An oldie but a goodie, from Khepri.com's Brian Scot Johnson:Q&A: Sell My Book Like AiT
Yesterday, Larry Young blogged about The Question asked of him at comic conventions, and how it evolves over time. Given my friendship with Lar and my emerging status as Warren Ellis' online bitch, people often hit me with Questions as well, usually in the form of "Why doesn't my book sell like Brian Wood's do @ Khepri.com?" and/or "What do I have to do to get my book on Khepri.com?" which is really more of a "I want sales like Larry Young finds @ Khepri.com." Because, see, most questions are actually poorly-cloaked statements; a question implies listening for an answer, even answers you may not want to hear. So, for all you micro-press folk looking to be the next Larry Young, my two most common answers:
1. Kevin Costner Lied to All of You -
"If you build it, they will come" is such a line of crap-on-rye, and somehow it's become a mantra among the new small press. BURN THAT VHS TAPE. When I was first tapped for Terra Major duty, I broke it down for my boys Shane and Bruno thusly:
"Publishing comic books and graphic novels is akin to giving birth. There's the fun of making that baby. There's the blood, sweat, and tears of labor. But once the baby's out of the womb, does motherhood end? Absolutely not. It's just begun. Now you need to take that baby and introduce it to the world. Will there be sleepless nights? Hell, yes. Will there be vomit and poop? Indeed, there will. First steps. First words. You will love that baby and everything it does. However, not everyone will think your baby is the cutest baby on the planet. What do you do? Abandon it? Of course not. You encourage that child. You patch up the scraped knees. You mend the broken hearts. You show everyone you know pictures of that freckle-faced kid. And you get up the next morning and make that boy or girl a stack of pancakes. Because pancakes are love... and comic books are our children. Pass the maple syrup."
2. You Will Never Be Larry Young -
Try as you might, you cannot be Larry Young. And really, why would you want to be? Seriously. I like Lar - privately and publicly. But I'd never, ever give up being BSJ by trying to be Larry Young. Has he helped me? More than anyone will ever likely know - personally and professionally. But a copy of Larry Young is still a copy, not the original.
More importantly, Larry Young is never going to give you a fish. Not a salmon swimming upstream. Not a tigershark diving deep. Not even a little goldfish in a plastic baggie that'll die within 3 hours of dropping it in a bowl of tap water. No, what Larry will do - if you sit down, shut up, and listen - is teach you to fish. And the first rule of fishing? Patience. Few fish are going to hop in the boat for you and attach themselves to a wormless hook. I mean, really - do you want that fish to snap the picture of "your catch" for you, and then whisper the "one that got away" story in your ear, too? Look, consume True Facts, nibble at his Blog. Observe what he does and think it through. Don't just copy his actions, but learn his motivations. And please don't ask the man for a fish... lest you find yourself up a certain creek without a paddle. Lar may be a lot of things, but "fishmonger" is not among them.