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Thursday, 7 January 2016

UK Publishers: Do Not Say It In Private -Speak Out Openly.

Sadly, not all people in comics are as open as I am. Being truthful ="out of line" but that's not what I am going to post about.

I hear "privately" from two small publishers who have been "in the business since 2000 and 2002. Both read a piece I wrote on UK conventions, table charges and the problem of selling books.  Both are in full time employment so, unlike myself, comics money is not food on the table. Having salaried jobs, travel cards and so on has meant they can get to all the shows.  "How do you get a table at all the shows?" I asked.  "Apply for one and never had a problem" which leaves me asking a number of questions.

Anyway, both men sat down, one with his wife, and worked out the finances.  Both men were apparently "hammered" and "shocked" at the results. Both found that their annual sales from all the conventions paid for tables at two events but adding in travel, hotel, food and so on they found that each year they had lost "a few thousand" -neither would be specific but the married man "got a dark stare" from his wife.

Both also stated that they, too, saw the "same old faces" at every event (ahem. They, themselves would be the "same old faces") but noted that it seemed to be the same customers going to those same tables "like groupies" and these people "never look at other tables -just their mates or selected publisher" which is what I have been saying for years now -welcome to the club.

Comics now are an amateur, small press Vanity "thing" and that is it.

So, realising that they are losing so much from their (grit teeth) "hobby" (and they called it that so they were not "in the business") both are going to try online selling after the events they booked this year. It seems others are just giving up.

Put it simply: look at the post/advert view figures for CBO and all its feeds -utilising Google+, Twitter, Face Book, Pinterest and so on.  I pulled out all the stops last October and slashed the prices "to the knuckle" and the result? Two sales.  Now, if you have a full time job your..."hobby" should not be costing you half of what you earn.  If the conversations these two men had with others is correct then a few hobby publishers are cutting back this year and some thinking of quitting.

Ridiculous.  And I have this message for both men and other publishers (you know, the ones who keep saying "Yeah, we're doing great" while their faces say: "Please put me out of my misery") DON'T hide the truth or tell me privately -get on your blogs or contact bloggers opnly and state what is going on rather than buckling down to the bully boys who demand you say "everything is GREAT!" -bullies have killed the industry and I do not want ever to talk about the UK comics scene again.

Grow a set of balls and be truthful.

I post this only as a warning so please do not try to engage me on the subject of the fictitious UK 'comic industry' and 'comic community'.

5 comments:

  1. Yes, going to conventions to peddle your wares is not as cost effective as some people think if you factor in all the costs. I remember when POWER FREAKS was still new we went to as many conventions as we could but if we hadn´t looked at it as we are going there as comic dealers and as comic fans - it would not have been good.

    The thing is no matter how big or small the convention was we only managed to sell a few copies. And we sold the same number of copies in a small town convention as the four days at Erlangen - which is the biggest comic convention in Germany - combined. On the other hand we had to go to conventions because we never sold many copies through comic shops.

    But I can understand that sometimes when you break down the numbers you realize that you are loosing money. The only thing I never understood is why people don´t talk about it.

    It´s the same thing with circulation numbers in Germany. No german publisher gives out it´s circulation numbers and then comic books have to be cancelled because the fans never knew their favorite series was in trouble.

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  2. And Power Freaks was a full colour German language comic!! One of the reasons I'm not "well liked" by people in comic cliques is that as one put it: "He'll tell you to your face exactly what he says in private!" (is THAT bad??) but I have always been open and as another editor at Fleetway once said "You are the most easily contactable person in comics"...not that I had work rushing in....or I'd NEVER have done that Eros series -you've seen both? But rather than speak up and tell people the problems the schmucks keep quiet and pay huge amounts for a 6feet (1.8m)table and then bleat about the state of things....privately. Donna Barr had the right idea: comickers take back comic events -I'll be re-posting about that tomorrow as my eyes are shot (that Linda Kozlowski clip on your blog hasn't helped! sigh).

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  3. Come to mine. Free admission, $25 tables, BEST road trip on the planet, and the insane fish-n-chips-n-beer orgy. Last year, Linda Medley said, digging through her chips: "I got a gizzard!" And was happy. 2016 Clallam Bay Comicon, thank you, on Facebook.

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  4. So I have to correct my last comment : we sold much more issues of POWER FREAKS in Erlangen than at the small town conventions. You see, my mistake was that I only counted the issues were money actually was exchanged as sold copies. Of course there are also the issues which are exchanged for other comics from other independent comic creators - which would cost money and thus count as sold issues. Don´t try to pay your groceries with them tough.

    Then there are all the issues we gave to dealers on a comission basis which means they paid us when they sold those. I´m sure we got money from at least two of them but there also was one guy who gave us back all our issues two years later.

    So we sold much more issues in Erlangen. My memory is just so bad. By the way, if somebody wants POWER FREAKS I think we still have some copies left.

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  5. Seriously, exchanging books was always part of the business and we each reviewed the others books. Every three months or so I needed to sit down and send people cheques for their books sold (via Zine Zone). In one year £500 (yeah, that seems incredible especially as we are talking 1980s here) in sales. Now...nothing.
    Put a quick ad together or send me a jpeg of cover,plus page numbers, cost and postage and I'll post the ultra rare Super Freaks can be bought from you!

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