This is very realistic and achievable for those willing to set things up right, who have a plan and put in the effort over time. There’s nothing get-published-quick about it.
Let’s start with some common mistakes that creators make and keep them from advancing in their skills and reaching their goals.
- Blasting Their Social Media.
We all start out with our personal social accounts on Facebook, Twitter, etc., but what we need to realize is that it’s populated with aunts, uncles, cousins, people we graduated high school with and fellow co-workers, not just comic readers a good deal of the time. I’m sure your “Aunt May” will be happy to read your comics and tell you how great they are but she’s not going to be one to help support your storytelling.
- Begging For Likes & Shares
Since we’re talking about Social Media, remember your list is mostly non- comic readers at the beginning so the odds are that asking them to Like and Share your work isn’t going to help. I know from experience that time spent of this kind of promoting is only a waste of time and won’t get you the exposure that you’ll need.
- Don’t know Their Audience
Who are you creating your comic for? To find them you need to distinguish who they are and start a line of communication. I can remember listening to my friend Lora Innes (The Dreamer) and how earlier in her career she would join every revolutionary theme message forums, chat room and group not only for research of the revolutionary war but to create friendships and future followers of her work. Another good friend Beau Smith (Wynonna Earp) would go to book stores and find magazines that specialized in the genre that he would be creating a book in and write down the names of editors and associate editors to send them press releases in the hopes to get an article written. So my point is you need to know who you’re creating your story for so you can work toward building your audience and direct your promotions in that direction.
Many times a creator will just create a comic and throw it out without forward thinking about building a readership.
- Don’t Have a Plan
Yes I’m very guilty of coming up with a cool project but not taking the time to plan out how the project is going to be created and delivered. I get all into the creating new characters and writing the story when first I need to figure out who might want to read this type of comic.
Then how to get the project created (who will be writing, artist, doing production, delivery, etc). If it’s all you then you have to plan out the time it’s going to take to self-publish and get it delivered to your audience. If you’re publishing online, are you creating a website, learning how to run WordPress or in print, are you using print-on-demand or a combination?
It’s important to plan ahead; you will always run into bumps but having a plan can help you get back on track.
- Relying On One Stream Of Income.
Is selling your comics the only income you plan on reimbursing yourself? Building a small niche fanbase that will also buy t-shirts, exclusive prints and other merchandise you can produce to help offset the cost of creating your comic and make you a profit. Other ways are subscriptions and teaching courses to just name a few.
New Comic Book Industry
Over the past years the comic book industry has greatly expanded mostly without hurting other areas. Recently I read an article from comic book retailers that explain that digital comics haven’t hurt or reduced the print market. Actually, the comic distributor has made it possible for stores to profit from the sells of digital comics from their sites. A win-win for comics.
Comic book- based movies really haven’t helped to expand the comic market so it’s very important for creators to pick their genres and focus on build their micro-fanbase.
Success = small, loyal group of die-hard fans
We’re just getting started…
Robert W. Hickey