Official Press Release
As you read this, Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is mere days away. The hit count on www.FreeComicBookDay.com is steadily rising as more and more information is released. More than 25,000 people have signed up for the site's e-mail updates. Over two million comics stand ready to be given out, and more than 2,100 stores in more than 25 countries (and all 50 states in the U.S.) have signed up to participate.
This is the time to make those last minute arrangements with your local newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and TV stations to coordinate coverage of the event. Alert them to the fact that a big event will be taking place in your community on May 3 and ask them to send a reporter and/or camera crew. (If you haven't already checked it out, Diamond Comic Distributors has posted a page on its Retailer Services Area at https://retailer.diamondcomics.com/main/FCBD.asp which is dedicated to Free Comic Book Day. On this page, you'll find a downloadable ad/bag slick, coupon template, and fill-in-the-blanks press release for your use as you count down to May 3.)
Prepare for an influx of new customers! Be ready to answer basic questions about comics and their subject matter, as well as about your store. Have coupons on hand to entice newcomers to come back to your store. Make certain that your store is clean and logically organized so that readers can find material that interests them. Be sure that your staff is aware of products for sale that relate to the Free Comic Book Day editions (i.e., copies of Ultimate X-Men and Batman Adventures trade paperbacks).
At press time, Diamond and the participating publishers are in the process of securing mainstream media coverage of Free Comic Book Day. This should not deter you from arranging your own local coverage. While Free Comic Book Day is coordinated at an international level, it is most accurately described as 2,000 local and regional events happening at the same time. Broad national coverage will help, but local coverage (the kind of coverage only you can generate) stands the best chance of driving the most customers into your store.
Mainstream Media Promotion
- The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has come on board to promote Free Comic Book Day through its member libraries. The organization has encouraged libraries to contact local comic book stores in order to arrange for cross-promotion on May 3, and Diamond also helped retailers who have expressed an interest in coordinating with a local library to do so.
- The Cartoon Network is promoting Free Comic Book Day with a banner ad on its Adult Swim website at www.adultswim.com. The adults-oriented Adult Swim is one of the channel's most popular programming blocks, and hits a demographic that is receptive to comics and their subject matter.
- A story about Free Comic Book Day is slated for publication in an April edition of the New York Daily News, reaching New Yorkers and the millions who read the paper online just before Free Comic Book Day.
- Diamond's Comic Shop Locator Service is also promoting Free Comic Book Day with a special message that tells consumers who call the Service at (888) COMIC-BOOK about the event, and encourages them to visit the Free Comic Book Day website to find the participating retailer near them. As a result, all past and present promotion for the CSLS now promotes Free Comic Book Day as well.
- The SCI-FI Channel has been promoting Free Comic Book Day on the air during its top-rated Stargate SG-1 throughout April and has also placed the event on its online event calendar. SCI FI has also promoted FCBD in its e-mail newsletter, which goes out to half a million dedicated fans.
- Publications such as the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, and the Chicago Tribune have expressed an interest in Free Comic Book Day as well.
By its very nature, the mainstream media tends to add and subtract stories and ideas up until the last minute. As a result, stories may show up in venues with no notice, or may need to be cancelled without notice due to breaking news in another field. Please bear this in mind when mainstream media are mentioned with regards to Free Comic Book Day.
Comics' #1 Fan
Especially now, remind your regular customers about Diamond's Comics' #1 Fan contest. One lucky winner will get a prize pack containing signed art, trade paperbacks, hardcovers, statues, and more, including a $250.00 gift certificate from Diamond to spend in your store! All they have to do is do something to attract attention to Free Comic Book Day, thus helping to promote your store. Especially as the event is imminent, this is agreat time to remind your more outgoing customers of the prizes available. Point them to http://www.freecomicbookday.com/contest/contest_fcbd.asp for complete rules, details, and an up-to-date list of prizes.
Share Your FCBD Experience - Get Free Stuff!
You can win big on Free Comic Book Day, too! While sharing promotional ideasacross the industry is important, it's also important to show off success! After May 3, www.FreeComicBookDay.com will host an area containing pictures of stores from Free Comic Book Day, along with anecdotes, essays, and "tales from the front lines." Every retailer who sends in pictures from May 3 will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a $250.00 Star System shopping spree.
Be sure to take pictures in your store on May 3, write a quick paragraph or two about Free Comic Book Day, and send them off to:
Diamond Comic Distributors
1966 Greenspring Drive
Timonium, MD 21074
ATTN: Free Comic Book Day
You can also send your entries by e-mail to: email@example.com.
If you do get television coverage of your store's Free Comic Book Day, send a copy of that along, too!
Give Us Your Results - Get More Free Stuff!
Finally, the Free Comic Book Day Committee has assembled a survey to gauge the reaction and response to Free Comic Book Day. This survey is designed to help the Committee determine which promotional efforts are most efficient and which could be explored to a fuller degree. The results will help the Committee to make decisions to improve possible future events.
The survey is available in paper form in your April 30 shipment, or online at https://retailer.diamondcomics.com/main. The first portion asks about your experiences and promotional efforts before Free Comic Book Day, while the rest of the survey asks for your experiences during and after the event.
Either fill our the hard copy survey and return it to the Diamond Home Office no later than June 13, or complete the online survey by June 13 and you will be entered into a drawing to win a $250.00 Star System shopping spree.