Research, Research, Research: Diamond Book Distributors

A column article by: Ace Masters


For the briefest of moments, I am going to interrupt the regularly scheduled Burning Mind column for a Special Announcement.

In the past I have mentioned Did I Do Good, a short film I wrote, produced and directed. It has featured heavily in my Production Diary columns.

I can now announce that Did I Do Good is an official selection of the Long Shadow Film Festival. Did I Do Good will be screened on Monday, November 21st, in Phoenix, AZ. Since it is a local festival, I will be in attendance. I encourage any reader who lives in Phoenix, to attend for a good time.

That’s it for now. I will share more info as it becomes available.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled Burning Mind column



Is your title a graphic novel? Planning on collecting your miniseries as a trade paperback in the future? Maybe you want to do the first few issues of your ongoing series as a trade?

Now is the time to learn about something that, for some reason, seems to have flown under the radar of many smaller publishers -- the Small Press or "True Indie" publishers, as I call them.

That something is Diamond Book Distributors.

Diamond Book Distributors is the sister company of Diamond Comics Distribution and promotes itself as "The Industry’s Leading Source for Graphic Novels." They distribute graphic novels (along with prose novels and games) beyond the direct market to the mass market and distribute to major retailers like, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Target and Wal-Mart and specialty outlets like AAFFES (Military Exchanges).

The idea behind Diamond Book Distributors was to get graphic novels and trade paperbacks out to a wider audience, which it has done. This is the idea you want to exploit now. The direct market is good, but the exposure from the mass market could be better.

It is an unfortunate stigma we must deal with that many people and publications still look down upon the comic book industry. If you can promote that your title will be on shelves at potential readers local Barnes and Noble that might make people stand up and take notice.

This might also encourage publications that usually wouldn’t cover your title, to now give you some coverage.

Diamond Book Distributors can also get your title into areas that may not have a local comic book store.

Think about it, have you ever been to a town or even small city that doesn’t have a comic book store? I bet they have a book store, or maybe even a large retailer somewhere nearby. Getting your title carried by Diamond Book Distributors could get you into areas where there are no comic book stores.

There are some drawbacks Diamond Book Distributors though. The major drawback being that you are now dealing with the Mass Market, not the Direct Market. The mass market has a completely different set of rules then the Direct Market. The biggest difference is that unsold copies can be returned for credit by the mass market. This means that bookstores, like Barnes and Noble, can return unsold copies of your trade paperback to you, the publisher, for credit on a future title, or a possible refund. Meaning you may take a loss on unsold copies.

Also, buyers for stores like Barnes and Noble know their job very well. When it comes to graphic novels and trades, they will often base their decision to buy titles from smaller publishers on previous sales history. In some cases, if your title didn’t make it onto shelves in the direct market, the mass market may not be interested.

Another drawback is that even though your title is being distributed by Diamond Comics Distributors, it is not automatically included in Diamond Book Distributors catalog. This means that in order to get distributed by Diamond Book Distributors you have to go through the submission process again.

Your first step should be to contact your Diamond Comics Brand Manager and ask about Diamond Books, they should be able to point you in the right direction and tell you where to go. From this point, you need to send in your title to Diamond Book Distributors for consideration.

From here, send in the exact same submissions package that you did to Diamond Comics.

What’s the worst they can do? Reject it?

This route could be very good for you and your title. Though, as always, do your research, plan it out and learn as much as you can before diving in. Make your own choice if you think this is a good route for you.

The point of doing your title in the first place is to tell whatever story you want to tell. You want to get that story out to the widest possible audience. You’ve already hit the direct market; the mass market is the next step.

Keep this in mind though – do not bypass the Direct Market for Diamond Books and the mass market. The direct market is where you should start and make your name, Diamond Books and the mass market is icing on the cake.

Next Time:

In my column "Finite Possibilities; Or, the New 52: the Good, the Bad, the Nothing," I wrote: "Since Hex is my one investment in DC Comics, I will let all know what I think when Jonah is unleashed in the relaunch."

Well, it has been two issues now and I am going to follow through on that promise and take a good look at the new All-Star Western. In fact, I am going to take a small look at the DC relaunch through the three titles I have read so far: All-Star Western, Grifter and Voodoo.


Ace Masters.

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