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Below is a condensed version of an article that appeared in Self Publisher Magazine #74. A free download of that magazine is available at drivethrustuff.com.
by Gary Scott Beatty
Gary Scott Beatty runs Aazurn Publishing, is publisher of “Indie Comics Magazine” and recently wrote the comic book retailer story “Number One.” The first alternative comic he produced (They were called “underground” then) was on his high school’s ditto machine, after hours, without permission. His Xeric Grant Winner “Jazz: Cool Birth,” a jazz club murder mystery, was inspired by ‘50s album cover design. He also colors and letters for the industry. Find out more at Gary Scott Beatty.com.
Maybe you pay a marketing firm to keep your name in the public eye, but most of us indie creators depend solely upon our own devices for promotions.
Becoming savvy about good marketing practices will put you in a better position to compete with the big publishing houses who, let’s face it, will be able to outspend you every time. That means you need to be smart about your time and money. If you take nothing else out of this article, remember this phrase: target market.
TARGET MARKET. Your target market is the market, buyers and potential buyers, of your book. Put thought into who these people are and keep them in mind every time you decide to spend time or money promoting your project.
There are many places to spend money advertising comics. When considering shelling out your hard-earned coin, always ask the question, “Does this reach my target market?” You will be surprised how often the answer to this question is “No.”
Flip it around, and you can use this knowledge of your target market to promote your own books. For example, I chose the name “Indie Comics Magazine” for Aazurn Publishing’s flagship pub because that is exactly what it is: a large publication full of independent comics. Our target market is readers interested in independent comic book stories. I could have called it “Megacosm” or something, but that would not have communicated, simply and clearly, what we are.
That’s exactly what every stage of your marketing should do: communicate, simply and clearly, what your book is. People are too busy and impatient to dig through paragraphs of information. If you make them work at it, they will go away, and your marketing fails.
There is no secret to marketing. We use the same systems Don Draper had in the ’60s, with modern tools. Be clear, concise, and entertaining, and appear in as many places as you can. Always conclude with a way to “close” the sale.
Spend money if you can, but always keep your target market in mind for the most effective use of your dollars.
Comments on our can be referred to Gary at gary -at- comicartistsdirect -dot- com. All artwork copyright © by its respective artists and publishers.
To find out about how to appear in INDIE COMICS MAGAZINE, Visit Indie Comics Magazine.com and click on Submissions!
How do They Do It? is a feature on Comic Artists Direct that explores the nuts and bolts of the creative process. Check out the below articles!
James Lyle demonstrates his working methods from start to finish on an illustrated logo project.
Gary draws, inks, colors and lays out a cover illustration for On the Shore magazine here.
James Lyle talks about brainstorming for ideas here.
Check out Gary's article here for ways to keep your writing ideas fresh and different.
Gary's step by step article on lettering for comics is here.
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Small Press Stories. Comic Artists Direct asked accomplished small press creators to tell us about producing, printing, publishing and distributing small press comics in today's changing market. The results are contributions from Peter Kuper, Jaime, Steve Lafler and Steve "Noppie" Noppenberger and more, here!
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Coloring Comic Books Before Computers by Gary Scott Beatty. The processes printers went through to color comics before computers will amaze and impress you.
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