For a long time creators could expect publishers to take on the burden of marketing their comics. Today, that’s no longer the case.
Not only are more creators striking out independently and finding that they need to learn how to better sell their comics & build an audience, even traditional publishers rely on the promotional efforts their creators make.
The creators that accept this truth will grow their audiences, create more stable careers for themselves, and enjoy greater freedom to work on whatever projects they want to - not just projects that “sell.”
Those that refuse to accept this and are determined to remain creators, only, will likely see their audiences dwindle and struggle to keep up or progress their careers in the face of this change.
It’s a recurring theme on this site that, as a creator, the work doesn’t stop when the comic ends. In fact, it’s only just starting. We’re all in this to make comics, first and foremost. But if you want to keep making comics and tell the stories you want to tell, rather than the stories others are willing to let you tell you need to be willing to market yourself.
But I understand why you might be hesitant.
Some people, especially artists, see marketing as skeevy. For a long time “sales” was a dirty word and, in some artistic circles, it remains that way.
This manifests in particular at conventions, where creators are hesitant to sell their work, hoping that it’s enough to just show up.
But it’s not.
“If you build it, they will come” is not a busines strategy, it’s wishful thinking. It’s fine to operate like that if you’re a hobyist, but if you’re a professional, or aiming to be one, you can’t afford that mindset.
Instead, you need to realize, that you won’t sell anything if you don’t ask people to buy. Tell them how to support you - back my Kickstarter, pledge to my Patreon, buy my book. You’ll get a lot of “no’s” but that’s something to get used to - we all get “no’s.” Even Saga and Walking Dead get a ton of “no’s.”
But if you let the fear of rejection keep you from even asking, you run the risk of never hearing “yes,” either.
Besides, marketing isn’t an imposition onto your potential reader. In asking your reader to buy your book, you’re not asking them to do you a favor. Instead, you’re giving them an opportunity to buy a book they’ll love.
That’s the mentality you need to have. That’s the mentality you should have if you really believe in your work.
Without it, you’re putting your career in the hands of other people - and nobody will ever be as invested in the success of your books, as you are.
That’s what makes you uniquely suited to market your comics. And if you don’t know the first thing about marketing, don’t worry. I’m here to teach you.