It’s very easy to immerse yourself in the world of comic creation. There are a lot of books out there to buy, there are a lot of podcasts to listen to, there are people to follow on Tumblr and Twitter, there are tons of sites that pop up from people wanting to gain some visibility. The signal to noise ratio seems to be decreasing, due to the amount of people who believe they have something to say now having a platform to shout from.
I don’t have anything against these people, except maybe for a lack of stamina. They get their platform, trying to share some secrets of how they did it, but then end up not sticking with it. And then the cycle begins again. And again. (And again.)
It’s funny when you can see your own words (and the way you say them) coming out of someone else’s mouth, with no attribution to you whatsoever. I’ve seen that multiple times over the years. At least the lessons stuck.
The problem with immersing yourself in comic creation—in listening to people—is that you don’t know who you’re listening to, why you’re listening to them, or what it is they’re getting out of it (besides a higher profile). Sometimes, you can even get conflicting information.
Who do you listen to?
Well, the first thing to realize is there is no magic bullet in comics. There is no one single thing that will take your project and make it successful. Don’t believe me? Look at both Marvel and DC. How many books have they launched and canceled in the span of the previous year? How many times have you heard of a story that was supposed to be an ongoing that was reduced to a limited series? Since there’s no magic bullet, anyone who tells you they have one is a damned dirty liar, and they should be dropped immediately.
Also, anyone who’s got about as much time in comics as a minute egg and who are trying to get you to pay for “insights” and “access” to pro’s? They’re preying on you, and they should not be rewarded for their efforts.
Before you start trying to listen to people, do a little research. What have the published, where have they worked, what sense do they make? Are they charging you, or are they giving away info for free?
Don’t misunderstand me. People have the right to make a living. But if they haven’t produced anything and they haven’t worked anywhere, I believe they shouldn’t be charging money for advice columns/articles. And access to professionals? Who’d really pay for that? What does “access” mean, anyway? The ability to say ‘hi”? Have short conversations? You can get that on Twitter or Tumblr, depending on how approachable they are.
The long and the short of it is to beware. Not everyone is suited to give advice online. It’s a long-term thing, especially if it’s done weekly. Building and curating an archive takes time and attention. A great archive by some jerk named Steven Forbes is his Pouch of Nuts, which lists all of his Bolts & Nuts articles. There is a lot of good information in there, and it’s all free.