“I supported him/her, so why isn’t he/she supporting me?”
Every indie comics creator has or will think it at some point in their career. It makes me sad to say that there is not much reciprocal support in indie comics between creators. Now, before you jump on me, allow me to explain. The reason for this problem may not be what you think.
Making comics is hard.
The amount of time, money, and marketing that is required to be a successful indie creator is insane. It can eat up your every waking moment. For those in the know, it’s a full-time job. For this reason, many indie comics creators only tweet and share posts about their own properties. It’s not that they don’t want to support fellow indie creators (for the most part), it’s the fact that they feel they don’t have the time or will to do it considering how tiring it is to manage and market their own projects.
What’s in it For Me?
I loathe this way of thinking, but it’s the way of the world. If one mentions “The Golden Rule” nowadays, most people have no idea what one is talking about. But if every indie comics creator would learn and practice it, we would have a stronger industry and a greater sense of community. We all benefit from a healthy industry. We all benefit from a strong community. But getting there will require all of us to be active participants.
Before you accuse me of being all work and no play, feel free to examine my social media accounts. Sure, I share about what I’m watching or reading, but I also make sure that I share some social media posts by fellow creators every day. I make a point of it. Indie comics are the lifeblood of the comics industry, and I realize that if I want to help the industry–and not just myself–I’ve got to be more aware of what I post. I have to make sure that I share and support the work of my peers as well. This is not to say that I spend hours every day sharing fellow creators’ work, but I do something every day as often as I can. I understand how important it is. I also know that it’s very easy to feel like Robinson Crusoe on the island of indie creators. In my 10 years of making comics, I’ve felt this way several times. But you know what I realized? There are enough of us out there that no one should feel this way for very long. All it requires is a simple share, like, or word of encouragement to “rescue” them, so why wouldn’t I do it? It’s not really hard. But it does require me to look outside myself.
So there you have it. Be intentional. Take some time to support fellow indie creators every day. I started #IndieComicsAlliance on Twitter a couple of years ago because I saw this problem, but when I stepped away for personal reasons, it completely evaporated. That should not have happened. Someone should have stepped up and taken the lead. Others should have come alongside to help. The more shoulders, the lighter the load, and the more we can accomplish. So if we all want a strong industry and community, let’s come together and make it happen. Are you with me?