posted by Rob Anderson
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