Until our [comic book] business model shifts, the retailers are the customers. Those books are not returnable. The retailer places an order three months before a book comes out. They haven’t read it. They have to guess based on their notion of who you are and how you’ve written a 75-word solicit. They have to guess how many issues of that book they are going to sell in their store. They’re trying to figure out: can I sell five issues of this book or six issues? It’s really small numbers that they’re working with. Whatever they can’t sell they’re stuck with.
That’s not even the biggest problem. The biggest problem is where to keep all these extra books. These stores are generally small. The limiting factor is often actually space more than it is budget. They make these calls with very little info, trying to decide how many copies they can sell without actually seeing the book. They’re in a tough position.
Once the final order comes, that’s a sale for the publisher. It is done. That’s how books can get canceled before they even come out. A lot of readers don’t understand that this happens.
The reader is not the customer. The retailer is the customer. So I try to have as much interaction with the retailers as possible because those are my customers.
Terrific insight into the industry.
Kelly Sue DeConnick nails it.