As was stated before, it is the publishers responsibility to market and advertise their product. The two most successful marketing tactics for comic books are appearing at conventions, and book signings at stores.
Store signings usually require that your book has racked up a certain amount sales before hand. At the beginning, this may be easier to do on a local level, in stores with whom you have already established a relationship. Remember- the store owners goal in a book signing is to draw a crowd of people who will buy several different books (not just yours) while they are in the store.
Conventions are a good place to market your book- but don't expect to make a profit at them. You should keep this in mind when budgeting money for your convention tour. Most of the larger conventions have a sliding scale for renting tables and booths. Publisher and retail booths tend to be on the high end of the scale. Small Press and artist tables are on the low end.
You should map out a convention strategy early in the year. You should try to attend as many of your local conventions as possible. It is also good to attend at least one major convention in each REGION of the country (I.e. The South, Mid-East, North-East, Mid-West, West, South-West). When attending conventions, ask other exhibitors which conventions they think are the best to attend.
The idea of going to a convention is to get your book seen by the public and the retailers that attend. You will need to be part side-show barker part traveling salesman. Don't sit behind your table like a bump on a log, expecting the crowds to come to you. You need to attract their attention and make them feel at ease. Most consumers are afraid to pick up a book and look at it for fear of being EXPECTED to buy it on the spot. You need to encourage them to look at the book WITHOUT pushing them to buy it. Remember- the idea is to be seen here, not to make a profit.
You should have photocopied handouts with testimonials, reviews, show some art, and (more importantly) contain distributer information. This hand out should be given to anyone who looks at or buys a book. Inform them they can order your book from their local comic store using the info contained in the pamphlet.
This handout should also be given to all the retailers in attendance at the show. You should also give the retailers a free copy of your book to look over. The goal here is NAME RECOGNITION. If the retailer actually holds a physical copy of the book, and looks through it, he is more likely to RECOGNIZE the name when ordering from the distributors catalog. He probably wont remember where or when he saw the book, only that it is vaguely familiar. Therefore, there is a better chance he will order it, because it stood out from the rest of the crowd.
Another good ploy is to hand out free postcards with ordering information for your book printed on the back, and some really cool image or graphic from your book on the front. These can be printed up relatively inexpensively. One particularly good postcard printer is Modern Postcard.Com.
The following links contain information on several major conventions throughout the country:
The contents of The Stickman Graphics Self-Publishing Resource Guide is copyright and trademarked 2000 by Kevin Tinsly. All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced by any means, electronic or mechanical for sale or publication without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review. Published by Stickman Graphics.
This website is designed to provide accurate and authoritve information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is displayed with the understanding that neither the publisher nor the author are engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Every effort has been made to make this manual as complete and accurate as possible. However, there may be mistakes both typographical and in content. The author and publisher shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this book.
All brand names and product names used in this book are trademarks, registered trademarks, or trade names of their respective holders. In all instances where Stickman Graphics is aware of a claim, the product names appear in Initial Capital letters.