Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Free Comic Book Day Wrap Up.

It’s been a few months since Free Comic Book Day, and I thought it was time to do a wrap up.

Going in, my goal for participating was to raise awareness about Wahoo Morris, with the hope that two or three hundred stores who hadn’t tried the book out might get a chance to see it and then bring in a copy of the trade paperback.

Around 10,500 copies of the FCBD book went out to 695 stores to be distributed on Free Comic Book Day. Of those 695 stores, only 29 had previously ordered the Wahoo Morris trade paperback.

Post FCBD I got an order from Diamond for 32 copies.

I don’t have the data for how many of those books went to stores that hadn’t previously ordered, but the results were a little disappointing to say the least. I probably gained no more than a handful of new stores.

I have no way of knowing if the free books were distributed to people who were looking for a freebie and would never be back, or who don’t know you have to special order a book like Wahoo Morris, or if the majority of those stores just aren’t interested in bothering to order a book like Wahoo Morris on the off chance that any of the takers of the FCBD book will be back for more. Maybe offering a FCBD book isn’t enough to overpower Previews overload, and I still got overlooked at the back of Previews. Or maybe the Free comic just didn’t appeal to anyone.

I know the latter isn’t the case as I have made multiple sales at conventions to people who read the FCBD book and loved it.

So, the conclusion is that, according to the goals I set for the promotion, Free Comic Book Day was a resounding flop for me. I might see some long term benefits, as it probably did raise my profile somewhat, even if my book is only available in 29 comic stores worldwide.

Will I do it again? Never say never, but probably not. I think I would rather spend my money targeting my audience directly by giving out free tastes at conventions, and supplying interested retailers with freebies directly instead of the blanket shot that was FCBD.

I still think Free Comic Book Day is a good promotion for the industry as a whole, but for an individual indie publisher trying to get into more stores - not so much.

Now, I'm not too discouraged, mind you. I'm making good progress on Wahoo Morris Book 2, and I feel more informed about what does and doesn't work in marketing an indie graphic novel series.

It's time to start planning the next marketing attack.


Blogger Von Allan said...

Fascinating and thanks for posting this, Craig. I know it must be disappointing. For what it's worth, I certainly didn't see any bumps to the website from the promo ad I did in the book, either. Ah, well.

Diamond aside, does the same hold true for other channels (say Amazon, Cold Cut, etc...)?

8:14 PM  
Blogger cat said...

Amazon saw a small bump, but there is no way to know if that handfull of sales was a result of FCBD.
Coldcut is in limbo right now, so no data there.

But, about half of my convention sales this summer have been to people who read the FCBD book.

I still think handing out free tastes is about the best way you can turn on new readers, I just have my doubts that FCBD is the most effective way of reaching those readers for a small fish like me.

It's those 666 stores that ordered the FCBD to give out, but didn't do the follow up and order in a copy of the series post FCBD that leave me scratching my head.

I really am at a loss how to get them to give the book a try.

6:07 AM  

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