NaNoWriMo is, without a doubt, the olympics of writing. You have some great athletes, pulling out incredible performances… but the Michael Jordans and the Tiger Woods still get all the chicks (in Tiger’s case, that’s literal).
I would love to participate in the challenge. There’s no shortage of ideas, but there is a deficit in time.
I’m working on starting a business. No, not some multi-level marketing thing where I can ‘work from home’ and makes millions in my first week, all I have to do is send this guru thirty thousand dollars and then subscribe to every belief system he’s created.
I’m writing out the business plan and working on the product line of ERRANT Studios Inc., a new digital comics and book publisher focusing on, as the name would insinuate, a ‘different’ kind of entertainment. Basically, we’re talking about a publishing company manifested into reality and controlled by and geared towards creators and writers.
It will be ran as a business, focusing on quality. But our genres aren’t going to be so horribly restricted. We’ll accept different kinds of subject matter. And all titles we publish must be able to exist in the same universe. (We will have a different line for out-of-universe stories called Erratic.)
To do so, like I said, I’ve been working on the business plan. I’ve been developing our marketing strategy and doing research on various aspects of the industry. I’ve also created write ups of our member-owned products, describing in full detail their summaries, market analogies (what popular titles are they most similar to), how they are similar to those analogies, how they differ, and what innovations the product will bring to the table. (The business plan is to find investors willing to give us money to start this company… We need quite a bit.)
On top of all that, I need to write out the scripts for the graphic novels in which I have a personal stake. Normally our numbers are balanced between the CORE Members but out of the EIGHTEEN titles we have ready to go, I own part or all of SIXTEEN.
This creates quite a predicament for me.
So I’ve come to announce that instead of taking part in NaNoWriMo, I’m going to do NaGraNoWriMo.
That’s right, National Graphic Novel Writing Month.
Not to be confused with GrannyWriMo, NanoRyhmo, NanoThighsMo, or BananaRhymo. (All of which are equally made-up.)
Of course, NaGraNoWriMo isn’t real. I made it up this morning while recovering from a headache. I don’t have the foggiest idea of where it came from.
That being the case, I might as well take part in another fake challenge. I like the sound of BananaRhymo.
So here’s my entry:
It’s not perfect. But, I have a month to perfect it.
The #1 reason why a small comic publisher will fail:
Poor marketing strategies. They rely on the book to sell itself.
Nothing sells itself. This is the world that consumers have created by demanding better products. Competition arises and consumers fall into confusion about which one to buy. Poor, dishonest marketing strategies have pushed the consumer to distrust the companies that create the products they buy on a regular basis. Moronic consumer practices (like buying something packaged in a box with a person of a certain race on it) have led to unreliable sales projections. So here we are, in a constant battle between companies trying to gauge their buyers and buyers bitching endlessly about the air in the top of a Lay’s potato chip bag.
Most artists and writers of comic books would say they’re different. They’d say this because comic books are a combination of art and literature; a closely relatable product near to the reader.
That reason is bullshit.
Comic books ARE different. They are an entirely different breed. But that’s because they ARE the package. In a comic book, you’re actually buying the theme; the message of the book. The art and story are the vehicle but the biggest reason why a fan stays with a title is that they are touched by something in the message.
But packaging on a product does little to sell it. Great art will, of course bring in people. (Horrible art will drive the masses away like they’re escaping from the london riots.) But it’s not enough. Great artwork cannot mask a sophomoric story. They may make initial sales by piquing curiosity. Those numbers will most assuredly fall if the great hero with the beautifully rendered city-scapes turns out to be as one dimensional as the paper you so desperately flip through to find a single goddamn redeeming quality for him.
But no one will get to see the art if you’re hidden away somewhere on the internet or in the back of some comic shop.
Marketing strategies are inherently important to any publisher. So much so that the marketing budget of a comic book publisher should be one third or more of its total budget.
Advertisements must be engaging. They must be interesting and relatively on target. They don’t have to tell the whole story of each book… but they do have to give the audience some idea about the overall feel.