This post is a reflection on producing my webcomic, Demonrise, which I started this year.
I can track visits, see the countries, and rule out bots, but I don’t often know where visitors found me. I post regularly on Twitter but seem to get little engagement there. I was hoping Twitter would be my main marketing tool, but not sure it’s doing much.
Nevertheless, I’m growing an audience at my website. Maybe followers are seeing my tweets, not engaging there, yet still following the links. If so, I’m okay talking into the void. I’ve been doing that online for decades LOL.
All the Money I’m Making
In case you wonder, I make no money from my webcomic or webfiction site. I imagine that disappoints some of you. I could monetize through ads or even graphic novel sales. I had thought I might start a Patreon account. I support a number of creators there, but decided against creating my own.
If you’re an aspiring creator, don’t be disheartened. I’m not saying I CAN’T make money. I achieved some success in marketing my creations years ago, and I have known some creators who do well. It’s just that what they had to do–and what I needed to change to succeed–isn’t worth it to me at this point in my life.
Producing this webcomic, as well as the rest of my fiction catalog, takes a great deal of time (and my own money for hosting and web and art programs), so of course it would be helpful to be compensated. I have two kids entering college in a few years! Instead, I work part-time supervising recess. This gives me time and little stress (corporate offices are really stressful and I never navigated the politics well). The fact that I can do that is, of course, a privilege many do not have, but I’ve also made the kinds of decisions and sacrifices that allow me to do it at this point in my life.
So why not monetize my creations? Five reasons:
- I don’t want to get dependent on an income that relies on pleasing anyone’s taste but my own. As a young author, I was heavily influenced by sales and editors. I flipflopped, changing my vision to appeal to a broader audience. I’ve gotten over that mostly, but it’s a slippery slope.
- To make money, I need a bigger audience, and that requires broader appeal and marketing services…and THAT means posting places like webcomic hosts (Webtoons, etc), Facebook or Instagram, DeviantArt, Tumblr. Guess what, my erotic, violent, lesbian webcomic won’t likely clear the TOS unless I censor it. You can’t even share some of my links on those sites (like this one with the featured image I chose). Twitter is still the Wild West of the internet, which is why I’m good there.
- I was a graphic designer and web programmer in a former period, and I LIKE being in control of all the details on my webcomic and website. That’s another reason I don’t want to try to squeak in under the TOS of hosts with their content and formatting rules.
- If I’m going to support other creators financially, then why not support myself first? I am, after all, my favorite creator. #fact
- I’m not an ends-justifies-the-means kind of person, and creating for money feels too much like compromising something I don’t want to–or have to–at this point. Thinking about what comes after the creativity (acceptance, money, reviews, feedback) changes the whole process for me. Storytelling is not a means to an end but an end in itself.
I’ll tell you though…the other day I was helping out a music teacher and spent over an hour chatting about theory and baroque composers and I felt SO INCREDIBLE when I left because there is literally no one in my life I can discuss these things with. When I examined that feeling, I realized my creativity is the same: I’m not friends with other authors or artists in my daily life, not really online, either. These experiences and thoughts I share only here in my blogs and through the art itself.
But life is big, and I have so many interests and relationships, I’m not feeling alone. I just know there are some things I don’t share. In fact, I have had friends who are stunned to find out I’ve published, that I even write and draw, and that I consider myself first and foremost a storyteller–not a personal trainer or web programmer or even a mom.
The Future of Demonrise Looks Bright
As 2020 winds down, I find it’s been a mostly good year for me despite the Covid pandemic. The good part has been getting the Demonrise webcomic consistent. I have a process now that can carry me for several years. As I’ve mentioned before, I started a Darklaw webcomic several times but had trouble sustaining it due to the difficulty of the process or the time involved.
If you are interested in the process–from storytelling to production–you can visit each posted strip, where I have Creator Notes. And, of course, I always appreciate your shares of my work or when you share your thoughts with me.