I suck at the internet.
Well, I know how to use it, I don’t even use Internet Explorer unless I have to, but when it comes to gathering a following or an audience I am in pretty unfamiliar territory.
It seems I am always a few steps behind self promotion from where I should be. When I started doing mini comics, my peers were doing perfect bound trades. By the time I was doing trades, everyone was doing webcomics. By the time I had a website, everyone was doing blogs. Everyone was using Twitter by the time I started a blog.
Truth is, I’d rather draw than go online. I also feel kind of awkward when it comes to promoting myself. I don’t think I am good enough to be on the same internet as some of my heroes. I have a blog (surprise, you’re reading it) and I set up a Twitter account to promote and draw attention to The Retros, but the followers and blog stats aren’t very impressive. Normally I wouldn’t care, but it is a way to see if people like you or your work. These days your Twitter followers are more important than ever. It’s something that a prospective publisher will look at when it comes to deciding if they will publish your work. It makes sense and I’m not criticizing the idea, but my 23 followers (who I love very much) will not convince Top Shelf or anyone to publish The Retros.
In a way I wish I didn’t have a Twitter account or a blog. I can tell how many people like/follow me by looking at my stats. Before I didn’t know if people liked my work, but now I do. It’s like in the early days of caller ID. 15 years ago people had something called ‘landlines’ and having caller ID cost extra. I could see who called while I was out. If nobody called in the 10 hours I was gone, sometimes it stung. Like ‘no one called, so everyone in the world hates me’. But if I didn’t have caller ID, I could be all delusional and pretend I was the most popular person on the planet and my phone was ringing off the hook while I was gone. Having caller ID settled that mystery once and for all.
I don’t really know how to use Twitter to gain followers. Should I keep my account limited to just posting art? Should I try to…I dunno, post funny thoughts and links? How much of ME should be tweeting? I suppose if people like someone, they might be willing to give their creative work a shot.
This doesn’t have much to do with comics, but in some ways this has everything to do with comics. I’d love to make a living off my comics and be able to spend more time making them, but I need to be famous before that happens, I think. I suppose I’ll just stick to making the best comics I can, and let my work speak for me and see what happens.
I mean, look at this page from the Retros.
Is it the best page in the world? Could someone else do it better? Is it even the best page I’ll ever do? No, yes and no. But it’s the best I can do of a giant swamp monster lunging towards an evil time-traveling robot…guy. Plus it was super fun to draw. And comics that are super fun to draw are kind of important.
But if you feel like following me, I won’t stop you.