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Posts Tagged ‘Malaprop’s’

Graphic Novels Need Marketing Lurve Too!

Oh time, you do have some major frequent flier miles, do you not?

Seems like only yesterday I was at ABA’S Winter Institute, but in fact, it was last month. In the whirlwind of activity that is the publishing conference circuit of late, I have fallen behind on posting my posties. And, that’s a shame – because I have some good stuff for you guys.

To go back a bit – last month I was privileged to take part in Wi5 in San Jose. It was awesome. A really grand group of indie booksellers gathered together to tackle the challenges and opportunities of book selling in the 21st century. I have a few overall reflections on the event that I will share posthaste (no, I will – I will), but first  I wanted to share something that came out of Wi5, but is not necessarily related to Wi5. It’s about graphic novels.

Graphic novels have been consistently increasing in popularity for years. Break out successes such as Persepolis, Watchmen, and Stitches have continued to put the graphic novel in front of mainstream audiences (in other words, they’re not just for comic stores anymore).  But, publishers don’t seem to have caught on to this. And, that’s what this post is about. Yes, this post originated due to a panel on the subject of Graphic Novels at Wi5, but the subject itself goes beyond Wi5 to a bigger issue of the need for publishers to work with their valued intermediaries (such as indie book sellers, librarians, etc) to help get the right books to the right readers.

At this point, I will shut my pie-hole and let some indie book sellers take it from here. Enjoy:

Dan Kusunoki (on left) from Skylight Books

Dan Kusunoki from Skylight Books: My name is Dan Kusunoki. I am the assistant manager and Graphic novel/ Manga monger at Skylight Books.  I was part of the Graphic Novel panel moderated by John Shableski of Diamond Comics.

The Winter Institute was an eye opening experience for me because of one main thing:

The realization that publishers carry graphic novels but don’t market them.

The need for them is clear. The panel had a full house with booksellers coming to me and Gina from Malaprops afterward asking a myriad of questions that just one panel could not cover.  I was even giving side meetings with booksellers during the author reception and couldn’t get a copy of The Passage (Darn it!) but I was happy to see so many wanting to sell graphic novels.

However, during the rep “speed dating” session, It dawned on me that none of the reps were pushing any graphic novels. So as an experiment, I asked a simple question: ” Does your Publisher carry any graphic novels?”

Have you read the graphic novel version of the book of the movie, yet?

One actually said that there is a graphic novel adaptation of a book called “SHUTTER ISLAND” ?!?
Here is a potential crossover sale with the novel when the movie comes out, AND NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT IT!

Oh sure, they’ll mention Stephanie Meyer’s manga in passing, but what about already existing titles that publishers either are sitting on  because they don’t know how to market them or, don’t realize they have them…

Graphic novels have been around for over 20 years and manga since World War II… And yet the courtship between graphic novels and booksellers is happening right now.

Graphic novel readers are a voracious and literary lot that are loyal to booksellers who curate and carry them.

Comics publishers still work on an ever changing collectors market and rarely backlist while Book publishers rely on backlist heavily.

This is a perfect opportunity for both publishers to reinvigorate not only the book seller market but also the ever shifting collectors comics market… These two parallel tracks  need to finally converge… A sort of symbiosis of sorts. Lets make it easier for booksellers to sell your graphic novels!!!

We need more panels for not only booksellers, but for reps as well as publishers so that we can be on the same page and make a helluva lotta money on these funny books. They will not go away. They are a fast growing market.

It’s time to really take graphic novels seriously–before the pulse ends.

If anyone has any questions on how to sell, market and curate graphic novels in their store, feel free to email me, or my partner in crime, Darren Clavadetscher, and we will be happy to help you out. The more we spread the word the better off Booksellers will be.

Thank you for your time.

Now can someone send me a galley of The Passage?

Emily Pullen from Skylight Books:

Emily Pullen from Skylight Books

Here is my 2cents (rather than Dan’s $2) worth:

Booksellers have clearly expressed an interest in Graphic Novels — every panel that the ABA has planned on the topic has been a huge success. And clearly booksellers are interested because they’ve recognized the ravenous consumer desire for graphic novels. My sense is that general trade publishers have also recognized this desire, but they aren’t putting their marketing dollars behind it and I can’t imagine why.

Maybe it has to do with the relatively recent invasion of graphic novels into general bookstores. Maybe publishers are limiting their perception of graphic novels as something that can “capture reluctant young readers” — something that is “for the kids.” Maybe it has to do with the fact that we as a culture are still learning how to talk about graphics — I sense that many publishers look at it as a format, and we really need to be looking at it as a medium unto itself.

Dan is a guru — I’m a relatively new convert. But, too, I can’t imagine why publishers wouldn’t be pushing these books more with the independent bookstore market.

-Emily Pullen
Ordering Manager
Skylight Books

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Rich Rennicks: Father, bookseller, gardener, writer, jack-of-many-trades

Rich Rennicks

Oh dear, lately we seem to have gotten a bit lax here at Follow the Reader. But, today we are making up for our recent lack of quantity, with a whole lotta quality in the form of a lovely chat with the Word Hoarder‘s own, Mr. Rich Rennicks.

Rich is a self-described “father, bookseller, gardener, writer, and jack-of-many-trades,” who works as bookstore liaison for Unbridled Books, and part-times it as a book seller for Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC.  As you will find out, Rich also enjoys the pleasure of a good book.

If you needed another reason to be fond of him, Rich is a huge advocate of book sellers using social media to engage with their customers, and has a fantastic post all about it over at Word Hoarder. Go check it out after you read our equally fantastic interview with him.

Kat Meyer: Through extensive research (I clicked on the “About” section at your blog), I discovered you are not native to North Carolina, but hail from Ireland with some time spent in the UK. You mention on your blog that your  library reflects your travels. Can you elaborate? Are there any titles that stand out as touchstones for particular times and locations of your life?

Rich Rennicks:

Ireland
There are several books that impacted on me for one basic reason: their authors lived (or had lived) nearby, and that brought the world of arts and letters close enough to home that I began to think I might have a part in it some day.  Brendan Behan’s memoir Borstal Boy, J.P. Donleavy’s hilarious The Ginger Man, and Francis Ledwidge’s poetry, were particularly impressive and remain so..

England
I read Pynchon, Rushdie and Eco for the first time while I lived in the UK. Any of their books could change a person’s life.

US
I read Silas House’s marvelous Clay’s Quilt on a trip to NC while I lived in Michigan. That book, with its warm and nuanced understanding of Appalachian culture, had a great deal to do with my family deciding to relocate back south after years up north. Also, Look Homeward Angel is one of my favorite books of all time — and one of the few to reduce me the tears – so, Asheville carries a certain aura and romance for me because of Thomas Wolfe.

Travels
I almost began grad work in Indian and post-colonial literature after falling under the spell of Rushdie, Roy, Mukherjee and others. My wife and I traveled throughout India in 1998, and I brought home a ton of Indian novels and some literary nonfiction. Upamanyu Chatterjee’s hilarious English, August is one of those special books for me. I’ve discovered an informal fraternity of travelers who have spent serious time on the subcontinent and have often read that book. It captures the distaste the urban, educated Indian often feels for the raw, superstitious life of rural India, which often mirrors the first impressions and feelings westerners have of the country. It’s a book I’ve bonded with a few people over, and one that is something of an antidote to the glossy, sprawling family sagas that were being published as fast as possible for a few years. English, August is no more comprehensive or representative of India’s myriad communities than those sagas, but is one of the few books I’ve found that takes a brutally and humorously honest look at what’s often romanticized.
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