I have to discipline myself from blogging too much. Many comic creators marvel at my work ethic, but the real secret is that I’m probably the laziest man on Earth. Being self aware of how my nature really just wants to eat junk food and play Warcraft all day (I’ve never played that game, not because it’s bad but because it’s so good) I know that I really just want to do anything but work on comics.
My friends were upset when I unplugged from Facebook for the year of 2010. They acted like I cut my hands off. But with Facebook, Twitter and blogging in my life there is always a convenience distraction to keep me from working. It’s not very good for my work ethic.
In general, the internet promises certain things, but rarely delivers them. It promises human interaction but in a new way. Fail. This is not human interaction in that my closest friends are people I see face to face. I can’t imagine relegating my friendships to not being able to touch the other person, hear the tone of their voice and even enjoy a moment of silence on a back porch smoking a pipe. There’s a lot more to life than just the text we scrawl out. We’re not a mass of ideas, we’re people after all.
The internet promises notoriety, and while that is true for some, it takes a way with one hand what it gives with the other. If you spend 2 hours a day blogging and tweeting, that’s 2 hours a day I’m not writing good stuff, or at least making my stuff even better. Which will better propel your career, 2 more hours of polish, creation, execution or talking about my amazing thoughts on a blog? If you have to ask, you’re probably not very good.
My pal, Ethan Nicolle and I talk a lot about comics. One thing I’ve learned from him is that you can try to make money, or you can work to be read. So much thought is put into monetizing webcomics and blogs that the work itself starts to take a backseat. Who would I bet on to succeed in comics, the one who worked on being good for 2 hours a day more or the one who talked about making comics and prematurely focused on making money off his new creation before he or she was even known for making good work?
Now excuse me while I stop posting about comics today, and go make a comic.
These days, it’s hard for a story teller to get noticed. There is a sea of information and work gets lost in the shuffle. The question isn’t, “How do I make a book?” as much as “Once I make a book how can I get noticed?” Well, in case I haven’t asked for your help yet, tell your friends about my books! Wash, rinse, retweet: http://tennapel.com/comics.html
My fans (and critics) might like to know that I read every review of my books that I can find. Even more important is that I listen to what they’re saying.
I always assume that there’s something to learn from every reader, and I don’t see book making as a one way street. It’s a form of communication. I’m not saying that I take a vote on what to make next, but I do like to see what plots and characters bring enjoyment and which ones aren’t coming across as I intended. There’s only one way to understand if I’m making them right, and that’s by listening to my readers.