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Thread: Comics Cultures, Part 5: Commerciality

  1. danialworks Guest

    Well, now that I've charged in and Glenn's done all the work... !

    I have to ask if the questions should be asked the same way by each indvidual.

    I tested the questions, and learned something basic about my project. It's about classic appeal and modern sensibilities.

    Glen wants to REALLY put the questions to work, and any writer willing to do the research is light years ahead of the rest of the race horsing hopefuls.

    So Glen's deductive, I'm half and half on the instinctive and deductive thing...

    By the way, the instinctive and deductive analysis/comparative made my week in class...

    Should the beginners, just putting pen to paper for the first time, tackle the questions before doing the research-- test their instincts, get some personal results, and THEN tackle the questions again on a more deductive level...?

    While others like Ronald and Glen, who have scripts in progress, proposals to pitch at agents and publishers, jump straight to the fully reasearched deductive round?



  2. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by danialworks View Post
    Well, now that I've charged in and Glenn's done all the work... !

    I have to ask if the questions should be asked the same way by each indvidual.

    I tested the questions, and learned something basic about my project. It's about classic appeal and modern sensibilities.

    Glen wants to REALLY put the questions to work, and any writer willing to do the research is light years ahead of the rest of the race horsing hopefuls.

    So Glen's deductive, I'm half and half on the instinctive and deductive thing...

    By the way, the instinctive and deductive analysis/comparative made my week in class...

    Should the beginners, just putting pen to paper for the first time, tackle the questions before doing the research-- test their instincts, get some personal results, and THEN tackle the questions again on a more deductive level...?

    While others like Ronald and Glen, who have scripts in progress, proposals to pitch at agents and publishers, jump straight to the fully reasearched deductive round?
    "Should the questions should be asked the same way by each individual?"

    Yes.

    If the creator's honest AND informed, the answers should help him/her determine the project's commercial prospects.

    "Should the beginners, just putting pen to paper for the first time, tackle the questions before doing the research-- test their instincts, get some personal results, and THEN tackle the questions again on a more deductive level...?"

    Maybe, maybe not.

    The process of making marketing determinations comes at different stages for creators, depending largely on how well they can turn on and off the "creative focus" on projects.

    I come up with lots of stuff, make some determination about how it might do, then figure out where to put it in relation to the other stuff I have in development.

    Some people just need to work on what they're working on.

    Maybe they need to plot out the story, write the script, or draw the comic (or see it drawn) before figuring out where and how they can sell it.

    For this last creator, unless their intuitive commercial instincts are fashioned from solid gold, or they're simply brilliant (not just good) at what they do, they're going to have a very tough time of it.

    Some people just need to do what they need to do.

    If that's not working, some people continue to do what they need to do, and others adapt.

    There's no clear path, just clear ranges of options.

    At the end of the day, we've succeeded if nobody can (reasonably) complain, "I coulda been a contender."

    Because if they really want to, some paths are easier than others.

    As always, it all comes down to your goals, because if you're goal is to do it "your way," then you and Frank Sinatra will be in sync.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 04:41 AM.



  3. harryd Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    Fair point. If we include a branded-creators question, then we need a branded-properties question.

    I'll revise accordingly.

    Okay, here's a new IMPROVED revised list:

    1. What makes this book similar to what's already out there?

    2. What makes this book different from what's already out there?

    3. How does the combination of market similarities and differences translate into enough potential buyers to make this book profitable?

    4. Does this book fill a perceived need in the marketplace?

    5. Does the quality of the work fulfill the promise of this book?

    6. How much does my name brand or the name brand of the property translate into sales?

    ***

    Does anybody believe or not believe that this list covers our bases?

    Do positive answers to these questions, if true, mean a book will be perceived by an editor or publisher as commercial?

    If not, what's missing or wrong?

    Let's test them.

    You saw from my earlier test examples how these questions can become a gauge for measuring potential commerciality, so we've got a start, right?

    Now let's see some scenarios from you, and, this also becomes an opportunity for you turn the microscope to your own projects.

    Back to work.

    --Lee
    Been meaning to get around to trying to take a crack at this evaluation. This is for the same project I made some hypothetical guesses on during the discussion last week.

    1. What makes this book similar to what's already out there?

    Supernatural Fantasy is a genre that has some fans out there. There are a few titles on ICV2 top 300 that are in asomewhat similar ball park as this one.

    2. What makes this book different from what's already out there?

    I like to think that the particular story is fairly original. It hopefully gets away from some of the standard conventions, while still being entertaining and hopefully accessible.

    3. How does the combination of market similarities and differences translate into enough potential buyers to make this book profitable?

    You should be able to advertise it as a recognizable product. You can summarize the books as a certain archetype, that give a potential reader an idea of what they can expect from the books. But, there still should be enough story and depth that it's actually interesting.

    4. Does this book fill a perceived need in the marketplace?

    That's hard for me to say. I like to think that a decent quality sci-fi or fantasy work can find some readership, if it's not a complete rehash of something previously done (and sometimes even if it is). Looking at the top 300 comics, it's not something that seems to be too heavily represented, though there are a few entries up there. At least I'm not trying to cram another super hero title onto the shelves.

    5. Does the quality of the work fulfill the promise of this book?

    I hope so! I tend to be fairly down on my own writing, but I did find an artist who has a pretty good style for the type of project that it is. Will it be perfect? No, but, I'm pretty sure the story does have some promise, and I hope I can at least come close to fulfilling it.

    6. How much does my name brand or the name brand of the property translate into sales?

    Not at all. I am not a brand, and neither is the property.



  4. LeeNordling Guest

    Hi, Harry.

    It seems like you've tackled the questions the way many of us would, with optimism.

    Not a bad thing, necessary in fact to be able to develop projects, but not yet specific enough to make a determination.

    It's also possible a public forum might not be the best place for this exercise, as you don't wish to reveal too much until you're ready to sell it.

    However, let's tackle one line, where you were letting yourself off the hook, so you'll know what I'm referring to.

    In answer to question number one, you wrote: "Supernatural Fantasy is a genre that has some fans out there."

    If you're looking at trade book publishing (and I don't know if you are), then the ICv2 Top 300 Graphic Novels tells you nothing, because that's a direct market list. (http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/17021.html)

    Even if you were looking at those numbers for trade book publishing, the numbers are so low they'd scare off a publisher, not entice it.

    If you're looking at the direct market, though, then I need to ask: are the fans buying supernatural fantasy or branded creators or properties? I don't know the examples you're looking at, but it's important, when speaking about category/genre sales to keep comparisons apples to apples.

    So, what market are you shooting for? You didn't state, and I couldn't tell.

    In making market determinations about potential commerciality, it's important to note how the genre or category sales have been.

    For instance, manga's been saturated for a couple years now.

    If your book was manga, and even though I doubt that it is, there's nothing in your assessment that takes category/genre sales into account.

    Again, for instance, if you're looking at the direct market, and your supernatural fantasy happens to be zombies (though if it were I suspect you might have used the term "horror"), then there's probably a glut there, too, unless you have a unique twist, bringing us to your "original" answer to the next question.

    In short, for your intended demographic, the question becomes: is "supernatural fantasy" in the direct market an intrinsically commercial sub-genre?

    If not, and if the books you're comparing it to in question number one aren't top sellers without branded talent, then you need to be really specific about this kind of thing.

    And if they are top sellers without branded talent, you need to be really specific about this kind of thing.

    Pretend this is like math, where you have to quantify everything.

    The more you can do that, the more the harsh marketing lights will be shined upon your project.

    And hopefully the blemishes won't show so much.

    Thanks, Harry.

    Yours is the kind of answer we needed to see in order to reveal the differences between intuitive and deductive marketing observations.

    Yours are mostly intuitive right now.

    Or, and this may be entirely possible, you kept out the details of your answers because it might have revealed too much of what you're working on, and if so, I understand completely.

    Either way, this was helpful.

    Again, thanks for running the gauntlet.

    --Lee



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