This is a series of brief comments on Free Comic Book Day, reprinted by permission of the authors from the CBIA discussion boards on Delphi.
Jerry Wall of Atomic Comics in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Mine was outstanding. We had over 100 people outside the door lined up when we opened. We counted over 400 people throughout the day. We tripled what we would do on a VERY good Saturday, and set sales records. Two hours in, we had already passed a normal Saturday's sales. Sold LOTS of t-shirts, and posters. Also sold about 15 Overstreets. And quite a few statues.
To get the word out, we advertised pretty heavily with another store on our local UPN station (during Buffy, and Smackdown, among other shows). I also did a guest spot on a local radio show last weekend.
We handed out about 300 coupons for $1.00 next visit sometimes this month, so it will be interesting to see how many come back.
Until yesterday, I wasn't sure of the value of advertising OR FCBD, but I can say I'm a believer. My sales growth yesterday more than covers my cost of advertising and free comics, so any new customers I get in the coming weeks is pure growth! My only regret, wish I had ordered about 500 more Donald Ducks, and quite a few more Dork Storms. Those only lasted a few hours.
Elaine Watkins of FLYING ^V^ in Chehalis, Washington
I doubt that I recouped the expenses Saturday. Sales overall were good, but not spectacular. Inasmuch as the expenses included supplying comics to the library system for distribution in 6 branches around the county, I may never actually recoup the expense directly. On the other hand, all those comics had my name on a label on the front, and it was less expensive than radio ads. Probably more effective, too. The library branch 2 blocks up was limiting people to one comic each, but the librarian was sending people down to the store if they wanted more comics, so we got some people coming in that way.
The media coverge was pretty poor. The local paper ran a tiny thing about the library having FCBD, nothing about the store or the signing, although the store was mentioned as a sponsor. I called the paper to point out that we had an internationally known comic book creator coming, so they ran another tiny thing on Saturday morning, which, amazingly, some people saw and responded to.
Kurt Busiek came and signed comics for about an hour and a half. I thought we had a fairly good response on that. Many younger kids came in for free comics, and some had Kurt signing the free comics, which he was gracious enough to do! A lot of my regulars, most of whom don't know each other, came for the signing. One of the best parts, for me, was seeing all these people standing around talking to each other about comics! Thanks, Kurt, they wouldn't have been there at the same time if not for you.
All in all, I would consider the day a success. We even gave away more comic books than cookies, even counting the cookies the staff and I ate (can't put broken ones out!). Oddest encounter of the day: in the late afternoon, a man on a bicycle stopped outside, came in, walked through the store to where the cookies were, grabbed a handful, thanked me, refused any free comics, and left. I have no idea how he knew we even had cookies!
Calum Johnston of Strange Adventures Comic Bookshops in Halifax, Nova Scotia
We've had at least a thousand folks run through our place today. Last FCBD was our single biggest sales day and this one may surpass it. So far we've had more than 200 sales transactions with more to come.
We ran a couple of big ads in the paper, did some radio interviews, sent out many press releases, put up posters, gave out buttons and stickers, put it in our newsletter, had the staff wearing the FCBD shirts, etc. etc.
There was a lineup up the hill and around the corner by the time we were opening and we had to stop folks from coming in several times to allow the people inside some space to move around. We videotaped some of it and I hope to get it on the Web. The place was and is jam-packed with people.
I love free comic day!
For additional articles on FCBD, please see:'Interview with Chris Powell of Lone Star on FCBD'