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Thread: Week 64: How Are You Getting Seen?

  1. StevenForbes Guest

    Week 64: How Are You Getting Seen?

    Itís Tuesday! Iím fighting off a bug for the first time in what seems like forever, and Iím on the winning end of it. It was pretty mild, anyway. And I go on vacation soon! And other things are falling into place! Exciting times, folks! Exciting times!

    But weíre not here to talk about me. Weíre here to talk about you, and your career in comics. Last week, the question was ďWhy comics?Ē This week, we have a different question before us. What are you doing to get your name seen?

    This is a serious question, and it deserves some serious attention. So, with the question asked, letís get into the Bolts & Nuts of it, shall we?

    So, just what ARE you doing to get your name seen? What are you doing that puts yourself ahead of the pack? Anything? Nothing?

    There is a discussion on Digital Webbing right now thatís going somewhat along this line, but really, this is a question that you should all be asking yourself. ďIím Kremator-9! Everyone knows me!Ē

    Do they? Do they really?

    There are certain things that, as a creator, you simply MUST do in order to separate yourself from the pack. Thereís no way around it. You must do these things in order to be viewed in a positive light. Because a positive light means work for you, and if youíre good, nice, and hit your deadlines, youíll continue to get work.

    But you have to stop being an asshole first.

    (Steven? Did you just call me an asshole?) Kinda. What I meant to say was ďcowardly asshole.Ē My apologies. (STEVEN!!!) What? I apologized.

    Look, we already know how I feel about screen names that arenít your real name. Theyíre too easy to hide behind. Theyíre too easy to ďslip into character.Ē They allow you to be a dick/bitch, with little in the way of accountabilityóuntil it comes time for you to start looking for work. Then, it becomes an entirely new ball game, and youíre going to be stuck on the sidelines, wondering what it was you did wrong.

    That flame war you had with Male-Factor Nein? That didnít look good. Calling all rabbits everywhere nothing but your personal fuzzbunnies? That was kinda weird. Getting outraged over the length of Supermanís cape, and calling everyone that disagreed with you names that not even an old crusty sailor would use? Yep. That certainly helped cement yourself as a first class asshole/bitch that no one will work with.

    All because of Kremator-9.

    Now, if you used your real name, Kletus, you more than likely wouldnít be such a douche. Youíd have to be extremely talented and have a fan following in order to overcome your personalityóand even then, itís not guaranteed.

    So, use your real name, folks. This will hopefully have the benefit of causing you to think a little before you post. Your name is the only thing you have [besides your talent], and in the selling of your name [your brand, if you willóor even if you wonít], you want people to know that youíre a professional and are serious about the work. And no, I donít think that adding your real name to your signature is enough. Not in order to make a lasting impression. Those of you who use your real name, bravo. Congrats. You get it. Hopefully, youíre building your brand and will go far. For the rest of you, what are you waiting for? Thereís no time like the present. Get off your duff and do it. So, your real name is first.

    Second, you have to get some webcomics doneópreferably on your own site. Writers, Iím looking at you. Yes, you. If you want to show you have the stuff, you have to show you have the stuff. That means getting something done that has eyes on it. You submit your scripts to The Proving Grounds [thank you], but how many of you are taking those scripts and actually producing them? Not many of you, Iíll wager. And why not? (Because you said theyíre wretched, Steven!) And youíre going to let that stop you? Really? Is it that easy for you to become disillusioned? (Well, youíve been telling us for over a year that making comics is hard work, and youíve been telling us for more than six months over at the Proving Grounds that we suckówhat do you expect? Weíre getting hit upside the head from the left and the right!) So what?

    For those of you that quit, you deserve what you get. (STEVEN!) You know me. Iím giving it to you straight. Making a name for yourself in comics is hard. Boo hoo. Writing scripts that are produceable isnít easy. Waah. Iím not ďniceĒ when I go over a scriptóand you want to make a noose, throw it over the rafters, and hang your career before you ever get started. Know what I say to that? Good! Get out. We donít need damned dirty quitters and dabblers clogging up the lanes and making the slush pile even larger. Making comics is serious work, and only those with serious minds need apply.

    And why webcomics? Because theyíre CHEAP. [Or werenít you paying attention when I went over the numbers?] Damned near free, when you get down to it. The only thing itíll cost you is some time, which is GREAT. Do you know what youíre doing when youíre spending that time? Youíre creating, collaborating, and LEARNING. Canít pay an entire creative team? Get that artist to ink, and learn to letter! If you have the patience and the will, learn to color, too. If you REALLY want to do it, you could be your own one-man/woman-show. Draw it, color it, letter it, and put it up.

    But the key to the entire thing is just to do it. Web hosting and domain names are dirt cheap. You have little to no excuse for not taking advantage of these prices and getting on the stick. (Waitaminnit! Whatchoo talkiní Ďbout, Willis? Iíve got a family, bills, and am barely making ends meet as is! Where am I supposed to get this mystical money to do this?) [Do you smoke?] (Ö) [Thereís your money right there, literally going up in smoke. Iíve got no sympathy for you. Youíre online, able to read this, right? Do you eat out a lot? More than three times a month? Youíre bleeding money out all over the place. Basically, I donít want to hear it. Where thereís a will, thereís a way.]

    A web presence puts you in the game, ladies and gents. It gets your name seen, it gets your work seen, and once you get a fan following, you may be able to take it to print, or to a publisher, or wherever you want to go. But you HAVE to get that presence first. And youíre using your real name to do it [unless you prefer to work under a nomme de plume, which is definitely a possibility]. But you see how one ties into the other?

    Now that youíve got your real name online in forums and on your webcomics, itís time to step out from behind the computer and get to some actual face time with people.

    This, my friends, is really where itís at.

    You NEED to hit some conventions. I cannot say that often enough or be more strident about it. If you go as an attendee, thatís great. Go around and mingle. Meet up with your peers at the various bars and parties and such that go on. (But I donít drink.) Good for you! But I didnít say you had to drink, did I? I said to go where your peers are. You can meet and mingle on the convention floor, but thatís not really the place to do more than to just say hi and see each other for the first time. No, the after parties are where it happens.

    However, in order to get there, in order to NOT be a drag, you CANNOT be the asshole that Male-Factor Nein is. You have to be Kletus Jerkovitch, and you have to let [what is hopefully] the real you show. Because the guy that who was in the flame wars, the one with the unnecessarily dirty mouth, the one who got put on ignore on the forums because there is never anything remotely positive or helpful being put forthóno one wants to see or hang out with that guy. Not by accident, and definitely not on purpose.

    Remember the kerfluffle over Yellow Hat Guy? This was a guy that was SUCH an asshole that he got people to rally around Rob Liefeld. Rob frickiní Liefeld, possibly the most polarizing figure in current comicdom. You have to have done something pretty damned horrible in order to get people to rally around Liefeld. And if this guy was a wannabe creator, heís more than likely just sabotaged himself for a good long while. Years, more than likely, no matter what his talent. Donít be that guy.

    So now, the question becomes, just what are you doing to get your name seen? To get yourself out in a position that people will remember it and you? Our own Sebastian has gotten face time with Mark Waid because of the reviews weíve done for Boom! Studios. Not just face time, but name recognition on the part of Mr. Waid. Heís also got a story coming out in the Grim Crewís Dead Future, headed up by our own Martin Brandt. Heís also conducting interviews with up and comers and legends alike. Heís on it, and he wants it.

    Me? Iíve got a couple of columns, a couple of webcomics, and a comic I wrote with Cary Kelley, who also posts here from time to time. For one of my projects, an editor at a large publishing house is showing interest, and on my own, Iím going to be doing a lot of editing for something thatís looking to be huge, and getting bigger every day. I went to this past SDCC as an attendee, and next year, Iíll be going as a professional. The guy Iím editing has done some partnering with Disney, and that relationship keeps growing closer and stronger with every day that passes, so my name will be known there. [And that was sheer, dumb luck, folks. I know it, but like I said in the Being Ready article, I worked and positioned myself to be ready for opportunity when it knocked. Iím stepping through that open door.]

    What are you doing? How are you positioning yourself to get seen and to take advantage of the opportunities that come?

    If youíre a writer, stop thinking youíre going to eat fil-let mig-nen [I separated them on purpose] on a dollar menu budget. Find some way to pay an artist SOMETHING for their time and effort, and put something up on the web. Be honest about what you can and cannot afford, and then stick to the deal. [In general, writers donít flake. In general.] Come up with something thatís not extremely labor intensive on art, and then start looking for an artist to fill the role.

    For the artists, hook up with a writer and get some things done. Trust me, editors know when you donít work from a script. If you need one, there are tons of writers who are ready to beat down your door to get something made. You have your pick from the cream of that crop.

    (Is that all? Use my name and get some work done for people to see?) If youíre nice and the work is decent, yes. Thatís it. Oh, there are other things that happen organically because youíre using your real name: youíll be more true to your personality, so anyone you hook up with will know what to expect; when you start getting work seen, you should start being able to move from strength to strength, until you make that first sale.

    People are watching. Even when you think they arenít. Remember, this column was linked to over at Newsarama, and I had no idea about it until it was brought to my attention.

    So, what are you doing to get your name seen?



  2. Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    What am I doing to make my name be "seen"?

    This.

    By doing news, reviews, and interviews here I've made various connections with editors, writers, artists, P.R. reps, with various publishers.

    I've had a few things published in indy anthologies, connections I've also made online.

    I do the whole facebook, myspace, and linkedin thing.

    I took part in SMALL PRESS IDOL.

    And I tell everyone I know Steven Forbes! Better yet, I'm the guy that got him the gig at PFB! What better claim to fame do I need!!??
    "Living Robert Venditti's Plan B!"

    CAT. 5



  3. StevenForbes Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by SebastianPiccione View Post
    What am I doing to make my name be "seen"?

    This.

    By doing news, reviews, and interviews here I've made various connections with editors, writers, artists, P.R. reps, with various publishers.

    I've had a few things published in indy anthologies, connections I've also made online.

    I do the whole facebook, myspace, and linkedin thing.

    I took part in SMALL PRESS IDOL.

    And I tell everyone I know Steven Forbes! Better yet, I'm the guy that got him the gig at PFB! What better claim to fame do I need!!??
    Yes, folks, Seb is to blame. Make sure all hate mail is sent his way, not mine.

    (Speaking of which, I haven't gotten any hate mail yet. So far, only one piece of "semi-irate" mail in over a year. Either I'm doing something right, or I'm being ignored. Dunno...)

    Anyway, Seb is doing the damned thing, folks. He's getting face time, he's making the connections, he's getting seen. We already know Seb's doing it.

    True story: I was recently contacted by Person A about Person B. Person A was looking for someone to do some work for them, and Person B responded, saying they were referred to by "Steve." Person B had happened to do some work for me, also, but Person A gave Person B instant credibility because they thought I had brought the opportunity up to Person B's attention, and they thought that Person B had name dropped.

    It's a small thing. But you know what? Small things go to bigger things. No, it wasn't me who had referred Person B, but this person gained instant credibility with another person because of an association, whether real or perceived.

    That's the power of your name, folks. That's what doing good work will get you. You have to do the work, and you have to get the work seen. You have to be steady. And you have to do it ALL THE TIME.



  4. BarriLang Guest

    I'm gonna start name dropping you and Seb all over the shop.

    Getting to Cons is tricky for us Brits. I’ll have to start checking out some of the local cons. (but with 2 toddlers, carting myself to Birmingham would be a hassle. I've got 2 anthology stories coming out for the Hero Initiative (I wish I could have another run at them after my proving grounds education) and a backup coming to an "Adam Zero" issue (on ongoing indie)

    I contribute as much as I can to the forums and always try to be constructive.

    I shall have to up my game and see about getting some reviews. Perhaps for PFB?



  5. DaddyD Guest

    I am continuing to work as professionally as possible. Much of the work I get comes from word of mouth. I get good paid gigs. Not the best pay but good. I accept all sorts of payment, from back end to print copies. But I work as often and as much as is possible. There was only one incident I can think of in the past year in which I failed on my end to act in a professional manor. But this is a personality trait. I'm not going to be walked all over and as such can be perceived as a dick. I'm okay with that.

    I'm about to admit to something that's going to be seen as "crazy" and I'm okay with that too. Not too long ago an editor from a well known indie publisher offered me a job. I turned it down. The pay was good for a relatively unknown letterer, so that was not the issue. Never is an issue for me. No. What bothered me was the title (project) itself. I am a huge fan of both the character and the character's writer (who virtually founded the genre of fiction from which this title is based) and I felt somehow "too close" to it. I felt that the writer of this title just really didn't "get" the character and in turn I didn't "get" the writer and so I was conflicted to the point of turning it down.

    Please understand, this would have been my first major lettering gig in a mainstream publication (albeit from an independent publisher). Did I shoot myself in the proverbial foot? Maybe. But the editor was kind enough to agree to keep me in mind for future projects. Argh. Such is life!

    I don't regret the decision. So I keep working in the indies, the way WAY underground stuff, and the Euro's. My work for Azurek Studios is so very fulfilling. I am very happy where I am, and pretty soon I'll be able to share some of the work I've been doing for them and several titles will be available.

    A few years ago I believed the whole reason I was getting into lettering is because I wanted to break in as a writer and work for the big boys. I figured if I could get some work as a letterer maybe I could eventually get work as a writer. Well, I am writing with a variety of artists on a few shorts and a graphic novel. Nothing that has been sold as of yet. I'll be glad to share the news if it does. But the point I want to make about it is that my "dream" has changed. Very much so.

    I wanted to work in the mainstream a few years ago. Now, I really have no desire to seek work for either Marvel or DC. That doesn't mean that if the chance ever presented itself I would turn it down. But it would have to feel right to me.

    The work that I am doing now makes me happy. Formerly I was so obsessed with "making it" that it clouded my vision, so to speak, and I had all but forgotten the reason I ever wanted to work in comics to begin with. And that was simply because it made me happy. So now I am doing what I always wanted to do because I have followed my happiness. And if following my happiness leads me to more work that will continue to make me happy and make others happy in return, then that's what I'm going to be doing for a long time to come.

    Oh! And the short answer to this week's question should have been: work, work, work! All my clients know my real name. I never sign my work as "Daddy D."



  6. LukeHalsall Guest

    Will change the name at some time

    Like said already not being in America makes it hard to get to the cons

    But doing the forums thing n writing down all my ideas whenever i have them.

    Will start to put the money back to get that artist



  7. JohnLees Guest

    I'm definitely not doing as much as I could to get my name out there. This is something I need to fix.



  8. tylerjames Guest

    There's so much you can do to be seen and be visible these days...

    However, if you want to make comics, then first and foremost, you need to MAKE COMICS. Everything else you do, except maybe the not being an asshole thing, comes second.

    Me, I'm doing a lot. I'm writing a weekly column on creating comics, I teach a course on writing comics, I'm attending conventions, I'm chatting with creators on Twitter, I'm posting on finer message boards such as this one...but all of that would be for not if I wasn't also busting my hump making comics and putting them out there.

    That being said the whole getting seen and getting your name out there seems like a perfect segue to mention the 30 Characters Challenge. For the month of November, I'm challenging myself to create 30 new characters in 30 days...one for each day of November. Some of these characters will likely see development in future comics I work on. Others may never be seen again.

    It's an exercise in creativity, and I'm happy to say one that a handful of other creators are joining me. If this idea sounds just crazy enough for you to participate in, head over to The 30 Characters Challenge Website and see what it's all about. The more the merrier!

    And it's yet another good way to get yourself seen.



  9. LukeHalsall Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by tylerjames View Post

    That being said the whole getting seen and getting your name out there seems like a perfect segue to mention the 30 Characters Challenge. For the month of November, I'm challenging myself to create 30 new characters in 30 days...one for each day of November. Some of these characters will likely see development in future comics I work on. Others may never be seen again.

    It's an exercise in creativity, and I'm happy to say one that a handful of other creators are joining me. If this idea sounds just crazy enough for you to participate in, head over to The 30 Characters Challenge Website and see what it's all about. The more the merrier!

    And it's yet another good way to get yourself seen.
    quality idea

    really like it



  10. StevenForbes Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by tylerjames View Post

    That being said the whole getting seen and getting your name out there seems like a perfect segue to mention the 30 Characters Challenge. For the month of November, I'm challenging myself to create 30 new characters in 30 days...one for each day of November. Some of these characters will likely see development in future comics I work on. Others may never be seen again.

    It's an exercise in creativity, and I'm happy to say one that a handful of other creators are joining me. If this idea sounds just crazy enough for you to participate in, head over to The 30 Characters Challenge Website and see what it's all about. The more the merrier!

    And it's yet another good way to get yourself seen.
    And, as if I wasn't busy enough, I've decided to take part in this as well.

    Yes, I'm crazy.



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