Gail Burt of Metropolis Comics in Bellflower, California saw Steven Bates' column on advance ordering (see 'I Think I Can Manage -- Information Please') and offers her own thoughts on wading through the number of new products pop culture retailers need to look at every month:


I was interested in Steven Bates' comments on the difficulty of slogging through the 500+ pages of Previews, and on his TAPS method (Title, Author, Price, Story) for weeding out the great bets from the not-so-great.  I wondered if he (or many of you, for that matter) recall Peter David's Test for whether or not a new title will sell through, based on several key criteria.  I present it here for your review - I still use it, and I gotta say, it's uncannily accurate:


PUBLISHER - 4 points.  If the publisher is DC, Marvel, or Image, 4 points, otherwise, 0 points.


CHARACTER - 3 Points.  An established character gets 3, others get 0.


ARTIST - 2 points.  Hot artist, or established with following, otherwise give 0.


WRITER - 1 point.  I sometimes award a bonus point to star writers like JMS, Kevin Smith, Bendis, Johns, or celebrity writers.


It's a 10 point scale, and you should be able to gauge the initial success and percentage probability the book will sell through if you apply the formula properly.  For example, a title earning 7 points has a 70% probability of sell-thru, and will be 70% likely to end up in the Top 100 for the month. 


Like I said, Peter David came up with it, not I - and I have to thank Mr. David here.  Using this formula has allowed me to smile smugly when others are holding tons of a tanked project.  A cautionary note, however: don't discount your own instincts.  When 30 Days of Night was offered, I really couldn't award ANY points for the title, yet I thought after reading the (tiny, un-hyped) description that it was the coolest effing idea for a vamp book ever and ordered heavy on it, and as a result, had copies to burn when everyone else was out.  That doesn't happen very often, and I was really grateful for my folly (or so I thought it was when I had only sold 4 copies of #1 by the end of week 4; I felt a whole lot better about it after week 12).  Fun and useful, both methods, but ya gotta do what Bates recommends and see past the hype - or lack of it - whenever you possibly can.
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