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  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
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    Default MAYO REPORT: September, 2007 Sales Analysis

    John Mayo follows up on yesterday's sales estimates with an analysis of those numbers, looking at who the big movers and shakers were in comic shops in September.

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/ne...m.cgi?id=12236

  2. #2
    14 Time Rita's Champion SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    I remember when everyone was knocking DC on the sales of Countdown. But once DC started showing these other Worlds it helped.
    "Heads up-- If Havok's position in UA #5 really upset you, it's time to drown yourself hobo piss. Seriously, do it. It's the only solution." - Rick Remender

    Sucks 200 character limit.

  3. #3
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    Default Independent Titles/Small Press

    Hi, my name is Alex Sheikman. I write and draw a book called Robotika for Archaia Studios Press and your latest analysis had some very interesting points. You mentioned:

    "...I continue to be surprised and disappointed by how low some of these quality titles down at the bottom of the list are selling. When the best selling item is selling 100 times better than the lowest selling item on the list of the top 300 comics, I have to wonder why there is such a huge difference in the sales levels?"

    This of course is something that is very real to me. The first Robotika series sold about 1,500 copies per issue. That is less than 1 issue per store, but I also know that at least 10 stores ordered 7-10 copies of the book (and were able to sell them). That means that some stores did not order any at all. Did they not see the book in Previews? Did they not order because they did not like the look/description of it? Did they not order because they simply don't order independents (because they don't sell for them)? Is it simply because the general feel that unless the book is from Marvel or DC it is not very good? I would love to know answers to these questions and if the comic shop owners are reading that I would love to read your comments.

    Is it a question of not knowing about the book? How can someone like me raise awareness about their books? Is the Internet the best way to do that? In preparation for the December release of my second series "Robotika: For A Few Rubles More", I tried looking up e-mail address of the currently operating comic book stores and sending each one an individual e-mail with the description of the book and some artwork. I sent out about 200 e-mails over the course of 2 weeks and I got back 5 responses. Granted I did not ask for a response, only that the folks look at the Previews ad and consider ordering the book...still I have a feeling that my effort did not help. So I am curious, what could I do?

    Of course there are some wonderful exceptions to this. David Petersen's "Mouse Guard" keeps growing it's readership at a great pace. It is an awesome book and deserves all the recognition it has gathered, and as far as I can tell that was a "grass roots"/"word of mouth" phenomenon. So there are bright spots all around (Mouse Guard, The Killer, Fear Agent), but I do agree that the lower books sell such disproportional amounts that there is something weird going on.

    I look forward to any feedback. Thank you, Alex Sheikman-

  4. #4
    Hooch is crazy. dingo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexSheikman View Post
    Did they not order because they simply don't order independents (because they don't sell for them)?
    I was an extremely small (and now failed) store, and the above sentence pretty much covers it for why I didn't order much in the way of indy books.

    It wasn't generally financially viable for me to order indies.

    2 things I will say that may be helpful.

    My store was in Western Australia, so for preference I would stock work by Western Australian indy artists. "They are from around here" makes for a fairly easy sale, so perhaps you can concentrate on the area you live in, and hopefully generate some word of mouth/grass-roots from there.

    If I like something in my store, then I would talk to customers about it and it would sell well. Criminal was outselling Flash and Green Lantern in my store. So make sure that the retailers have actually read a copy of your book. How you will go about doing that I don't know, but that is your problem.

  5. #5
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    Alex, my LCS is a tiny store that is the converted garage of the owner's house. They have practically no comic shelf space (since it's also a game store). Pretty much everything they order is because the customers asked for it after going through Previews. They tend to get DC, Marvel, Dynamite, and Darkhorse only, and not even every title from those companies. For instance, they didn't get even a single copy of the new Uncle Sam series because no one asked for it.

    The local collectors seem focused on those 4 companies, and very seldom order anything outside of them. Marvel and DC have long-running, interconnected universes which encourage fans to buy several series, which helps sell more books. If someone likes Spider-man or Superman, for instance, they might well get all the titles with those characters. Other people follow famous artists or writers, which also tend to remain at the big 2. So trying a series set in a new universe, by relatively unknown creators, from a company they don't know, based on nothing more than a blurb in Previews, especially with comic prices as high as they are nowadays, is not something a lot of people are going to do. While an extended Previews feature, with a couple pages of the art and story, can be a big help in this, many of the collectors I know don't even bother to flip through the independents section of Previews... they read the DC and Darkhorse sections up front, and the Marvel supplement, and they never even glance at the rest!

    I realize it must be very frustrating, but that's the reality at my LCS...

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    Default Thank you

    I just re-read my earlier post and I want to make sure that I express something that I did not verbalize first time around. I am actually very thankful for every sale that we make and if we start with 1,500 folks, that is cool. I hope they enjoy the book and feel good enough about each issue to be willing to buy the next issue. I try to do the best work that I can, and I hope to continue to improve my storytelling abilities and as I improve I hope my readership will grow. I am fully aware of the realities and the amount of (friendly) competition that goes on in the market place...but I sure would appreciate suggestions about what I can do to raise awareness about the book :)

    Dingo:
    Thank you for taking the time and I am sorry to hear about your store :(

    Samurai:
    The reality is what it is, and I think I not only have to work harder, but I think I need to work smarter to try to get the word out and to get the store owners to know about the book (and as Dingo suggested) be a sort an advocate for the book. BTW cool artwork.

  7. #7
    Hooch is crazy. dingo's Avatar
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    Thanks, man, I'm sorry too ;)

    Another thing I should mention with regards to getting your stuff out there is the 20/80 rule that I have heard of.

    Basically, 20% of stores sell 80% of the comics.

    Those 20% of the stores are going to be impossible to sway toward ordering more of your books directly. They are big business and they order independant of what the owner likes/wants etc.

    You need to concentrate on the smaller stores. I know it might seem like a boon for you to get a big store to increase their order of your book, but if you can get those small store owners to LIKE your stuff, they will sell it, and the creep up on the sales chart will mean that the big stores will increase their orders as a result. Hit the smallest stores first and show the workers your stuff.

    Plus comic store guys like getting calls from creators. It makes us feel part of the 'in crowd'.

  8. #8
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    Alex- We are one of the stores that ordered your book pretty well, and sold through... we also do well with the HC, and keep it regularly in stock.

    I'm not sure what to tell you, except you have to realize that some stores are little more than Marvel/DC subscription centers. They simply aren't willing/able/interested in growing customer base beyond mainline superheroes. And that's that- nothing wrong with it, it's the store and customer base that they are comfortable with.

    My advice is to forget those stores. they are not your market. Concentrate on the 100 store that are ordering 10 copies, and do what you can to develop relationships with them.

    Are you on the CBIA? Is anyone from Markosia? That is step one. Get on top of that ASAP- I guarantee that most of your best retail customers are on that forum.

    Anyway, I think it's a great book, and hand sell it to anyone looking for interesting sci-fi. It reminds me of the best days of METAL HURLANT, and I think it could have a solid following if it continues with a regular shipping schedule.

    Good luck, and get thee to the CBIA!

  9. #9
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    Default Phone vs e-mail

    Dingo:
    So as a store owner you would rather get a phone call than an e-mail from some one trying to promote their book? I always thought that calling out of the blue would be considered a "sales call" and would be disruptive to a retailer. I also never heard of the 20/80 rule, but I find it very intereting.

    Kid Omega:
    First of all, thank you for your kind words about Robotika and for your support. It is very much appreciated. I am planning on printing some post cards and posters for the December release of "Robotika: For A Few Rubles More" and if you would like, you can e-mail me at alex@sheikman.com and I can make sure you will get some promotional material in December.

    I do have a CBIA membership...but to be honest I am a bit lost there. Where do you as a retailer go to look at new product? "Promotion" forum? "Product" forum? "General" forum? Whre should I post?

    Any help would be much appreciated!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexSheikman View Post
    I do have a CBIA membership...but to be honest I am a bit lost there. Where do you as a retailer go to look at new product? "Promotion" forum? "Product" forum? "General" forum? Whre should I post?
    Post it under "Promotion", labeled "ROBOTIKA postcards and posters!" or something like that. Offer to send out stuff to anyone who wants it.... you will get replies, and lots of goodwill!

    Seriously, it's a great book... as long as it sticks to a reliable schedule, and has a consistent shelf presence, it will gain a following!

    Are you sending review copies out, to blogs and magazines? That is important...

  11. #11
    Hooch is crazy. dingo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexSheikman View Post
    Dingo:
    So as a store owner you would rather get a phone call than an e-mail from some one trying to promote their book? I always thought that calling out of the blue would be considered a "sales call" and would be disruptive to a retailer. I also never heard of the 20/80 rule, but I find it very intereting.
    Yeah, you are right about that, but don't forget I was a VERY small store. A call wasn't all that disruptive to me. Perhaps in a larger sense you should play it by ear.

  12. #12
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    Kid Omega:
    Thank you for your suggestion. I posted on the CBIA (in the "promotions" forum) and got 4 stores that are interested in getting some material, which is totally cool. Thank you.

    I am also going to put together a PDF file of issue #1 and send it out to a couple of sites for reviews.

    Best,
    Alex Sheikman-

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