Birdcage Bottom Books is Born!
Winning the Xeric self-publishing award has got me scrambling to get this book published. In order to get distribution, you've got to be thinking (at least) four months in advance! Diamond is the biggest distribution company in comics, but if you're a small fish like me, you've got to convince them that you're worth distributing. They prefer established publishing companies that put out books constantly, but hey, everyone's gotta start somewhere, right?
So, as part of the ruse to appear that I'm not just one harried individual I've created a publishing company...Birdcage Bottom Books ("The best pages for your cages!"). That also meant quickly putting together a logo & website. It's not the best work I've ever done, but it'll have to do for now.
In addition, I've been reading any self-publishing guides I can get my hands on (thanks so much, Tompkins Square Library). In my research, I came across a former Xeric grant winner, Lars Martinson, who was nice enough to put a series of posts dealing with his self-publishing experiences on his website. He ended up using Top Shelf comics, an established alternative comic publisher, to sub-distribute his book. The good side is that Top Shelf knows what they're doing and Lars gets risidual advertisement through them. The bad side is that they take an additional cut of the already paltry sum the self-publisher ends up making off of his books (should they sell).
Top Shelf happens to be based in Marietta, GA which is where I grew up. We're going to visit my family in about two weeks, so I've set up a meeting with Chris Staros at Top Shelf to see if he might sub-distribute my book as well. He warned me that they've already got too much on their plates for 2009, but I figure it can't hurt to try.
In other publishing news, Jeffrey Brown was nice enough to give me a flattering quote for the back cover of my book (he's a Top Shelf artist, too!). Kevin Huizenga gave me some good advice and Chris Ware wrote me an unexpected letter apologizing for his policy of no longer giving out quotes. Honestly, it was just a treat to get ANY correspondence from my all-time favorite cartoonist, and it was as charming and self-depricating as you might expect. Julia Wertz also responded kindly to my call for advice/criticism/quotes, and she let me know that the anthology she's editing should be out any day (I've got a piece in it...Adam Kidder, too). I'm still waiting to hear from several others.