As rumored, the new Captain Marvel series coming from Marvel next year (if the date on Marvel’s own promo pics is correct) will indeed star Carol Danvers and be written by the marvelous Kelly Sue DeConnick. In her interview with the mothership about the book, DeConnick talked about pre-ordering, selling out and the secret horror of the Direct Market, and it’s something that bears all manner of repeating:
The problem isn’t just that we have to get folks to buy it; it’s that we have to get retailers to order it. The failing of our distribution model is that our customer isn’t really the reader, our customer is whoever places the Diamond order at any store. So if there’s a perception that the book won’t sell, it gets under-ordered and it becomes this self-fulfilling prophecy.
Here’s a thing that happens to every creator on Twitter on one Wednesday or another: an incredibly sweet reader who really wants to support you, writes to tell you that they tried to buy your book at their LCS and it was already sold out! It’s only noon, they say! The shop only opened at 10! Your book must’ve flown off the shelves!
And then the creator, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, says, “Wow! Thanks for your support — better pre-order the next one!” and then they cry into their coffee. Because, friends, selling out by noon on a Wednesday is not good news. Heck, selling out by Thursday is not good news. That means your book was under-ordered — if it was ordered at all. If the consumer wants the product and we can’t get them the product, our system is broken.
I hate the pre-order thing. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Ten years ago, I was complaining about it on the [Warren Ellis Forum] — I’m a shopper. I looooove to shop. I will spend money. But I am not going to buy a pair of shoes that I’m expected to order three months in advance and am not able to try on! And that’s what we’re asking of our readers. It’s the dumbest system. No wonder we have problems! Is there another industry that works like this?
I’m a fan of the DM, albeit a fan who thinks that the system could be better, but I read this and thought, “I wish there was a weekly column somewhere called Kelly Sue Tells It Like It Is where she can just be this right all the time.”
And when Captain Marvel is solicited? Pre-order the hell out’ve that book, why don’t you.