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Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Offbeat Way to Promote

For the past year, I've been hanging out almost every night in a small restaurant at the heart of a commercial district. There, I'd do some writing, doodling, and reading, just to get my senses settled after a hard day of work. It's come to the point that the waiters know the "usual," and I know them by name.

Do you have a favorite hang-out? A restaurant? A café? A place where a lot of people visit to hang out and talk? Have you reached a point where you've developed a semi-personal bond with this establishment? A place that's NOT a comics shop?

Why not ask for help via a quid pro quo?

When you're almost done with your graphic novel, try to set up an informal meeting with the manager or owner. The proposition is simple--you will create a short comics story that's set in that very hang-out. You will create a flyer that will be distributed to customers, and the flyer will direct them to a website featuring your short comics story. And, in that website, you provide a preview to the graphic novel you're actually finishing.

OR, if it's not too inconvenient for you--can you adjust a portion of your graphic novel that will feature the establishment as the location of one of your key scenes. Movies have been doing this for years, so it's not an impossibility for graphic novels.

If the shop manager is generous enough, he might even be willing to foot the bill in printing the short comics story to be given out for free in the shop. You can even ask if it's okay to sell your graphic novel there. When this happens, you've opened up a retailing possibility that's beyond the normal reach of the direct market.

Should success come to you with this little endeavor, you can try your luck with other establishments and see if they bite. Do you hang out in a bowling alley? Why not do a short comics story about bowling? Or a story about raising kids, to be placed in a day care center or a kiddie gym? You can even include a couple of "instructional" articles in your comics stories so there's information along with entertainment.

Go offbeat. The direct market is too limiting for the aspiring graphic novelist.

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