Hi all! Sydney Library Comics Festival “Comic Con-versation” will be from the 10th-15th July this year, and I will be doing a number of events with libraries across Sydney (and selling my books as well)! This year, 20 libraries will be involved, and here is a list of all the activities I’ll be doing next week:
- Whitlam Library (Cabramatta): Tue 11th July @ 1-4pm – Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public!
- Liverpool Library: Tue 11th July @ 6 – 7:30pm – The Continental Divide Panel: Visual Storytelling from Around the World – Learn the differences between European, Asian (Manga) and US comics!
- Burwood Library: Thu 13th July @ 10-1pm – Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public!
- Chatswood Library: Fri 14th July @ 12-4pm – Artists Alley & Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public! Also, there’s an exhibition at Chatswood that features some of my work!
- Ashfield Library: Sat 15th July @ 12-5pm – Artists Alley! Come along!
- Ashfield Library: Sat 15th July @ 12:30-1:30pm – Comics and Creativity – What is creativity is? Why comics? A panel discussion moderated by moi!
Listing Graphic Novels with Library Suppliers
This year I’ve also produced a “book list” for Australian libraries who want to buy Australian graphic novels for their collections. These graphic novels are listed with Australian library suppliers James Bennett and Australian Library Service (ALS), and I have provided instructions for how to do it below:
The 2017 booklist is below. Download it in pdf format here.
Why List with Library Suppliers?
Libraries often want to order the books of local creators, especially if they’re doing a workshop or talk with the library. A library can buy directly from a creator, but books are not allowed on the library shelves unless they’ve been catalogued, and libraries don’t do their own cataloguing – library suppliers do. If a library buys a book from a creator, they will have to send it out especially for cataloguing, which will cost extra time and money. For that reason, libraries nearly always prefer to order from library suppliers.
Requirements for Listing with Library Suppliers
You can list as many books as you have available and are able to provide as your own distributor. That said, if you already have a distributor for your book, you won’t need to list with library suppliers. Your books:
- Must have a valid ISBN. ISSNs won’t cut it – those are for periodicals, not books
- Must be a properly-bound book (ie. perfect bound, no spiral spine binding)
- There is a preference for standard trade sizes
Listing with James Bennett
James Bennett is one of the largest library suppliers on the east coast of Australia, and the link above tells you how small press should list their books with them. Read up on it, download the form, fill it in and send it to the email address. Please make sure to mention that it’s an Australian graphic novel. (Note: If the book is more than 1 year old, then make sure to let them know that it doesn’t need to be in their “New Titles” database, just in their regular one.)
Listing with ALS
Here’s the link to the ALS website that allows authors to list their books. Please make sure to mention that it’s a graphic novel by using that email address to let them know that you’ve listed a book that is an Australian graphic novel.
How to Price Your Books
Ideally, your books will be not much more than $30 for children’s fiction, and not much more than $60 for adult fiction. You will be required to provide to all library suppliers at 45% discount off the retail price, PLUS free shipping. Regardless of what your book’s normal retail price is, it’s recommended you list it at a point where you can at least break even.
- Example: “Fabled Kingdom” v1 is normally $20 when I sell it, but it’s listed at $30 with library suppliers. When they place an order with me, I bill them at a 45% discount + free shipping, meaning that I charge $16.50 for book (with free shipping). “Fabled Kingdom” v1 costs $7 to print and $8 to ship, so I make $1.50 off that sale).
If you don’t list your book at 45% discount with free shipping, the extra cost will be pushed onto the libraries, and they will be less inclined to order your books. Please remember that libraries have limited funding.
Sales Cannot be Guaranteed
Unfortunately, listing your books do not guarantee any library sales. What it does do is make it easy and cheap for a library to order directly from library suppliers (assuming they use said library suppliers). Books come to the library catalogued and shelf-ready, which makes it immediately ready to be shelved and read.
To get library sales, you still have to market to libraries yourself. If libraries don’t know about your books, they can’t order it in. One of the best ways to get libraries to order your book in is to do workshops or talks for them – comic workshops are extremely popular with kids during the school holidays.