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    • CommentAuthorheresybob
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2009
    @rickiep00h All I know is that if I had material I wanted to sell, and if I wanted to use Diamond, I'd wait until a very appropriate time, find the right Diamond employee - find out his/her sexual preference and kink, and arrange for sexual favors.

    If they were into blow, I would buy them dope.

    If they were into Tijuana donkey shows, I'd buy them a ticket.

    If the fucker pissed me off in anyway, I'd record it and go for blackmail.

    @Mike Wolfer - thanks for the Haven lead.

    @davebaxter - I agree with the sentiment.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2009
    @Brandon Cyphered - Ah, danke, knabe. Nice 'n informative. That's what happens when one skims and doesn't read. Stupid internet, making me skim!

    @heresybob - You, sir, are what they call invested :)
    • CommentAuthorchris g
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2009 edited
    Atomic Robo chimes in, and chimes in good

    Basically: there was no reason to go into print. The only difference is that it's now official Diamond policy to laugh at you for trying.
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2009
    Clevinger (of Atomic Robo) speaks the truth. I did an e-mail interview with him (and Templesmith, et al) for my blog last summer, and the guy knows what he's talking about. It's easier, it's cheaper.

    Also, I'm one of the people that read 8-Bit Theatre and gets the trades. Apparently I'm some weird marginal case, but oh well.
    • CommentAuthorchris g
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2009 edited
    it really inspired me. i really don't see myself trying to print again unless I wanna go broke overnight. Dean Haspiel said it best too, the time for webcomix revolution is now ^_^
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2009 edited
    The two major US magazine distributors are imposing a 7 cents per issue handling fee from February.

    Doesn't sound like much but for a a $2.99 magazine at 60% or more off, that's a cut of more than 5% in what the publisher gets.

    I think this could mean the end of the $2.99 newsstand comic.

    It's even worse for the $2.50 Johnny DC titles and the $2.50 and $2.69 Archie titles, both of which reportedly get most of their sales from non-DM sources.

    Oh and no idea if its in any way related but Mad magazine is shifting to quarterly.

    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2009
    People interested in iverse should probably also check out

    I don't think there's going to be a single alternative to Diamond though.

    I think a future self-publishing strategy for comcis will likely involve web-comics AND selling books through a POD set-up like Comixpress or Ka-blam and merchandise AND selling those POD books yourself at cons and hand-selling into local shops AND small press distributors like Haven AND selling down-loadable PDFs.

    And for the one in a hundred or so that are good enough, lucky enough and work hard enough; Diamond will still exist as one sales avenue amongst many.
      CommentAuthorCameron C.
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2009
    Looks like Ka-Blam's direct market distribution has a name and blog:
  1.  (4783.49)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    This was funny.

    I realize the value of distributors, obviously, but come on, it's not like an independent filmmaker, who makes a "cheap" movie for two million bucks on credit cards, and has to get distribution or he loses his house and wife along with it.

    Quit complaining, grow and evolve, or shut the hell up and go away.
  2.  (4783.50)
    I actually appreciate the "move units or go home" kick in the ass counter-response to the collective OH NOES! that went up, and I don't have any real complaints about Diamond, having made my one bid at them, one bid around them, and settled into the receptive world of online comics. I fully understand Diamond's gotta do what Diamond's gotta do.

    But this anonymous chap telling the crybabies to get out there and cut the Gordian Knot of our rather screwed-up direct market overlooks one thing: that only works if you've got a sword. Not every creator is a good businessman. Mark Twain, for example. The cold, hard base of the matter is retailers won't order outside of Diamond, outside of a few wonderful shops that are quite deservedly at the top of the game and can spare the interest. Their names are known. Something like 17 stores sell the majority of the direct market's merchandise, don't they?

    I called a LOT of retailers to move DOSE after we were declined Diamond distribution, and even if they could move a humor anthology, and if they liked the material -- very, very few wanted to order anything outside of Diamond -- and that's with free shipping and full refunds on returned material. That's with press releases and interviews and trying to get any eyes I could on the book. I commissioned pages from special guests. Anything to show...hey, you might not personally look this book; I know I see a lot of flaws in it, but it's an attempt to present a professional, new comic. And that's not to complain; it's to illustrate that good or bad, it's HARD for one person, and the source at that, to get attention even in this tiny market.

    I want to be careful here to make these points separate from the attempt to get DOSE in Diamond, because I'm trying to talk out of my experiences about what a challenge this can be without falling into the very form this fellow describes. I'm not bitter; I don't feel anybody owed my book attention or a chance. I knew the risks; I took a lot of shots to get it out there, and I'm pretty happy with what I came up with. Just about everyone I've spoken to who read it is happy with it, so that's me getting what I wanted. At no point did I feel my effort was owed attention or a spot in the catalog, or any of that nonsense. I've been on the fringe of the industry this entire millennium -- first as an intern, then at Wizard while creating my books. I've learned a lot, and I think this is a market where the author's right -- there's so much love for the medium, people can forget about the business side. Comics make us feel good; and some people get upset when they get told "No."

    So my experience is that while many appreciated seeing the material (I provided PDFs to anyone who wanted to preview what they'd be getting in full), just as many, before even taking a look and figuring out if the comic was viable for them or a brick, had no interest in ordering outside of Diamond. And I don't think you can blame, them, either. We're all stuck with what things are, and change is to come, it's going to take, a coordinated effort.

    Personally, I kind of think this new Diamond thing is good, in the long-run: it's making room for Ka-Blam or Cold Cut to become a larger faucet for the indie stream. And I've already moved my material online, so it doesn't affect me much. But you can marvel at where the industry stands. Diamond's locked to the Big Two, they're locked to superheroes, comic stores are locked to everything.

    [cont. next post]
  3.  (4783.51)
    Not every creator should have to become PT Barnum to move a book. What if you're the next Bryan Lee O'Malley but have no marketing skills? That's WHY publishers and distributors exist, to move that product into retailers' hands, weed out the crap, and make noise about really kick-ass material while the creator goes back to creating. By all means, show your dedication to promoting the book, and if you're all you have, do all you can, but really, the lone distributor is latched to a couple of companies who are in turn zeroed in on a thin band of spandex and not taking any new talent on unless you can show you have an audience and can sell product for them, regardless of how good your samples are.

    So how to get in on that when the sole pipeline to shops expects you to move huge numbers for one person? Yeah, there are ways, but again: just because some of us can do it doesn't mean all of us should have to.

    EDIT TO ADD: The indie filmmaker is a false comparison. Sinking yourself into a lifetime's earnings worth of debt for your artistic vision is the very example of bad business the author chides. Wouldn't you, the distributor and publisher, rather work with someone who knows how to manage a project within reason of the time and money available? Why are we supposed to have more sympathy for somebody who takes a giant, flying leap off a cliff and prays to land in the creek as opposed to someone who puts a reasonable couple of grand and project management into a new comic and then...can't put it out anywhere? For that matter, why isn't Diamond being cited to find a way to get the material that appeals to the public at large into that public's hands? I can think of reasons why, but none are covered under "Try harder and find a way nobody's thought of."

    Diamond's entitled to change their requirements; they don't owe anyone anything. But if you're going to holler "Suck it up" from your Executive-Plus throne at those of us who've been slogging towards print since 2001, dealing with changes in policy and artists who crap out, printer delays, surprise shipping and import costs, rattle those giant stones you're cupping so tenderly in your hands -- rattle them for me just a little louder so I can hear them sing your name.

    After all, you're a sales superman, right? You should be able to criticize the powers of the industry and find a way.

    Me, I'll be over at my website, working on comics, evolving and growing.
  4.  (4783.52)
    And the last thing I want to add: I'm very grateful to all the retailers who did order, and the comic press and bloggers who gave it a spot and some time, all the friends who took a look and passed it on. It's a tough market, but the people in it make it worth doing.
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2009
    That really sums it up nicely, Brendan. Agreed on all counts - it's a crying shame indie books can't get the retail support they need, but "Retail support" is just a sly way of saying "reader support" without blaming readers. 80% of the people who are horrified at Diamond's machinations and feel bad about the tough luck of indie books, are folks who don't buy indie books. And that's the thing right there - retail shoppers aren't really most indie books' audience, so why struggle so hard to change minds? Just find the venue where your readers ARE. Bryan Lee didn't create SCOTT PILGRIM right out the gate, and nobody knew who the hell he was until he did. Success always seems sudden and simply in retrospect, but that's only because we weren't paying attention to the poor toiling struggling artists before said success. Wow, this is almost incoherent - anyway, good rant! --Dave B.
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2009
    I'd say "small press" is any publishing company that isn't a full-time job for the publisher.

    I'm full-time on Murky Depths. I'm small press.

    We've just joined Haven as Diamond US won't take us and, in any case, we'd loose money on every copy with their hefty cut.

    Murky Depths #7 is in February Previews UK.