The Press is Your Friend
I LOVE the press. And a good marketing department team can be a comic creator's best friend.
Sometimes I think a lot of people working in comics don't realize just how great they've got it. Prose writers don't have nearly the number of accessible press outlets to help promote their work. Not to mention immediate feedback in the form of reviews and discussion forums. But while the immediate and accessible venues are clearly a boon to the comics field, they can also get you in trouble if you do it wrong. So here are a few tips on how to do it the right.
Here we go.
INTERVIEWS AND PODCASTS ARE A GREAT WAY TO PROMOTE YOUR WORK
There are really two main factors to finding new readers: distribution of the work and promotion. A lot of people don't even know you exist and it's YOUR job to tell them.
In written interviews, try to tease your projects without giving too much away, making sure your answers are interesting and thoughtful. And make sure you mention all the titles you are currently working on so the audience can make the connections.
On podcasts, try to have fun. Try to be a podcast guest you would like to listen to.
RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE'S TIME AND DEADLINES
The press has deadlines, just like you do. Try to get answers back in a timely fashion. If you hit a snag and just can't get it to them when you said, let them know. This part of your job is no different than that page you need to draw or script you need to get in. Your behavior should be the same as with your editor/ publisher when dealing with these professionals.
RESPECT THE OPINION OF OTHERS AND DON'T USE TWITTER AS A WEAPON
Not everybody responds to art in the same way. And that's okay. Reviews you don't agree with are going to happen. There will be message board postings that are completely misguided and wrong. You might even see someone on twitter say the issue of "X-Whatever" you wrote was the "worst comic ever written." It's going to happen and you will feel bad. It's okay to NOT be a fan of people who criticize your work on the internets in private, just don't go public with it.
DO NOT freak out on twitter and attack someone for a bad review. You just look like jerk.
NO MATTER HOW BADLY YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT UNANNOUNCED PROJECT... DON'T
Good marketing teams have a plan to roll out your book with all the fanfare they can muster. But you just had to post that art or talk about it on your blog before the announcement. BAD MOVE. I know it's hard, people. You're all excited and you just want to share. I get that. But you are shooting yourself in the foot and messing up someone's hard work by doing this.
So instead, do this:
If you have a new project and you aren't sure if you can talk about it, ask your editor or the publicist/ marketing department when the announcement will happen and if there is anything you should be aware of so that you don't accidentally screw it up.
Let's say that again. ASK SOMEONE AND DOUBLE CHECK. DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING. And if it gets leaked by someone else, don't jump on the bandwagon.
LET'S REMEMBER: IT'S A TWO-WAY STREET (or three-way, hmm...)
The press need content, so they can have web traffic, so they can eat. You need to promote your work so that it sells, so you can eat. The marketing department wants your book to sell, so they can keep their job, so they can eat. It's a symbiotic relationship. Nurture it and feed it. Don't abuse it or mistreat it. Treat them all with respect and they will do the same to you.
Be a good friend.