For many independent comic creators, self-promotion is easily the most daunting task. You spend months or even years to finish a project, and then your new full-time job is convincing people to actually look at your work. It can be a slog, but channeling the enthusiasm and pride you have for your work into coverage can be rewarding when successful. We have a few suggestions for making this necessary step of the creative process a little easier to manage.
Wait, do they even accept review requests?
This is a good place to start! Once you know who you want to contact, be sure that they accept review requests. We do! Like us, many comic sites that are open to pitches will say so on their site. Johanna Draper Carlson of Comics Worth Reading makes her preferences very clear. You are more likely to achieve self-promotion success if you cater to any stated guidelines. If it is near impossible to find contact information on a comic site, chances are they aren’t looking for topics to cover — but a publicly listed e-mail is certainly worth pursuing.
Target specific writers and websites
Know your audience! When you’re contacting comic blogs and websites to cover your work, the writers of those sites are your target audience. If you’re working on a sci-fi adventure webcomic, contact writers that have covered that genre before. Look at what they have previously reviewed, who they have interviewed before, and if it is similar to your work, you are more likely to receive a response. Most people who blog about comics are doing it for the same reason creators self-publish: it is their passion. They aren’t likely to cover comics that fall widely outside of their interests.
Cast a wide net
This may seem counter to our previous suggestion to be specific in who you target, but what we mean by casting a wide net is to think outside of the top comic news sites. Don’t be afraid to contact writers on Tumblr, smaller indie-focused sites, writers local to your area, or writers who are dedicated to the subject matter of your own work. If you are promoting a horror comic, reach out to sites that cover horror within different mediums. You are more likely to find fans there than on a larger comic news site that focuses heavily on cape comics.
Have something ready to show
And don’t forget to say what that is! Whether it is a review PDF, a hard copy of your book to mail off, or preview artwork of a work in progress be forthcoming in what you have to offer. Many creators are great at telling you about their work, but fail to say how or what they have to show. Don’t leave your subject guessing!
Make yourself / collaborators available
Very few sites focus exclusively on reviews, which means you have a better chance of getting coverage if you are open to other forms of promotion. Offer yourself and your collaborators up for interviews, have a press release ready to send (don’t forget to offer that as an option), and be open to different methods of correspondence like talking via Skype.
Be sincere and concise in equal measure
Pitching to dozens upon dozens of outlets can be tedious, but don’t make reading your e-mails equally monotonous. It is common to have a form e-mail or press release to start with, but being conversational and personalizing your correspondence to each source will increase your chances of getting a response.
Prepare for silence
You’ve given it your best shot and still haven’t received a response. This is not going to be an isolated incident. Most reviewers have a tall stack of books (free and paid for) that they’d like to cover, so there is no guarantee that your work is at the top of that pile. Focus your energy on the responses you do get, and be sure to avoid any activity that even remotely resembles spamming. One reviewer we reached out to (who wished to remain anonymous) summed this up well: “A lot of people confuse enthusiasm with pestering. If I really love your comic you won’t have to remind me.”
Check for typos
Nothing says professional like a well-worded, typo-free e-mail!