Name: james sime


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    June 4, 2013 12:57 pm As one of those retailers who stocked & happily sold your book, I'm looking forward to reading about how you tailored your approach to the stores you contacted. I thought you did a really great job and definitely ordered more copies for my shelves than I might have have otherwise. In fact, based on your our correspondence and the quality of your book I even included it in my monthly suggestions email to my pull-list customers. Since those initial orders are so crucial for an indy book like yours, I can attest that you definitely have a lot of good knowledge you can share with others here. I hope folks learn a thing or two from reading these, and most importantly a universal truth to doing business in the comics industry - a little niceness goes a long way. - James http://isotopecomics.com
    May 24, 2013 9:36 pm I wrote a future retailer an email about this stuff recently, so if you folks don't mind, I'll cut-and-paste some of it below. There's a ton of great reading material I'd recommend! And YES, business school would have helped SO MUCH, I just dove in head first and learned it (and lumped it) as I went along. But if you've got the time I'd definitely suggest it. I had to really bootstrap the Isotope, didn't even have a credit card or a checking account when I started out. Just a WHITE HOT LOVE for comics. And also for people. And most of all, people who love comics. ---- NEW RETAILER INCENTIVES FROM DIAMOND COMICS DISTRIBUTORS - They didn't have any of this stuff going on when I was starting out, but it sure would have been nice! The distributor will help you out, write to them and find out everything you can about these programs. http://comicsbeat.com/sdcc-12-diamond-offers-incentives-for-new-stores http://comicsbeat.com/diamond-offers-subsidies-for-comcis-shops-to-puchase-pos-systems COMICSPRO MENTORING PROGRAM - I'm no longer a member of this organization (just not for me) but you should probably look into it. Lots and lots and lots of smart people running that organization. And if you can link up with other new retailers too, that's always a good idea and can be very valuable for you. And also the future of industry too. http://www.comicspro.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=843470&module_id=96759 EXPERIENCE ECONOMY - I didn't know any of the *words* for what I was doing when I opened, I just did it all by my gut and my instincts. Probably a lot like you right now, actually. This book will give you the language and business terminology you're missing to better articulate what you're trying to create. My retailing philosophy is right in line with what I found under the cover of this book, so it was great to have someone who did go to business school to tell me what I was doing with my store all those years and what my philosophy and methodology is called in business circles. http://www.strategichorizons.com/expEconomy.html WHY WE BUY - A great book on the psychology of shopping. And... same thing as the book above. I definitely don't agree with everything here but I was blown away to read a book on analog retailing that incorporated so many of the things I'd been doing for years simply based on "this seems good" and "this feels right" instincts. http://www.pacounderhill.com/booklist.html STREET FIGHTER MARKETING - You'll probably read this book and realize part way through that you've got 1000 better ideas for marketing your store than the guy who wrote this ever would. Don't worry... that's EXACTLY why I'm telling you to read it! Every time the author suggests some yawn-inducing vanilla idea in this book it will totally piss you off and inspire you to come up with even more ACTUAL GOOD MARKETING IDEAS OF YOUR OWN. And that, my friend, is a very good thing. http://books.simonandschuster.ca/Street-Fighter-Marketing-Solutions/Jeff-Slutsky/9780743299145 TILTING AT WINDMILLS - A series of two books from IDW about running a comic shop & the industry written by long-time retailer Brian Hibbs. While some of my core retail philosophies differ from the author, Brian's a very smart guy so you can probably glean a lot of good info. I'm told lots of new retailers have found these books invaluable. Don't buy them from the Evil 'Zon Empire, get you copies directly from the man himself: http://comixexperience.com (OLD ASS) THE COMIC PIMP - I wrote about 2 years worth of columns for CBR about retail, marketing, events, and my own personal comic selling philosophies when I was just getting rolling. Much of the details are out of date now, as things have changed in the industry quite a bit in the last 10 years, but the marketing stuff is still spot on for a growing, hungry small businessman. It's a little rough around the edges and has a real "back of the house" feel, so probably not for everyone, but you're a punk rock guy too, so you'll probably dig it. I did what I could to impart as much useful info at the time as I was able. The Comic Pimp archives 1: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=archive&type=col&id=14&offset=40 The Comic Pimp archives 2: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=archive&type=col&id=14&offset=0 ---- Hope that helps some folks! Any future retailer should take some time and make sure they really, really want it before proceeding. Because it's small business, and small business is hard and you've got to really, really fucking want it. But if making that dream a reality is what you really want I'm here to tell you it can be done! Never, ever listen to anyone who says you can't. Or that your ideas are too crazy. Or that it'll never last. Because 12 years ago they all told me all that nonsense too. Life is short, live it to the fullest. Oh and for the record, digital comics haven't hurt my business. Quite the opposite! It's put more comics under people's noses and that's an AMAZINGLY GREAT THING for my shop. And I also sell digital books through Comixology (https://comics.comixology.com/ret/259/Isotope_Digital_Store/) so that's nice too. xoxox - James http://isotopecomics.com
    May 24, 2013 6:10 pm In my experience comic creators are not only willing to do in-stores but always very appreciative of being asked. They don't have to be huge superstars to be great guests, just pick people who make stuff that you like. And remember... 2002's Matt Fraction eventually became 2013's Matt Fraction, and Matt will always remember where his first in-store was (Isotope). You can contact most creators through their websites or social media, that's the whole reason they have public websites and/or profiles. So don't be shy, JUST ASK THEM. For you folks who want to get active creating an awesome comics scene (either fans or my fellow retailers) you can find out what creators are local to you easily. Tom Spurgeon from Comic Reporter has a great resource that is updated every year: Comics By Local Scene http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/lists/lists_and_links/30269/ And when you guys are throwing awesome events with awesome people... don't forget to invite me too! I like a great party! - James http://isotopecomics.com
    May 24, 2013 4:18 pm Hiya, I'm James Sime, owner of Isotope in San Francisco & long-time iFanboy amigo. As folks probably know we've thrown lots of events together with Conner, Josh, Ron and hundreds of you wonderful people over the years, including MorrisonCon last year. There are few comics communities I love more than this one! I absolutely want to say THANK YOU for the the "One store that does it right" caption under the photograph of my store. We've worked extremely hard for 12 years to create an amazing store that redefines what a comic store is and can be, and I'm proud to say have helped influence a generation of retailers and some country's best and most beloved stores. I'm truly blessed people like what we do. However, I'm not thrilled to be associated with this particular article and subsequent dogpile. Sorry... yuck. These kind of articles make me sad and why would my beloved friends at iFanboy want to make me sad?! Gabe, you are clearly very passionate about comics and comics retail and I LOVE YOU for it! I love that the comics industry is filled with people just like you, Conner, Josh, Ron and the rest of the iFanboy world. It's the reason why I like this site so much, because you guys truly do exemplify everything I love about comic fans. And I also love comic stores. Because when done right a great comic store can offer things that digital comics or mail-order companies never could and never can. And, just like you, I think they should! From personal shopping (my personal specialty), to a place for creators to work (this week had Erik Larsen & Ed Luce sitting at my drafting table), to events (my first part of 2013 schedule of events includes Rick Remender, Jerome Opena, Matt Kindt, Brian Posehn, Jason Aaron, JH Williams III, a live show with Akira The Don, and a launch for a 10 year old comic creator named Aidan Hernacki)... but most importantly a comic store can be a place to hang out and meet new people who love comics as much as you do. Build relationships, form life-long friendships, and yes even fall in love (it happens *a lot*). You don't have to take my word for it, just ask iFanboy's own Ron Richards why he moved across the country to San Francisco, where he met most of his SF friends, and why he got an apartment two blocks from the Isotope! But here's the secret... none of it was built in a day. It always takes new shops a few years to find their sea legs and get rocking. And that means if you want to influence a new local shop into becoming the awesome community you wish it was YOU CAN. AND NOW IS THE TIME. All you have to do is get involved. And you don't have to volunteer sit and run the register. I'm talking about something bigger and better. Offer to host a graphic novel club, organize a creator in-store event, teach a class for the local kiddos, start a writer's workshop or an art consortium... the sky really is the limit! YOU ARE THE LOCAL SCENE. Make it awesome and it will be. xoxox - James http://isotopecomics.com since they're a new store . This is your chance to help them create something beautiful.
    March 30, 2011 4:01 pm

    Yep, that was a legitimate one minute sell-out! Faster than I expected, but I'm happy we weren't like Comic Con and made people sit in front of the computer all day.

    I took a peek at the tickets sold and it's 100% hardcore WALKING DEAD fans from the look of it, a couple names I definitely recognize. Northern California and a high percentage of folks from Oregon. Almost everyone who got tickets only got themselves a single ticket, so it looks like we’ll all be making lots of new friends!

    For those who didn’t get a ticket, there’s still hope, Image Comics will be giving out two passes at a WonderCon raffle. Details here are in this very thread.

    Also Ron and I will be posting up our public bar crawl map later tonight or tomorrow morning, so even if you can’t bus it, you can still come along. Can't wait til Friday!

    - James 

    January 4, 2011 2:43 pm Nice pick Ron, all the best photos of Axel are from here at the Isotope. And the take-over of comics by San Franciscans continues...!
    October 15, 2009 3:37 pm

    Thanks for the great write-up and for attending that fun bash with us, Ron! James Robinson and I had such a blast, and the Bloomingdale's folks were blown away by all the sexy nerds and nerdettes who came out. Last night was a really great event, I will treasure the memories forever.

    More pictures are here: http://bit.ly/UVTea  

    June 15, 2009 10:07 am

    Wow. Marvel's long-awaited "major press worthy" Cap news hits with all the yawn-inducing impact of a Yanni concert (although that art looks pretty sweet). Talk about a missed opportunity! On the other hand... DC's USAToday announcement this morning is pretty exciting! http://bit.ly/7UIOb

    March 7, 2009 2:26 pm The Isotope staff favors our brown liquors neat with a water back.
    October 14, 2008 4:16 pm

    Okay, Jimski beat me to Red Wing. He gets my love and respect.

    Also, Animalvader1 for his Marvel U horse knowledge!