If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I would highly recommend going to Zeus Comics this week. According to their twitter account: "Spring Cleaning Sale at Zeus! 50% all toys, statues, back-issues and trades!" (+). It was almost two years ago that I announced my website would exclusively use Zeus for online sales (mentioned here). They have been diligent in keeping their store stocked with my graphic novels and comics. An important part of being a small press/indie comic book writer is building strong partnerships with local retailers. It's necessary to have a store willing to champion your efforts. In turn, you support them. Projects like ONE NIGHT STAND, where we raised the funds to give complimentary copies to stores, are primarily an effort to network with more retailers. Beyond selling a few copies on a Wednesday, store signings are about getting to know the people behind the counter.
With the release of the iPad and the Marvel app (+), I wonder about the future for traditional comic book stores -- and the entire print/publication industry in general. (Commentary from Scott Kurtz) For the small press/indie creator, does Apple represent a new gatekeeper to distribution? It's not the first the "little guy" has had to work around the gatekeepers to find an audience for their art. To do this, we need allies. Our greatest allies are on the local level -- not just geographically local, but smaller communities wherever they may appear. We can't compete with the scope and reach of larger corporations. However, can we build a core audience, smaller numbers with greater support? The key is to find opportunities that are mutually beneficial for local stores. Each helps the other. We find our niche and stay relevant.
Will Marvel and DC remain loyal to physical retailers or will digital opportunities move their focus elsewhere? I imagine "both/and" is the most prudent approach, but I wonder if Marvel and DC (two companies who helped keep retailers in business) will be the ones to drown the direct market in order to keep themselves afloat. Any thoughts?