Sunday, 24 June 2012


Cerebus 37 (April 1982)
Art by Dave Sim
(Cerebus Guide To Self-Publishing, Revised & Expanded Edition, 2010)
Had I been able to make a living doing Cerebus on my own web site, would I have bothered to try to get distributors to carry it? Autonomy was a key element in my developing the self-publishing model that I did. Phil Seuling, the pioneer Direct Market distributor [owner of Sea Gate Distributors], was quite a character and, in a personal sense, I'm glad that I got know him reasonable well (I got the blustery character of Filgate in High Society from him, if nothing else). However, in a business sense, in the late 1970s, I definitely saw him as a fly in my autonomy ointment. One way or another, Phil's personal quirks and preferences and sensitivities had to be taken in to account. Why? Because there was no other option in 1977. If you got on Phil's bad side, there went half your market. I would definitely have weighed that in the balance, at the time, if I could have had my own web site instead of going through the distributors.

That doesn't mean it would have been a right decision.

There is a "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" dynamic to what is going on right now, at least potentially. Stores with declining sales in the economic downturn mentally jettisoning marginally indy books, Diamond literally jettisoning marginal indy books. I don't think it's completely outside the realm of likelihood that there are self-publishing cartoonists who are, likewise, jettisoning the idea of selling their work through stores on the other side of the equation.

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