Friday, December 18, 2020

Comic Cuts - 18 December 2020

I've just realised that this will be the final Comic Cuts column of the year. What a weird one, eh? I spent the first couple of months putting together The Rocket book and revamping a couple of earlier Bear Alley titles to give them a bit of a boost. Then we went into lockdown. Remember when they told us it could last as long as eight weeks? Oh, boy... we were so innocent.

Bear Alley Books did quite well over April and May, although things slowed considerably in the months following. The government's assistance for freelancers is pretty poor, especially for those of us whose incomes are patchy. The Longbow books didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but perhaps that, too, is only to be expected. Launching a book while everyone is reigning in their spending and possibly facing redundancy is not the best idea. It is going to be years before the books pay their way.

Here's my Top 10 sellers at Bear Alley Books for 2020:

1  Rocket
2  Longbow Vol.1
3  Longbow Vol.2
4  Complete Eagles Over the Western Front
5  Countdown to TV Action
6  Hurricane & Champion (revised)
7  Lion
8  Ranger
9  Boys World
10 The Man Who Searched for Fear

I should be pleased that I had my best sales since 2014, but it's still not enough to make a living from. Hence a few changes I'll be making as Bear Alley Books celebrates its tenth birthday—the first book appeared in March 2011.

First, and most obviously, we will be launching BAM! on the world. This will be available both in print as digitally.

Next up is probably how the books are ordered. Because I'm working with no budget, I've used Blogger as a default website and relied on PayPal for payments. I'm now thinking that I may use Lulu as a selling platform or set up an or eBay store. This will save all the hassle of processing orders myself, and hopefully means that I won't have the problem I faced with the Longbow books of links to payment buttons not working. The Bear Alley Books blog will still exist, but buttons will point to the sales platform rather than PayPal.

I was mulling this over a couple of weeks ago just as eBay changed their policy of paying into PayPal and, instead, wanted to pay into a bank account. Fine by me, as it means PayPal doesn't take a fee on top of eBay's fees. Followers of my weekly exploits will know that this turned into a nightmare, and payments started bouncing around the ether and not landing where they should have.  It had reached £60 before it was finally sorted out.

I'm also thinking of relaunching a couple of titles if I can and finally getting the Hercules Esq. books back in print. These have been delayed for months through nobody's fault. They won't sell more than a half dozen copies, probably, but I'm really keen to get them out in time for our birthday.

All this depends on how much energy I've got. I'm spending the week scanning and indexing a huge pile of material sent to me by a collecting pal. Three huge boxes arrived a couple of months ago and I'd only managed to get through one of them, so I've decided to attack the second box, which is full of magazines and annuals that I'm indexing and taking sample scans from. I may end up working my way through more over Christmas as I'm waiting on some artwork to come through before I can finish off doing layouts for BAM!. Some arrived this week, but the pandemic has meant that someone else hasn't been able to get into the office, so I'm still waiting on some goodies. It makes sense (to me, at least) to keep going with the scanning and indexing while I have no distractions.

There are, of course, plenty of other interruptions at this time of year—everything from wrapping presents to putting up our tree. It might be small, but it has done us proud for... it might be twenty years... definitely more than ten. We don't go in for extravagant decorations, but we do like our tree!

(Mel thinks the tree might be 18 years old, not bad for something picked up cheaply at the local Tesco. Also, we've been putting a Dalek on the tree for the last decade.)

Well, I think that's my lot for this column. There may be more posts before Christmas, but if I don't get a chance to post, or you don't get a chance to drop by to have a read, I'll wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope that 2021 is a better year than the one we've just had. Merry Christmas y'all. Merry Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. Just starting on the Longbow volumes (which I've been saving up for when I have a chunk of time to read (and the kids are occupied watching a movie)) - loving the art so far and the detailed intro. & artist biographies (although is is 'Louis' Crandell rather than 'Lewis' Crandell (page 133)? Anyway, keep up the great work



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