Friday, June 19, 2009

Comic Cuts

Not much to add to what I covered on Monday. I've spent the bulk of this week cleaning artwork for the next book—the title of which I'll be announcing fairly soon—and talking to people. Lots of e-mail and telephone calls trying to sort out various plans for the future and get Bear Alley Books running on a professional basis.

For most of the 1990s I worked on various magazines and you think that you pick up quite a lot of skills along the way. I never really considered what half the other people working there did. Office manager, subscriptions department, post room... there was a whole support staff surrounding me and things got magically done that I never had to think about. Now I'm trying to do everything myself I'm starting to realise how protected and cossetted I was.

And we get used to certain things, like the speed of communication across the internet. So I was surprised to learn that it can take 4-6 weeks to register a book in a database. There's a form that you have to submit electronically to register an ISBN. Four to six weeks for someone to process a form? And do you know what the BIC guidelines are? They say you should try to submit information on a new title 20 weeks in advance. Welcome to the 21st century of book publishing.

No, I didn't know what BIC was before this week—it stands for Book Industry Communication. They issue a set of classification codes that are standard across the publishing trade, a bit like the old Dewey Decimal system you find in libraries. A graphic novel is classified as "AKLC1".

The old adage that you learn something new every day certainly applies to me this week.

Talking of BIC... BICS, the Birmingham International Comics Show in October. I'm hoping to be there this year to plug Bear Alley Books. Not that I've got anything organised yet, but that's the plan. My first comic convention since the last UKCAC in.... er... 1997?

"Potts' Progress" comes to an end today and next week should see Harry Hawkes back in action in another WW1 adventure. Tomorrow I'll have a little cover gallery of Titan's earlier James Bond series featuring artwork by Dave McKean, Kyle Baker and Paul Johnson. See you then.

(* Spotted this issue of Commando at a local charity shop and couldn't resist the Ian Kennedy cover. 49p well spent! © D. C. Thomson.)

1 comment:

  1. I just read your latest missive, Steve, and you are bang on about having to wear many hats when publishing.

    Working with lots of other guys does mean some of the workload is shared, but when I set up Wizards Keep back in 2005 I had done quite a lot of research and even worked for a friend of mine for a while on his website, so I could see how I could make things easier for me here.

    That was vital to me, as even though I streamlined the company, as much as I could back then, there were still many things that needed to be done and whilst one is working on any amount of various things, such as emails, print sourcing/ordering, packing, meetings, networking, Blogs, Websites, etc, etc, the work sits there waiting.

    I find the discipline needed to make sure the time is spent evenly comes from working to deadlines for long hours on the artwork side of things.

    Even that does not prepare you fully for the publishing/merchandising side of the business and all that entails though.

    Now things are slightly different here, but the manic-ness of it all still remains.

    Good luck with the new venture and I hope you do get along to BICS. If you do let's get together for a chat, maybe even a meal. I would love to see the new works-in-progress.

    BTW: I love the comics you have been posting up recently.




Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books