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#204761 - 11/26/98 11:22 AM Comics previews at solicitation time
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
I posted a version of the following proposal on the old discussion board a few days before the new boards came online. Since then, I've created a prototype website. The website is:
http://www.members.tripod.com/~indypreviews/
(note that tripod is case-sensitive, so don't use any capital letters.)

Everybody's invited to check out the website, and subscribe to the email version if you want to. And I welcome any feedback that you have. [img]/resources/ubb/biggrin.gif[/img]

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This is an exciting time for the comics industry, with the explosion of activity on the World Wide Web! Websites like www.COMICON.COM are promoting independent comics to a larger and more diverse population than ever before.

But something is missing. Most current websites are promoting books that are already published-- but there's a real need to support books PRIOR to publishing, during the solicitation stage. That's when the publisher expects (and needs) to sell the most copies, but ironically, it's the most difficult time to get the public's attention!

So here's an idea:

Imagine you're a comics consumer, and every month you get an email with a list of 100 or so of the best new indy comics being solicited that month in distributor catalogs. This list also includes comics that have no distributor and gives info on how to order them. In a separate email, you get blurbs about a lot of the comics, and independent reviews by a staff of dedicated comics fans.

Imagine you can take this list, print it, circle the comics you want, and hand-carry it to your local comics retailer. OR-- You copy it into your email compose mode, chop it down to the comics you want, and email the customiit to your retailer, or an online retailer who takes advance orders. OR MAYBE you yourself are the retailer, and you use this list as a shortcut for picking comics for your store; you might even pass it on to your best customers.

Imagine there's a website that features all of the above, along with pictures from the comics and links to the originating publisher's sites. And every month it has a face-lift so it always represents the comics being solicited that month.

Now, imagine you're a publisher soliciting a book; to get on the list and the website mentioned above, you simply email them with your solicitation material and URLs for any web pages and images you have to present. Low-tech publishers of course can snail-mail the material to them.

If you make the cut, a heads-up about your book will go out to everybody who subscribes to the email list.

The list would also be composed using publicly-available information, so even if you don't know about them, you might still make the list based on that.

Now imagine that this service is offered to both the comics consumer and the comics publisher FOR FREE.

There's a lot that'd need figuring out, but I think this is a viable idea that would do a lot of good, especially for infrequently-published books that are hard to keep track of.

Say somebody did this as a modest-sized operation. After a while, if they're diligent, they'd have a subscription list of about 50 people, and hundreds of hits on their website a month. Chances are, they'd be helping to sell THOUSANDS of quality comics a year! What's scary is, the traffic could be much higher than that!

And there's no reason why there couldn't be a dozen operations like this, competing with each other, representing different points of view about which are the best new comics of the month.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?


[This message has been edited by joezabel (edited 11-26-98).]
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#204762 - 11/30/98 02:50 PM Re: Comics previews at solicitation time
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
Joe,
Went to the tripod site yesterday and it worked fine, but returned today to have a closer look and got a 404 message. Tried it a third time and two of the frames came up while the top right hand frame was 404.
One feature I would suggest adding: a 'print this list' function in the bottom frame. Another might be a FAQ for customers and retailers alike for purchasing direct from publishers (getting retailers to get off their butts and make the extra effort even when they have a sale staring them in the face is one of the problems small press guys have been facing forever). I'm assuming your 'Connect Sales' section will have hot links in it rather than cold type. Perhaps a list of on-line retailers links in the left side frame?
All this from someone who, with Steve Conley, is launching a similar, free but differently featured, system in the next few days. Watch this board for news of Connectsales.com!
Rick
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#204763 - 11/30/98 04:29 PM Re: Comics previews at solicitation time
Joe Zabel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 2546
Loc: Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
Rick-- All of those features you mentioned, I want, some of them I don't know how to code, like the print feature. I know that most browsers will allow you to put the mouse area on a part of a multi-framed screen and right click, bringing up the print option for that frame alone. But to have the website handle it for you, that's beyond my current HTML knowledge.

I'll eagerly survey Steve's new software when it goes public-- am very much open to collaborating/coordinating/conspiring with you guys. I've sent messages to various parties, including an online retailer (probably too early for a response).

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Joe Zabel
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