Thursday, November 08, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #423 (November 8th, 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.


The subject is, as usual, the complete lack of a paper trail for anything I've done being approved of after CEREBUS and HIGH SOCIETY. I mean I'd like to help you folks out and CREATE a paper trail so it doesn't look as if you've all been scrupulously ignoring me for thirteen years but, uh, no can do. Or if any of you can come up with a paper trail: some huge stack of rave reviews and letters with everyone beside themselves with ecstasy at How Dave Sim Nailed Woody Allen and how amazing that was – you know, I misplaced them somewhere around the Off-White House, but there they are, plain as day, absolute stacks of them.

Woody Allen? NOW you're going to tell me that you thought the Woody Allen stuff was GOOD? That was four years ago. Okay, now one guy is willing to admit four years later that the Woody Allen stuff didn't blow chunks. And THIS I'm supposed to build the rest of my career around?

There is an occasional glimmer of light in the darkness. I'm hoping to get to a fax I got from Ralph DiBernardo which, a mere two weeks ago (October 10: I'm writing this October 22) actually switched Secret Project II from "Definite Scrub Launch" to "Possible Go Launch" status.

If you want to see Secret Project II, well right now it's hanging by the thread provided by Dann Thomas and Ralph DiBernardo. Looking on the bright side, that thread wasn't there a month ago.

I always try to look on the bright side. Thanks for writing, Mike.

A letter from Alessandro Bottero in Rome, Italy:

"Dear Mr. Sim, I'm Alessandro Bottero, an Italian comic-book publisher.

"I have worked with projects like USAGI YOJIMBO, A DISTANT SOIL, NOWHERESVILLE, DIORAMAS, HEAVEN'S WAR. I've published some young Italian authors, too. In 2007-2008, I will publish USAGI YOJIMBO, NEXUS ARCHIVES and some Oni Press titles (LITTLE STAR, LOVE FIGHT, CHEAT, and others).

"I've read CEREBUS and I've always found your stories and articles very interesting.

"I hope all goes well for you, and I hope we could talk about a little project I'd love to do.

"I believe in self-publishing (or in a mutual cooperation between author and publisher) and I'd be very glad if I could publish the Italian version of your CEREBUS GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING. Do you believe it could be interesting for you?"

"I found it very interesting because every year I write a little book on publishing, self-publishing and more called `My Way'. I've published `My Way 2005', and `My Way 2006' so far. I make a very small print run (maybe 200 copies) and I sold it directly at the comic convention or by my site.

"I was wondering if I could do the same with your guide.

"If you are interested maybe you could contact me."

I appreciate the offer but right now the GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING is in the middle of being updated. Unfortunately, it's at the same point in being updated that it was two years or so ago and, at least for the foreseeable future, I can't see where I would find the time to devote to it.

Good luck with `My Way 2007".

David Banks sent me a breakdown on the costs involved in producing the 300-cover volume and the 50-cover volume including the royalty for Aardvark-Vanaheim and the royalty for Gerhard. I suggested that he let everyone know what the costs are involved since both books are going to be incredibly expensive and the lion's share of the money is going into printing. I assume what will happen at this point is that someone is going to try to steer him in the direction of a cheaper printer in order to get the costs down.

That'll be up to David since the project was his idea in the first place and he was the first one to send me a mock-up of it.

As I said, Matt Lehman sent me a fax from Comicopia in Boston saying that he would take between 25 and 50 copies of Secret Project #2 sight unseen. Which is also what Brian Hibbs at Comix Experience in San Francisco said and what Jeremy Shorr at Titan Comics in Dallas said. It's not especially good news because first issue orders are always going to be roughly 200% of what second issue orders are going to be and the retailers all basically order what everyone else orders. You got three guys with the same orders, you might as well have orders from all 3,000 stores. It's like the exit polls in elections. It's not the happiest news in the world that we're so predictable that 2% of the polls are going to tell you the same thing 100% of the polls are going to tell you, but it is, indeed, a fact of life.

[That 200%, by the way, is a point worth emphasizing, I think, that often gets overlooked in the comic-book field. Your first issue orders don't represent what the retailer thinks he will be able to sell of your title. Your first issue orders represent about TWICE what the retailer thinks he will be able to sell of your title. Call it the First Issue Premium Effect. There is a whole constituency in the comic-book stores who, in addition to their regular purchases, buy first issues of comic books – sometimes multiple copies, sometimes of every first issue that comes in (this hit a lunatic extreme with Image Comics where a lot of these guys bought 100 copies of each Image first issue which is what led to sales in the million-plus range in an environment that only consisted of roughly 100,000 -- if that -- paying customers) sometimes just of first issues they like the look of. As investments go, it isn't a REALLY terrible idea. Roughly the same odds as blackjack (i.e. not REALLY terrible, as compared to playing slot machines, say). Even a first issue that has no long-term potential investment value can often have a flurry of "heat" in the first couple of weeks after it comes out and be suddenly selling for $50 until it cools off and settles back to $5 or $10. If you bought ten of them and you dump them when they hit $50, selling them back to the retailer for $250 it's really no different from any commodities market where you "go short" or "go long" on your investments. Or lottery tickets, where people who buy a LOT of lottery tickets and win $50 will often just turn around and buy $50 worth of lottery tickets. (Seriously, I just saw someone do that in a variety store I was in and my jaw dropped open).

You "made" roughly $220 so you buy $220 worth of first issues. But – and this is the important part for self-publishers – a lot of the people who will buy your first issue on that basis, won't buy your second issue. The track record isn't REALLY terrible on first issues, but it's even worse on second issues (as in, you would have the same level of success tearing up $100 bills and then wishing fervently that they would glue themselves back together again). So there is this built-in exponential drop-off in sales. If you do three variant covers, all that's going to do is exacerbate the situation. The sales on your second issue will usually be a fraction of what your smallest selling variant cover was. I think there would be a lot less disappointment in the field if publishers and self-publishers would just divide their first issue numbers in half and use that as the basis for their expected sales on number two and then divide that number in half and use it as the basis for their expected sales on number three. If you can't make a go of it with your number three sales, save yourself some money and aggravation and don't put the book out]

Tomorrow: So, let's look at how bad the news is on Secret Project #2


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.