Ignoring the Market and Maturing as an Author

For three months I’ve spent hours each day drawing and writing, working on my webcomic Demonrise. As I get closer to publishing panels, I feel anxious. There are certain expectations about creating a webcomic that are needling me — I need consistent posting & quality, an ongoing social media presence, an effort to grow followers with polls, games, hashtags, and I’ll need to tie the site to Patreon and eventually a graphic novel. I should be making money and that will happen only if I spend time on promotion and marketing.

A WIP panel from my webcomic Demonrise.

I’ve been down this road before.

I started a webcomic set in the world of Darklaw two different times in the last 7 years. Both times I had to stop because I couldn’t keep up with the time demand. I have a vision of what the art and story should be, and I’ll take the time and do the work to meet my vision.

But Why Do I Create?

I wasn’t always so clear on my reason, you see. Why do I create? I just always have. It’s like breathing. It comes out in many ways, but I’m most joyful when I can create fictional worlds, like a webcomic. I love creating all parts–the story, the scenes and people, the text, the sequences.

When I was writing years ago, it mattered to me to get approval, you know — someone telling me I was good. I sought feedback, studied the market, learned from “successful” authors. I wanted an agent or editor, some kind of partner to help me craft my work, to get better. I used to read about how to promote and sought advice and business relationships and did promotional activities. OMG I laugh at that now. And I get angry because I wasted so much time. The whole process is about making money for other people, not becoming a better artist. I was supposed to write for a particular market or convince people that my work fit a particular market. Of course it doesn’t.

I’m pretty self-contained now. I have no plans exactly, other than just getting the story done, building it day-by-day, perfecting it, and publishing it myself. I need to see it and love it and feel proud of it, and then I’ll let it go. I’ll start posting panels when I have a buffer.