As expected, the thread at DailyCartoonist about my ebook, was derailed and devolved into personal attacks and a lot of assumptions, kicked off by Scott Kurtz who was keen to pushing his own products, webcomics.com and their “how to make webcomics” book – These days I don’t take any criticism personally, even straight up personal attacks. I’ve become a big believer in “The Golden Rule” – I know that my product isn’t what the haters think it is, and the proof is in the pudding from the amount of cartoonists, both pro and aspiring who have given it a big thumbs up and provided testimonials. Anyone thinking this is some kind of “get rich quick scheme” praying on helpless cartoonists is really out of their gourd. Especially when you consider the very SMALL market I’m delivering this product to.
I think the one thing that irritated me the most was the harping on “marketing” as whole and the argument that people should be working on their craft instead of worrying about ways to sell their work… to a point, I agree! As I’ve said, if you’re just starting out or not comfortable enough selling your work, MY “Cash for Cartoonists” project isn’t for you. It’s not a book about improving your craft or drawing. There are tons of that stuff elsewhere. My project is squarely pointed at the business and freelancing end so that cartoonists can earn more with their art. Not your cup of tea? god bless ya!
Back to the marketing conversation…. it appears there’s a small consensus among critics (mostly amateur cartoonists) that the real secret to success with your cartooning is this: Keep drawing compelling work, build an audience and if you’re good enough they will reward you. Don’t worry about all this selling stuff and just keep creating great work.
Sure, that’s ONE path to success that’s worked for VERY VERY FEW cartoonists in history. IN HISTORY!!! Especially in Webcomics where that’s been the defacto business model. It’s not a business model at all…. it’s the field of dreams model.
In the business world that’s what they call HOPE MARKETING. You’re putting out a product HOPING that it will find an audience. HOPING that you’ve done good enough. You pay for advertising HOPING people will click. HOPING that your ad design was good enough…
While craft and the artform are TOTALLY important to your personal skill set, have you ever seen successful cartooning or illustration that were basic stick figures or really poorly drawn art and you said to yourself: “how on earth is this stuff making money and I’m not!?” of “How is this guy finding work and I can’t get a gig?”
A note to all Cartoonists who want to do this as a career… the REAL secret to success isn’t HOPE or LUCK…
The real secret to a successful career with your art (be it in illustration or comics) is being proactive with opportunities that are out there. It’s about using your creativity to make more money with your creativity. It’s about thinking outside of whatever sandbox you’re sitting in. And that’s the OTHER side of the coin… that’s the side Cash for CartoonistsÂ covers.
And it’s definitely about NOT kicking sand in the other kid’s faces. That just makes you look like a bully. Or that you’ve gotten too big for your own britches. And if you’re low on the totem and kicking sand around, remember that people have long memories and that it’s a really small world. A negative mental attitude will only draw more of that to you and can effect your future opportunities and clients.
I’m going to focus on making my product even better. The feedback from those who have bought it has been GREAT. And the constructive criticism I’ve heard I’m taking to heart and I’m going to do my best to make this project and future ones even better.
First rule of thumb,….always take Scott Kurtz’s criticisms for what they are worth; nothing.
Second,….I was skeptical about your book too,….but I’m going to give it a shot…..I’ve got nothing to lose and I want to start making some money off of my cartooning. I need a path,…I need some ideas……I believe that in today’s business climate,..you need a marketing strategy. It’s not enough just to have a good product,…you have to find a way to make it profitable so that you can continue to produce it.
As one of the guys who gave a testimonial, I will say again that this book is worth the price. As long as you can draw something in a reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of skill, you’re good to go. And if you can’t do those two things already, you need to work on your craft some more before you try to make a living at it. That’s just common sense.
As for Kurtz and all those people–fuck ’em. The worst thing about being a webcomic creator is that we’re all lumped in together with those fat, bickering nerds. You’d think that the huge levels of success and notoriety these guys enjoy would cause them to grow up a little.
Even that Penny Arcade dude comes off as a pudgy man-child, waving his fat little fists while he throws a tantrum.
If I could get ’em all drunk and laid by skanky hookers, I would. Because then the world would be a better place.