MICHAEL DAVIS: The Art Of The Deal – Part 2… kind of
I was going to finish up the how and whys of the Action File school system deal this week and begin The Guardian Line Christian publishing deal. I’ve decided to take a step back and deal with some important particulars about these deal-making articles. I’ve gotten some feedback in person and by email over the last week that I want to address so I’ll finish those deals next week.
Someone asked me last week to whom did I think I was giving advice?
I replied: “Me.”
I started last week’s article by saying I was not bragging when I say I’ve got a ridiculous résumé and by ridiculous I mean bad ass and by bad ass I mean impressive and by impressive I mean yada, yada and yada. I stated that so it was clear up front that I am writing from a position of one who has done what I’m talking about. I have little to no respect for people who talk a big game but it’s only talk because they have never really been in the game they are talking about. Case in point, sportscasters who have never played the sport professionally but find it easy to second-guess players, managers and coaches on the field.
Where I’m from if you are going to talk shit about something or someone you had better be speaking from experience and experience is not something you read about in a book or download online. It’s important that the readers of these articles are clear on that. These articles are intended for those people who may be interested in getting into comics as a business. This is not a fool proof “get into comics quickly” or “this is the only way to do it” primer by any means.
There is no magic bullet that will propel anyone to instant dealmaker and if there is a magic bullet way it’s certainly not my way. My way has worked for me.
I can’t say it will work for anyone else but I can say that regardless of who you are or what you are trying to achieve there are certain business elements which everyone must adhere to… or your idea is doomed to failure.
Now if you are trying to borrow a thousand bucks from your dad so you can write, produce and print your own comic book I freely admit, a good idea is all you really need.
Well, a good idea and a really cool ass dad.
However, if you are trying to cut a comic book deal with a major comic book company or any sort of media deal with any sort of reputable media company in which you expect financing from then there are a few unbreakable rules.
- Be professional.
- Be knowledgeable about the company you are pitching to.
- Be prepared to answer hard questions about revenue and overhead.
- Understand that a deal takes the time that it takes.
If I have to spell out in detail what points 1 through 3 mean then my very real suggestion to you is you are not ready for prime time.
Number 4 on that list may be the most important one to master. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve seen many a deal killed because someone could not resist calling, emailing or in some way shape or form contacting the decision maker constantly.
I’ve made a lot of silly mistakes, being a pain in the ass was not one of them, thank goodness. Let me be clear, I’ve been a pain in the ass but I’ve never been the kind of pain in the ass that constantly calls up to ask “Any word on my deal yet?”
In fact, Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson told me once that I needed to bug him more. Mike and I have known each other for almost 20 years so I understood what he meant and took it in the spirit he said it in which was, “If I don’t call you back in a timely manner, call me again.”
If you have a 20-year relationship with someone and they are your friend as well as a business partner you can say stuff like that. However, if DC Comics shows interest in your project on a Monday and you call the editor every day until you hear something, that almost never ends well.
I’m working on a deal now that started last December that still has not closed. Next month will be a year and that’s still not as long as my Dark Horse deal. Yes, the Dark Horse deal is closed and now all I have to do is deliver the project…that’s a whole other article, hell, that’s an whole other book.
So, to recap, I’m writing these series of articles from a knowledgeable place with the hope that some of my insights will be helpful to someone.
Next week I’ll be back on track with The Action File deal.
Unless someone asks me about Herman Cain. Then I might have to answer that before I can go on.
I’m kidding! Herman Cain has no place in my comic related articles here on ComicMix. He also has no place in the White House unless he’s with a tour group. Maybe then he will learn some history.
WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold