PDA

View Full Version : Comment on your column regarding Creator Ownership



dvado
03-08-2007, 09:35 AM
Hello Steven,

I just have a couple of observations for you regarding your column on my Wondercon panel comments regarding creator ownership.

1) Wondercon is in San Francisco, not Oakland, and has been in San Francisco for at least four years.

2) I did not try to license Disney properties and then drop the idea. I *did* license some Disney properties and currently publish four comics based on Disney characters; Tron, Gargoyles, Haunted Mansion and Wonderland.

3) You assertion that our comics would not have sold better had I owned them instead of the owner ignores the notion that there is a greater value to those titles than their publishing rights. I can't really be too specific on this, but it is a misstatement to conclude that I would have published something like Milk & Cheese with another creator other than Evan.

4) I never "lamented" the loss of any properties published by us. I pointed out that a model where a publisher would invest money into a creator-owned property only to have that property move on to another, larger company, was not a healthy way to do it. Which brings me to my last comment/observation.

5) At no point in your column did you include a direct quote if my statement, or even provide a link to that quote. I realize you are a comic book writer with a blog/column, but I think some kind of journalistic standard and responsibility should apply. If you are going to comment to your readers on what I said, you should at least provide them with a a way of reading what I said within its context. Since most of your column is based on assumptions on what I was thinking (or even what city I was in when I said them) what I said and the context they were said in would have been important.
Dan Vado

NatGertler
03-08-2007, 10:17 AM
5) At no point in your column did you include a direct quote if my statement, or even provide a link to that quote.While most of your corrections and criticisms are valid, this one is inaccurate. Steve links to your blog entry, where you quote the relevant material (citing Newsarama). The link could have been better placed and labeled, perhaps, but it is there. (You'll find the link in the line "In post-Wondercon explanatory comments, Vado expressed pride in what his company has accomplished so far.")

I will also note that Steven seems to suggest a stronger Dark Horse involvement in the Sin City film than seems to exist; I have no access to the behind-the-scenes going on, but unlike most films based on comics which Dark Horse publishes, they don't have a production credit. (The same holds true for 300.) Being that they were getting Frank Miller to do work for them when he was already Frank Miller, I expect he managed to get give them the publishing rights on his own terms (and seeing the sales of Sin City volumes and 300, I suspect that those terms have been very profitable for all involved; a publisher does not need to hold onto non-publishing rights to benefit from the material's success on other fronts.)

Jennifer de Guzman
03-08-2007, 11:49 AM
What I am curious about is how Steve defines "niche company," when he says about SLG and Dan, "But it's a niche company, and if he has ever had any inclination to move beyond that niche it's never been publicly evident."

Well, first is the problem that Steve simply hasn't been paying attention. He did not know that SLG is publishing licensed comics, as Dan pointed out. He was polite enough not to point out, however, that these very same comics have been covered in Comic Book Resources.

If the "niche" is simply that we concentrate on creator-owned comics, that's a classification that doesn't make sense, or is at least unhelpful, as creator-owned comics include any number of diverse story types, genres and art styles. Those kind of considerations affect sales and therefore profits, too, not just whether a project is creator-owned, licensed or what have you. If you simply type "SLG" into CBR's search function, you can see just how diverse the SLG catalog is.

So SLG has done creator-owned comics in a variety of genres and licensed comics in a variety of genres. That leaves only the company-owned property, for which writers and artists are hired, the model DC and Marvel use. But DC and Marvel, to my mind, are just two more examples of niche publishers--and in a sense truer to the definition of the word than how you could use it as it applies to SLG--and they seem to be doing well.

Being glib when it comes to selling comics ("Sell more comics" -- gee, never thought of that!) just does not work because the industry seems to make so little sense because its consumer base itself has not diversified enough to support projects whose subject matters and treatment of them are mainstream and popular for other media like prose books and film. Heidi McDonald was just writing about this at The Beat (http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2007/03/06/can-comics-be-saved/):

"if you listened to the internet, you would think turning WONDER MAN into a book about a cranky superhero who goes to an eccentric Alaskan town would sell like gangbusters. Or Batgirl as a homely but quick witted assistant at a bitchy fashion magazine. But then you see that nothing sells that isnít a franchised tie-in these days. ... There is no market for the quirky creator driven book anymore. The audience craves shock and horror and not solid, character driven fiction."

(More at the link.)

Charles RB
03-08-2007, 05:02 PM
He did not know that SLG is publishing licensed comics, as Dan pointed out.

He didn't know that SLG was still publishing licensed comics.


But DC and Marvel, to my mind, are just two more examples of niche publishers--and in a sense truer to the definition of the word than how you could use it as it applies to SLG--and they seem to be doing well.

Well, yes - the article explicitly says that Marvel and DC are niche companies, as well as that "there's nothing wrong with niche companies".


its consumer base itself has not diversified enough to support projects whose subject matters and treatment of them are mainstream and popular for other media like prose books and film.

What can the consumer base get from those comics that it can't get from those prose books and films?

Jennifer de Guzman
03-09-2007, 02:17 PM
He didn't know that SLG was still publishing licensed comics.

From the column: "(Vado himself recently tried signing up Disney's characters, and dropped the idea for just that reason.)"

How does that imply what you're saying? And even if I did get it wrong -- So? Grant is still wrong and guilty of sloppy fact checking.


Well, yes - the article explicitly says that Marvel and DC are niche companies, as well as that "there's nothing wrong with niche companies".

True, but it all makes so little sense. He writes: "Part of Vado's expressed frustration is the way bigger companies poach the talent working on SLG [titles, and, having had artists poached off projects, I can sympathize. But it's the nature of niche publishing in this business..."

What does that even mean? If everyone in comics is a niche publisher, and there's nothing wrong with being a niche publisher, why even point it out in the first place as if it's a problem? What he says in that portion of the article is that larger niche publishers poaching smaller niche publishers' artists the nature of niche publishing in this business. I'm at a loss to grok that.

Dirk Deppey called this column "interesting and reasoned," but just on a rhetorical, logical level--never mind that I am involved in the issue by association--I find it to be a mess.


What can the consumer base get from those comics that it can't get from those prose books and films?

That's a good question. However, I'd point out that people can get superheroes in both comics and movies and TV shows these days, and yet superhero comics are still the most successful part of the comics publishing industry. People can read books, watch movies, and watch TV shows about romantic relationships. Yet one would be hard-pressed to make a logical argument against not making a movie about a romantic relationship because people can also read books and and watch TV shows about the same thing.

There is a strange perception that comics have to offer something people can't get anywhere else BESIDES their unique medium. I think that's a mistake. The medium and distribution are the hurdles, not the subject matter: the public needs to be educated about sequential art storytelling, and the books need to be available in places where they actually shop. That's our what we have to do to "sell more books" as Grant puts it. And it seems that slowly this is happening. First: Second especially is doing a really good job of bringing graphic novels to the general reading public.

FunkyGreenJerusalem
03-09-2007, 04:33 PM
Well, first is the problem that Steve simply hasn't been paying attention. He did not know that SLG is publishing licensed comics, as Dan pointed out. He was polite enough not to point out, however, that these very same comics have been covered in Comic Book Resources.


Steve may not have been paying attention, but maybe SLG hasn't been marketing it's books very well.
I mean if a writer on CBR didn't notice the press release or the puff piece written up to promote the book, then you have to wonder how many comic fans saw them.
Wouldn't the greater worry for SLG be not that Steve hadn't been paying attention, but that he didn't know about the licensed comics altogether.
I'd be having a quick word with whoever does the marketing on the SLG books 'Mate, a person who works in the industry doesn't know about these books. Does anyone?'.
I'd think the good start to making more money is to make sure Steve, and everyone else, knows about your books even if they aren't paying any attention at all.

Jennifer de Guzman
03-09-2007, 04:40 PM
Wouldn't the greater worry for SLG be not that Steve hadn't been paying attention, but that he didn't know about the licensed comics altogether.
I'd be having a quick word with whoever does the marketing on the SLG books 'Mate, a person who works in the industry doesn't know about these books. Does anyone?'.

Dan and I are these marketing people, and the answer to the question is, yes, people know. Not as many people know about us as we would like-- this is something we are of course always striving to improve -- but one man's ignorance is hardly indicative of the wider comic book media and readership.

These arguments always fall back to "You're not doing your job right," and while there is an element of truth since everyone can always do better, it is not a very compelling point, to my mind.

Charles RB
03-09-2007, 04:41 PM
However, I'd point out that people can get superheroes in both comics and movies and TV shows these days, and yet superhero comics are still the most successful part of the comics publishing industry.

Superhero comics have the advantage that TV can't compete with them in terms of large-scale spectacle and a 90-minute movie will lack the interlocking continuity & casts that seem to be a big draw for Marvel and DC.


There is a strange perception that comics have to offer something people can't get anywhere else BESIDES their unique medium.

Strange how? If you can get a subject matter from other sources of fiction, you've got to offer a reason why they should buy a comic with that subject matter and not a book/TV show/movie/play/radio drama. What's the unique selling point for a good comic about, for example, crime fiction that makes it different to a good book, TV show et al?


the public needs to be educated about sequential art storytelling

How do you mean? As in comics exist or how specifically to read them?


the books need to be available in places where they actually shop.

Which they are these days, I see them regularly in bookstores.

Though as I recall from Brian Hibbs' recent sales analysis for 2006, Y: The Last Man and Pride Of Bahgdad, titles you'd think would be mainstream type books, were seen selling more copies in comic stores than in bookstores. (Conversely, over here The Judge Dredd Case Files seem to sell really well in bookstores)

Charles RB
03-09-2007, 04:43 PM
I'd be having a quick word with whoever does the marketing on the SLG books 'Mate, a person who works in the industry doesn't know about these books. Does anyone?'.

I did know about the Disney comics due to Gargoyles being in it - and since then I completely forgot until recently.

Jennifer de Guzman
03-09-2007, 05:16 PM
Strange how? If you can get a subject matter from other sources of fiction, you've got to offer a reason why they should buy a comic with that subject matter and not a book/TV show/movie/play/radio drama. What's the unique selling point for a good comic about, for example, crime fiction that makes it different to a good book, TV show et al?

As I said, it's the medium that is unique. You can find a good story and interesting characters in any of these mediums, but each one is different and therefore the way the story is presented offers a different experience.


How do you mean? As in comics exist or how specifically to read them?

Both. Also to encourage an appreciation of reading comics. This is a long-term process.


Which they are these days, I see them regularly in bookstores.

Yes, so do I. This is what I meant by "slowly this is happening." But do you see graphic novels stocked to the same extent and with the same care as prose books? I do not, not even close. Manga, yes, but it seems that the bookstores have largely decided that manga is something different from comics (something they can readily sell), as so they often separate the two and let the graphic novels section go uncared for. The recent anthologies by Houghton Mifflin and Yale University Press are encouraging signs.


Though as I recall from Brian Hibbs' recent sales analysis for 2006, Y: The Last Man and Pride Of Bahgdad, titles you'd think would be mainstream type books, were seen selling more copies in comic stores than in bookstores. (Conversely, over here The Judge Dredd Case Files seem to sell really well in bookstores)

We recently got reorders for a book called Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery. The reorder was for somewhere over 200 copies. Only seven were from the direct market.

The comics base is obviously not where potential growth lies. When I send out preview copies of upcoming graphic novels, most go to publications like Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the like, not to places that are exclusively comics review publications or sites.

Charles RB
03-09-2007, 05:28 PM
The comics base is obviously not where potential growth lies. When I send out preview copies of upcoming graphic novels, most go to publications like Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the like, not to places that are exclusively comics review publications or sites.

That sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy, saying "comic shops aren't where potentially growth lies" and then not promoting products to them in the same way you would for another market.

FunkyGreenJerusalem
03-09-2007, 06:57 PM
Dan and I are these marketing people, and the answer to the question is, yes, people know. Not as many people know about us as we would like-- this is something we are of course always striving to improve -- but one man's ignorance is hardly indicative of the wider comic book media and readership.

Well, you can make it two men.
I only really know SLG because of Squee, Johnny The Homicdal Maniac and seeing Lenore about.
I had no idea you did stuff like Disney books.



These arguments always fall back to "You're not doing your job right," and while there is an element of truth since everyone can always do better, it is not a very compelling point, to my mind.

If you're selling product, you're doing your job right, I guess.

However, does every Gargoyles fan know there is a Gargoyles comic?
I'm always troubled by comic book marketing because outside of a comic shop or the internet, I've never seen it.

Landry Walker
03-09-2007, 07:40 PM
Steve may not have been paying attention, but maybe SLG hasn't been marketing it's books very well.

I can't speak for all the marketing SLG has done, but in regards to what SLG and I have done for the Tron comic specifically, a few bits come to mind:

-About 7 or 8 interviews with myself and the co-writer, including at the SciFi channels website and another with Wizard online AND an interview at... you guessed it... Comicbookresources.com.

-Probably a half dozen interviews with Dan Vado on the same subject.

-I believe there was at least one interview with Jennifer that covered this ground as well.

-I've got a total of 5 conventions in a two month period to attend. More as the year goes on. I did as many last year. The displays include seven foot tall posters of Tron related artwork and a 3 foot wide cardboard recognizer.

-Ads in the Diamond catalog.

-Three stints on local morning news programs in three different parts of country.

-Promotional posters sent to multiple comic stores.

-Two Livejournal blogs and two different myspace accounts.

-Regular participation with the online Tron fanbase.

-Midnight showings of the film, both at a regular theater and at a convention. Two of these were hosted by "Tron Guy" best known from appearing on Jimmy Kimmels show.

-A signing with Cindy Morgan, the lead actress from the movie, a second one in the works.

-Cindy Morgan and Bruce Boxleitner, the guy who played Tron, signing copies at a major showing of the film in Hollywood.

-Two different bulk mailings of two different promotional postcards.

-Comic store signings

Well, that's just off the top of my head. Also, this is just in regards to one of the Disney books. This book has been in Diamonds top 300 every issue. It's received easily a dozen reviews. Every convention we attend we see evidence of many comic readers that are well aware of the book.

Now I admit, you really can't measure marketing by anything other than success. Obviously, we failed to reach some people. But let's be fair, we can't reach you if you don't want to be reached. The material is very clearly out there. at some point, an element of investigation of the reader is essential.

FunkyGreenJerusalem
03-09-2007, 08:02 PM
-Three stints on local morning news programs in three different parts of country.


That one's pretty good.
The rest are just hitting the same people over and over, and are pretty standard comic book marketing techniques.
Nessecary, maybe. But really new or going to bring in the big audience - and more importantly, the cash.


But let's be fair, we can't reach you if you don't want to be reached. The material is very clearly out there. at some point, an element of investigation of the reader is essential.

I have knowledge of products/events that aren't even remotely of intrest to me because of their marketing - and I'm not saying television and not all are big products. (Plays, band gigs, art displays, lectures about socialism etc)
Sure a Tron comic really does have a limited audience, regardless of the quality, but there's a lot more that could be done to market comics, and reach a bigger audience than just the pre-existing one.

Landry Walker
03-09-2007, 08:13 PM
That one's pretty good.
The rest are just hitting the same people over and over, and are pretty standard comic book marketing techniques.
Nessecary, maybe. But really new or going to bring in the big audience - and more importantly, the cash.

We're not talking about "bringing in the big audience". We're talking about having a presence in the comic book market itself. You're here, on a comic book forum, and you're only aware of the company because of three specific titles published out of 21 years of publishing. An industry professional/columnist seems equally unaware of the material available. Yeah, we're not running Superbowl ads or billboards along the freeway. But we're hitting the comic industry fairly heavily. At what point is it a sign of a lethargy of the readership rather than a failure of the company?

rick
03-09-2007, 08:25 PM
I don't really have any suggestions, but I am a huge fan of the majority of books that Slave Labor has produced, but I do have to say that it is a little odd to me that the company is not better known then it is.

I think that some of that is because you produce so many creator owned titles that your identity as a company sort of fades into the background to the individual books. This might be a drawback but at the same time it actually demonstrates your very real commitment to the creators.


Still, and I really hesitate to stick my nose into things, I do think that with the body of work the company has published, that you really should be better known then you are.

Like I said though I have no real suggestions and am only making an observation, but I really do like the company and just donít understand why the situation is what it is.

On a personal note, while I donít expect Dan to remember me, but for about a year back in 1990 I was his Diamond delivery driver, and he was without a doubt one of the nicest people on my route. I know that doesnít have anything to do with the thread, but while I was here I just wanted to say ďHiĒ.

FunkyGreenJerusalem
03-09-2007, 08:40 PM
We're not talking about "bringing in the big audience". We're talking about having a presence in the comic book market itself.

Everyone would make more money if you got people who don't already read comics to come in and try it out.


You're here, on a comic book forum, and you're only aware of the company because of three specific titles published out of 21 years of publishing.
An industry professional/columnist seems equally unaware of the material available. Yeah, we're not running Superbowl ads or billboards along the freeway. But we're hitting the comic industry fairly heavily.

Yeah, and I've been reading comics for 15 years.

I mean SLG is pretty good with not having a set brand, so to speak, and I assume it has big variety (Disney books, Vasquez books and at least one Andi Watson book) so there's a chance there are SLG books I know of that I'm not aware of being from SLG (I brought Slow News Day without knowing who published it - I'd assumed Oni - but that's because Andi Watson is a brand unto himself).

But if I'm not aware of the product and I actively come to a comic book site, then how can you see you are reaching enough of the pre-existing comic reading market?
How do people who just go in to stores, and don't waste a saturday on the internet, know about the book?

SLG has done it before - every Goth was reading Lenore six or seven years ago - why not now?

How can you be hitting the industry hard if I'm not aware of the books is what I'm asking.
Now, to be fair, I was aware of the Tron book when it was released, however, in all honesty I forgot about it.
And I should also point out that you aren't going to get me reading Gargoyles or Tron, regardless of the quality of the book - they just aren't properties I particuarly liked in their original form, or concepts that really grab me.
However I am aware of other books I don't read/have no intrest in.


At what point is it a sign of a lethargy of the readership rather than a failure of the company?

At no point.
SLG is trying to sell product.
There's plenty of other product out there to buy.
If I'm, or anyone, isn't aware of SLG's particular product that really is the fault of SLG - epsecially if we're only talking about the limited pre-existing comics market.

Landry Walker
03-09-2007, 09:23 PM
Everyone would make more money if you got people who don't already read comics to come in and try it out.

Yes. But again, that's not the point of this particular discussion.


But if I'm not aware of the product and I actively come to a comic book site, then how can you see you are reaching enough of the pre-existing comic reading market?

I'm not saying we're reaching enough. I'm saying that there is only so much marketing can do if the person the marketing is directed at does not participate. It would be great to reach more. But when the reader is ignoring the advertising that is clearly directly under their nose, there is little you can do.


How do people who just go in to stores, and don't waste a saturday on the internet, know about the book?

Didn't I specify the signings, the promotional posters, the promotional postcards? We cannot force stores to order our books. We cannot force stores to display our promotional material. All we can do is ask.


SLG has done it before - every Goth was reading Lenore six or seven years ago - why not now?

You seem to be missing the point. As sales go within this industry, Tron sells. I thought I made that clear. I do another book called Little Gloomy. It sells as well. People are familiar with the books. People buy the books. What we're looking at is: Why aren't YOU (and people like you) familiar with them? Why aren't you investigating what the industry has to offer? Why are you tuning out marketing that is clearly all around you?


How can you be hitting the industry hard if I'm not aware of the books is what I'm asking.

Lethargy. The books are out there, the books are selling. Advertising has even taken place on this very site. The one you have posted on over 5000 times.


Now, to be fair, I was aware of the Tron book when it was released, however, in all honesty I forgot about it.

Then it's entirely on you. There has been a constant level of marketing for almost two years.


And I should also point out that you aren't going to get me reading Gargoyles or Tron, regardless of the quality of the book - they just aren't properties I particularly liked in their original form, or concepts that really grab me.

That's the lethargy I'm talking about. You've made up your mind about material without any investigation.


However I am aware of other books I don't read/have no intrest in.

And you've now conceded that you are aware of these titles as well. Your argument is kinda all over the map here. You claim no knowledge of the titles. I point out the heavy promotion. You claim that you actually did know about said titles, but then ask how we could possibly be hitting the industry hard with advertising. Well we reached you, didn't we? Then you claim that you simply have no interest in these titles despite quality, then make a reference to a lack of awareness again.

Let's simplify. We have marketed the books. You were aware of the books. You have chosen not to investigate the books. That's fine, but the failure to participate is still on you. We can work our asses off to reach an audience, if the audience still doesn't want to check out the material due to preconceived notions there is very little we can do.

I mean seriously, shall we give the books to you for free? How about we crawl into your room and read them to you as you go to sleep?

The context of this conversation is SLG's marketing endeavors. Obviously you are aware of the titles. Therefore the marketing has (in your case) succeeded. Your admission of familiarity renders this dialog moot.

Charles RB
03-10-2007, 04:53 AM
Advertising has even taken place on this very site. The one you have posted on over 5000 times.

Which just goes to show how much attention we pay to banner-ads on comic book sites. ;)


You claim that you actually did know about said titles, but then ask how we could possibly be hitting the industry hard with advertising. Well we reached you, didn't we?

Except it was once on just one of the titles (Tron) and then he forgot about it. If he forgets it exists and was only briefly aware of it, the marketing hasn't succeed because at the end of the day he doesn't know it's there.

Asmith
03-10-2007, 05:13 AM
You seem to be missing the point. As sales go within this industry, Tron sells. I thought I made that clear. I do another book called Little Gloomy. It sells as well. People are familiar with the books. People buy the books. What we're looking at is: Why aren't YOU (and people like you) familiar with them? Why aren't you investigating what the industry has to offer? Why are you tuning out marketing that is clearly all around you?

Lethargy. The books are out there, the books are selling. Advertising has even taken place on this very site. The one you have posted on over 5000 times.

Then it's entirely on you. There has been a constant level of marketing for almost two years.

That's the lethargy I'm talking about.

Hi,
I really don't agree with your stance of blaming the consumer for not knowing or being familiar with your product. It's a competitive market out there (all markets are competitive), and it's not up to the consumer to do the marketeers job - that's what professional marketers are employed for, to market product.

Consumers aren't employed to do anything - they have no job in marketing YOUR product. The most you can hope for out of a potential consumer is their cash and some good word of mouth. I think you're expecting the consumer to do parts of your job you seem unable to achieve - namely creating an awareness of YOUR product.

And let me be clear that I'm saying this from the stanpoint of someone who works in marketing.

It's a marketers job to raise awareness of the product they're touting. To put the onis on the consumer to do the brand awareness is both lazy, haphazard at best and just plain unprofessional. It's not the consumers job. It's your job alone. Do it. And don't blame other people if you fail.

If YOUR strategies aren't working as well as you'd hoped, it's pretty lame to try and blame the consumer. Look first at your positioning, messaging and branding campaigns. And if you don't find fault with those, look at the product itself. But NEVER blame a consumer for not going out of their way to seek out your message.

After a good marketing campain the consumer should feel as if you've climbed in their window and shoved your product at them. Your reluctance to be more agressive and blame others for your failures is a common woe of many a marketer I've seen who just plainly couldn't do their job with imagination.

However I must congratulate you on these message board postings. They've achieved in shaping an awareness of Slave Labor in my mind. While before I vaguely remembered a Slave Labor comics company that did black & white radioactive hamster comics in the 80s and that was about it, I now think of Slave Labor as being run by quite rude (you really shouldn't slag off potential readers on the net - that's a marketing tip for you, free!) people who are more interested in blaming others for their lack of achievement than just doing what would be expected in ANY marketing job in ANY industry.

And as for all this Tron mentioning. I DID notice a preview page of Tron before it was launched. And being someone who really enjoys the movie and makes his friends suffer through viewings of it, I was interested in checking out the comic - though the name of the publisher, if mentioned, didn't impact. But I completely forgot about it by the time I was next off the net and in store with money to burn (and only just recalled it upon reading this thread). And I've no idea if it ever got published or is still published - it sounds from your posts that it is. There wasn't a single peice of follow up advertising (if there was any) that caught my attention and prodded the need of purchasing a Tron comic into my mind - like any good marketing campaign should.

According to you I should blame myself for not being devoted enough to do your job. Me, however, I blame you for not staying in my face and reminding me to go and spend my money on your product that I was already interested in purchasing. That's poor marketing. That's slacker-marketing. That's quitter, give-up before you've even tried marketing. Succesful marketing is more than the odd news story, some free posters for a shop owner and whatever low-key other thing you did before deciding anything more would of been an effort. Yeah - much easier to blame the consumer than actually work hard and be successful...

And now, of course, I'm not inclined to purchase an issue of Tron, should I be able to find one because of the attitude I've seen here of the people behind it. (I've never seen it on the shelves. Does your marketing efforts even extend to actually getting it on shelves or is that too much to expect from you as well?)

I've no doubt you'll believe that's all due to it being my fault as well... since I am obviously just another in a long line of your God damn uncaring consumers, and you're just poor misunderstood marketers not being given an easy run of it. But here's another tip for you, work hard, do your job well, be creative in your approaches and the consumers will both grow in numbers and start to care - more importantly, I think to you anyway, your own jobs at marketing will become easier with greater success.



.

NatGertler
03-10-2007, 07:43 AM
While before I vaguely remembered a Slave Labor comics company that did black & white radioactive hamster comics in the 80s and that was about it, And even with that, you're being confused. You seem to refer to the Adolescent Radioactive Black-Belt Hamsters, which were published first by Eclipse and later by Entity Comics/Parody Press.

Off the top of my head, I don't recall SLG doing any of the Turtle parody books (although goodness knows there were enough of them, including some that I've forgotten.) But there are plenty of books that I think of when I think of SLG, most of which were good stuff ranging back to their being the second of three publishers for Tales from the Heart, and the folks bringing us Hero Sandwich and Milk and Cheese and probably some other food-oriented titles that don't come to mind... and good stuff ranging up at least to the relatively recent Halo & Sprocket. (Which is not to say that they don't have good stuff that's even newer than that few-years-back book, it's just not on my radar, since I gained a daughter I've been a bit distracted.) There's a lot of years of good work and good intent at that company, and I certainly understand their feeling frustration when sales and recognition don't match up to what they feel is the quality of their books.

Landry Walker
03-10-2007, 01:03 PM
Hi,
According to you I should blame myself for not being devoted enough to do your job. Me, however, I blame you for not staying in my face and reminding me to go and spend my money on your product that I was already interested in purchasing. That's poor marketing. That's slacker-marketing. That's quitter, give-up before you've even tried marketing. Succesful marketing is more than the odd news story, some free posters for a shop owner and whatever low-key other thing you did before deciding anything more would of been an effort. Yeah - much easier to blame the consumer than actually work hard and be successful...

And now, of course, I'm not inclined to purchase an issue of Tron, should I be able to find one because of the attitude I've seen here of the people behind it. (I've never seen it on the shelves. Does your marketing efforts even extend to actually getting it on shelves or is that too much to expect from you as well?)

I've no doubt you'll believe that's all due to it being my fault as well... since I am obviously just another in a long line of your God damn uncaring consumers, and you're just poor misunderstood marketers not being given an easy run of it. But here's another tip for you, work hard, do your job well, be creative in your approaches and the consumers will both grow in numbers and start to care - more importantly, I think to you anyway, your own jobs at marketing will become easier with greater success.

I notice you completely ignore context. In that a portion of the quotes of mine you pull are directed specifically at someone who concedes that he knew about the book and made a judgment on it based on the source material alone. I'm not criticizing his tastes. He doesn't like the concept he shouldn't spend his money on the book. But you tell me how much sense it makes for him to blame the marketing, marketing that reached him, as being insufficient. He came to the product with a reasonable bias. He doesn't want to check out the book, we can hardly force him.

You go on to make odd claims of me complaining that the marketing has failed. How many times do I need to specify that the marketing, by and large, has been successful? It has kept sales reasonable and the reaction to the book has been largely good. What I've been repeating over and over, and which you seem to have completely missed, is that when a marketing campaign is successful and the sales reflect this, why do the few individuals who missed the marketing blame the marketing? You simply cannot reach everyone. You can't. That's not a reason not to try, of course. But you have to accept that there will be those few people who go through life with blinders on so large they miss anything not already of interest to them.

And before you provide another "You're rude" style of answer, lets be clear. I'm not talking about YOU. I'm not even talking about FunkyGreenJerusalem. He has since conceded that the marketing DID reach him.

With both you and him, the marketing worked. And that's what is under discussion here. Product awareness. Not convincing the consumer to purchase the product. I never made any claims that we had succeeded in doing this, that's an entirely separate level of marketing that is far more difficult to achieve. But you cannot sit there and fault the marketing as not reaching you when both you and he were in fact, reached by said marketing.

I'm going to repeat this as it seems to need repeating. Contextually, we are not talking about convincing the reader to make a purchase. We are talking about product awareness itself. Don't assign my posts to a meaning that is separate from my clear intent.

Now, I really don't care if you personally pick up the book or not. So your repeatedly assigning a reaction to me that is wholly not in line with my position is a purposeless endeavor. What in the world would I be blaming you for?

As for your reaction to SLG being quite rude? Could you at least pay attention to the context of the discussion? I don't run the company. I have no involvement in that regard. I don't speak for them and I'm under no obligation to represent anyone but myself. I specified quite clearly that my involvement is limited to the title that I write. You want to say I'm rude, be my guest. But when you start distributing your interpretation of me to people who have no connection to my behavior, you're making assumptions of fault with no foundation. Now as to me personally, I hardly think pointing out the volume of marketing as rude. And reader lethargy has been a common problem in comics (and other mediums) for decades.

Obviously you're capable of having a reasoned discussion about this. You have experience and intelligence. But hey, keep attacking me rather than the argument. Whatever works for ya.



Except it was once on just one of the titles (Tron) and then he forgot about it. If he forgets it exists and was only briefly aware of it, the marketing hasn't succeed because at the end of the day he doesn't know it's there.

As I said earlier, I can only speak on the subject of my direct involvement. I know there is an interview with the writer of Gargoyles on the main page right now, but I really can't speak on behalf of the company and marketing that I have not been involved with.

As for the rest, we get back to context. If he had said that the marketing was insufficient to maintain his awareness I would have never posted on the subject. He claimed a complete lack of awareness.

The reality is that there are two types of consumers. The ones who actively seek out new product that will appeal to them, and the ones who react only to marketing. To one degree or another, we all fall into both categories. No one is so generically cookie cutter that you can completely define them. In regards to some products they may be very aggressive. In regards to some others they may have complete disinterest in investigation. I specify this in the hopes to avoid another unnecessarily hostile bombardment from ASmith. When I speak of reader lethargy, this is not an insult. This is a natural part of the consumer. For example, I have no interest in romance novels. I know they're out there. I worked in a book store and shelved hundreds of them. I rung them up by the bagfull. I ripped the covers off when we had to send them back for credit. I've seen ads all over the place. I walk through the section in the store with my girlfriend, who reads them like crazy. I still could not tell you the name of a single author or the title of a single book. I tune it out. I recognize the marketing and mentally disconnect. I have no interest. No amount of marketing is going to change this. This does not mean the marketing is unsuccessful or nonexistent. That's what I have been challenging. At some point, the failure to connect is on the consumer.

FunkyGreenJerusalem
03-10-2007, 02:14 PM
I'm not even talking about FunkyGreenJerusalem. He has since conceded that the marketing DID reach him.


Sorry, I don't have time to post in the detail I'd like right now (at work - working on an ad that's part of a marketing campaign right now, funnily enough), but I still disagree with a lot of what your saying, but most of all, with your comment that conceded that you did reach me.
I never said that, and you didn't.
I remember seeing preview art on CBR or Newsarama once.
After seeing that, I promptly forgot about the book, and it was only when you mentioned it here again that I remembered seeing that.
That is not good marketing - I had no true awareness of the product.
You may feel that an interview/preview art and maybe a banner ad on a comic site is enough to push the book, many other comic companies do, but it is not.
In no other business would this be considered enough, and it really isn't in comics either, because, as I previously stated (which you seemed to ignore) I am aware of other companies books that I don't read and don't see in shops.

You may be happy with your sales, although personally I don't think the diamonds top 300 is something to brag about (I don't even think most books in the top ten have figures worth bragging about if you compare them other types of niche publications*), but they could be better.
I haven't read the work, so I can't judge the quality (and I'm pretty sure you think it's right up there), so what else can we blame except for the marketing?
You say comic readers are lethargic. That's a false argument, as even if we are, we have no respnsibility to be anything other.
But even if we are lethargic, a succesful marketing campaign would change that. It would convince us, or make us aware of, and want something we don't actually need.
As SLG haven't done that, I must say the campagin was not a success.

(And this is me trying not to go into too much detail...)


*Which isn't to say comics, American comics anyway, are a niche business. They may feel like it, but that's because of bad marketing - the general public sees them as just superheroes.

FunkyGreenJerusalem
03-10-2007, 02:15 PM
There's a lot of years of good work and good intent at that company, and I certainly understand their feeling frustration when sales and recognition don't match up to what they feel is the quality of their books.

Yeah, that doesn't scream of a marketing problem, does it?

Landry Walker
03-10-2007, 02:58 PM
Sorry, I don't have time to post in the detail I'd like right now (at work - working on an ad that's part of a marketing campaign right now, funnily enough), but I still disagree with a lot of what your saying, but most of all, with your comment that conceded that you did reach me.
I never said that, and you didn't.
I remember seeing preview art on CBR or Newsarama once.

Which means you were exposed to the marketing. As I already explained at length, we're not talking about convincing the consumer to purchase the product. I never made any claims that we had succeeded in doing this with you, that's an entirely separate level of marketing that is far more difficult to achieve. But you cannot sit there and fault the marketing as not reaching you when the marketing did in fact, reach you.

And let's not play around with definitions or interpretations here. When I say reached by the marketing, it's rather obvious that I mean exposed to the marketing. It has been broadcast in places you frequent and you noticed it. The issue I have taken on this subject, has from the onset been one of ZERO awareness due to a failure of marketing. Not one of partial or limited awareness. If you had made that argument at the beginning of this discussion I would not have commented. I am not arguing that our sales should be higher. I'm not arguing that the presence of a banner ad (something I never mentioned) should have been enough to convince you to purchase the book. I'm simply stating that the marketing was enough for you to be aware the book exists. It is. It worked on that level with you. It worked on that level with ASmith. Was it enough to get you to buy the book? No. But that is not what is under discussion. We may well have failed in that regard. But you cannot sit there and claim zero awareness of the product. Subsequently, you're not the one I'm talking about when I specify readers who ignore marketing that is thrust directly under their noses.

After seeing that, I promptly forgot about the book, and it was only when you mentioned it here again that I remembered seeing that.

You already conceded that you put the book out of your mind as the subject matter was of zero interest to you. That's fine, as I elaborated on at length, I do the same thing. But that does not equate to a failure of the marketing making you aware of the existence of the product.


That is not good marketing - I had no true awareness of the product.

So now there is awareness and "true" awareness? You knew the book existed and made a conscious decision not to purchase it.


You may feel that an interview/preview art and maybe a banner ad on a comic site is enough to push the book, many other comic companies do, but it is not.

You already conceded that we did at least a few things beyond the norm.


You may be happy with your sales, although personally I don't think the diamonds top 300 is something to brag about (I don't even think most books in the top ten have figures worth bragging about if you compare them other types of niche publications*), but they could be better.

Again, context. I've already clarified for you repeatedly that I am referring to the confines of this industry itself. So your pointing out sales figures of other industries has no real relevance. Yeah, sales compared to other markets are crap all around. We all know this.


I haven't read the work, so I can't judge the quality (and I'm pretty sure you think it's right up there),

I'm getting really sick of people projecting themselves into my head and determining what they think I might say. No. I believe there were many production problems with the first two issues that impacted the quality of the work negatively. You're not the Mighty Kreskin, so don't second guess my opinions. I'm not in the habit of stroking my ego over the sake of reality. I'm happy to discuss this with you, but don't try to suggest what my answers would be.


You say comic readers are lethargic. That's a false argument, as even if we are, we have no respnsibility to be anything other.

How does that make it a false argument?


But even if we are lethargic, a succesful marketing campaign would change that. It would convince us, or make us aware of, and want something we don't actually need.

As SLG haven't done that, I must say the campagin was not a success.

You're mistakenly combining two issues here. Making you aware of the product, something that was achieved with you, and convincing you to purchase the product. I have repeatedly stated that I am referring to the former rather than the latter.


(And this is me trying not to go into too much detail...)

Yeah, the internet will do that.


*Which isn't to say comics, American comics anyway, are a niche business. They may feel like it, but that's because of bad marketing - the general public sees them as just superheroes.

Overall, yes. We agree on this. But again, we're discussing this within the confines of this particular industry. So any success (or failure) must be measured within context.

Asmith
03-10-2007, 04:21 PM
You go on to make odd claims of me complaining that the marketing has failed. How many times do I need to specify that the marketing, by and large, has been successful? It has kept sales reasonable and the reaction to the book has been largely good.

Fair enough. I probably got you confused with the person that was wanting to know how people could be unaware of marketing that was 'clearly' in front of them. Which was a question that answered itself - if people aren't aware of the marketing then it's obviously not 'clearly' in front of them. My apologies for presuming that was your position.

If you feel the product is being purchased by pretty much all the audience it's ever going to reach then of course you're happy with the marketing. And considering that your opinion on how far this product can reach into the market far outweighs my own due to your relationship with it, then there really can't be any arguement over the effectiveness of the marketing for Tron.

Congratulations on your product being as successful as it's capable of.




What I've been repeating over and over, and which you seem to have completely missed, is that when a marketing campaign is successful and the sales reflect this, why do the few individuals who missed the marketing blame the marketing? You simply cannot reach everyone. You can't. That's not a reason not to try, of course. But you have to accept that there will be those few people who go through life with blinders on so large they miss anything not already of interest to them.


The answer to your question of why people blame the marketing if they missed the marketing? Is because NOBODY misses successful marketing. Good marketing doesn't care if a consumer has his 'blinders' on - it will rip right through them.

Here's a case in point - this whole rather hokey death of Captain America thing Marvel is doing at the moment. There's great marketing for you. That's penetrated a lot of blinkers, mine included (I doubt I've wasted a second thinking about that book in well over a decade and probably more - I've no interest in the character). Marvel's marketing has reached well beyond the comic shops, conventions and fan boards.

So why hasn't Tron's marketing? More people have seen the movie Tron than have ever read a Captain America comic. I saw a copy of the film on sale at the local petrol station just the other week. The general hoi poloi probably have a much greater awareness of Tron than Captain America, yet I'm hearing about the guy with wings on his head instead of the one with neon wrapped around him. I recently saw a Tron bike race reference in a Family Guy episode even.

Isn't that the purpose of doing a licensed product with a pre-existing awarness rate like Tron? To market yourself to people outside of the teeny-tiny group that's buying Captain America? It could be argued that if you're not selling better than the late Captain that hasn't the wide-spread general awareness of your product then you've not got a successful marketing campaign. Are you selling better?

Marketing doesn't just need to make people aware of the product for one 3 second burst then nothing. That's not making people aware - and it ain't real marketing either. That's giving them something to forget. Real marketing pushes the product into a persons mind till even if they're not interested in it, they still know of it. This then translates into sales as it will pull even some of those not initially interested in out of curiousity or even a false sense of familiarity with the product.

I knew of your Tron comic for a few minutes, was interested, then forgot - due to no successful marketing follow-up. It was marketings fault that I forgot, not any lethargy on my part. I, like everybody else these days, am being bombarded with marketing for a gazillion products. Yours was one I was actually interested in - but due to poor marketing by Slave Labor, and much superior marketing by other companies, your product failed to get my money (which of course is the sole purpose of marketing).

There's no such thing as consumer lethargy. That is a cop-out.

And speaking hypothetically and generally about any product; If you really think via inaction the consumer is actively working against your product then there's only 3 possible responses to that problem. 1. Market smarter and harder to win the consumer over. 2. Re-think you product to interest a larger amount of people. 3. Get a new marketing department.

Landry Walker
03-10-2007, 05:58 PM
Fair enough. I probably got you confused with the person that was wanting to know how people could be unaware of marketing that was 'clearly' in front of them. Which was a question that answered itself - if people aren't aware of the marketing then it's obviously not 'clearly' in front of them. My apologies for presuming that was your position.

No, I did say something along those lines. But this may just be an instance of talking past each other. We are bombarded by marketing all the time. As I already pointed out, I ignore certain types of marketing directed at me. I'm sure you do the same. We have to, there's simply to much of it. You can put an advertisement right in front of a persons face and they will ignore it. Can you say the average person pays attention to every banner ad on every website? It's right there, clearly in front of their face, and often not noticed.

Part of this is appeal. Taking the romance novel example again, I'm not going to pay attention to the advertising as I've already built a preconceived notion that the product does not appeal to me. The reality is, you will never reach 100% of the market. No matter how aggressive your ad campaign is, certain people will always ignore it. No product has universal appeal. I've met people who had no idea there was a new Batman movie. That doesn't mean the marketing for the film was unsuccessful. It means they ignored the marketing.


The answer to your question of why people blame the marketing if they missed the marketing? Is because NOBODY misses successful marketing. Good marketing doesn't care if a consumer has his 'blinders' on - it will rip right through them.

I really can't agree with that, as addressed above.


Here's a case in point - this whole rather hokey death of Captain America thing Marvel is doing at the moment. There's great marketing for you. That's penetrated a lot of blinkers, mine included (I doubt I've wasted a second thinking about that book in well over a decade and probably more - I've no interest in the character). Marvel's marketing has reached well beyond the comic shops, conventions and fan boards.

I didn't know that. Does that mean the marketing was unsuccesful?

Oh.. And thanks for the spoiler warning. ;)


Isn't that the purpose of doing a licensed product with a pre-existing awarness rate like Tron? To market yourself to people outside of the teeny-tiny group that's buying Captain America? It could be argued that if you're not selling better than the late Captain that hasn't the wide-spread general awareness of your product then you've not got a successful marketing campaign. Are you selling better?

No. But you're taking my comments out of context. Repeatedly I've pointed out that i am discussing this in terms of comics industry sales. Therefore a comparison is imbalanced form the onset.

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, by the way. Like I said previously, you seem to have alot to add to the discussion.

Landry Walker
03-10-2007, 06:30 PM
If you feel the product is being purchased by pretty much all the audience it's ever going to reach then of course you're happy with the marketing. And considering that your opinion on how far this product can reach into the market far outweighs my own due to your relationship with it, then there really can't be any arguement over the effectiveness of the marketing for Tron.

Congratulations on your product being as successful as it's capable of.

I meant to touch on this as well.

To put my opinions on sales in context, you have to understand that I have worked as a professional writer of comics for 15 years. I've worked on comics oriented publications that have sold anywhere from (within and outside of the direct market, respectively) 300 copies to 1,000,000 copies. I have a realistic understanding of what a direct market book sells. Now, I never said the sales couldn't be better. But I do know what qualifies as failure and the numbers this book is selling do not currently fall under that designation. Can sales within the direct market be better? Of course. Theoretically, there is no limit. I'm never going to point at a sales figure and say "we've maxed out". But do I think there is a realistic level that this book can reach within the confines of the direct market? Of course. Every book operates within those norms, with only the rare exception exceeding them. Having a direct understanding of how sales numbers translate is the best method for gauging the success of advertising. I'm sure you understand this, given your own career choice.

In short, stating that the marketing has been successful is not the same as saying the marketing has achieved all it could possibly achieve. If it had, I could stop going to all these damn conventions.

Asmith
03-10-2007, 07:23 PM
I meant to touch on this as well.

To put my opinions on sales in context, you have to understand that I have worked as a professional writer of comics for 15 years. I've worked on comics oriented publications that have sold anywhere from (within and outside of the direct market, respectively) 300 copies to 1,000,000 copies. I have a realistic understanding of what a direct market book sells. Now, I never said the sales couldn't be better. But I do know what qualifies as failure and the numbers this book is selling do not currently fall under that designation. Can sales within the direct market be better? Of course. Theoretically, there is no limit. I'm never going to point at a sales figure and say "we've maxed out". But do I think there is a realistic level that this book can reach within the confines of the direct market? Of course. Every book operates within those norms, with only the rare exception exceeding them. Having a direct understanding of how sales numbers translate is the best method for gauging the success of advertising. I'm sure you understand this, given your own career choice.

In short, stating that the marketing has been successful is not the same as saying the marketing has achieved all it could possibly achieve. If it had, I could stop going to all these damn conventions.


Ok, that's a pretty salient point. And one I was not taking from your previous posts.

Now considering you're going to know the realities of your own market place and product better than anyone there probably isn't any point about arguing whether you can penetrate the direct market any further than you've already done so.

But since the direct market for comic books is extremely piss-small and you've got a product that is widely known to a far greater number of people who would otherwise never pick-up a comic book... well, have you ever considered re-positioning your product outside of the direct comic book market to where the larger number of people who know Tron are?

Forgo the few thousand gimps that both like Tron AND comics and focus on those that just like Tron. Re-position your brand away from being a comic book product and instead market as being a TRON product ... (that just so happens to be a comic book).

The small number of comic book fans that currently read your work will still be able to do so, but they just won't be the focus. Instead you can go after the much larger numbers who wouldn't normally read comic books but might pick up Tron product - if not for themselves then for their kids.

It's not an easy sell, you'd have to break through the stigma/stink that lingers on American comic books due to the whole homoerotic muscley men sweating on each other while wearing tights and capes superhero stuff. But it can be done. Probably through interesting them in the product through more non-comic book reader friendly avenues. Maybe constructing new avenues for people who don't want to find local comic book shops a way to purchase your product. But basically move your marketing away from people who ONLY read comics and downplay the 'comic' and drive home the 'TRON'. Make your license work for you.

As a side note though. I've only seen the movie and not the comic, but isn't Tron just as super hero-y as any of the other tights and cape books? I thought the film was very much in that vain (or at least old time movie serial Flash Gordon like - which amounts to the same thing). Is the Tron comic actually that much changed that it can be considered something different from all the other super hero comics on the market?

Landry Walker
03-10-2007, 07:50 PM
You hit the nail on the head. To tap the real market for this particular book, we need to focus more of our marketing outside of the direct comics market. I know that at one point we were hoping to get the work into the Disney theme parks and the Disney stores. No luck to my knowledge on those counts. the fact that Disney is really so many companies under one umbrella causes difficulty in that regard.

Beyond this and we expose my true weakness. Notice I have been focusing my end of the discussion on the comics market. Well, the truth is my marketing knowledge is limited outside this field. Some thoughts have been getting thrown around, hitting the video game market in particular. I know the comics market advertises to this section of the populace as well, but Tron has a nice warm fuzzy place for many gamers (I include myself in that designation). The problem I've encountered is that the video game market spends so much even on small banner ads and the like, is that we would bankrupt ourselves if we pursued the same route. I know you need to spend money to make money, but then you also have to have that money to spend in the first place.

There are the television morning news bits we've done. I don't really think we're hitting that Tron audience there either though. Also, I speak regularly to groups of librarians. That won't impact Tron specifically until a trade is released.

That leads to the general book market, of course. And I know SLG has made inroads in that department.

But as I said, you've both hit the nail on the head and exposed my largest weakness for all to see. Curse you.

As for the concept of Tron itself, I actually despise the notion of Tron as a super-hero sort of thing. Though I think you're right in recognizing the elements of that within the film. The basic idea that you could get hit with a laser, turned into pure information and end up anything close to sane within your subjective imposed reality is a dubious concept at best. The idea of a little computer guy fighting little computer battles is an odd one, as everything the person zapped into the computer experiences is a reinterpretation of his environment as processed the only way his subconscious can understand it.

But there's still some people punching each other.

Asmith
03-10-2007, 08:39 PM
You hit the nail on the head. To tap the real market for this particular book, we need to focus more of our marketing outside of the direct comics market. I know that at one point we were hoping to get the work into the Disney theme parks and the Disney stores. No luck to my knowledge on those counts. the fact that Disney is really so many companies under one umbrella causes difficulty in that regard.

It always surprises me to find in situations like the Disney set-up that the gears to help 'one hand washes the other' aren't better oiled or organised.

But it does put paid to a lot of those consipiracy theories that rely on large organisations being organised well enough to perpetrate outlandish secret plots.



The problem I've encountered is that the video game market spends so much even on small banner ads and the like, is that we would bankrupt ourselves if we pursued the same route. I know you need to spend money to make money, but then you also have to have that money to spend in the first place.

That's always going to be the problem with advertising whether your big or small. I was recently just witness to a conversation where it had to be explained that to acheive the unrealistic revenue that was desired would require such a large marketing budget that it would actually decrease profits. Strangely enough that was a hard concept for people to get their heads around. Go figure.



There are the television morning news bits we've done. I don't really think we're hitting that Tron audience there either though. Also, I speak regularly to groups of librarians. That won't impact Tron specifically until a trade is released.

But it does broaden the awareness of a Tron comic. Only it's scattergun and not targeted. Most cheaper forms of brand awareness are.

There are better and just as cost effective ways of increasing your brand awareness and also maybe being able to re-position yourself in the general market place.

Just off the top of my head - use the web. Create for yourself a really sexy funky nifty cool webbased postcard that people can send out to their friends. Make it kinda quirky and fun and VERY much Tron branded with both familiar elements from the film and elements from what you're creating now.

That idea is scattershot of course, but it can reach a great deal of people, and you don't pay for the misses. It only becomes effective though if it can lead folks back to finding out just what this cool card is, and where they can get more. I'd suggest never mentioning the word 'comic'.

Which takes us to your next point:




That leads to the general book market, of course. And I know SLG has made inroads in that department.

If you actually manage to catch peoples attention you need to have a product ready for them to buy and in a format that they feel comfortable with. After all, it's not your business to educate the wider populace that it's ok to read comic books. The only business is to sell the damn things and hopefully make them as popular as crack.

Nobody who isn't raised on comics will accept some thin monthly installment of a story. It needs to be a collected works - eg: Trade paperback. And one hopefully that tells a story with a beginnng middle and an end - these collections of monthlies out there in bookshops that end on cliff hangers are really missing point of being in bookshops to begin with.

Also having a way to purchase the trade book directly online would help as well. A person catches your wide shotgun neumonic web advertising and can purchase the product immediately.

It might even be worth looking at the actual design and presentation of the trade book collection - different size, look at heavier cover weights, change the proportions even. Maybe printing it in a different format so it looks less 'comic booky' might appeal to a broader audience. Making sure it's got Tron the film friendly art on the cover, rather than say a bunch of new characters with muscles rippling beneath their cybyersuits that nobody can recognise if they haven't already read the comic. Light cycles and glow in the dark frisbees!

Maybe looking at broadening the trade's appeal (especially in book shops) by incorporating some more general Tron stuff into it. The art of Tron, the technical wizardry behind the film, how you updated Tron, blah blah whatever as long as it isn't just bloody word for word script pages or some pencil character studies that the artist went through like every other trade with supposed 'value added' stuff packed into it.

Hell - investigate if you can sell Tron frisbees along with your comic book! Sure it takes you into the frisbee selling business, but the point is to move your comics and build an audience for the next trade when it comes out.

Just because you've not got a predjudice when it comes to comic books doesn't mean that the general public doesn't. Take it into account - it's always going to be the major stumbling block in a wider purchase of a Tron story. So a hide the comic in with things they're more familiar with approach might be something interesting to look at.

Anyway - there are plenty of ideas out there. That was just a few off the top of my head without really thinking. You've got an already known brand -Tron - so a lot of the hard part is over. Now it's just getting people to buy the damn thing.




...as everything the person zapped into the computer experiences is a reinterpretation of his environment as processed the only way his subconscious can understand it.

Bugger me... that's pretty deep. I just thought it looked really cool and something about glow-in-the-dark frisbees really appeals to me...!

Landry Walker
03-10-2007, 10:46 PM
Funny that you make mention of the Tron frisbee weapon from the film and it's iconic nature. As you might surmise, the frisbee idea has been kicking around as a promotional item. Proper bonus material in a trade... yeah, I'm with you on that one too. Sometimes I pick up a book and the advertised bonus material... Well, it's like when you get a DVD and one of the special features is an "interactive menu". Really? A screen where I can move around a little imaginary arrow to select play? Wow!

The problem with certain aspects of marketing a book like this gets back to that licensed property thing. We're allowed a certain amount of leeway when advertising, but only so much. Frisbees, for instance, are on the fence. I'm hoping to get that one off the ground though. Glow in the dark, of course. Anything I can throw at people must be good marketing.

It's because of this that I actually started including specific allowances for merchandise for the purposes of marketing in some of my contracts. I recently optioned one of my books to a film studio. I retained all publishing rights, which isn't that uncommon anymore. But the studio was very surprised when I stipulated that we needed to retain specific merchandise rights in order to market the published material properly. You'd think it would be a given, but no.

I'm going to bow out of this conversation at this point. Posting spends an amazing amount of energy and I've already received a fairly well justified email about my late deadlines and about how my time might be better spent (Big Brother is watching the forums!). Also, my Xbox is sending me tantalizing invites of Gears of War gameplay. I'm glad to have discussed this with you. Thanks for the thoughtful ideas in regards to the marketing.

Asmith
03-11-2007, 01:25 AM
I'm going to bow out of this conversation at this point. Posting spends an amazing amount of energy and I've already received a fairly well justified email about my late deadlines and about how my time might be better spent (Big Brother is watching the forums!). Also, my Xbox is sending me tantalizing invites of Gears of War gameplay. I'm glad to have discussed this with you. Thanks for the thoughtful ideas in regards to the marketing.

Well good luck with your deadlines, I've no idea how practical any of my ideas were, but considering the property, thinking well outside of the norm could be a benefit to it and ways to get the consumers themselves to hawk your product are a damn cheap way to go.

Nice speaking with you. Cheers.

NatGertler
03-11-2007, 09:12 AM
It always surprises me to find in situations like the Disney set-up that the gears to help 'one hand washes the other' aren't better oiled or organised.Disney has so many licenses, it cannot reasonably represent them all in their stores (and they certainly don't even carry all of the Disney-produced products.) And at stores like those, there's apt to be consideration of how they can best separate their customers from the most money -- if a mom can buy off her drag-along kid with a $3 comic book instead of a $6 gee-gaw, that's less money in the till.

GeorgeG
03-12-2007, 09:06 PM
If anyone from SLG is still viewing this thread, I have a question.

I went to your site and was absolutely dumbfounded to see you promote other publishers' work.

Why in heck would you do that?

You're taking a potential sale of your product and giving it to someone else.

dancj
03-13-2007, 05:56 AM
If anyone from SLG is still viewing this thread, I have a question.

I went to your site and was absolutely dumbfounded to see you promote other publishers' work.

Why in heck would you do that?

You're taking a potential sale of your product and giving it to someone else.
Presumably to generate goodwill and encourage people to visit their site.

NatGertler
03-13-2007, 11:12 AM
I went to your site and was absolutely dumbfounded to see you promote other publishers' work.

Why in heck would you do that?

You're taking a potential sale of your product and giving it to someone else.No, they're taking the sales of these other products. The books listed in the Comics From Other Publishers section are available for order from SLG; as long as someone is there to get their Ted Naifeh fix, might as well sell them as much as possible.

A number of publishers sell other publishers work on a retail basis -- Dark Horse and Fantagraphics come immediately to mind.

GeorgeG
03-13-2007, 08:58 PM
No, they're taking the sales of these other products. The books listed in the Comics From Other Publishers section are available for order from SLG; as long as someone is there to get their Ted Naifeh fix, might as well sell them as much as possible.

A number of publishers sell other publishers work on a retail basis -- Dark Horse and Fantagraphics come immediately to mind.

Can you tell me how that works exactly? Do they buy the product first, then resell it at a higher price?

NatGertler
03-13-2007, 09:45 PM
Can you tell me how that works exactly? Do they buy the product first, then resell it at a higher price?I can't speak to all instances; there may be cases of consignment sales. But the cases I've been directly involved in (on both sides of things -- carrying other publishers work at my booth at a convention, and having my books sold by other publishers in their mail order sales) have indeed been just that, standard retail practice.

In the case of Dark Horse, they run actual comics retail shops, the Thing From Another World chain.