Distribution frustration

Tuesday at 17.2.09

Here's another page from our Issue Zero - click to embiggen!
Vinnie and I weren't able to make it to Inverness last weekend, which was a shame, but in retrospect we're rather glad we didn't. We've just received notice from Diamond Distributors that since our order numbers fall below their new limits (imposed over the last month or two, and talked about a lot elsewhere - check Rich Johnston's Lying in the Gutters archives for more info), they won't be carrying Harker beyond issue one. They're also not going to honour any orders placed on issues two and three, despite already having listed both.
This is, of course, immensely frustrating. Vince and I are currently halfway through issue five. We could have launched Harker six months ago, and have waited and waited for Diamond to finally get us in Previews - and then they do, and then they pull out again. Maddening!
The upshot of this is that anyone who buys issue one from their local comic shops, which talks about how it's monthly, will be unable to find issue two. If you're one of those readers, I apologise, but it's not our fault. We have issues 2, 3 and 4 finished, issue 5 almost done - but getting them in the comic shops - now that's the real trick, isn't it?
So it's back-up plan time.
Initially, we're looking into other distributors - Haven Distribution seems like it might be a good bet, and we'll be talking to them this week to see if they're going to be able to offer us a good deal. Fingers crossed!
Other options - finish issue six (the end of book one) and jump straight to the collected edition. Diamond have said they'll happily carry that for us, the required order numbers for such a thing are much lower (and definitely easily achievable), so that's very tempting. We'd effectively be going the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen route: abandoning the monthly comics altogether, and releasing Harker as 140 page graphic novels, two a year. We're currently very tempted by that route, as we could have a completed Book One ready by the middle of April, easily.
Another option - find a publisher! We'd be delighted to be published, so if you're a publisher, please get in touch, we'd love to talk to you. We have lots to show you, and we're almost five issues ahead already...
Another option - make the issues available on Lulu. Dunno if that's workable really, too expensive for the readers, I'd guess.
So on top of all this, I have a small plea to you, dear reader.
If you've read and enjoyed issue one (or indeed issue two, if you bought it at Birmingham), please review it on your blog. Even if you only have one reader, please review it. Tell us about the review, and I'll mention it here and I'll link to you in the blog.
Twitter about us. Tell your friends.
Pass on copies of artwork from issue one or two if you like. Anything that will help us get noticed, as we need to build up some momentum here. If you'd like to interview us, for your blog, for your fanzine, for whatever, we'd be very happy to be interviewed. Drop me an email, the answer will be 'yes'.
We have four issues already that we really want you to be able to read. In a couple of weeks, we'll have the fifth issue - we'd like you to read that too!

Any thoughts? Would you be happy reading it as a collection, not getting individual issues? I do wonder if that's perhaps the future, and the best way to go - longer between initial hits (you'd only get two books a year), but much bigger chunks, of course.

Comments gladly accepted! :)


Hello! Well, we were going to try your series out in our store Comic Swap (in the middle of Pennsylvania) but can't seem to order it thru Diamond. Hrm! That's frustrating...your work looks reall well done and we think we could find an audience for it here in our college town. Please keep us up to date on if we can get it anywhere else, direct from you, or if you abandon the comics and go only to collections. Best of luck finding your place in this crazy market of ours. We're a shop that wants to try your book out but can't seem to get it. Peace - Kristian Boose - owner - Comic Swap, Inc. - 110 South Fraser Street, State College PA 16801 - info@comicswap.biz

Hi Kristian! You should have been able to order issue 1, it's issue two onwards that they're not fulfilling the orders for, as issue one is currently at the printers, following the orders we received.

For the moment, we've decided to finish Book One (which shouldn't take us more than five or six weeks at the most, we're halfway through issue five already), and then release the whole thing as a collected edition through Diamond - it'll be around 140 pages, with what would have been all six issues, plus Issue Zero and a few other extras (unpublished covers, a map, cut out dolls, some other bis and pieces). We can't see any way of getting the individual issues out if Diamond won't take them, so the book seems the best route.

If you did manage to order issue one, please tell anyone who buys it that they can consider it a teaser to the collected edition, which we'll be soliciting through Diamond as soon as we've finished it (we'll have completed the book by the end of March). Hopefully they'll be able to rush it through, as we obviously want to get it into the stores!

Many thanks for your support - I'll make sure you know when the collection is solicited! After that, assuming sales are good enough, we may well stick with two books a year, and forget the monthlies - unless of course we can get a publisher first... we'll get it out one way or another, we're very tenacious ;)


Can you find another distribution company Rog? I tried to order issue 1 from my local Waterstones and they couldn't locate me a copy, which doesn't say much for Diamond. The guy serving me seemed most impressed with what he could see of your work and was himself frustrated at not being able to get copies in.

have you thought about making a Harker & Critchley group at Facebook? Good way to advertise it :)

Hi Roger
This really is frustrating hey? I've heard good things about Haven, but the Trade route isn't such a bad one either. It's a format certainly gathering momentum these days. Whatever happens - I hope you stick with it and find the audience you deserve.

sas - I suspect the reason the guy at Waterstones couldn't locate it was because it's not out in the shops yet - it's due out in about three weeks. And yep, I'm working on a Harker Facebook page, it's on my list! If I could just work out how to use Facebook...
Kris - Haven are very good, but the drawback is that we wouldn't know how many to print, as they don't do advance ordering. It could wind up being hugely expensive for us, so we don't want to go that route just yet - maybe later though. See my latest post for good news, though!

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