I often get the comment that it is so rare to see a local indie, self published title that comes out on a regular schedule. Every three months they say? Wow, you're a machine!
In essence. Hardly.
This is no great accomplishment. We all have the time somewhere that we can grab and devote to these projects if we are willing to make a few sacrifices and adhere to some self imposed discipline.
This leads me to my next subject, distractions, or more specifically social media (and don't think I don't see the irony of conveying this in a blog post of all things).
Social media can be an absolutely wonderful tool. We now live in an age where we can tease and promote our products or books to an international audience, all from the comfort of our home computer. We have tools at our disposal that allow us to reach an audience with the kind of ease that creators only dreamed of twenty years ago. We can promote our books and reach our readers through branded Facebook and Tumblr pages, tease our ware on Instagram, and network with editors, writers and artists on Twitter.
Yet, these tools can so often become our undoing. Ask yourself how much time you allow yourself to get caught up in these apps? I say this because I know I am just as guilty as everyone else. Imagine if we just took half of that time and dedicated it solely to working on our projects. All of a sudden we have a surplus of time that is probably more than enough to create something of worth. The trick is though is that again it takes discipline and a bit of hard work.
Then, of course there is the even darker side of social media. Trolls, bullying, ranting, doxxing, SJWs, etc etc. the list goes on. Social media can be a truly awful place when it puts its mind to it. There's nothing better than connecting with your fans, yet there's nothing worse than being exposed to the other side of the coin.
The tricky thing is (and I speak mainly in regards to my exposure to the Australian comics scene), is that it isn't black and white. There are no blatant good guys and bad guys like in the movies. There are segmented groups and they all invest huge amounts of energy into derailing each other, and the truth is it takes a lot of willpower to not get drawn in to these shenanigans.
I myself have only been dedicating time to this pass-time of making comics for about 18 months now and its been one helluva tricky and awkward rollercoaster. Yet I don't regret a minute of it. However, what I do aim to accomplish is greater focus and allowing myself more time to perfect my craft.
Sure, I'm happy with what I've achieved so far, but it's nowhere near where I want to be. Imagine if I could just snare myself a few extra hours to devote to page artwork. How much better the result would be! Sure social media is great for communicating with my readers, but getting drawn in and allowing my energies to be sidetracked and derailed by the politics is something I can no longer accept from myself.
I want this scene to thrive, and I'm not just talking local Australia. The internet has made us one whole: I'm talking about self published comic creators. We all want to succeed with getting books out, regardless of their final reach. We all want products we can be proud of. Hell, some of us want to try and score a job doing this full time (I know that is certainly my endgame).
So here it is: A call to arms. Don't invest your time in the politics. Ignore the trolling and don't get caught up in matters that will still transpire without your input. What we do is make comics! Lets do that and grow this amazing scene into something even more awesome.
Now, time to go work on some pages! Who's with me?