Thursday, February 23, 2006

Good for me, bad for you

Bookslut founder Jessa Crispin defends the double standard of self-publishing. For books, it's a sign of desperation, but for comics, it means heightened credibility.

1 comment:

  1. With mainstream 'books', it's almost pathological. The only guy I know who's gotten away with it is Dave Eggers - and that's in part because of his larger rep.

    It may have to do with quantity of content (as opposed to volume):

    A professionally-presented comic book is accorded the same distribution venues (i.e., Diamond) as the companies that produce most of the volume. In terms of percentage of titles, the back of the catalog is, say, 50% of the market.

    In traditional publishing, a smaller outfit has a much harder time getting into the cycle of things; it's practically a closed system. So a self-produced book, however lovely, doesn't carry the weight or credibility as one from Random House or Tor.

    Strangely enough, in a discussion about Eggers, another author and I were talking about releasing prose books through our own imprints, and a prominent bookseller said that we'd be more credible if we published each others' books, rather than doing it ourselves. Even if the arrangement was a 'straw deal', that had no real economic basis.

    With comics, it's more about the work: if it's good, and can sit on the shelf next to the best works - and if a retailer thinks they can sell it, that's all that matters.