I’ll let you write the rest of the sentence. But I’m pretty confident most of you guys would write “…and Die”. Actually, don’t (die). Please go to Comic Book Jones, a comic shop located on Staten Island where Will and I had the pleasure of holding a signing-marathon on June 21st.
Will Torres likes to bust my chops, as he puts it. But when he called me up to say : “Bro, we’re going to be there the whole day at Comic Book Jones”, he wasn’t joking. I didn’t even put up a fight. I said: “alright”. He might have been disappointed that I didn’t argue, for once. In fact, I saw that as an opportunity.
Staten Island isn’t really close to where I live in Brooklyn. One train, two buses and 100 mn later I’m at the store. I introduce myself. The guys are friendly and professional. They set up the table for me in a few minutes and in no time I’m ready for the customers. At this point Will isn’t there. He arrived about an hour later.
On a Wednesday, you know you’re not going to have the best of business, but you’ll get the regulars, the customers who have a pull list and come pick up the latest comics out that week.
I can’t say we got so many customers that we couldn’t handle it, but we had a decent amount of them, curious to see who were those two artists near the window. Of course, a few people came to us thinking we were part of the store, but the Comic Book Jones employees were always there in no time to help them.
It was also great to see our new friend Rahmet, a Spider-Man cosplayer we met the week-end before at Garden State Mega Fest. Rahmet lives in Staten Island and came to say hi. This guy is not only a great cosplayer, but he has a big heart too. We joked that I can’t friend him on Facebook because he already has 5000 of them!
Was it that good?
Let’s be honest, we were not thrilled by the sales at Comic Book Jones. And there’s one major reason for that: the lack of publicity. Will and I faced that before. You agree with the store owner about a date and you do your part by promoting the event on your networks, which we did. I personally designed multiple teasers that were put on Instagram and Facebook by Will and myself. But when we arrived at the store: no sign of our presence. Nothing at the door (they were promoting another event for the following day instead). Nothing in the store either. Suprisingly, Comic Book Jones’ employees knew we were coming. But no one apparently thought about warning the customers in a newsletter or even, physically, at the store, a few days before.
All the people we talked to that day were caught by surprise. Some even weren’t happy that they couldn’t go back home picking up their Spider-Man Noir comics for me to sign.
I guess, following what happened at Garden State Mega Fest (read my full report here), we have to add a fourth Golden rule:
– Publicity stupid! Are you deaf? Yeah, it echoes rule #3, but this one has to apply to comic book stores: comic book creators come, sometimes from far, to your stores to raise interest on their work, for sure, but also to create an event at YOUR store. The least you could do is to tell your customers about it. They’re not going to know about the signing by telepathy (I know that we’re talking about comics but… you know, not going to happen).
Another thing was disturbing. We were told that any comic book sale at the store had to be split 50% with them. When they told me that, I didn’t blink and I accepted. That was a bad decision. The store didn’t buy most of the books. I came with them. I paid for them. Either I bought them or had them produced. Either way, they were making money off me in a very unusual way. Now, you can legitimately ask: did it work the other way? The answer is yes. The books that belonged to the store and sold that day were also split with us. But these books, 2 copies of One-Hit Wonder, were paid for ages ago and if you’re asking yourself how much I made 3 years ago on Image Comics’ single issues, I don’t remember but not much. On the other hand, I came with rare issues of Spider-Man Noir that cost me a fortune and what I got from the store was hardly what I paid for them. Lesson learned and no hard feelings. I accepted the deal, it’s my fault. It won’t happen again.
Overall, despite what I just said, it was a good experience. Comic Book Jones is a cool store, big enough to carry a large selection of books. The personnel is friendly and makes a great coffee. Will we come back? Absolutely. If everyone learns from this, we’ll be happy to come back later this summer, when the Intertwined Trade Paperback is relased for example. This time, I hope people will be there!
To be continued