Thursday, 4 April 2013

Distribution

Cerebus #37 (April 1982)
Art by Dave Sim
DAVE SIM:
(from page 52, The Cerebus Guide To Self-Publishing, 2010 Revised Edition)
Had I been able to make a living doing Cerebus on my own web site, would I have bothered to try and get distributors to carry it? Autonomy was a key element in my developing the self-publishing model that I did. Phil Seuling, the pioneer Direct Market distributor, was quite a character and, in a personal sense, I'm glad that I got to know him reasonably well (I got the blustery character of Filgate in High Society from him, if nothing else). However, in a business sense, in the late 1970s, I definitely saw him as a fly in my autonomy ointment. One way or another, Phil's personal quirks and preferences and sensitivities had to be taken into account. Why? Because there was no other option in 1977. If you got on Phil's bad side, there went half your market. I would definitely have weighed that in the balance, at the time, if I could have had my own web site instead of going through the distributors.

That doesn't mean it would have been a right decision.

There is a "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" dynamic: to what is going on right now, at least potentially. Stores with declining sales in the economic downturn mentally jettisoning marginal indy books, Diamond literally jettisoning marginal indy books. I don't think it’s completely outside the realm of likelihood that there are self-publishing cartoonists who are likewise, jettisoning the idea of selling their work through stores on the other side of the equation.
Cerebus #37 (April 1982)
Art by Dave Sim

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