Welcome to Nervous System, where you can learn more about my comics ThoughtScape Comics and Lifeformed.
Previously on Nervous System…
Last week I talked pre-campaign promo prep for the upcoming ThoughtScape Comics 2022 Kickstarter campaign (please go hit the NOTIFY button if you haven’t already), but didn’t quite wrap it all up. So, let’s continue…
With issue #2 now fully prepped in digital/preview form, campaign social assets created and a set of pages and images from the comics ready to go in Dropbox for press folks (meaning all that stuff is in the Dropbox for the press), we’re ready to begin outreach.
A couple notes:
I use Dropbox because Google Drive always seems to present sharing/access issues no matter how I think I’ve configured it. Dropbox doesn’t. I don’t want anyone who might actually be willing to cover the project having an issue getting to the material.
Proofreading. No matter how many times you read over something you make yourself, you will miss small text issues. I did. On a story I lettered, no less. Thankfully artist extraordinaire Dave Law caught not one but TWO typos in my lettering in the press preview copy. Especially post-pandemic, I seem to end up with duplicate words in sentences and, in this case, word balloons. Anyway, avoid unforced errors: find proofreaders for your stuff and heap thanks upon them.
I keep writing these posts in a sort of how-to form. If you aren’t really doing this kind of thing too, just imagine you’re overhearing me talking to myself… which is not at all a stretch. I talk to myself A LOT.
If you REALLY want to feel like you’re standing in the offices of ThoughtScape HQ, you should spin the killer new Iceage album which I am playing constantly:
The first thing to know about outreach, and I say this as advice and also as a reminder to myself, is that most of your effort here will come to naught. BUT, you will discover so much on your outreach journey and learn things about yourself that you never knew… no, I’m kidding, it will mostly be repetitive, completely wasted effort. That said, you have no choice. No one else is going to help you, no one else is going to relentlessly promote your work, so you have to do it. And most of that effort is going to go into a black hole, never to be seen again, and that’s okay. Get up early, listen to Iceage, drink coffee, fire off emails, and repeat. It’s okay. And, look, I could always be wrong. Sisyphus got pretty famous doing this, so who knows…
For real, though, if you need inspiration during this outreach and self-promo stretch, I highly recommend grabbing any podcast with Seth Godin on it and firing it up. It will get your mind right about putting your work out into the world and making the effort. Maybe start with any of his great appearances on Brian Koppelman’s The Moment, like so:
Sorry, I am obviously a bit distractible today. Onward!
Asking for a blurb is terrifying. But it is oh so nice to have someone else’s words to use in your press materials, and of course it can be wondrous and affirming to hear a creator you admire praise your work. For example, Liam Sharp(!) just yesterday provided this…
"A beautifully designed high-concept cornucopia, full of playful layouts and innovative art."
And David Pepose sent this…
"A wild and ambitious head-trip of narratives and styles, THOUGHTSCAPE COMICS is an anarchic sci-fi mosh pit in the grand tradition of 2000 AD."
I mean, those are pretty great, right?
Anyway, I try to take a real relaxed attitude to blurb asking. Fire off the message and then forget it unless there’s a reply. There will be plenty to stress about in the campaign, and worrying about why someone might not be getting back to you isn’t worth adding to that list. With this approach though, you do want to anticipate that maybe 1/4th or 1/8th of the people you reach out to will reply, so build your list accordingly.
My press outreach starts with anyone who has previously expressed interest in my work. This means anyone who has reviewed Lifeformed ever or helped boost the first Kickstarter/first issue of ThoughtScape. There are so many great folks out there covering comics that the comics publishers ignore. You never know where your particular supporters might come from. When they show themselves, embrace them. Send them more stuff to check out if you have it. Message them and see if you can collaborate somehow. Promote them in small ways. Retweet them, and not just the tweets that talk about your work. If a better, healthier comics community is going to rise up, new and fresh blood must be a part of all aspects, I think. Publishers, creators, reviewers, etc.
For the actual press outreach, I’ll take that big press release we looked at last time, write a half-boilerplate, half-personal intro note up top, and that’s the email that gets fired off. I prefer to send individual emails vs. using some sort of list service.
Then, just sit back and wait…
So, recapping, for myself, if not for you: Where are we at, promo-wise?
We want to drive advance interest in the Kickstarter campaign, aiming to see what happens if we pay as much attention and push nearly as hard promo-wise on raising our pre-launch follower number as we will on everything during the campaign, so…
Advance promo posts are happening on Twitter and Instagram, angling to get 200 followers by November 1st, when the press release goes out
A preview of ThoughtScape Comics Issue 2 (basically the entire comic without the fake ads, which I like to work on closer to deadline) is out for blurbs
Press/podcast outreach is on deck, prepped and ready to go out on November 1st
What’s next? Definitely some waiting. Some patience required. Thankfully, I have comic pages coming in to give me something else to focus on, and I am getting back to writing scripts for stories for issues 5-8. That will help. And next week I’ll start cutting together the teaser trailer for the campaign, which will most certainly take up time and be fun, I dig the video editing. So… I think we’re in good shape. Am I forgetting something? Is there anyone out there that has an amazing idea I should try to drive that KS follower number sky high? Email me! I’m all ears.
Memories in Future Tense
A couple wonderful in-progress ThoughtScape pieces I received this week that I wanted to share. These will be coming to you in issues far enough out that, if the pandemic has messed with your brain as much as it has mine, you will forget by the time they reappear in their finished form.
Are you following these comic art geniuses yet? Get on it…
Dave Law: Instagram
Alright, I will leave you to your Friday. To DUNE, I assume. I would also recommend Only Murders in the Building on Hulu, Dopesick (also on Hulu), 100 Foot Wave, and Doom Patrol, which I love so very much.
Have a great weekend,