Tag Archive: marketing


This lunchtime I made a very brief visit to the Artists Book Fair at Leeds University. The pieces ranged from books that documented art projects, to books that were art in themselves (not necessarily having any content or being for anything other than display), to art made out of cut up books and maps (like Deckle Edged), to hand-made paper and cards, to small booklets of the kind I’d expect to see at any comic gathering (A5 or A6 size, coloured paper, black and white printing with fairly simple drawings, illustrating conversations or everyday life or a common saying or poetry) (try Artists Books Online for examples of several types). Where is the line drawn? What makes these eligible for something where the catalogue costs at least £5, and others not? Is it a matter of what you declare your work to be? Word-art seems popular at the moment, so if you market something as thoughtful ‘art’ it gets taken seriously, exhibited, and priced accordingly, but if you call it a comic it’s relegated to specialist outlets and dismissed as ‘mere’ entertainment? Seems unfair, but sadly it also seems true.

Those nice people at Travelling Man in Leeds have been busy selling Mark’s art prints and our graphic novel Boys Don’t Cry. OneMonkey called in this afternoon and it brightened his day considerably. So if you happen to be in Leeds in the near future, go support a supportive local comic shop by buying stuff – it doesn’t have to be anything of ours but obviously if you feel like it…

We have a fully working website! OneMonkey has spent 3 days working at html and javascript and other technical things (I added a couple of links, my html skills are fairly basic) and now there’s a wonderfully themed site for Boys Don’t Cry at www.ostragoth.co.uk so check it out and let us know what you think.

Here’s my card

More printed advertising matter for Thought Bubble: we now have business cards (calling cards?), how ridiculous, but it’s a useful way of having handy contact details for people to take. They look and feel pretty good and substantial (thanks, Optimalprint)

Cards designed by Thousand and One Monkeys; art by Mark Pexton

Thought Bubble is three weeks today – time to start getting seriously nervous.

Did we draw it big enough?

So, our banner for Thought Bubble arrived.

Our new banner for Thought Bubble

OneMonkey dwarfed by the banner

A good selection of Mark’s art (and the colours came out well), but it’s huge! Thankfully it rolls up into a case, currently tucked out of the way (so I hope we don’t forget it on the day). I guess the idea was to be noticed, and I think this is going to be hard to miss.

The Ostragoth website

There’s not much there yet, but we’ve registered a domain and now have a presence at http://www.ostragoth.co.uk (OneMonkey will be working on it just as soon as he’s finished ordering prints and postcards of Mark’s paintings). Eventually, that will be the place to buy things (including our graphic novel) from us, if you’re so inclined.

Ostragoth+tea+bourbons=decision-making. Yes, we can make decisions if pressed. We have business card designs, a list of Mark’s paintings to order as prints and postcards, a list of bits and pieces to buy for Thought Bubble (table cloth, paper bags etc) and a vague idea where to get them, a selling price for Boys Don’t Cry, and a tentative title for the next comic (I’m guessing we’ll change our minds on that one).

The proof copy of Boys Don’t Cry is expected through the letterbox soon, so the final printing should happen just in time for Thought Bubble. This is what the finished book (graphic novella?) will look like if you open it out (i.e. back cover, spine, front cover):

 

Cover and spine art for Boys Don't Cry

Boys Don't Cry, the cover and spine

 

How do you write a synopsis? A catchy couple of sentences to whet the appetite of a potential reader/purchaser – how hard can that be? The answer, as I’m fast discovering, is ‘very’.

With a thin comic the title and the overall look of the thing have to do the work, but when you’ve got something that’s quite thick and bound like a book, it makes sense to have some enticing words on the back. I’m the sort of person that picks up a book and goes straight to the back cover – if it doesn’t tell me what it’s about (instead throwing quotes from reviews at me, which sometimes turn out to have been taken out of context, or taken from a review of a previous novel) I put it down again.

I’ve read plenty of back-cover synopses on novels that are misleading, and a few that are factually inaccurate (Who writes them? Have they read the book first? Why not?) so I know what I’m trying to avoid. However, being so close to Boys Don’t Cry I’m almost guaranteed to emphasise aspects of the story that other people wouldn’t see as so important, and words and phrases that I choose will probably conjure up different ideas for different readers.

So, I have to write a brief, memorable (for us to quote at anyone who asks what it’s about, to save being tongue-tied and waffly), enticing, accurate summary of the plot/theme/atmosphere/style of Boys Don’t Cry, which will mean similar things to most people who read it. Simple, I don’t know why I haven’t done it already.

Leeds alternative comics fair

I meant to write a post earlier this week flagging the forthcoming Leeds alternative comics fair, but the week ran away with me somewhat, and by the time I finish writing this, it’ll be about finished. Still, OneMonkey and I did manage to go along for a browse and a chat, and a most genial gathering it was. I don’t generally carry cash but I had enough on me to dip into the world of Fetishman, and indulge my vague Newcastle homesickness (I only lived there 4 years but I do miss it sometimes) with Gary Bainbridge‘s Grainger St, a brief journey in pen and ink from Central Station to Grey’s Monument.

I met Geof Banyard of Physics World fame (oh, and he does Fetishman these days), and chatted with a pleasant bearded chap (who may well have been Andrew Waugh, but I didn’t actually ask him) who was happy to advise us on first-time Thought Bubble. He asked what Boys Don’t Cry was about, and I waffled for a couple of minutes without enlightening him at all – a friend of mine suggested last week that all 3 of Ostragoth memorise the back-cover blurb, because at least 2 of us are likely to fall apart at that point, and I’m guessing it’ll become a regular question.

The Ostragoth table at Thoughtbubble is booked and confirmed. Lettering styles have been discussed and a draft of the Boys Don’t Cry cover is under consideration. It’s exciting, but at the same time a lot of this graphic novel business is just that – business. A trio of socially inept thirty-somethings with physics degrees now has to confront the alien concepts of marketing and presentation. Not to mention decision-making (certainly not one of my strong points). We have an Ostragoth logo courtesy of OneMonkey, but we need an image for the Thoughtbubble website, a final cover design, and a shortlist of Mark’s paintings to get as prints. It’s exhausting! All this and I’m expected to find time to write the follow-up?