As I write this latest instalment of Sales To Astonish on the afternoon of 30th November, there’s a definite sense that November was ‘the month that got away’.

The start of the month had promised so much. A lot of the momentum that I had gained in October carried over to the start of November and the first launch of the month featuring a load of Amazing Spider-Man and What If issues was really well received. Lots of ASM and pretty much all the What If issues sold highlights of which were

Amazing Spider-Man #361 in VFN+ @£75

Amazing Spider-Man #362 in VFN @£22.50

Amazing Spider-Man #365 in VFN+ @£25

What If Vol.2 #105 in VFN @£95

Amazing Spider-Man #410 in NM- @£20

I also sold over £150 of vintage White Dwarf magazines as demand for those remains strong as new collectors emerge and want to assemble their collections

On the first Saturday of November I started adding a smaller release onto the website. This was a response to try to create some interest at weekends as I am no longer for the foreseeable future attending conventions or shows. The first ‘Mini-Drop’ featured a few Detective Comic and Marvel Tales issues all of which sold along with a NM copy of Shaolin Cowboy #1 by Geof Darrow @ £20

The second Thursday launch featured lots of Marvel comics from 1990’s such as X-Men, X-Force and Spider-man. In much the same way as my preferred era of Marvel and DC is the late 70’s/80’s as these are the comics I grew up with, the comics from the 90’s are popular once again with readers wanting to rediscover the titles they read in their teens. Despite huge print runs for loads of first issues and anniversary issues, foil holographic and other gimmick covers in abundance these 90’s issues are becoming quite collectible. I sold all my issues of X-Force #1 - the Deadpool card issue going for £10 and all the covers of X-Men #1 - the gatefold cover being by far the most popular followed by the fantastic Magneto cover - pretty much straight off the bat. I’ve no doubt that if I had multiple copies of these issues that they would continue to sell regularly throughout the year

The second Saturday mini drop saw a Blade The Vampire Hunter #1 in NM sell for £25 and the following day I sold a Vampi #24 variant cover to a buyer in the States in NM for £100

And then things stopped……………

Mid-month is always a tricky time as people juggle their finances ahead of payday and therefore there’s no real surprise that sales dry up. However the slow down mid-November was quite acute. I didn’t sell anything for three days and whilst there was a rally with the third launch of the month - Copper Age Captain America issues always seem to sell well - the mid-month slow down continued as we hit payday and Black Friday.

Now I have no excuses to complain that I didn’t sell much over Black Friday/Cyber Monday as I hadn’t planned any promotions. (I am looking at repeating some seasonal sales activity in December and January so keep an eye out for those) I felt that my prices are reasonable as they are and I decided to carry on with the usual Thursday release as normal - that being John Romita Daredevil and some other modern age titles and variants. It proved to be a costly mistake as the Thursday launch proved to be my quietest of the year so far. I had lots of people adding items to their carts possibly in anticipation of a sale? But precious few orders. This is also coupled with the fact that I am a small independent seller that sells a niche product and therefore if the likes of Amazon are going bananas on BFCM then people are most likely to be spending their disposable income in places like that.

Nevertheless I had hoped that once BFCM was out of the way things would normalise somewhat and had high hopes for the final release of the month featuring Thor and Silver Surfer. It turned out to be the worst launch of the month. Yes I sold a Thor #411 in VFN @£10 and some of the other Thor and Surfer issues but when the total amount of abandoned carts at checkout is higher than your actual takings you know it’s been a bad day at the office.

In a month where I am aware that Comicana Direct, a mainstay of back issue comics sales for over a decade recently closed its doors, (although I understand that one of the owners is continuing on individually) because of diminishing returns it does make me question what longevity I have with The Unreality Store if things don’t start to pick up. I read some of the comments on Facebook from people lamenting the passing of Comicana and rightly praising their service etc - I didn’t recognise any of the names of people having bought anything from The Unreality Store so I am still entrenched in the belief that even after 3.5 years of trading there is still a vast untapped reservoir of comic collectors yet to find the website! And that gives me hope.

Whilst November didn’t scale the giddy heights of October, the one pleasing metric was that the traffic to the website increased so at least people are looking. And it’s my job to turn the lookers into buyers!!

Hope springs eternal 😎