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.