Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Lord, Give Me A Sign
I found myself in a bookstore the other day because... well... occasionally, I do read some things other than comics. Like Maxim, Black Tail, Out, Bowhunter Monthly, Tuesdays With Morrie.
After a while I found myself in the fiction section and there it was big as day, a huge display touting author Jodi Picoult's works. Here's the bubble I operate in, I immediately thought, "Hey, that's the woman who'll be writing Wonder Woman... someday. I wonder if DC will send us any promotional stuff?"
That's when it occured to me, of course DC will send us promotional stuff. They always do. We'll put it in our great big window like we did with the smallish poster announcing Brad Meltzer as Justice League writer and the civilian population (non-comic book readers) will pass it by simply because it hangs in a comic book store window.
Do I sound frustrated? I am because, once again, I'm expected to sell product from an acclaimed author. If history is any indicator, all the people who make the decisions will probably give us is house ads in the comics they publish and 11" x 32" posters.
Wish me luck.
I do not envy the writer who can move hundreds of thousands of books who comes to the comic business. Your work is definitely cut out for you here.
When noted author Tad Williams came to DC Comics to do "The Next," it was done with practically no promotion on DC's part. DC left us, the retailers to sell this book largely through word of mouth to the customers we already have.
How many of his fans from outside of comics will hear it from DC Comics that he's writing Aquaman for them?
As someone who worked in both book and comics retailing, I am constantly perplexed in the methodology in which both sell books. In the book business, a publisher will give a writer with buzz will have his or her books plastered all over publications such as People trumpeting the arrival of their latest work.
Not so much here in the comic book biz, you may receive a house ad, if you get anything.
Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time I showed someone a Peter David comic and had them say, "He writes comic books? I love his Star Trek stuff."
Is it too much to ask for an "experiment" like placing an ad in Entertainment Weekly or People letting "civilians" know that a best-selling authors like Picoult & Williams are being paired with iconic characters like Wonder Woman & Aquaman?
I'll be the first to tell you I don't know much about DC's specific marketing & advertising budgets but what I'd like to see is less reliance on my having to generate word of mouth in order to sell a comic featuring a best-selling author.