PR: What Not to Do: Marketing a Cancelled Title

Angel Skin

NBM’s online publicist, David Seidman, sent out an email early this week promoting an online preview for “special friends” of the company to post. It was an excerpt from Angel Skin, a graphic novel by Christian Westerlund and Robert Nazeby Herzig.

I was ready to put it up, only I noticed that the message didn’t include a release date. (I wanted to know whether to promote the book as something to preorder or something to look for shortly.) I checked Amazon, and they said it was due out in October. Then I checked the publisher’s website, which states “This book has been cancelled.”

Angel Skin

I queried David to find out the real story, and he passed my message along to the publisher. Neither have yet responded. If the NBM website is accurate (and I have no reason to think it wouldn’t be), then that’s an awful position for them to have put their publicist in, asking him to waste time promoting a book they’ve decided not to publish.

Update: The book is due to the direct comic market in August 2007. The cancellation notice on the NBM site was from last year. Read the comments for more.

The book, by the way, is described as follows:

Angel Skin is about Joshua Barker, a young man who shoots himself in the head but doesn’t die. Instead, he wakes up in a dead city that seems to consist of decayed factories, crumbled apartment buildings and very little else. There, he encounters the strange Elmer, a man who seems to know a great deal about him and finds that he may have a special calling. Together they set out through the fallen city, among prostitutes and rotten angels, on a journey to find an elusive God.

Regarding the preview, the first page reminded me of some of Warren Ellis’ monologues; the concept, of Borrowed Time and Pizzeria Kamikaze.


  • Hi, Johanna. David Seidman from NBM here.

    I saw your writeup on Angelskin, and I wish you had waited to hear from me before you wrote up “Stupid Publisher Tricks.” Here’s the reply that I got from Terry Nantier, our publisher.
    “I dunno how the heck [Joanna] came up with a page dated of last year and for which there is no access on our site presently! We did announce this last year and I felt the timing wasn’t good then so we rescheduled for this summer. Amazon does say October as that is the general trade pub date, but it’s August 2007 for comics stores.”

  • Heidi M.

    Amazon makes lots of mistakes of this kind especially on upcoming books… it’s not all that reliable.

  • David, thanks for clarifying. I got to that page by using google to search for Angel Skin NBM. That’s a change that I have to get used to, too — once something’s on the web, it’s published, whether you link it or not.

    I’m editing the post to clarify, but if I can make a suggestion to all publishers going forward — don’t send out material promoting a title until you’ve got information on it available and ready on your website, because that’s the first place most people will go to look for more.

    Also, make sure it’s clear to readers (through dates or other identification) which pages are current and when webpages were published, as well as putting all the key information in press releases.

    The lesson on my part is: be more patient!

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