So the worst thing about that $7.99 Young Romance one-shot DC put out last week was trying to decide, back in November or December or whenever, how many I wanted to order for the shop. As most of you know, comic shops have to place their comic orders about two months or so ahead of time, and for some publishers (particularly the “big” publishers, like DC, Marvel, Image, etc.) we get to do final tweaking on those orders three weeks or so before they actually ship, just in case there are any last minute reasons to change ’em, like any sort of sudden decline/increase in interest in the title at the shop that wasn’t evident when the original orders were placed.
Now, this Young Romance thing. It costs $7.99, which is a lot to ask of a comic fan, frankly. That pushed my order estimates down. The cover features Superman and Wonder Woman in midst of a super-smooch: given recent interest in the Supes/Wondy romance (and people are interested and talking about it, at least at the shop, which is in contrast, I realize, to the online rending of garments over this development), that pushed numbers up. It’s an anthology: numbers down. Batman/Catwoman story and a Nightwing story: numbers up. Apollo/Midnighter story: sadly, while I’m glad this particular relationship wasn’t forgotten for this book, it was no influence on orders – the Authority ship has sailed, it seems*, and overall the novelty of mixing former Wildstorm characters into what remains of the DC Universe no longer appears to be a sales factor of any sort.
In short, trying to order stuff like this is annoying. On a lot of titles, I have sales histories to help me judge. Even on holiday specials, I have reports, but sales on these can vary very widely, and for no real good reason. And so, I placed my order, basing my best guess on “how many expensive anthology comics can I usually sell” and “will the Superman/Wonder Woman cover sell the book?” and “let me roll some of these D&D dice and see what numbers come up.” And when it came time for the final order adjustments a few weeks later, I saw no reason to fiddle with my ordering decision on this book.
END RESULT: I sold nearly all the copies I ordered, save for two or three, by Sunday. And since the majority of a new comic’s sales are generally in the first week they’re on the rack, I am going to toot my own horn and consider that a success. At least more of a success than a first-day sell-out followed by a string of phone calls inquiring after it, or having every copy I ordered still on the shelf right now.
Please note: I said “generally,” which now gives me pause to wonder “am I going to have to place an immediate reorder” and “how many more copies can I reasonably expect to sell over the next few weeks?” and “boy, people are sure complaining about this comic online…should I order extra copies to meet the demand that will generate?**”
And of course, most importantly, “how many copies will I blow off the shelves once people find out this is one of the Valentine’s Day cards included in this comic?”
“Hello, Diamond Comics! Please send me 5,000 more copies of Young Romance, please! Thank you very much!”
* Though I wonder if a New 52 relaunch of Authority would do well…but I fear it would probably be Justice League: Authority which would sort of desperately miss the point.
** See also Injustice: Gods Among Us #1, which is suddenly receiving a lot of demand two weeks after its release.