In our Talk Back section, Jay Bardyla, Program Director of Drawn to Comics, in Edmonton (Alberta), Canada (and former co-owner of Happy Harbor Comics) had an idea for a new comic book related conference after reading about the upcoming MAD's C3: Comic Creator Conference (see "Donato on Comic Creator Conference: 'We Need It More than Ever'").

While this is a very cool and needed program, maybe someone should run a conference for publishers to learn about the industry.  Panels could include:

  • Starting your publishing company:  The need to include a marketing budget
  • Market trends:  How to read cycles and plan ahead
  • Ethics and morals:  How much and when to pay creators
  • How to communicate:  To both of your audiences, retailers and readers
  • Buying habits:  How customers purchase and why

and many more.

I know this many come across as sarcastic but these are the most frequent issues that seem to come up time and time and again in market.  During my decades of working behind the counter I was told repeatedly by publishers that they did not have the budget for marketing, I saw them miss sales opportunities, I listened to talent talk about not being paid fairly or on time, I saw publishers use Facebook to communicate with retailers when they KNOW only a fraction of them use FB, and I see them be surprised when their books instantly sell through.

I know Brian Hibbs has done an excellent job of critiquing the industry over the years, as have several other retailers and insiders.  Hopefully things will begin to improve because with stronger publishers the openings for creators into the industry will increase dramatically.

The opinions expressed in this Talk Back are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of