Over the December break, I’ve been thinking about how to market my comic Nwain, and it’s lead me through some interesting places.
I have no training in marketing, perhaps even the opposite. In theory, art school taught me how to sell an image of myself so people would hire me. In practice, I was conditioned to underestimate my work before critique began, to be humble and self-effacing during critique, and later to focus on what needed to be fixed rather than understanding what worked. I’ve been trained to evade, to duck, and to anti-sell. Are you interested in my work? Well, I’ll tell you how it sucks. Can I tell you what I’m proud of? No, teacher, I have no pride anymore, please put the red pen away, I have plenty to fix already, let’s summarize how it sucks again.
I know enough about marketing to figure that’s not the best strategy to sell a comic—even a free one. Hey, I made this thing! But it sucks, so why am I even telling you about it? Maybe I like the thing despite its many, numerous flaws, which I still have a list of would you like to read it? I’m sure you’re more interested in the fix list than in my comic—OH you’re not my teacher!? You’re a potential audience? What even is that.
I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve done a little research into marketing, new marketing, social marketing, and whatever. I’ve been reading discussions posted from within the comics and cartoon industries, about marketing, and how often it sails right past potential fans. I got the impression that much of the marketing world has no idea what it’s doing either. At least I’m not alone!
The Internet is forcing everyone to change, fast. It gives creators and fans, previously two unheard voices, a place they can commiserate. A place they can recognize each other as human. And that undermines the demographic model, which is based on tricking stereotypes into doing things.
I don’t want to trick people into following a url. I want a story that’s worth reading to the individuals who find it worthwhile. Do I know who those people will be? No. I don’t.
I’ll just make my thing, and if other people like it, I’ll try very, very hard to not show them the fix list. Unless they want that.