The problem isn’t just that we have to get folks to buy [Captain Marvel]; it’s that we have to get retailers to order it. The failing of our distribution model is that our customer isn’t really the reader, our customer is whoever places the Diamond order at any store. So if there’s a perception that the book won’t sell, it gets under-ordered and it becomes this self-fulfilling prophecy.
Here’s a thing that happens to every creator on Twitter on one Wednesday or another: an incredibly sweet reader who really wants to support you, writes to tell you that they tried to buy your book at their [local comic shop] and it was already sold out! It’s only noon, they say! The shop only opened at 10! Your book must’ve flown off the shelves!
And then the creator, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, says, “Wow! Thanks for your support — better pre-order the next one!” and then they cry into their coffee. Because, friends, selling out by noon on a Wednesday is not good news. Heck, selling out by Thursday is not good news. That means your book was under-ordered — if it was ordered at all. If the consumer wants the product and we can’t get them the product, our system is broken.
I hate the pre-order thing. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Ten years ago, I was complaining about it on the [Warren Ellis forum] — I’m a shopper. I looooove to shop. I will spend money. But I am not going to buy a pair of shoes that I’m expected to order three months in advance and am not able to try on! And that’s what we’re asking of our readers. It’s the dumbest system. No wonder we have problems! Is there another industry that works like this?
And yet, here I am begging you: if you want to read this comic, please, please oh please, oh please: pre-order it. If you want to see more female-led titles from the mainstream publishers, pre-order this book. If you’re not familiar with how to pre-order, or you’re not sure why it’s so important, check in with me on Twitter @kellysue or on my blog at http://www.kellysue.com
— some time in the next couple weeks I’m going to do a step-by-step blog post. Maybe I’ll even do one of those Warren Ellis-style pre-order coupons.
Kelly Sue DeConnick on the dichotomous folly/urgency of pre-ordering comics, and her new “Captain Marvel” series, in an interview by Albert Ching at Newsarama.com. (via bowtiemoustache)
Can we get some serious reblogs on this, people? Not just for Kelly and her amazing creative team, but for the awareness of readers and retailers. Look, we’ve all seen the response to female characters lately. Readers out there of every gender WANT a change, and this is it. A practical, strong female character in a sensible costume. Carol Danvers is an amazing character, and now she has a costume and a look (AND A TITLE!) to match what’s on the inside.
Please spread this around. Show the comics industry that we’re more than just words. It’s easy to talk about what you want to see, but it’s another thing to actually deliver when the time comes to prove how passionate you are. I’m going to tag this with a bunch of people who are important to this message, and I hope can help get it around. All it takes is awareness to make a real change.
(In case you haven’t seen her new look, check it out here. Tell me that isn’t a world away from the likes of Starfire, or even Carol’s old gear.)
I will be pre-ordering Captain Marvel, but Kelly Sue Deconnik highlights such a fundamental problem with the comics industry. At least if you’re doing a book for the big two then the majority of retailers will order some copies of your book, even if they don’t order enough. When I’ve had books coming out I’ve had so many people say to me, “Oh, I’ll definitely pick it up if I see it!” And it’s so hard to explain to them that it’s an indie book so if they DON’T pre-order it then they WON’T see it. Ever.
Not that we have that problem with Hypergirl, because thanks to Diamond people can’t even pre-order it from their local comic shop, they can only get it direct from Markosia. Sigh…