Breaking into the industry, Making comics

Should you give up making your comic?

A panel from Niki Batsprite's comic book #8 "Showdown".

Niki Batsprite wounded but still fiercely determined, from his comic book #8 “Showdown”.

You stopped playing with the idea of making comics and started to actually make them. But things aren’t going as expected. Worse, they’re far from expected. You feel sick and overwhelmed. You just want to give up. The one thing preventing you from quitting is admitting failure.

If you’re at this point as an indie comic author -or in any epic challenge you took- this article may help you.

Time for self-examination

Your plans can’t go as expected due to a number of reasons. In business, failures are dissected to find causes and don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over. We can use the same approach to analyze our project and discover its weak points. Here’s a check list of the most common reasons behind a frustrated author:

Homer Simpson facing his conscience.

Homer Simpson facing his conscience.

Over estimating your idea

Some ideas sound good but are terrible once realized. That’s why you should torment your ideas with the worst cinism and realism you’re capable of. If they still stand up, they could be worth of being brought to life.

Over estimating your skills

Besides the concept of niches, when you step into a market you’re competing with the major players in that market.

You’re asking people to choose your comic out of an ocean of appealing knick-knacks. But, in all honesty, would you do that yourself if it wasn’t your product?

You may lack skills, quality or knownledge in one or more strategic fields. Improve to your limits and beyond, expecially in areas you’re less skilled in.

Wrong expectations from the market

You didn’t research about the market you thrown yourself in. Therefore, you got caught by surprise and unprepared to face its challenges.

Not taking it seriously

I know what established professionals say on interviews. Their words make it sound like it’s all magic. But you can believe me when I say it doesn’t work that way. Consign your project as the last of your hobbies won’t bring you anywhere. It won’t complete nor promote by itself while you daydream about it. Take your project as a mission to accomplish it with passion and commitment.

Overnight success is a myth.

Overnight success is a myth.

Underestimating time

Back to professionals, they seem to have reached success and attention in no time. Again, it doesn’t work that way. It’s rather an endurance game between you and the Fate. If you naively think to be successful overnight, your subsequent frustration will lead you to disaster. Even big positive events won’t impact on your life or carreer all of a sudden. Just walk away from your ego and work on your project on a daily basis. Results will slowly come, pile up and help you to go further with ease.
Arm yourself with a Zen patience. It’s a long run, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Lost possibilities

You sacrificed your life and health to realize a true masterpiece, but nobody is noticing you. Marketing possibilities are endless, but you need to be smart and creative to get every possible chance of exposure. This is probably the more stressing and overwhelming part of the job. Still, you can’t hope for success without awareness about you and your project.

So, should I give up?

N E V E R.

The hero’s attitude is key here: when you’re done, stand up to serve one more hit.
You may need to change your strategy, improve your skills or personality (patience, ego, etc). You may need a break. You may have family matters that demand your attention. You may be forced to do a different job to pay bills. You may need long training to achieve decent skills and the right state of mind to face your project’s challenges. But the very moment you fail it’s the moment you give up. So never ever do it!

It’s ok to have a “side job”, because only a bunch of authors in the whole world make comics as their only income. If you can’t break in, there’s probably something wrong in your technique or personality that you have to fix. Practice on them and results will slowly come.