Friday, September 21, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #375 (September 21st, 2007)


Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist

1. A mother who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand-rears her children full time.

2. It makes great sense for the government to pay 10 to 15,000 dollars a year to fund a daycare space for a child so its mother - who pays perhaps 2,000 dollars in taxes - can be a contributing member of society.

3. A woman's doctor has more of a valid claim to participate in the decision to abort a fetus than does the father of that fetus.

4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.

5. A car with two steering wheels, two gas pedals and two brakes drives more efficiently than a car with one steering wheel, one gas pedal and one brake which is why marriage should always be an equal partnership.

6. It is absolutely necessary for women to be allowed to join or participate fully in any gathering place for men, just as it is absolutely necessary that there be women only environments from which men are excluded.

7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.

8. It is important to have lower physical standards for women firepersons and women policepersons so that, one day, half of all firepersons and policepersons will be women, thus more effectively protecting the safety of the public.

9. Affirmative action at colleges and universities needs to be maintained now that more women than men are being enrolled, in order to keep from giving men an unfair advantage academically.

10. Having ensured that there is no environment for men where women don't belong (see no.6) it is important to have zero tolerance of any expression or action which any woman might regard as sexist to ensure greater freedom for everyone.

11. Only in a society which maintains a level of 95% of alimony and child support being paid by men to women can men and women be considered as equals.

12. An airline stewardess who earned $20,000 a year at the time that she married a baseball player earning $6 million a year is entitled, in the event of a divorce, to $3 million for each year of the marriage and probably more.

13. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise a child are invalid because he is not the child's mother. However, his financial obligation is greater because no woman gets pregnant by herself.

14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.

15. Legislature Seats must be allocated to women and women must be allowed to bypass the democratic winnowing process in order to guarantee female representation and, thereby, make democracy fairer.


One of the points I think retailers miss is that if I'm out promoting my book, I'm not writing and drawing my book. If I'm writing and drawing my book, I'm not out promoting it. Consequently, retailers tend to buy a lot of books by creators they met or saw with a long line-up at conventions or who do a lot of signings or who are all over the Internet all the time and then feel betrayed when the guy's book is late or never comes out. Conversely, when you stay home and write and draw your book and put it out on time, retailers say, "You really need to get out and promote yourself and your book more." It's an irreconcilable dilemma. Completely irreconcilable. And I think understanding that and working with that is part of the 50% the retailer needs to bring to the table. There's a time to write and draw the book when the creator (or creator-publisher) needs to be left alone. Then there's a time to promote the book when the creator (or creator-publisher) needs to do that pretty much exclusively and for an extended period in order to have any effect.

But that means, frankly, no more on-going series…from anyone if the creators and creator-publishers are going to do their 50% of the heavy lifting. I think on-going series are going the way of the buggy-whip factory for the exact reason that all creators have to both create their work and promote their work. It also means retailers having to decide between a book that stays at its creative peak and comes out on time and how much creator work time they want eaten up with creator promotion.

Both. Well, yes, we all want everything, but it is an either/or. I could do a much better job of promoting my book if you give me six months to do so. The four-issue series or trade paperback or Prestige format book comes out and then that's all you're going to get out of me for a year. For six months I'm on the road and on the Internet (live) and doing signings and conventions, drumming up business for you and for me. That doesn't mean that at the end of the six months I'll have a new book out. No, at the end of the six months, after I crash for a few weeks, I can START thinking about another book. And no one can promote a book like the creator(s) of that book can. We are the irreplaceable commodity in both production and promotion.

Again, you are the people who sell the funnybooks, so as far as I'm concerned it makes more sense to do it your way whatever that way is. It's your call. Which would you rather have: Dave Sim writing and drawing for ten months and promoting for two, or Dave Sim writing and drawing for two months and promoting for ten months? I think when it comes to ComicsPRO and other groups of retailers, these are not rhetorical questions. In my case, they certainly aren't. You tell me to write and draw for two months and promote for ten, hey, I'll be glad to work with you on that. But don't complain that I only got one 20-page comic out in a year. You tell me to write and draw for ten and promote for two, I'll be glad to work with you on that, but don't complain that I only did three store signings – and what about the other 127 ComicsPRO stores? -- and a convention last year.

If you want me to promote then you have to decide how to use your own resources to help me promote my book. Having agreed 100% to a 50-50 split in the workload, I'm still never going to be able to do 130 ComicsPRO store signings in any sensible time frame. It would take me close to three years going out every weekend to make it to each store and that means no new Dave Sim funnybook for four years. Given that ComicsPRO is the smallest retail organization that exists, I think that pretty effectively puts paid to the idea of store signings as either an exclusive or even primary means of promoting my secret project.

I mean, if you can see a flaw in my reasoning, I'll be glad to hear what it is, but that looks like a "put paid" sign to me. It seems to me that the logistical impossibility points in the direction of the organization thinking outside the box as to how 90 retailers can promote one book. You can all put your names in a hat and draw out the ten stores that get a signing, but I don't think that's the problem or the solution. That means that you're not a single organization, you're 90 individual retailers. The same as if you each decide, individually, to invest $50 in promoting my secret project that $50 isn't going very far outside the front door of your store. If you pool that money, though, then you're talking $4,500 and that's going to go a lot further. $100 and you're talking $9,000.

What would you spend the money on? Well, again, I think that's up to you and in that case, I think you need to think INside the box. What works? Don't blow it all on a TV ad on STAR TREK reruns just because GEE WHIZ WE GOT 9 GRAND TO PLAY AROUND WITH. What has worked and what continues to work and delivers good value for the money invested? Do that. Treat the $9,000 as if it's your own $9,000 and not just the $100 you kicked in. Don't engage in wishful thinking. The $9,000 isn't going to bring hundreds of people into your stores so put that thought completely out of your mind. Spent wisely, the $9,000 can maybe give you a book that will sell like a mid-range Marvel comic but possibly it will sell to some new people instead of the "graying" super-hero crowd that Joe Field refers to. You might get one or two new regular customers out of it. Some local publicity. Maybe a little excitement. A LITTLE excitement. Image was fourteen years ago and probably cost retailers more in terms of overall unsold inventory and the rent you've been paying to store it than it made for you in GLITZ and EXCITEMENT. Slow and steady wins the race.

Tomorrow: what I most admire about ComicsPRO





If you wish to contact Dave Sim, you can mail a letter (he does NOT receive emails) to:

Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc
P.O. Box 1674
Station C
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2G 4R2

Looking for a place to purchase Cerebus phonebooks? You can do so online through Win-Mill Productions -- producers of Following Cerebus. Convenient payment with PayPal:

Win-Mill Productions

Or, you can check out Mars Import:

Mars Import

Or ask your local retailer to order them for you through Diamond Comics distributors.