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REMINDER: Get Ready for Free Comic Book Day 2007 with February Previews!

On May 5, for the sixth consecutive year, comic book retailers worldwide will join with publishers to promote the comic medium and their stores to consumers everywhere on one of the comic industry’s biggest events – Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) 2007 – and you can become a Participating Retailer this month by marking a single line in the February Previews Retailer Order Form!

Overwhelmingly positive consumer response, the popularity of comics characters in film and television, and extensive media attention have helped FCBD evolve into a major promotional opportunity for retailers. Nearly 2,000 participating retailers have distributed over 2 million free comics per year, attracting many new customers in the process.

In fact, 76% of the retailers polled in a survey conducted after the 2006 event said that they gained customers as a result of FCBD, with 95% of responding retailers experiencing “significantly increased” sales a month after the event. Stores reported that 90% of their FCBD traffic came from new visitors, and 55% said that sales were higher on Free Comic Book Day 2006 than FCBD 2005. With comic-based films like Spider-Man 3, 300, Ghost Rider and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer already generating anticipation among mainstream audiences, you should expect similarly high interest from potential customers this year. What better incentive could there be for becoming a Participating Retailer in 2007?


Make Your Store Shine with Gold & Silver FCBD Books!

In order to qualify as a Participating Retailer, you must fulfill three simple requirements.

• You must operate a storefront business.

• You must order Free Comic Book Day Participating Retailer (FEB070010J) in the February Previews Retailer Order Form. Retailers who order this line will receive approximately $5 worth of each of the Gold Sponsor books and be considered a Participating Retailer. An innovation suggested by the FCBD Committee, this is the only way to become a Participating Retailer, regardless of how many copies are ordered individually.

• You must agree to give the FCBD comics away to customers on May 5 with no purchase required.

Please Note:  To simplify the participation process for retailers, this year we’ve added a line in the February Previews Retailer Order Form that will automatically secure FCBD Participating Retailer status for your store. Retailers ordering “1” of FEB070010J will be Participating Retailers and receive Gold Sponsor books at the quantity levels shown in the table below. This code is limit one per account, and only by ordering through this code will retailers be recognized as Participating Retailers. Of course, ordering on this line also entitles retailers to order additional quantities of the Gold Sponsor books as needed. Plus, all Participating Retailers will receive a free FCBD promotional poster!

ORDERING “1” OF FEB07001J WILL AUTOMATICALLY GUARANTEE YOUR STATUS AS A PARTICIPATING FCBD 2007 RETAILER!

GOLD SPONSOR

ITEM CODE

TITLE

NET COST

QTY

Archie Comic Publications

FEB070011J

Archie Comics Little Archie 2007 FCBD Ed.

$0.16

30 cps.

Bongo Comics

FEB070012J

Bongo's Free for All 2007 FCBD Ed.

$0.21

24 cps.

Dark Horse Comics

FEB070013J

UmbrellaAcademy/Zero Killer/Pantheon City 2007 FCBD Ed.

$0.22

23 cps.

DC Comics

FEB070014J

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century 2007  FCBD Ed.

$0.12

41 cps.

Dynamite Entertainment

FEB070015J

Lone Ranger/New Battlestar Galactica Flip Book 2007 FCBD Ed.

$0.24

21 cps.

Gemstone Publishing

FEB070016J

Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse 2007 FCBD Ed.

$0.23

22 cps.

IDW Publishing

FEB070017J

Transformers: The Movie Prequel #1 2007 FCBD Ed.

$0.22

23 cps.

Image Comics

FEB070018J

Astounding Wolfman #1 2007 FCBD Ed.

$0.16

31 cps.

Marvel Comics

FEB070019J

Amazing Spider-Man: Swing Shift 2007 FCBD Ed.

$0.20

25 cps.

TOKYOPOP

FEB070020J

TOKYOPOP Choose Your Weapon 2007 FCBD Ed. GN

$0.22

23 cps.


This one-code process means you can be a Participating Retailer with a minimum order of $50.00, and you're free to buy any quantities of Gold Sponsor titles above and beyond the minimum requirements! (If you have multiple stores under a single Diamond account number, please contact your Diamond Customer Service Representative for details on how to include all of your locations in the promotion.)

You can also order a variety of other titles from this year's FCBD Silver Sponsors, which include: Antarctic Press, Ape Entertainment, Arcana Studios, Archie Comic Publications’ Silver title, Aspen MLT Inc., Blatant Comics, Boom! Studio, Castle Rain Entertainment, Comic Genesis, Comic Shop News, DC Comics’ Silver title, Devil’s Due Publishing, Digital Webbing, Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics Books, 01: First Second Books, Heroic Publishing, Impact Books, Keenspot Publishing, Legion of Evil Press, Maerkle Press, Marvel Comics’ Silver title, Oni Press, Renaissance Press, Rude Dude Productions, Sky-Dog Press, Too Hip Gotta Go Publishing, Top Shelf Productions, TwoMorrows Publishing, Viper Comics, Virgin Comics, Wildcard Ink, Wizard Entertainment and Zenscope Entertainment. You can order these books in any quantity from the February Previews Retailer Order Form.

Plus, look for WizKids’ FCBD-exclusive, 50-piece DC HeroClix: Bag o' Batman (FEB070055J, $21.25) in the February Previews Retailer Order Form, offering an excellent giveaway to fans of GothamCity’s Dark Knight!

All FCBD titles carry an Order Increase Cut-off Date of March 16 and are scheduled to ship on April 25 to give you time to organize your products, plan your promotions and coordinate your giveaways. Content information for all FCBD books can be found on pages 8-12 of the February Previews.


Participating Brings Perks!

In addition to a free FCBD Promotional Poster, all Participating Retailers receive promotional support from Diamond and all of the supporting publishers and organizations involved with the event.

As a Participating Retailer, you will be automatically enrolled in a special database on www.FreeComicBookDay.com. This database will function like the Comic Shop Locator Service (CSLS) database and will enable interested parties to find you quickly and easily. Best of all, if you are already a CSLS participant with an online profile, your profile will automatically be shown to visitors to FreeComicBookDay.com, too!

You'll also get a free ad slick/bag slick for promoting the event and your store, both in your store and/or in cross-promotion with other businesses, plus a co-op ad slick and a customizable press release to send to local media to gain coverage and exposure. Additionally, FCBD comics are designed to allow for prominent placement of your store stamp on either the front or back cover, effectively extending the life of this promotional event indefinitely.

Your FCBD orders can also earn promotional materials from participating publishers, including one free promotional JLA/Legion of Super-Heroes poster from DC Comics for every 50 copies ordered of its Justice League of America #1 FCBD Edition.

Furthermore, you can order an array of low-cost promotional materials available for the event, including a FCBD Promotional Commercial Videotape (FEB070058J, $45.00) in the DVD format. The commercial can be used with your local TV stations/cable companies to promote FCBD at your store, as it is customizable to allow you to place your store and contact information. (Please Note: A BetaMax version of the commercial is also available for an additional cost; please contact your Diamond Customer Service Representative for details.)

Most FCBD promotional items – including a stylish FCBD Wrist Band (JAN070021J, $1.00) – were solicited in the January 2007 Previews to ensure that they would arrive in stores well in advance of FCBD. Consult your January 2007 Previews Retailer Order and speak to your Diamond Customer Service Representative if you need to order additional promotional materials, such as posters, store bags, shelf talkers, temporary tattoos, buttons, window clings, bookmarks, stickers, postcards, postage stamps and apparel (baseball caps, T-shIrts, babydoll T-shirts and polo shirts).

All of these January-solicited items carry an Order Increase Cut-off Date of February 2, and a scheduled ship date of March 14.


Anticipation is Building!

As in the past, FCBD is being vigorously promoted within the industry and in the mainstream media.

Previously, major mainstream press coverage and promotional initiatives have been prominent and very successful in getting customers in your store. The SCI FI Channel's Super-Hero Saturday advertising in 2002 and its promotion of the event during Stargate SG-1 in 2003, plus cross-promotion with AOL RED (America Online’s teen-oriented portal) in 2004 and 2005, have heightened customer awareness of, and anticipation for, the event. Additionally, high-profile national and international media outlets as diverse as USA Today, The New York Times, National Public Radio, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly Online, Ron & Fez Show (XM Radio), Child Online, Maxim, Wired Magazine, The Washington Post, The Canadian Business Journal, ABCNews.com, E! Online, TheHollywoodReporter.com, Variety.com and many more have given extensive coverage to FCBD.

This year will be no exception. As of press time, planned promotions include, but will not be limited to, the following venues:

• The official website, www.FreeComicBookDay.com, which will be linked to/promoted by hundreds of websites and email campaigns.

• An FCBD promotional poster repeatedly made its way onto Fox’s teen drama The O.C. The prominent placement of the poster increased awareness for Free Comic Book Day on May 5 and should help make it even bigger than last year, drawing new customers to thousands of comic shops across the nation.

• Advertising in many newsstand and direct market comics, magazines, and other publications, including Wizard: The Comics Magazine, Comics Buyer’s Guide, Previews, Geek Monthly, Non-Sport Card Update, Alter Ego, Starlog and others.

• The February 2007 Previews, which contains a five-page FCBD section, aims to mobilize the thousands of current fans and new consumers by turning them into a promotional force that will bring new customers into your store on May 5. Similar advertising will appear in the April and May issues of Previews.

• Publisher public relations efforts.

• On-site promotion at New York Comic Con, MegaCon, WonderCon, Pittsburgh Comicon and other special events.


Local Promotion: Your Home Field Advantage!

One thing has always remained true about FCBD, regardless of the titles involved, the events planned or the date itself: local promotion is even more important than national promotion. Even though the event is coordinated and developed on a national and global level, its success is measured on the level of its turnout in individual stores like yours!

Over five successful years, FCBD retailers who have made the most of the event agree that getting the word out locally matters the most. A representative testimonial of what such efforts can accomplish for you on FCBD comes from Dean Phillips of Krypton Comics in Omaha, NE:

“Ads were placed in school newspapers, local weekly newspapers and we ran TV spots during hit shows like 24 and Smallville on the local Fox and WB affiliates. Since we were overdoing things as usual, Krypton sponsored Comic Night at Rosenblatt Stadium for an Omaha Royals baseball home game in which we gave away more than 2,000 comics stuffed with FCBD fliers. Finally, we did a mass mailing of a coupon mentioning FCBD that got sent out to 30,000 homes, placed dozens of FCBD posters along with Krypton fliers in local libraries and schools and ran a radio spot the day of the event. From my experience, you only get out of a promotion what you put into it.”

Some more easy, inexpensive and effective ways to promote FCBD include:

Use your customers. Fans consistently proclaim that they want FCBD to succeed, so use the February Previews to remind them that it's coming, and encourage them to spread the word among their non-comics-reading friends and relatives.

Focus on each title individually. Consider the types of readers you want to attract for the event and promote those FCBD books that will capture their interest.

Create your own fliers and ads: Beginning February 1, retailers can download free art and covers from participating FCBD titles at Diamond Online’s Retailer Services Area, and can be used to create your own promotional materials. Available as user-friendly graphics, they can be copied and inserted into fliers, print ads, websites, shelf-talkers and more.

Promote online. Download either or both of the FCBD logos from www.FreeComicBookDay.com. Post them on your website and link back to FreeComicBookDay.com. And be sure to incorporate the date, time and location of Free Comic Book Day into your email and message board signatures.

Work with a school in your area. More and more, schools are using comics in the classroom, and most are eager to work with local businesses. Consider partnering with one or more local schools to promote FCBD by inviting reading classes to your store for a field trip, or by donating free comics to the school (stamped with your store information).

Host a creator signing. Book a local creator to do a signing on May 5 to make your store even more exciting for customers, and to add to FCBD’s newsworthiness in the eyes of local media.

Partner with a local library. See the article in this issue of Daily!

These ideas – along with such proven media magnets as costumed characters, game demonstrations, barbeques and other events held on the big day – can be combined with local advertising can transform your store into a major entertainment destination for your community on FCBD, and make visitors want to come back for more long after the event ends!

For continuing updates on promotional plans, publicity efforts and more, watch Diamond Daily, Diamond Dateline, Diamond Dialogue and www.FreeComicBookDay.com.


Get Started NOW!

Preparing for FCBD has to start now, not mere weeks before the event. Retailer and FCBD originator Joe Field’s recommendations – adapted here from the January 2003 issue of Dialogue – are just as useful today. Give them a try!

• Recruit a “fresh set of eyes” by bringing in a mystery shopper who has never been in a comic book store to critique your store for cleanliness, for its look, displays and for the friendliness and helpfulness of your staff.

• Make changes relevant to mystery shopper visits.

• Contact schools and libraries for tie-ins. Suggestion: the school with the most students attending FCBD wins a library donation for their school.

• Invite special guests and local creators.

• Have a meeting to prepare your staff with info about FCBD, getting everyone to read FCBD-related comics, and getting recommendations for other comics to sell to those attending the event.

• Hire a professional photographer to take shots of your store, to be used in all your publicity, including press releases and on your website.

• Produce fliers for bags, libraries and other business partners.

• Customize the FCBD press release materials Diamond will provide.

• Make initial contacts with newspapers, TV and radio stations. A great resource for finding media contacts in your region is online at http://www.congress.org/stickers/?dir=congressorg&media=1. This site makes finding media partners as easy as typing your ZIP code.

• Pitch the FCBD promotion to a local radio station for a free live broadcast. You will have a crowd – radio wants to reach that crowd.


Retailer Testimonials

The following quotes are from retailers who participated in last year’s Free Comic Book Day! Plus, visit www.FreeComicBookDay.com to see more testimonials from previous years’ participating retailers, as well as an accounting of the tremendous amount of media coverage the event has garnered in the past!

“This event is like no other, promoting literacy and comics to folks who, otherwise, might not have given this medium a second look. We are, as always, proud to be a part of it!"
--John Munn, Comic Book, Ink (Tacoma, WA)

“We had a great time seeing all our regular customers and meeting a ton of new people, too! We received many compliments for our giveaways, organization and down right entertainment. We are already looking forward to next year with the goal of making Free Comic Book Day 2007 better than this one. Viva la Free Comic Book Day!”
--Jim Jones & Maggie Avis, Comic Quest (Evansville IN)

“It was great seeing families coming in with their children and helping them pick out comics, as well as seeing the interaction between customers, employees, and the guests… It wasn’t which comic that DC or Marvel published or which HeroClix were offered. It was the event that brings everyone together and the love for the medium itself. ”
--JC Glindmyer, Earthworld Comics (Albany, NY)

“This year's FCBD was record-breaking ! We had an estimated 700-800 people through the doors, significantly higher than previous years - and this was clearly indicated by the higher sales volumes. The fun factor was also greater since the bigger crowd added to the vibrant atmosphere.”
--Mahdi Abrahams, Readers Den Comic Shop (Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa)