Is It Crowded In Here?
The creative force behind the entire small press publishing and indie comics market is a powerful one. With that power comes g—, never mind, you get it. Creators are better equipped to make an impact in the market now more than ever before. It seems that 2020 brought a slew of first-timers to the comic book creative field, and honestly, the industry is better for it. It stands as a testament to the creativity, and also shows the spiking vital signs of an industry that some thought to be dead or dying. Still, for creators old and new, it might be a bit intimidating to see yourself out here with so many other creators. I challenge each of you to let it inspire you, rather than hold you back.
Understand, last year was the first time so many of us had a lengthy period that we could spend at home. This led to a lot of people finally taking the plunge into creating their first comic books. An interesting thing about 2020 that we noticed was how everyone’s first projects seemed to do really well. There are not many people we know of that did not meet their funding goals last year. It seems the tide has shifted back a bit, and now those same creators are launching their sequel titles to a much smaller fanfare. A few other major shakeups happened in the comic community in 2020 as well, with Diamond Distribution losing their exclusive distribution rights for DC, multiple local comic shops closing, and heavy hitters jumping into crowdfunding. What this has resulted in is a much larger audience brought to crowdfunding platforms than in previous years. Regardless of how you feel about it, it is time to embrace it. More customers mean more eyes on your projects.
Setting yourself apart from the pack is no small task, and this is coming from someone who constantly feels like I need to be doing more. However, with a little drive and determination, it can happen, sometimes even naturally. One of the best ways to do this is to put a valiant effort into your comics and get them reviewed. Now, I know some people think “what right does so and so have to review my work, what even qualifies them”? You need it… plain and simple. It is a resource that you can use to grab quotes from, share, and is typically a form of free promotion. Take their critiques to heart, weigh them against your work, see if they are valid and what can be improved while moving forward. More importantly is the last part of that sentence, moving forward. A lot of creators let a bad review or a single failed title stop their career. That has a lot to do with personalities and general outlooks on acceptance. The reality is, we are each in this weird and crazy industry together, and it is exhausting watching people pretend like we are not allowed to get along.
I am issuing you each homework this week. Every creator who reads this is challenged to post about one other creator’s work on their own social media and use the hashtag #ComicLift so we can get more eyes on everyone’s work. This ties directly into the mantra I use to close these articles out… Do better. Be better.