Making Comics 1: Marketing Madness

kirby

In case you don’t recognize the person in this illustration, it is legendary comics creator and artist, Jack Kirby. If you don’t know who Kirby is, you should definitely visit the Jack Kirby Museum and learn more about this genius. Without Jack, comics as we know them would not exist.

Anyway, I decided to start a series of blog posts about the realities of making comics. Of course, I don’t have time to commit to a series of blog posts, but the reality is that in order to sell my books, I need to provide as much interaction and generate as much secondary content as possible. In other words, it’s not enough in this day and age to make amazing comics. In fact, without an insane amount of marketing, even the best comic series that have ever been created will disappear or become relegated to nostalgic memories.  And let’s be real: even if you devote your every waking minute to promoting your work, it still may not be enough.

So what is the answer?

I really wish I knew.

Social media is both wonderful and horrific at once. It gives every creator a wonderful outlet to promote his/her work and interact with fans. But, once again, there’s no guarantee that this will result in book sales.

For instance, I have over 9k followers on Twitter and 5k friends on Facebook. Let’s say that 75% of my friends on Facebook are also Twitter followers. That leaves 1250 potential buyers. Add this to my Twitter followers and we have approximately 11k potential buyers. When I compare this number to people who have actually purchased my books, I am at a complete loss to understand why there is such a disparity.

And I’m not saying I expect everyone to buy my books! I understand that different people have different taste in entertainment. I also understand that many of us are struggling financially. But here is the reality:

IF EVEN 1,000 PEOPLE BOUGHT OUR BOOKS, OUR CREATIVE TEAM WOULD BE COMPLETELY PAID OFF.* AND THAT IS LESS THAN 10% OF FOLLOWERS AND FRIENDS!

So what is the answer? How can one mobilize even 10% of their friends/followers to support one’s work? If marketing and connecting with prospective readers isn’t cutting it, what other options does an indie creator have to support his/her work?

I have no answers.

What I do know is that I have created two amazing books with a talented cast of creators. I would like to see them get paid for their labor in a timely manner. They have put in some fantastic work and I believe we all agree that they deserve to be compensated as soon as possible. Would you please check out our books and consider supporting our efforts to make some amazing comics?

EAPComixology_issue_1_cover

elevatorcomixology_cover01

PURCHASE HOCUS POCUS COMICS ON COMIXOLOGY

PURCHASE HOCUS POCUS COMICS ON AMAZON KINDLE 

I’m putting this out there for discussion: what can an indie comics creator do to generate sales of his/her book? What has worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you? If indie comics truly are the lifeblood of the comics industry (and I believe they are), we need to come together and figure this out.

-Dwight

PS – I’ll be talking about the collaborative process next. Stay tuned!

* Just to clarify, we do pay our creative teams as we believe in this company and we are willing to sacrifice to get some amazing stories out there! 

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4 thoughts on “Making Comics 1: Marketing Madness

  1. That’s a tough one. I don’t have any proven methods yet, but based on my research, paid social media ads can work if you have the time and cash to experiment. Most don’t have that cash at the beginning though. I’ve met comic creators at merch booths at conventions, so that could be an option for building a local fanbase at smaller events that are cheaper to get into. I’ve also read that at least for regular books, your sales will do better on kindle once you reach 100 reviews, regardless of how many are positive vs negative, so doing promotions/sending out review copines could help with visibility

  2. Thank you for your response, my friend! Yes, we’ve tried the paid advertising route on social media, but saw no increase in sales. And we’ll also be hitting the local conventions hard. And if you figure out how to get people to review your work on Amazon, please pass that along as well. 😀
    Thanks again!

  3. I know the ad campaigns are tough because you have to experiment with targeted demographics and other variables. It could take quite some time. I’m going to try giving away review copies of my book on twitter later this week, although that usually works better if you already have an audience, which I don’t.

  4. I think “encouraging sales” is just a matter of keeping the content coming. Which can feel hopeless at first if readers don’t immediately flock to it. But if it is truly a passion project for you, you will be happy to keep creating it for your own pleasure whether anybody is reading it or not. But after a certain stretch of time, if you keep putting new issues/books of the thing out there, sooner or later, other people who like the same stuff you like, are gonna start to notice.

    A friend I knew years ago who was into tracking the success & failures of indie comics once told me (bear in mind I have no idea where he got this info) that MOST new indie comic series tend not to “catch on” and gain a decent fan following, until after the release of their third major storyline. Not third comic issue, but third storyline, as in their third mini-series or third collected trade. According to this logic, it’s only after a comic series reaches that volume that potential readers see it as a worthwhile thing to get hooked on/ catch up on/ collect & follow going forward, etc.
    Again – not my theory but an interesting one nevertheless…

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