Things very often become cliché because they’re true.
There’s no truer cliché than this: comics is a marathon, not a sprint. (But yes, in some cases, it’s still a race.)
Here are a few facts that new creators or even slightly seasoned creators don’t seem to understand: you have to produce the work consistently and on-time. This consistency will help keep you in the public eye, and that will, in turn, help you with sales.
It’s all about the sales.
In order to compete in the marathon, though, you have to train. Training comes basically in three phases:
Phase One: Save your money before you start production. It’s the rare creator that’s able to get a comic book made without paying someone on the creative team. Most of the time, the person being paid is the artist. Save your money so you can get the best artist you can afford, and you have to have enough money saved in order to pay that artist/team for at least a first story arc or entire limited series.
That’s a large initial investment, but if you want longevity in this, you have to save your money.
Phase Two: You have to see projects through to the end. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be a challenge. New ideas come along, and you want to explore them. Write them down, flesh them out enough for you to come back to it later, and then get back to work on the project already in front of you.
Phase Three: Understand everything it takes to bring a comic to market. There’s a lot to consider—format, page size, number of pages, what to do with the extra pages, color or b/w, frequency, self-publish or find a publisher, digital or physical, number of copies to print, variant covers, convention appearances, and more. If you’re going the Kickstarter route, there’s a whole new list of things to consider.
Those are the three things you need to train for when you start the marathon that are comics. That issue you’re holding in your hand? That’s the culmination of a couple of months worth of work, and represents hundreds of man-hours. That’s for a single issue.
Get that into your head, treat it seriously, and then you’ll be in the right mindset to create for comics.