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Saturday, 7 February 2015


Those are the words when I realised, at about 0100 hours, that I had completely forgotten this blog. My excuse?  How long can I keep saying "I'm very old"?

You will have read the blog posting on that event last year in Bristol (just scroll down the page a little -I have NO idea why the text came out like that!) ?  That on top of the utter disaster of the "Bristol Comics & Zine" event (they still won't talk to me!) was a pretty awful blow and it's very hard to explain why to anyone not in the publishing business.

All the Black Tower Comics & Books have slick, glossy covers and I put a lot in to trying to get the right design for each book that will attract a potential buyer's eye.  The interior printing is as good as you can get.  The tables were set up to catch the eye and display the full range available at the events.  Nothing.  People hardly stopped to glance properly.

Checking with people it seems that what I was told at the time was true.  My books looked nothing like anything else available at the events -now that is good, right?  Also, "Maybe people don't understand comic albums?" But then comes the "perhaps they look a little too slick?"  WHAT?!  

I look at it this way: I put together a book.  I expect people, if they buy it, to have something that really is worth the money they pay -and my prices are not that steep.  Cheaper than on the online store because they are not paying high postage. Should I be producing low quality and highly priced crap?  Yeah, like that is going to happen.

Someone buys a Black Tower book I expect them to have their moneys worth.  Yes, I am kind of old fashioned about that.

Then comes the more ominous "It might be because you are the oldest looking person there...?"  I must say that it takes a lot of restraint not to write something very rude after that.  So all the trendy young Comic Geek Chic (CGC) don't like someone not looking very young?   **** that.

So, after that event and October's event I was....well, I was a lot of money down.  It all takes its toll.  After October I found I just could not draw comic pages for a month.  The 'big international event' (it is still a very bad memory) boosted my confidence.  A place to really show of my wares....and look what happened.  It was well into January before I could even get back into drawing.

I have a BIG box of books here and, it seems no Bristol events this year (the Bristol Zine people are hardly liable to invite me again!).  Most publishers do so as a side line.  It is not how they get their money and they have "proper paying jobs".  So they can afford the £80 odd on rail travel and more for overnight accommodation or even the £90-200 (dependent which event you go to) for a 6 ft table...oh, and to eat.  You add all of that together along with the cost of stock it is quite an amount.  It is an 'industry' in the UK full of poseurs and Imay be out of place because I need to sell books to...well, eat.

It is possible that I have found an online store in Europe willing to sell BTCG books but, initially, I have to supply one copy of each book at my own cost and if those sell then they order more, taking 40% off the cover price.  I can see their point -why order o get ten books and they never sell?  Sell one and "maybe there is interest in this?"

With no events I am being told of (CBO, Google+ etc, means total post views to date at over 3 million so you think someone might want to publicise events!) and sales via the online store (my THANKS to the person in Italy who purchased Pursuing The Strange & Weird: A Naturalist's Viewpoint!) my options are all out.

Incidentally, sales of the prose wildlife book (Red Paper -Canids) and what they call these days "Phenomenon" books are non-existent.  Even The Hooper Interviews has not sold a single copy despite its bulky size and the number of interviews and illustrations within.

People keep telling me "You need to be in the United States!" but I don't think that will guarantee sales (and think of the rail fare there and back! ).  It does not help that Face Book 'friends' you have known for many years and promoted do not even offer to mention my books on their blogs or pages and I've recently discovered that they do not even bother checking my news feeds (and, yes, I do check all of theirs) because "we're just too important and busy -but we'll be in touch when we need to publicise something!" Let me tell you, two have been offended recently by my say "no" to publicising their books. It kind of works two ways now.

And WHY has no bright spark out there decided to make a name for themselves by creating a free pdf converter.  Adobe or Nitro add £160-200 per year onto the bill of publishing (and, yes, that is every year you don't just buy and keep using it).  If I had the know-how I'd be on this.

Everyone wants to screw the money out of the small publisher!

So far I have even contemplated retiring at the end of 2015.  Yes, it is that bad.

Long-winded but that's my explanation for the long "blog silence" -I never learn, do I?

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