I couldn't remember off the top of my head. There wasn't a natural end to the column. The Outhouse changed format to one that was more satire than fanzine (They do a good job of it. Much like the Daily Show is the only source of current event news for a lot of people, The Outhouse is my only window to mainstream comics news. It gives me an appropriately slanted point of view.) and I had begun to have some pretty serious misgivings about why I was personally doing the column.
On the surface, the column was presented as a diary of the ups and downs of an small press publisher. I shared my thoughts on the soup to nuts process of creating comics, with a focus on the "business and marketing" end of things. And while I think I related some honest, funny and hopefully helpful anecdotes about publishing Nix Comics, the core reason I was writing the column was a severely self serving social media strategy. I was trying to establish myself as an expert, which is what "they" tell you to do to effectively use social media a marketing tool.
Three problems with this strategy:
- There are a lot of people using the same strategy. With all of the dubious self proclaimed experts, Reading my twitter feed sometimes feels like talking to "that guy" at the party who always claims to know more about every subject that comes up in conversation than anybody else.
- Nobody is an expert on publishing indie comics anyways. The sum total of good advice is "Work hard, make sacrifices and hopefully be lucky enough to develop an audience in this age of the media shit-storm." That's it. That's the secret that will make you as much an expert as anybody else.
- The strategy doesn't work. Least not for me. As far as I can, not one of my columns led to a Nix Comics sale. Very little traffic went from the Outhouse to the Nix Comics website despite prominently featured links. Never listen to "they."
Screw it. Everybody else can be experts. In fact it occurs to me that any social media experts are probably self proclaimed... Why wouldn't they indulge in their own strategy?
My friend did get me thinking, however. Is it different if a third party has decided I'm an "expert?" Surely its at least a little different. (Flattery will get you everywhere, I suppose.) I've dug up all of the old columns for a re-read to decide if on its own merits its something I'd want to get into again. So far, like any good artist, I'm hating all of my older work.
If you missed them the first time around, and still curious about them after my thrashing, here are the original Indie Insights:
4/9/2011: On Distribution (About my interactions with Diamond Distribution)
4/15/2011: On Hero Worship (About interacting with Mike Allred and The Fleshtones)
4/22/2011: On Organizational Skills (The "secret" of my productivity)
5/2/2011: On Open Submissions (what I mean versus what artists read)
5/10/2011: On Horror Vs. Gore (Regrets on NCQ #2's use of violence)
5/26/2011: On Measuring personal Success (Five Bullet points inspired by Satchel paige)
6/10/2011: On Vanity Surfing (wherein I fess up to the bad habit of googling myself. Sometimes in public.)
6/24/2011: On Funding (How I dig up cash to pat artists and printers)
7/28/2011: On Deadlines (A guide to self induced Panic)
8/5/2011: On Big Plans (What Nix Comics would look like with an unlimited budget)
8/23/2011: On Setting Your Price (Tangled with direct costs and overhead.)
9/16/2011: On Marketing Mix (Dated jargon for a dated media form!)
10/25/2011: On Valuing your Artwork (When do you cut someone a deal?)
11/15/2011: On Back Matter (What the...? This comic has words with no pictures innit!?)
12/6/2011: On Kickstarter (Tips on putting together and running a crowd funder)
12/21/2011: On 2012 (What I wanted accomplish in 2012. I batted about .500 for the year.)
1/9/2012: On Fan support (A Failed call out to get readers to give their favorite indie books a shout out.)
2/8/2012: On Intellectual Property (My lefty point of view.)
4/7/2012: On Ambition (My follow up column to the 12/21/2011 column)
6/4/2012: On Spec Work (Why I did it and how to approach it)
10/16/2012: On New York Comic Con (The overall experience.)