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Don McGregor on Marketing Independent Comics

A message from writer Don McGregor (BLACK PANTHER, DETECTIVES INC.) to retailer Steve Bates. Note: PP stands for PEACE PARTY, of course. <g>


I read through the e-mail you sent yesterday.

I'm not sure I understand everything you're responding to, for instance, I don't even know what a PP stands for, although I have the feeling when I find out, I'll go, I should have known that.

But the essence of your discussion on comics certainly echoes others I've had in ways to get people to know that DETECTIVES INC. and SABRE exist.

It's frustrating (albeit complimentary, as well) to have people tell me, why didn't I know about Denning and Rainier before this? Well, it isn't as if I haven't tried to get the word out.

I spent the last two months doing interviews, adding the www.donmcgregor.com website, but ask me how much impact it has had in bringing people into it, and I couldn't really tell you.

I know we're set up to sell both DETECTIVES INC. and SABRE on the site (and certainly it is better to have a place where people may find it eventually and actually order over the Internet) but how to use the site effectively to do that, I'm not sure. It'd be interesting to know what you think works and doesn't, Steve.

At the same time, I've tried to put interesting visuals as well as backgrounds on a variety of the projects on the site. I'm still certainly feeling my way with this. I've done interviews for mystery sites, writers sites, foreign sites, comic sites, etc., so that hopefully people who might not know there is something in comics that might interest them exists.

But it's all a trade-off, too, because for all of that, you aren't telling stories. Much of your time and energy is going into this, and then you have to stop and just focus on telling the story.

Doing this hopefully will increase your chances to survive in this business so that you can KEEP telling stories.

And I've tried to use it to help projects that I'd love to do. The Hopalong Cassidy commemorative album is one of them. Grace Bradley Boyd tells a lot of wonderful stories. I would love to do the entire interview I did with her in a format similar to the Buster Keaton magazine I did in the 80s. One, I feel the Hoppy fans would love it, and two, there's a lot of stories that have seen print over the years that are UNTRUE, and Grace sets the record straight about many of these inaccuracies, which have been picked up from book to book and reprinted. So, on the site, I try to let people know about doing the project and contacting Jerry Rosenthal to state their interest.

Does any of this help? Work?

I have no idea.

I know DETECTIVES INC. would be perfect for Mystery bookstores, but how to really get them aware of what we have and do is another story.

As you mention, graphic albums have been discussed as a way of staying on selling racks longer. And I know we have great covers for SABRE and DETECTIVES INC.

But now, how to keep people aware or make them aware for the first time that the books exist, any thoughts you have on that, I'd love to hear.

Let me know what you think, Steve.

I'm sure you've seen the books. I hope you have them in your store.

I hope they've done well for you.

I've tried to find a way to let retailers know the DIAMOND STAR SYSTEM numbers for the books, but that they can also get them directly from us. How to do this is delicate at times, and as I said, I'm primarily a story-teller. And I want to help stores. You'll see from appearances, I've done a number of store signings. I'll be at Jim Hanley's Universe in the next couple of weeks. I'll do the Big Apple con in March. But for all of this, then you still have to focus, say, on what will make a great week of strips for the Zorro newspaper comic.

Let me know what you think we could do more effectively.



More on Don McGregor
Samples of Don's Zorro comic strip
Rob recommends DETECTIVES INC.

Related links
Steve Bates's thoughts on marketing indy comics
Rob's thoughts on marketing indy comics

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