Whinge- Australian comics where are you?

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Whinge- Australian comics where are you?

Postby Anomic on Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:33 am

I???m going to let some steam off
I recently went to the Big smoke (Melbourne) for a meeting, something I get to do once every 3 months. As part of the pilgrimage I set aside valuable work time to skive off and go to the major comic book stores. I was disappointed (yet again) that the Australian section of one of the more prominent stores was (in my opinion) understocked and looking quite shabby. Many of the comics that I have been reading about on this forum were unavailable so it was a wasted opportunity for me and for those wanting to make money from the sale of Australian comics. Is this an issue elsewhere?
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Postby David Bird on Wed Mar 23, 2005 11:21 am

Hi

I would say the amount of Australian comics in any given comic shop, at any given time, would vary depending on the frequency individual publishers make the rounds to said shops, either in person or by post.

But rather than expend precious time and money in visiting Melbourne, on the off chance there will be some Australian comics that you're after for sale, why don't you purchase them from Gavin's Phase Two Comics Online, or contact individual publishers by email or phone and arrange to purchase them directly?

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Postby Anomic on Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:55 pm

Hello David,
Thanks for that I???ll check out these options
I guess the issue is a bit wider than me getting the comics I want, I have some involvement and investment in the comic scene so I guess I???ll search out the other ways of getting what I want. But for someone just wading in to this or any of these shops the Australian options (poorly) displayed were only as small portion of what???s actually out there. Maybe this is because the publishing of small titles makes distribution a bit patchy or maybe there is a lower commitment from these stores or maybe it???s these reasons and a whole lot of factors. But the issue is a few people missed out on selling their goods to me on that day ??? I may chase down the ones I really wanted to read?? but there were a few that I would have bought if they were there, as well as some impulse buys. I, like I???m sure many other country people do, save my $ to take to the city to get things you just can???t get here. I just think it???s a shame, a missed opportunity and moreover poor marketing of a product that I consider equal if not superior to the lazy slop some international publishers are producing.
:'(
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Postby Darren Close on Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:17 pm

the problem is that exact pile of shabby books you saw Anomic - melbourne comic shops want to avoid being stuck with old books they can't sell.

As such, they order in insufficient quantities. Minotaur for example only take 10 copies of Killeroo at a time. Up until now these generally sell in about 2-3 weeks, and up until recently I wasn't living locally so it's hard to keep them stocked. I know Phosphorescen't Eldritch Kid book recently sold out there in 2 days, and they have the same problem - it may be months before Phos check to find this out.

But I'm not entirely blaming the retailers, as they obviously don't want to get stuck with a bunch of old books. There's also a lack of upkeep for those creators who do sell their books there - when's the last time Tales from Under your Bed was available there? Lots of quality books made, tho not many recently, and a lack of monitoring on when and if they sell out.
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Postby Egofreaky on Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:26 pm

Yes, Minotaur has sold both lots of OzTAKU #3 (that's 30 copies all up) and have yet to inform me that they're sold out.
I only know because someone bitched to me in an email about it (to which I replied, why not go to another comic shop? I can only think of 2 in Melbourne that don't actually stock the thing)...
Considering that we're not major distributors, but rather 3-4 titles max, the retailers don't really have time to chase us all up, so in a way, it's up to the artists to make sure they're stuff is still on shelf and available at the shops that stock it.
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Postby David Bird on Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:30 pm

Hi Anomic

Ahhhh . . . the vexed question of distribution.

Anyone who self publishes in Australia is faced with the unenviable task of getting his or her publication out there to sell it.

You can get a list of Aussie comic friendly shops (try Ozcomics the magazine or ask Mark Selan nicely and I'm sure he forward you the list by email) and methodically contact them by phone or in person and go through the arduous process of sending/taking in copies to sell - then do the follow up contact to collect monies and take in more copies if the publication has done okay.

OR you can go the no less arduous route taken by Phospherescent Comics and get your books distributed by the major distributor in the game, with their attendant rules and regulations and costs.

OR you can use internet distribution companies (there are a host of them, mostly overseas) to sell on your behalf, and they take a small percentage.

Everyone on these forums who publishes SHOULD use Gavin Thompson's Phase Two Comics Online. No excuses. Only by building up availability of titles and purchases through his site do we as publishers benefit, but also Gavin as a small businessman.

Enough of a plug. If you are time poor like me (married with kids, work most of the week, lots of commitments, don't drive), its damn hard to physically get around to stores to get your stuff out there. Pick the store(s) or service which will get the most bang for your buck - dollar and time wise.

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Postby Anomic on Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:08 pm

i'm staring to get the picture as bleak as it is...
thanks for that.
Darren. Killeroo in any edition was not in stock at Minator
Egofreaky. there was only 1 copy of OzTAKU #3 last week when I was in
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Postby Anomic on Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:14 pm

I???m sorry but it just occurred to me maybe there could be a facility for members to comment on stock numbers via a forum like this (sorry Maggie) or ozcomics when its back up. We appear to be a diverse group both in interest and geography, all it would take is like a poll where if your local shop has run out of the titles listed members can warn the artist/publisher. I???m sure one of you computer-oriented guys could come up with something? Or has this been tried already?
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Postby maggie on Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:33 pm

Don't be sorry Anomic. There's a definite seed of an idea there and I'd be happy if PF could somehow help grow it.

It seems to me that since we all sort of talk and trade kisses (and barbs) we could probably find a way to help each other with their supply chain (you seed my book in Melbourne, I'll seed yours in Sydney - please send Gavin any unsold copies, etc). The idea, commonly referred to as a 'collective' (the hippie version of an 'industry/distributor', if you will) is nothing new and probably comes up here once a year, but it does require everyone to actually work together and not eye each other suspiciously as a threat to sales or whatnot.

Anyway, before I ramble any more, I'd wholeheartedly support any way PF could nurture any of these ideas.

PS - And why is there no Aussie version of Comic Shop News? CSN is cool... if you live in America, but all it is here is a "here's what's coming in America - your copy will be here when it gets here so disregard those dates" (Phantom Zone, I'm looking in your direction, I don't know about other shops using CSN - does Kings? does your local?). Aa a result there are, of course, no listings for Aussie books and no news or stories about Aussie products.
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Postby practicecactus on Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:41 pm

maggie wrote: we could probably find a way to help each other with their supply chain . The idea, commonly referred to as a 'collective'

Aww..can you feel the love? Can You FEEL The Love?!!
..I can feel it ..it's in my pan.....no, no...I,..I won't.. :x
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Postby Gary Lau on Wed Mar 23, 2005 9:58 pm

Anomic,

I can only speak for myself and my own experiences and self distributng to retailers is a bit troublesome. Most comic shops are quite sincere and professional when dealing business with them but I think because the 'business' of local self-publishers are so small (like no more than 10 copies on the shelf at once), it's understandable and not really in their utmost interest to remember your number and call you when your book has flown off the shelves (I've only ever had 2 occasions where comic shops actually called me for a reorder).

I'm generally just happy that these comic shops are willing to restock once all the previous stock have been sold, since they are in actuality selling old comics (back issues) on potential shelf space. I try my best to drop by most of the local Melbourne stores that stock Knight-Edge whenever I could or around 3 months interval, but sales are never consistent. One shop might sell out in weeks while another haven't moved a single copy in months (and that breaks my heart in tiny microscopic pieces when I hear news like that)!

Of course, I never know if people out there actually consider Knight-Edge an "Australian" book or not.

maggie, I've only ever had one shop that had free CSN for me to grab and I even collected some for a while back when there were cool comic strips in it. I don't see CSN lying around in the freebies pile much these days though. Could be that they go like toilet paper when you get diaherra. Or not. I don't know. Maybe one day in a perfect future, we'll have CSNs in ALL our letterboxes delivered weekly!!
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Postby Egofreaky on Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:11 pm

Classic Comics (Melbourne CBD) still has CSN for free on the spinny rack near their door.
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Postby maggie on Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:37 pm

Well, I'm not shilling for _more_ CSN, my point is that CSN has 'also ran' information as far as Australian readers are concerned (except for the previews and interviews).
What I said was there is no Australian equivalent of CSN. And why isn't there? (probably the same old 'dealers won't coopoerate' issue, or that no one's bothered to try it) All of us having CSN in our mailbox is only half cool. 100% cool would be if the release dates and book titles were geared towards an Australian audience, not a "this is what people in America are already reading by the time you get this. I dunno when it comes out down there in Kangarooland. Oh, and that 'preview' of 'Witchblade: The Anorexoning'? The book's already out. But not for you, Crocodile Boy."

To me it's akin to having Video Ezy hand out a "What's New on DVD" flyer from Hollywood Video in the US.

And an Aussie-attuned sheet like CSN could mention Anomic's new book thereby allowing the customers to anticipate it, if they're so inclined, and help merchants connect with it. "Hey, when will you have this in?" - "Ah, hmm, well we had some. Lemme call the guy and get some more."
Last edited by maggie on Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby xaverlex on Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:38 pm

Graphic Action in newcastle has always stuck a CSN in every bag when they're wrapping up the purchases.......or they do for me anyway.
I suppose its entirely possible that I'm *special*
Generally though there's not alot in it I find worth reading.
It'd be great to have an australian equivalent, but someone would need to bankroll it I imagine...
sorry I'm late, this elephant totally copped a 'tude with me.
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Postby Anomic on Thu Mar 24, 2005 8:45 am

Hello all,
Maggie you have probably taken the idea a step further than I had actually thought of (god bless your socialist heart). What I was thinking about was a little less supportive than that and therefore requiring less effort on everybody???s part (yes inertia is the enemy of art). What I was thought as a small step was a downloadable PDF that contains members publications that mebers (like myself) could print off and take next time I go to Melbourne, or anywhere there is a comic book shop, could take in and check their stock against the check list. This list could then be transferred to a section of this or another forum. This would provide a heads up to self publishers about stock levels and therefore ensure the public won???t miss out on Aust content in their local shop. At this point it would still be up to the self-publisher to stock the shops but at least they have a better idea of where their efforts are needed. The form needs to be near idiot proof and easy to fill out (within 2 min).

The data that needs to be captured by such a form would be:
Date of visit
Shop ID (this would inc. on the forum database the Shop location/Address)
Publication title and number

And possibly: Publication genre?

Later if there was interest the data could be broken down into sales per state, regions, suburbs, etc therefore giving publishers a better idea of who and where the most sales are coming from and where to best target their advertising dollars and efforts.
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