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(Photo Credit: Techy Girl)

With the internet growing ever more prominent and necessary in today’s modern world. The question we should all ask ourselves, is how this affects not just comics, but publishing in general.

The world is changing, and so is publishing. Back then, the boon of publishing was photocopying. It was an easy way to get cheap copies of whatever material you either needed or wanted. Publishers peeved and complained about the boons and losses they were incurring from photocopy.

Today, things are more or less the same. The only difference is the target: the internet. Battles over copyright and sharing abound, and we, the consumers, are trapped in the middle. Our only need is to be entertained and to be able to acquire our entertainment as easily and as effortlessly as possible.

While most people may be on the fence with this issue of posting your work online, I want to try and push a movement for putting it into practice in this two part topic.

 

10 Reasons Why You Should Put Your Comics Online TODAY

  1. Exercise creativity truly and completely
  2. Make a statement
  3. Connect with your potential readers
  4. Make a name for yourself
  5. Spread that name out into the world
  6. Give your readers a sense of security
  7. Piracy is not your enemy
  8. Nobody else steals your idea
  9. Accomplish something of importance to you
  10. Stop thinking about the money

1 Exercise creativity truly and completely

There are people that would love to draw Batman, and there are people that would have loved to be the creator of Batman. It’s a question of which kind of artist you want to be. Although it’d be cool to be able to write or draw for Marvel and DC, understand that the characters that you’re promoting are brands in and of themselves.

If people don’t like how you did Batman or Spider-man, they’ll hate you for it, but they’ll continue to love the characters themselves. In the huge scope of things, then, your work will never be as big as the characters themselves. It may be influential-for a time-but you will never truly own the work.

Unlike if you were the creator of said characters, and you owned all the rights, you yourself dictate the rules on what does and doesn’t happen to your character. Of course, that also means that you alone determine your character’s success or failure in the market.

The question is, then: wouldn’t you rather be known for being a creator of something that’s truly unique and truly your own rather than be party to the work of others?

 

2Make a statement

Controversial issues or topics that you want to talk about are easier to talk about when you’re on your own. And the benefit of having an audience that you yourself built up is that your audience is much more likely to agree with your views and opinions precisely because they already know who you are and what your influences are.

Because you’ve made connections and relationships to your fans and readers, they have an inclination of what to expect from you. Although their support, of course, isn’t a hundred percent, you can be sure that they will still respect you even if they themselves disagree with your statements and views.

Of course, if you do decide to tackle controversy, you will most definitely amass attention from both sides of the fence. It can’t be avoided, so expect things to get messy.

 

3Connect with your potential readers

One very good reason to start putting your stuff online is because the internet is the biggest and best avenue through which you can create a direct connection with your fans.

Whether or not you decide to disclose private information about yourself, the fact that they can read about your bus ride to the mall, or your annoyance at bank tellers, helps them relate to you as a person—not just as a celebrity (or pseudo-celebrity).

Don’t take that for granted. Fans love that—especially when you reply to their queries and concerns.

Add to that the fact that in today’s world, people are more aware about how business works. They understand that when they buy your book, that only a small percentage of it actually goes to you. The rest is pocketed by the company that prints and markets your book.

So when you yourself are doing all or most of the work that the publisher is usually in charge of, fans feel a sense of gratitude and enjoyment when they decide to donate or purchase your work. Because they know that you will feel the full force of their love.

The Uniques Comic
The Uniques Comic

Adam Withers and Comfort Love, creators of the self-published comic The Uniques express this even better in their podcast interview with Paperwings:

People want to have a more direct connection to the people that they are paying for. When Radiohead put out an album for free online, it was brilliant. The reason it was brilliant was they knew that they had millions of fans who wanted to be able to say, “I gave Radiohead my money for the music they gave me. Not, I gave, you know, whatever record company the money, and hope that it tickled back to the band that I love. We’re more aware than we’ve ever been about how business works, about the fact that when I give my dollar to Company X, the creators of that thing that I love probably got a miniscule percentage off that—if anything. We know that. And because we’re aware of that, people don’t feel a connection between my going to the store and buying a product, and actually getting money as a reward into the support… support the people that I love. And so instead people don’t have a problem with piracy because they don’t see it as taking money out of the pockets of the people they care about, but they are looking for other ways. They want to support people. They want to reward people. So you have to give them those avenues.Comfort Love and Adam Withers

 

4Make a name for yourself

This is important whether or not you’re planning on signing in with a publisher in the future. Why? Imagine the hundreds of thousands of manuscripts publishers receive from authors and writers. Imagine how many manuscripts they throw away after reading only the first few pages. It’s crazy difficult to break into the industry that way, and that’s a fact.

So change your approach.

In other words, beat them to it. Don’t wait for the publisher to go out and advertise your work so that you could make a name for yourself. Make a name for yourself, and then have the publishers go after you.

There’s a sudden shift of power when this comes into play, and it’s also easier for you to dictate the terms with which you want to sell the rights to your book. Because you already have an audience that’s listening, an audience that wants to tap into whatever work you’re offering, that sense and feeling of desperation is not as strong. You won’t find yourself jumping at the first chance to get published.

It’s a great way for you to protect yourself from settling for something less than you deserve. You worked hard on that book. You slaved for it. You should get what’s due your time and your sweat.

 

5Spread that name out into the world.

Author of Purple Cow and Permission Marketing, Seth Godin, has this to say about giving away your books for free.

When I gave away Ideavirus—the whole book… here’s the whole book. That act of giving it away for free had itself more copies for forty bucks—no discount—than the book I did before that wasn’t given away for free. And the reason is: the generosity gets people’s attention. The fact that it’s free to share and free to spread makes it spread. But after you’re on page 5, if you like it you go, “You know, I sort of like books.” And you go buy one. And there’s no risk. The amazing thing that’s shifted in this industry for non-fiction is this: if you bought a book in 1970, you did not know what it was about. Now, if you buy a book, you only buy a book when you know what it’s about.Seth Godin

Here’s my main point for part 1 of this series: putting your comics online for people to see will help you much more than it will hurt you.

Click HERE to read Part 2

Discussion Questions:
IF you’ve got a live webcomic today, drop us a link in the comments.
IF you’ve got even more reasons why everyone should START a webcomic, share it with us!
IF you just want to shout out to all the webcomic creators out there and give them a pat on the back, you’re welcome to do so.