The Devil Went Down To Georgia then Back To NYC
I'm back from visiting with my family in Georgia. This blog is supposed to be "business related", so I won't tell you about how cute my niece is or how I hung out with baby goats. I can mention two comic-related anecdotes, though.
Chris Staros of Top Shelf was kind enough to interrupt his busy schedule (including a visit from his dad!) to have lunch with me. He gave me all kinds of good advice and even a couple of important contacts (a printer in Canada, Lebonfon Printing, who may have better prices than Brenner Printing and an indie-friendly contact at Diamond Comic Distributors) as well as a delicious meal at a Thai place in the Marietta town square. While we were talking in his home/office James Kochalka (a huge inspiration for me) called, which had me nerding out in my head. This photo I've lifted from an article in Atlanta's Creative Loafing shows the view I had from the couch, although Chris wasn't looming over me.
An important bit of advice that he gave me, something I was struggling with, was in regards to sending out books for review before publication. It seems to be a Catch-22 that a publisher is supposed to send out copies for review before they've been printed. For a self-publisher like me that means going to a copy-shop and running off copies at about $9 per book (keeping in mind that the cost of professional printing will be around $2.50 or less!). The bigger publishers can afford to print galley prints (although they're still expensive), but I can't. So, Chris suggests just printing them up, sending them to my house and using actual copies stamped 'Review Copy' to send out. This is what I'll undoubtedly end up doing, although it will be inconvenient to have all these boxes in my already ridiculously crowded apartment. Also, I'll have to do all the shipping for all orders rather than having Diamond or whoever is distributing send them out from their warehouse. I plan on seeing how much it will cost for Diamond to store some of the books at their warehouse should they agree to distribute me.
Chris also told me that many of the bigger review publications won't review a book if it appears to have already been published, so most publishers put blank covers that say 'review copy' on their galley copies. I don't have the option to do this, so I'll just stamp them and hope for the best.
Another quandary is Diamond's new policy regarding minimum orders. They now require $2500 worth of orders, which ain't easy for a small independent publisher like myself. Fortunately, according to Chris, Diamond is more likely to work with a Xeric award winner and make an exception. We'll see!
The other comic-related episode in Georgia was that I got to hang out with all three of my childhood friends featured in the "Logging Sanjay" comic (Sanjay, Matt & Dewey). It was great to see them all again.