My 23-month-old is running around in a Wonder Woman swimsuit saying, “I’m determined!”
Kid is a goddamn beautiful tornado of hugs and stealth pick-pocketing. <3
People have written a lot of touchy-feely pieces on this subject but I thought I’d get right to the heart of the matter
I wanna reblog this because I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately with other comic artists friends who are feeling down about the quality of their work—I keep hearing phrases from them that run in two directions:
1) “Everyone else’s comic is so much better than mine. I’m terrible.”
2) “Comics that look like they have so much less work put into them than mine do have a million times my audience. What gives?”
So here’s what you need to know:
1) It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that someone else’s comic is better than yours, because the only person judging you is you. A reader doesn’t care that one is better because there is NO limit to how many comics they can read. They don’t see one beautiful comic and one ugly comic that they have to choose between, they see two comics that are free to read, and if the story is good or you’re bringing something new to the table, then they are not going to give a crap that your art isn’t as good as someone else’s because there is literally nothing stopping them from reading both. This kind of thing matters when it comes to PRINT comics because people have to decide where to put their money, but when it’s all free, then no decision needs to be made.
On top of that, rest assured that the artist you wish you were as good as probably has ten artists they wish they were as good as, and there are probably ten artists who wish they were as good as you. It’s not a competition, which is why all my relationships with other authors is one of support—I’m doing good, and I want you to do good too. I’m not judging you, I’m not competing with you, and if I can help you, or help you help yourself, I’m there.
2) It doesn’t matter. It seems to matter to you, but it really, really shouldn’t. If you spend all your time worrying about your audience size and how to make that number bigger, than you’re distracted from what should be your main goal, which is to make the comic you wanna make. As someone who also reads comics, I know when I’m being pandered to and can usually pinpoint WHY I’m being pandered to.
I’ve seen a LOT of otherwise good comics suddenly decide that they need to fill their pages with fanservice or take their stories in directions that are geared specifically towards a target demographic that the author thinks will bolster their numbers or get more comments without really understanding what attracting different demographics means. For the small time creator, I can really understand wanting more traffic, but compromising your story to get it runs the risk of alienating the audience you already have.
If you’re going to aim for ANY demographic, aim for the one you already have—focus on making your story, your vision, exactly what you want it to be and turn the casual part of your audience into die-hard audience who are willing to buy your books, fund your crowdsourcing and help you get new hardware if your tablet craps out on you. If you feel you need to focus on very specific demographics that you were not previously catering to, then make sure you understand what holding that demographic’s attention will actually get you before you take the plunge. Do your research.
You will be better off if you make the comic you intended to make and do everything you can to make sure you keep making that comic, keep improving your craft and keep looking like you love what you’re doing, because readers know when you’re pandering, and it is never not insulting to them. Network, make friends with other creators. Lean on them for support and advice. They want you to do well, even if you’re at completely different skill levels, because a difference in skill level means nothing when we’re all toiling away to put our ideas out into the world.