Creator Confessions: Guest Etiquette

by Frank Martin

Promotion is the bane of any comic creator’s existence. It requires them to step outside his or her shell and actively push their work in order to gain people’s interest. When querying about promotion the answers are usually the same —  social media and cross promotion. There’s no secret area to promote that will miraculously increase your visibility. Big ones that often get cited are podcasts and live streams. But what isn’t talked about enough is the etiquette a creator should follow when being a guest on a program. And it’s something worth touching on.

At first, the prospect of having a conversation recorded, or even broadcasting live over the internet, is a daunting one. Creators are a bit introverted by nature. But like anything else, being a guest on a show gets easier over time. It’s perfectly natural to have nervous jitters in the beginning, but eventually, going on a show becomes second nature and those jitters go away.

One of the most important things to remember about being a guest is that you are just that. A guest. The same way you wouldn’t be rude in somebody’s house, you shouldn’t be rude on somebody’s show. They are offering a place and a platform for you to promote your work and yourself. You are never entitled to being a guest. It is a privilege that can be taken away perhaps even easier than it was given.

Because of that, you should accept the fact that you are not in control of whatever show you are on. The host dictates the direction of the show and the topics of discussion. Of course, creators want to talk about and push their work. But at the end of the day, promoting your work isn’t as important as simply taking part in an engaging conversation. You, as a creator, are just as much on display as your work. If you show your host and your host’s audience that you are a great person with strong opinions and a passion for your industry then you’ve done your job. Their opinion of you comes first before their opinion of your work.

If somebody likes you, they will be more willing to look at your creations than if you were an automaton simply pitching your story. Hosts aren’t stupid. They are well aware of what I like to call the “Kickstarter circuit.” If a creator is going around from show to show pitching their campaign then chances are there’s no question they could ask you that you haven’t already answered before. They want a unique conversation. Something that only their show can provide. If you help them accomplish that, then you did your job and it will serve you better in the long term.

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