As I write this, the most "tagged" publisher in the past year and change of posting about Canadian heroic character types is Marvel Comics with a healthy 26. That's hardly surprising; Marvel has an all-Canadian superhero team. They often treat them like moose shit, mind you, but they still have them, as well as several other Canadian characters that aren't necessarily connected.
Next up is DC Comics with 17 tags. A significant portion of those were the result of trying to change the "DC has no Canadian characters" perception. They actually have several, though they have little connection to one another and are seldom used.
Next up? Red Leaf Comics with 12. Heroes of the North have the same number under the characters/titles category.
For a company based out of Arizona, I sure do talk about Red Leaf a lot, eh? The reason why is actually quite simple: They make it easy to. And it's something a lot of small publishers could learn.
The most frustrating thing about trying to be supportive of smaller publishers is when they won't "let" you. For example, I recently wrote to two Canadians to ask if the publisher they were presently working for/with had other Canadian talent on board. One didn't respond, the other confirmed there are others but didn't elaborate (the response was about five words long).
Also fairly recently, I offered to buy one publisher's entire line of books if they could give me a grand total price which includes shipping. I never received a final answer, so that money remains unspent.
What does Red Leaf do differently? A few days ago, publisher John Michael Helmer provided a digital copy of The Leaf #4 for me before it becomes available for purchase. John has nothing to lose; I'll buy the print version regardless. I've also received preview art from Red Leaf in the past.
Now I may not be able to provide John with a huge amount of exposure in return, but there's also no sense (from his perspective) in leaving stones unturned. Some publishers get this, others don't. Heroes of the North are friggin' unbelievable at it. They manage social media as well as anyone I've seen. Nearly 5000 Facebook fans and almost 30,000 Twitter followers speaks for itself. They engage their fan base by making them feel appreciated and involved. A few months ago they asked their fans to come up with names for characters based out of specific provinces, and to vote on uniform designs. That's fun for fans.
Another example? Andrew Lorenz over at September 17th Productions has sent me preview art for his Legacy book. I haven't bought a single thing from this guy, he just appreciates that I'm interested and wants to keep that interest up. Imagine that concept.
A few months ago I joked with Charlie McElvie, father of the Watchguard Universe, that if he made a Les Superieurs t-shirt available, I'd buy it. So what did he do? The obvious. He called me on it. Charlie made the shirt available, I bought it. What did this cost Charlie? Judging from how fast he had the Supérieurs logo up on RedBubble, a few minutes tops.
I'm not sitting here begging for people to kiss up to me. I know full well that being talked about on this blog is the furthest thing from instant fame and success.
But when you are in a position of selling a product, take any and every opportunity to be seen and talked about, no matter how small. You never know what it could turn into. Ignoring or overlooking interest is no way to sell your product.