“We’ve been over this, nobody’s looking for a puppeteer in today’s wintery economic climate”, says Craig Schwartz in the opening scene of Charlie Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich. Replace “puppeteer” with what your artistic endeavour is -writer, filmmaker, actor…- and you can probably relate. Making money as an artist is just about the toughest thing there is, after being an artist, that is. But help is at hand. You can monetise your comic book and graphic novel.
Of course, we have to look at the market, and see what’s needed. You can also find your market. When it comes to this, writers of graphic novels or comic books may have an edge on the rest of us.
Just like for any artistic endeavour in the age of social media, you can’t start creating without sharing the process on social media. Build a base, connect on forums, Twitter etc… From the moment you know you have a project that will go somewhere, possibly, you need to establish it. You’ll build a brand for your project which will be immediately recognisable. If make sure that your name is around that project and becomes indissociable -i.e. be like Trump and put your name everywhere- that will build momentum not only for your project but also for your own personal brand, and you’ll be building your audience.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does Twitter. Regular content is a must. It becomes interesting when you start creating content that’s not just snippets of what your graphic novel or comic book is like. It becomes good when what you creates an entire universe. A graphic novel or a comic book is about an aesthetic experience and a very particular universe. If you create a video narrating your writing process, make it aesthetically strong and add illustrations with your own style. People will be drawn in your universe and will be looking forward even more to buying the finished product, now that they’ve seen your videos on YouTube, your passionate tweets about that character in the middle of the night, the one-page comic you drew about your frustration at the process of finishing your work…
By now, you have your name and your project’s brand on every social media channel imaginable. You’ve gradually rewarded your followers with peaks into what your universe is like and what your final product will be. You’re on forums (inescapable for a medium with such a strong following), you’re on Twitter… Have you though of weaving a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs? Does your blog have a PayPal button that shines with the magical word “Donate”? You can now drop the link to the Amazon page of your baby. It’s obviously available as an eBook on all platforms, and as a hard copy as well.
Your baby is now selling like hot cakes. And you’re ready to repeat.
If you want to make sure you’ve got a good book, Raindance presents a great class on how to create and monetise your comic book and graphic novel.