I'm writing this a little bit ahead and scheduling it to post automatically, because I don't want to forget about it and I ought to be gearing up for the SC ComiCon in March. Also, I'm waiting on some news and it probably won't be a good idea to dash off my first thoughts about it when it arrives. So this post is about being an indie creator – not just comics, but any kind of creative endeavor, and still being in that space between isolation and finding an audience. Usually, this is a bit of an expensive space, either in terms of time or money, and it's tempting to look around at other people who are getting all kinds of support from lots of people even if they haven't actually created anything yet.
“If somebody would just give me a chance,” you may be thinking, “I could make something just as good, or even better!”
But you'd be wrong.
Your ability to create isn't in question. Probably, maybe even likely, you could create something just as good or better than the best efforts of whatever current creator is getting resources simply donated to the project. Perhaps even better than what's currently available from major corporate outlets. If you're passionate about your vision and you have the work ethic to create it to a solid, consistent standard, that's going to show.
No, where you're wrong is the part about somebody “giving you a chance.”
Nobody gives chances.
Those aren't free.
Whatever chance you get from someone is a very precious thing, and it's on loan to you. If you don't pay back this loan of the reader's time, attention, or money with interest, you will not be getting another. Whatever you create must be worthwhile and do what you advertised it to do.
If you are so lucky as to get a chance from a reader, your work should repay that reader above and beyond what they paid in. More entertainment, more value, more art than they expected to get. Make your characters compelling so they can capture your reader's imagination. Make your plots tight so they're good on the re-read. Make your setting immersive and intriguing so your reader isn't bored or thrown out of the story.
Treasure the reader who loans you a chance. Some aren't going to think it was a good investment for them, and that's okay. If you advertise exactly what you're offering, and then deliver higher quality than they hoped for, you'll get more readers who will be glad they offered you that chance. Those are the ones who'll give you another, and you can keep creating for them.
At this point, you may be wondering how you can make anything without a chance to get you started. That's another post, and I'll try to get it written up next.
Artist, writer, creator of stuff. I just want to build worlds for you to escape to.