Programmer by day, comic nerd by night. My official job title is "Director of Janitorial Engineering"
So we are all familiar with how Free Comic Book Day works. Basically it is designed to get people into the Local Comic Store to hopefully become a life long fan. As anyone will tell you who has been around the industry for a while, comic fans in general are getting older every year and something must be done to replinish the stock.
Part of the problem with the traditional FCBD is that it relies on word of mouth and local press to hopefully reach the desired audience...those that are not into comics. Sure it is ok for the regulars to stop by and partake in the fun, but what the industry really needs is a shot in the arm...some new blood.
This year Diamond has decided to up the game and make Halloween more like its brother in May and have a wider selection of free comics to give away. Now lets be clear that it is in fact not actually "free" comics as the Local Comic store still has to buy them, but they are pennies on the dollar so they don't mind giving them away if it generates increased traffic.
So cool, two days of free comics a year! Whoo hoo! Actually, I think all it does is still create the same problem. Great now you have free comics in your store again and we have to some how reach our desired audience that doesn't already come into the store.
I think that we need to shake the Halloween FCBD up and turn it on its head. How do we reach those kids that don't go to a comic store? By going to where the kids are at. I for one every year sit out on my driveway and hand out bags and bags of candy to hundreds of kids. Well you know what...I have the kids attention...now to get them into comics.
So I have contacted my LCS and they are going to order me a "Super Bundle pack" of the "free" Halloween comics for me to hand out. This pack contains 200 comics (some of everything). Sure I have to pay for the cost of the comics...but you know what...I spend far more on Candy than this. So now along with candy I will be reaching the kids where they are at. Of course this still poses a problem...they don't know about my LCS.
So I am working with my LCS to have their Halloween FCBD on the Saturday following Halloween. I will then include with each of the comics a promotional post card for my LCS that can also be used as a sales tool (i.e. bring it in on party day to get something free, or a discount, etc).
Now we have done something to shake things up a bit. We are reaching kids where they are at, and we are letting them know about our LCS. But there is still one problem. I am only one guy out of the hundreds that frequent my LCS which is only one LCS out of the hundreds/thousands of LCS's. So we need more participants. We need more LCS's.
How can you help...contact your LCS and see if they would be willing to participate and do the same thing. See if you can order a bunch of the "free" comics to hand out. Tell them you will also hand out a flyer to their store, etc. TOGETHER we can all make a difference!
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