The start of a new year is always an interesting time. There’s the excitement of the year to come and a time to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous year. Resolutions are made and the days start to get longer. If I were to make any resolutions in relation to The Unreality Store they would be to continue to sell as many comics at affordable prices as I can, continue to offer good customer service, be more active on social media, continue to spread the word about the store through any means appropriate and most importantly file my tax return early and make sure I have something set aside for the taxman. I filed late last year and to say I was shocked to have a large bill to pay by the end of January would be an understatement 😳😳

January is always a funny month too. A lot is always said about people being paid before Christmas which means there’s an extra week to the next payday but I often find that for the first 10-12 days of the month sales are relatively buoyant as people spend money gifted them for Christmas. Plus one of the most important things I have learnt over the last 18 months is that even against the backdrop of a cost of living crisis if people genuinely want something they will find the money to buy it. So in that respect I have tried to continue to offer comic titles and items that I know always sell well and only when time allows list some of the lesser popular or obscure titles which have a much smaller audience.

January for The Unreality Store is also when a number of essential outgoings such as website hosting fall due so running a sale mid-month was a way to generate some quick cash flow. This year I ran the sale for three days and unlike the Boxing Day sale which is limited to email subscribers, it was open to everyone. With any sale there’s always the initial flurry of orders but by the end of the three days they had slowed to a trickle. It was good to see new buyers fill their baskets and always pleasing to see them return again later in the month. Sales are also interesting to see the diverse range of titles people don’t see as essential but will pick up at a reduced price point so this year titles like Thunderbolts, Marvel Universe Handbooks, JLA and a myriad of indies all moved.

I managed to pick up four small collections throughout the month, one of which I know I will have to work harder to get a return on than the other three. A lot of the comics have gone into £1 boxes at Vintage Guru and Brackley Antiques Cellar but there are some nice Avengers, Batman, Spider-man issues and lots of mini series that I am steadily working through and dropping onto the site.

As a result of a number of factors affecting my financial position I am also trying to drop more issues each week onto the website. It became apparent in 2023 that aside from the Thursday launch that sales on the other six days of the week were sporadic and I felt that I needed to mix things up a little. There’s now another release (a Mini-Drop) on a Saturday and I have also been doing smaller 4-8 issue releases via social media posts. Trying to keep the store relevant and in the forefront of people’s minds is always a challenge.

Although I had moved away from attending Comic Conventions at the end of 2023 I spent sometime over Christmas reflecting on this decision. I enjoy attending conventions for the experience, buzz, atmosphere and general dealer camaraderie. I don’t enjoy driving 2 hours to the location and not covering my costs. Therefore I have decided that in 2024 I will attend conventions and fairs that are working an hours drive of HQ and try and do 1-2 per month. I start with the Vintage Fair in Centre MK in Milton Keynes on 2/3 March so hopefully see some of you there!

In closing January was an encouraging start to the year, yes there were lots of (financial) challenges but I’m still here and selling the funny books. Long may it continue 😎💪