What is a good cover price for my book?
With the discussions we've had with retailers, the general censuses is that your book should be priced no more than what the mainstream books are charging for their standard monthlies. So a standard 24-page color issue should be priced at about $3. And please put your cover price on your cover.
So then how much should I be charging stores for my book?
This is the big question. Stores are looking for at least 50% retailer discount when it comes buying a book from you. The smaller the discount, the smaller the chance they will be carrying your books on their shelves. This is a pretty standard practice in retail businesses and is something that they will more than likely not budge on. We creators must understand that they are running a business that has to operate within a practical and profitable business model.
Wait a minute, then how the hell am I suppose to make money on this book?! My print cost is way above 50% of my cover.
Unfortunately for the most part POD services are not suited to work within the standard retail model. However, Indy Comic Book Week was not created with the intent of making money. The intent was to take advantage of a shipping loophole created by the holidays. Our goal is to put indy titles with your name in front of a wide audience. Many creators are looking at ICBW as an opportunity to gain new readers who will pick up future books and creations.
Okay, so what sort of deal will shops be looking for when it comes to carrying my book?
The two main methods are consignment and direct wholesale. More on that can be found here.
Will retailer pay for shipping (and return shipping)?
More than likely no, they will not. You can ask in a professional manner if they will, but if they say no, then either pay for shipping or move on to the next shop. Do not be an ass about it and welcome to the business side of comics.
I'm terrible at this marketing thing. How should I contact stores about carrying my book?
- An email and a phone call for out of state shops. Be polite and professional about it. Do one email, one phone call, if you don't get a response, move on.
- Present them with all the information that they will need to make a decision about ordering your book. So that means give them the title, description, content rating, retail price, and ordering price. This will keep communications efficient and short. There are several invoice templates online for you to use.
- Best way of contact: walk into the store with a copy/preview of your book and a business card. Say you are a local creator looking to take part in Indy Comic Book Week during Diamond's No-Ship week. This will help build a working relationship between you and the shop.
How many shops should I contact then?
The best answer is as many as you are capable and willing to. Though you will get the most feedback and luck with shops in your local area. Dealing with stores outside of your driving radius becomes a huge undertaking with little return. If you want to expand your contact coverage, be prepared to face obstacles (making contacts, shipping books, working a sales contract, returns).
What's the best way to ship my books to stores?
We found that the best place for this information is here. It talks about packing books, shipping books, and gives useful links to estimates on rates.
Why are you not including digital comics and online retailers in ICBW?
Indy Comic Book Week was created to take advantage of a specific shipping/holiday loophole that directly effects the brick and mortar retail stores. With the short amount of time between Diamond's announcement and the actual date, we decided to focus on collaborating with physical shops to take advantage of the fact their shelves will be empty of new releases that week.