Elizabeth Genco, whose graphic novel Blue was recently announced, does a lot of heavy lifting by surveying several indie friendly retailers to find out how on earth to get publicity for a lone indie book these days:

The fact that Blue is in Previews doesn’t mean bupkus. There are a squillion books in Previews. The fact that someone other than me is printing Blue doesn’t mean bupkus. Ordering new books is a financial risk. How do I get a harried, pressed-for-shelf-space retailer to take a chance on me, a first-timer with no track record? That’s the question I posed to four of my prospective customers, indy-friendly retailers. They are: Rory Root, owner of Comic Relief (Berkeley, CA), Alex Cox, owner of Rocketship (my home store here in Brooklyn, NY), Andrew Neal, owner of Chapel Hill Comics (Chapel Hill, NC), and Ben Trujillo, owner of Star Clipper (St. Louis, MO). Boy, have they got answers.

Among the commons sense dispensed: suggestions on marketing, packaging and important design issues, such as this from Neal:

* Bad design both from a visual standpoint and a financial one: an unreadable spine, an unattractive cover or a cover that doesn’t reflect the interiors in some way, a title or price that’s impossible to find. You need to have an ISBN on there, too, even though it’s not pretty.
* A lack of consideration for the details that add up to the overall product: bad lettering can ruin an otherwise attractive book.
* Bad (or no) editing: incorrectly spelled words and bad grammar can hurt a book, too.

You’d be surprised how may publishers violate these seeming no-brainers.