Indy Comic News asked me and a few other independent creators for our opinion on Diamond's new policies. (If you are unfamiliar with the changes in distribution, read here.) The Beat also pulled my quote on the matter.
"The new policies will certainly affect which publishers I work with in the future. I'm very grateful for the opportunities I had with Viper Comics and Silent Devil. It was a great place to start. However, I'm concerned that such 'smaller' small press companies won't be featured in the catalog, and that's a shame. These companies take greater risks on new talent, and our industry needs that. At the same time, my graphic novels received slightly more pre-orders through Baker & Taylor than through Diamond.
That means, the regular book stores carried more copies of my work than the comic book stores. We did some promotion in the direct market, and none with the book store market. It's hard to justify being in the Previews catalog if the comic book retailers aren't ordering much beyond Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IDW, Boom!, and Image. I don't fault them. The retailers have their reasons, and they know their market. It might be better to go straight to Baker & Taylor, and then directly solicit to the handful of indie-friendly comic book stores like Zeus, Austin Books, Titan, Star Clipper, Isotope, Rocketship, and Meltdown. I don't know if that would work. We need a business model to give the comic retailers access to the little guys.
For me, I need to start looking at other more established small press companies to publish the kind of stories I tell. I'm not too worried (maybe a little), but I'm concerned for the newest wave of up-and-comers. If I was them, I'd be at a real loss on where to go."
I understand Diamond's desire to make a distinction between "small press" (wiki) and something that amounts to a "vanity press" (wiki). In a bad economy, they want to feature only those publishers who have sales that justify placement in their catalog. The monthly Previews catalog can get too large to be useful to a retailer. There should be another way to allow retailers the final choice on what they want in their store. Indie comics can have their market, small but still profitable. Your thoughts?