Monday, August 18, 2008

Keeping Your Perspective

Sometimes I think readers must wonder about some of the things I do. I sign up for various sites and services, study them down to the nuts and bolts, and report my findings. I share which ones helped my webcomic and which did not.

It must sound like I am gasping for people to read my webcomics.

Sometimes I am. There are lulls where no one writes or comments or discouraging things happen, and I think I would be pleased to receive a letter from someone who likes our work.

Those are dangerous moments, because I am allowing myself to place other people's judgments before my own. Once this happens, I am subject to domination by whatever opinion comes along next, including negative views that lack credibility.

Here is how I cope. Because I write and story board and Pug does the finished art, we have months of stories I can lie down and read in black and white. Keeping a pencil handy for edits, I can relax and enjoy stories I barely remember writing. They have my humor sensibility, so I find myself laughing. Soon I am thinking, Gee, you know, this is pretty good material.

With the return of my objectivity comes reaffirmation of my perspective that the work is good, that it will appeal to some amount of people, and that it is worth giving it time to connect with that audience, big or small. If an end comes, there will be a body of work that I can enjoy periodically, and it will mark a milestone in my life.

I think the best way to promote a comic is to love it. The problem is, if you don't do the busy work stuff -- the linking and optimizing and advertising -- and your comic falls short of your goals for audience size, it leaves you to wonder if maybe that extra effort would have made the difference.

By reporting the results of my investigations, it helps me consolidate my findings in my own head. It helps some people by providing information they might use. Maybe their webcomic will succeed because of it. Maybe it will be a webcomic I'll enjoy reading. That would make it worthwhile, too. I'll continue to use my own comics for experiments, because who else's am I going to use? And if I mention them too much, chalk it up to the over-enthusiasm of a proud dad. What can I say? I love my comics! And plenty of others -- but you should love yours too. Nurture them, pour your soul into them and coax 'em along, and they'll take care of you when you are low.