Diamond has accepted your book. Now what?
For those of you who aren’t ready, now is the time to plotz. The reason why you plotz is because you’re unprepared.
Diamond is a distributor. They’re going to solicit your comic to the retailer, who’s going to make a guesstimate as to how many copies of your book they think they can sell. They’re going to give that number to Diamond, who’s then going to give you a purchase order to fill. If you’re lucky, that purchase order will have a few thousand books on it.
Why are you plotzing? Because if you’ve gone to Diamond as Joe Schmoe Comics, wanting to get your book into stores but didn’t do any research at all as to how things worked, you didn’t know that you have to take on the cost of printing yourself.
Here’s what happens: Diamond buys your book from you at a very steep discount. They then sell it to the retailers at a discount, and the retailer sells it to the general public at, you guessed it, retail price. The retailer cuts a check to Diamond, and Diamond cuts a check to you. (This is where the so-called “back-end pay” comes from—the check from Diamond.)
Most creators I know are broke. This means they scraped up just enough money to get the book completed, but had no idea as to how Diamond worked. They’re now out of money. Filling the purchase order means printing the book, and since the book that was more than likely given to Diamond is a color book, you now have to print in color. You can’t print it in b/w because that’s a material change, and Diamond can cancel the purchase order over that.
I tell creators all the time to save as much money as possible. The real expense isn’t creating the comic. The real expense is printing it. Those that are looking into trying an ongoing book—good luck. You need to have money to print the book, and you have to be willing to go in the hole for a few months before you get that check back from Diamond in order to keep operations going. It isn’t easy and it isn’t cheap.
Save your money now, because you’re going to be spending it later. That’s the best, most sound advice anyone making comics can ever give.