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Monday, December 3, 2007

Fundamental Rules In Promoting Your Comics

Say you've put together a formula for lemonade that would revolutionize the lemonade industry, and you're sure it'll hit big time. Surely you've got to promote your new discovery. Who will you approach first to take a swig of it?

A potential customer, of course.

It baffles me sometimes how comics creators would put together a comic and then start promoting it by telling other comics creators about it. It's like giving samples of your lemonade to other lemonade stands.

To promote your creation effectively via other comics creators, you need to personally approach a few and ask them for if your work is good enough for them to support. You need to isolate a special group of people who could vouch for you, as opposed to sending a blanket email to everyone in a mailing list and hoping that someone would bite.

What's more, sending a blanket email is tantamount to subjecting your work to general scrutiny, and there's a good chance that you'll receive either critique after critique from other creators you don't know from Adam, plus perhaps a consoling pat on the back, or no response at all, unless that's what you want.

The next avenue you need to take is to isolate that specific group of readers who might be interested in the subject of your work. If your superhero graphic novel is for kids, go ahead and send a press release to kids' publications or websites. Got one for the sports fanatics? Find your way into sports magazines and blogs.

What I did in the past was to prepare packages (or "press kits") that contained a short article about the book, information on where the book can be bought, and images of the cover and a few pages. The article mentioned who the book was written for (target market) and why the book is worth their time, or at least a tidbit that might stimulate audience interest. I also included a copy of the book.

When the packages were done, I researched the names of newspaper editors, particularly the lifestyle and entertainment sections. Then I physically delivered the labeled press kits to the newspaper offices.

What happened next? Over the next couple of weeks, my press release appeared in three newspapers, and one of them even had a review. Though sales weren't that high because only three stores had my book in stock (a distribution issue), I'd say my effort was worth it.

The aspiring comic creator can do the same, but digitally. Scour the web for sites that you believe might take interest in the subject matter of your book and hit the editors with a nice, formal email, expressing interest in sending a press release. See what happens. If you don't get responses, try other sites. Try blogs. Or post your press release in interest-specific message boards (if the terms of use allow such things). While you're at it, make an inquiry with printed magazines and community newspapers.

At this point, the aspiring comic creator would do well to try non-comics related venues for promotion. The medium has been getting increased popularity over the past few years. It's time to bank on it.

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