Build a Fan Base, Make a Friend, Sell a Comic
Every Comic Book Needs a Fan
In the comic book business we call them a fan base; some refer to them as a tribe, followers, or a hedonistic horde of misfit admirers. Essentially, the terms mean the same thing. These are the people who buy, read, and, with luck, obsess over your work.
You need a bunch of people who care about what you’re doing. I’m not suggesting a creator must start with millions of people, or even hundreds of thousands to succeed. A core group of a few hundred is enough, they are your foundation.
Building a fan base takes work involving an investment of time and money. This work requires personal contact and encompasses long hours at comic conventions making contacts and cobbling mailing lists together. You must Communicate with those who purchase, review and sell your books.
Seth Godin has been touting the benefits of marketing to the tribe for countless years. Godin states, “tribes are a very simple concept that goes back 50 million years. It’s about leading and connecting people and ideas. And it’s something that people have wanted forever.”
Building a fan base, at its core, is about connecting with people.
How can we connect? Take it to the streets, stick out your hand, and start working the crowd. People are everywhere. Don’t make a sale, make a friend.
Asking permission is the best way to build trust and avoid the trap of becoming a sales person. Don’t treat your fans like customers. Ask for their opinions, and treat them with respect; ask them if they would like your monthly newsletter, or an update when your new book comes out.
Treat people like friends and they will become friends; they will buy your comic, and they will share it with their friends who will also buy your comic.
In this modern age, creative success can only be accomplished with the help of many. Anyone with the gumption can find the path: do it yourself.
We can break away from the mainstream publishers that take the lion’s share of the profit and credit. But to do so, we will need a few things: a quality book, a marketing plan, and a tribe of fans who want what we are offering.
The world of comic book publishing is in flux, and the first of us to embrace the new paradigm will also help create it.