Sales: An Understanding of Definitions

A column article by: Ace Masters


Welcome to the second Burning Mind column of 2012 and the first of this year’s Business Columns. You might want to pay attention to the new business subject: Sales. For we have reached the time to break down what sales really is.

Before we dive into the subject that will dominate the next few columns, I want to touch base on something else first. There will be a slight change to the format of these business columns. Starting with this column, the Production Diary will be integrated into the business columns. The Production Diary is a great example of the ideas in the business columns in real world use. However in most cases, the Production Diary will not cover the same materials as what is in the column.

Now, time to get down to business. With the last column of 2011 we wrapped up the Distribution columns–-though that may not be the last we will cover that. Beginning now, we will cover sales.

But first, as we did with market and distribution we must define and understand what sales is. Furthermore, we must define what we mean by sales in the current context.

There are basically two definitions to the term sales in business:

Definition One: Sales can be defined as the act of selling. That is, usually when someone says they are in “sales” it means that it is their jobs to sell a product, service or goods to people. This can also be applied to anyone trying to sell himself or herself to get hired. Examples of these types of sales are:

A: Creators – every time a creator (writer, artist, inker, colorist, letter) submits materials to a publisher they are trying to sell their services.

B: Distributor(s) -- Once a product is in the hands of the distributor (for example Diamond), it is now the distributor’s job to distribute the product in question. To do this, they must sell the product to the retailers (for example Comic Book stores), and convince them it is a good purchase.

C: Retailers – When the product hits shelves in the store, the retailer must sell it. This means he must convince you, the customer, to by the title. Every time someone enters a comic book store and asks “What is a good book?” the retailer enters sales mode and their intent is for the person asking to leave the store with a book in hand.

Of course there are numerous more examples, such as publishers doing sales through advertising and promotions, but the above examples are all that are warranted here.

Definition Two:  The number of units an item sells. Or in more direct terms for our industry–how many copies of a single title are ordered in each given month.

While there are many more definitions for sales, these are the base definitions and suffice for our purposes.

Before you can break down and study sales, you need to understand sales, hence the definition of sales and examples above.

For now, we will concern ourselves with sales as defined as: how many copies of a single title are ordered in each given month.

Back in the mid-2010 Market Place columns, the sales columns were broken down like this:


                        1. Marvel and DC

                        2. Big Indies

                        3. Everyone Else

This has changed because breaking down sales as ‘Marvel and DC, Big Indies and Everyone Else’ does not do this subject justice. It’s inaccurate as it doesn’t allow for a proper look at sales, breakdown of sales numbers, and would not allow for an explanation of what of how sales numbers can be used.

The subject and order of the columns has been updated and expanded in a format similar to the Distribution Columns that will allow for a more in depth coverage of sales.

Always keep in mind though, that these columns are only a guide. At some point you will have to research sales numbers yourself.

The breakdown of the coming sales columns is:

1. What are sales numbers and how best can they best be used?

2. The Diamond Top 300 – An Overview

3. The Diamond Top 300 – Marvel and DC

4. The Diamond Top 300 – Over 1% Market Share

5. The Diamond Top 300 – Everyone Else

6. The Diamond Top 300 – Genres – A numbers breakdown

7. The Diamond Top 100 Graphic Novels

8. What Sales Numbers means?

9. Time to predict the future.

These columns will focus mainly on Diamond Sales numbers. This is because they are the only really number available to us. No one keeps track of convention sales, and subscriptions sales aren’t usually made public by publishers.

Despite what some people think, the industry is still print driven and Diamond is the number one source for comics in the world, and that makes them the number one source for sales info in the world.

Next time we will define what Sales Numbers are and how best they can be used.

Production Diary – Volume Four

As promised above, time for the Production Diary for this column. From this moment on the Production Diary is only going to cover projects and/or materials that are showing progress. And progress for the first week-and-a-half of 2012 has been excellent!

Dragon’s Spear: The fantasy one-shot prequel to a large mini-series is nearing completion. Only seven pages and the cover need to be drawn. Once these are down, I will begin submitting it out to publishers.

Only the Dead Are Free is the other one-shot title in the works, and it is going excellent. Character sketches and the layouts for the first eight pages have been delivered. By this time next month, I plan on have a package ready to submit. Hopefully in the next few weeks I will have a sneak peek of this title on the Burning Mind.

I have mentioned a number times that one needs to let people know who they are and that means promote, promote, promote. This is exactly what my business partner Dave Parrish and I have done. I have resurrected Rebel Dawn Creative Forces full time, doing so with a new Facebook Page, Twitter and Youtube channel. The reasons for this is to promote to all possible who we are, what we have done and where we are going.

We may not have a whole lot of content on any of these pages yet, but we are out there promoting. You can check the pages out at the following links:




That’s it for now.




Community Discussion