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! :)